Osprey have been making quality packs and luggage for some time now. It’s not unusual to encounter someone in the outdoors wearing one. More often than not, that person has several Osprey bags, a selection for different uses – and they’ll be sure to remind you. These Osprey “enthusiasts”, might have a fierce look in their eyes during such an encounter. Don’t be afraid, it’s just another common trait found among hardcore Osprey fans. Why is this phenomenon you ask? Well, it’s simply because Osprey continue to innovate and create great bags. Lightweight, durable, feature packed, comfortable and stylish. I could continue listing buzz words, but you get the point.

The new Osprey Mutant 22 caught my attention straight away and appeared set to tick a lot of boxes. Personally, I’m a kind of a bag man. But it’s not really style that’s important, but the all important aspects of function and versatility. Rarely am I 100% satisfied with a backpack, and trust me, I’ve tried a few. Working as an adventure photographer who hikes, climbs and travels a lot, my life seems to be a steady montage of packing things in and out of various bags. Over the years of doing this I’ve become certain of several things: A good bag has to be really well made. Comfort is king. The more versatile the better. The Mutant 22 checks all these off the list and more. Not to mention, it looks good too!

At first glance the Mutant 22 is surprisingly a simple and elegant rucksack. But upon closer inspection it’s clear this is not some quickly conceived and thrown together bag. Vital features are subtly tucked away and seamlessly integrated into the pack. The Mutant has been carefully designed with years of real world feedback, innovation and refinement. It’s the third generation of the Mutant series, which has now grown to include the 22L along with larger 38L and 52L versions.

Features and Design:

The sleek silhouette tapers to be slightly wider at the top, where access is gained through a wide double zippered lid. This shape makes access and packing the bag a total breeze. Under the lid is an internal mesh zippered pocket with key clip. The zipper is on the side, so  orientated vertically when the lid is open. This makes for a smaller opening but also ensures the contents don’t fall out. Inside you will find a water bladder sleeve and clip, with a removable high density foam frame sheet behind. There is an internal compression strap, which can cleverly be threaded outside the pack through the hydration hose port, to then become rope carry strap. Ingenious!

Other external features include a large top carry/haul handle, which can also be equalised with two small haul loops on the front for hauling the pack on a climbing route.  There’s a simple but effective climbing tool carry system for the alpine inclined, along with a daisy chain sewn down each side of the front panel for further external attachment duties. Side compression straps are conspicuously absent, but you can some in using the discrete loops on the side of the back panel. For a pack this small the lack of side compression wasn’t at all noticed, with the internal strap being sufficient when needed. One non-advertised feature is that the elastic upper ice tool carry dongles double as a great climbing helmet carrying solution.

The harness is a simple but well shaped affair. The shoulder straps are lightly padded and wide enough to remain comfortable when fully loaded. An adjustable sternum strap helps spread the load, whilst a simple webbing hip belt adds extra support and stability when required. The back panel is lined with a contoured foam that moulds to the shape of your back. The harness is not overly ventilated at all, as it does lend itself to be an alpine pack, but the low profile serves to keep weight close to your body. The slim tapered shape of the pack is designed to avoid interference with your ams whilst climbing or taking on other activities.

Vital Specs:

Weight – 570 grams

Fabric – 210D Nylon

Colours – Blue Fire (Dark Blue with Orange) or Black Ice (Black, Dark Blue with Light Blue)

Available – Now! at your local Paddy Pallin Store or Shop Online


So how much gear can actually fit in this cute little bag? Yes I know what you’re thinking, 22L really isn’t all that big… Keep in mind this is a taper single compartment 22L capacity bag with a big opening. All features that increase it’s packing potential. Curious myself, I decided to see if it would be possible squeeze in everything I’d take on a typical day out climbing in the bag. Below is what I’d pack for a trad multi-pitch route adventure. The rope of course wold be attached to the outside, along with a climbing helmet. The Mutant 22 swallowed all the gear pictured below with ease.

The mutant 22 with everything for a day-long multi pitch climb

Everything needed for a full day multi pitch adventure climb, and it all fits inside the Mutant 22!

A Fully loaded Mutant 22 with everything above packed inside a Mutant 22, complete with a rope lashed on top.

A Fully loaded Mutant 22 with everything above packed inside, complete with a rope lashed on top.

For everyday use or travel the Mutant 22 shines. In the black colour option it’s subtle enough for the urban crowd, but with some snazzy blue accents to stay interesting. The alternative is a bit more colourful, a deep blue with orange accents, although still quite subtle and sophisticated. For daily use my 15inch MacBook slots in with ease but leaves plenty of room for other essentials like some lunch, books, a change of clothes or a camera.

I’ve been using the Mutant 22 almost every day for almost six months now. It’s been to the climbing gym numerous times, to the shops, on planes, on day hikes, commuting, and up several multi-pitches. The Mutant has become my most used pack without a doubt.

What do other people think?

Recently several friends joined me as we road tripped to the Warrumbungle and Mount Kaputar National Parks in NSW. The trip was for a photo and video shoot, as well as some field testing of new Osprey bags during our mountain adventures. The trip provided an ideal testing ground for the Mutant 22, with everyone needing to carry gear for the day, but also wear a small enough pack to climb and scramble comfortably with. Here’s some feedback from our three adventurers: Kai, Dave and Quinn (pictured left to right below).

Kai’s thoughts: The Mutant 22 constantly surprised me with it’s versatility. The perfect pack for long multi pitches. I never felt like I was running out of space, even with a 2.5L bladder inside. The refined profile and comfortable shoulder straps kept the pack tucked away and free of your harness. Osprey nailed the design of this pack. Whether it’s climbing a 200m multi pitch or going for quick walk to the gym, the Mutant 22 has become my do everything pack.

Dave’s thoughts: I have to say… this bag is awesome.I tested it on a 190m 7 pitch trad climb in the Warrumbungles in NSW, which had about a 1 hour up and down approach. When hiking into the climb, it was loaded up with a trad rack, all my climbing gear, a rope and a helmet strapped to the outside. I was really surprised, as it handled the load like I would have expected a bigger bag with a better support system to have. It feels like just another body part. Importantly, it looks really cool too. I would have no qualms with this being my bag that I commuted to work with, or taken on an overseas holiday. 5 stars.

Quinn’s thoughts: Things I like about the mutant – The reassurance your things won’t fall out of your bag when you open it in sketchy places because the opening is perfect. Love the big zip loops for ease of opening even with with gloves. The rope attachments are perfect and some how don’t seem to get in the way when not using them. Shoulder straps are tough and carry the load well, yet are smooth, flat and move with you. No criticism, it’s the perfect pack for what it’s designed for and a simple practical bag for commuting to work.


If you’ve not already figured it out… I love this pack and so does everyone else I know who has used it. The combination of simplicity and function, with just the right amount of features, blend together seamlessly creating a super practical multi-purpose backpack. Add to that a stylish and understated aesthetic… what a bag! I’ve honestly got nothing negative to say about the Mutant 22.

Check it out now at your local Paddy Pallin Store or shop online for the Osprey Mutant 22.

Do you have an amazing outdoor adventure planned with your Osprey pack? Whether it’s in Australia or you’re out trekking the globe, share your experience with us on Instagram by using the hashtags #ExperienceIsEverything and #PaddyPallin!

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin

About The Author

Lachlan Gardiner

Lachlan works as a freelance photographer, writer and videographer. His practice lies somewhere between storytelling and being a total gear nerd. Often found hiking, mountaineering, climbing, cycling, packrafting, or just hunting down the next story - Lachlan will take basically any excuse to get into the outdoors. In between all of the above, he also works in our Paddy Pallin store in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

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