Climbing nowadays equals bringing along a lot of gear, especially if you’re embarking on a several day trip to challenge some remote and unknown rocky wall. You will be needing to keep a large amount of equipment close to you at any time, and you’ll find yourself in need of one of the best climbing backpacks you can find. Anyone who has tried it will tell you, a normal backpack or a hiking one just won’t do, you need something that is built for the job.

Only the best rock climbing backpacks, like the ones we have compiled in this article, can give that combination of light weight, ease of use and comfort that you need while hanging off a mountain. Just like your harness, the mountain climbing backpack you bring with you will soon become almost an extension of your own body and will give you all the freedom of movement you need while holding your precious equipment close to you. Join us as we take a look at the best climbing backpacks you can buy, so you can head out with the confidence of having the perfect tools for the job.

How To Choose A Climbing Backpack – Buying Guide


Comfort And Fit

The comfort of your climbing backpack and the way it fits on your back may well be the most important features to look out for when purchasing a bag. Most models come with adjustable straps as well as waist belts or chest straps, so you can customize the feel and distribute the weight as best you can. Be sure to try moving around in a fully loaded backpack before heading anywhere near a rock wall, and return the bag if anything doesn’t feel right.

Related Review: Adjustable Length Backpack


Stability goes hand in hand with comfort when it comes to choosing a bag. How you place the items inside it will also influence the feel of the bag, but having straps to tighten or loosen is a feature that we absolutely recommend having if you are planning a longer trip. Your goal will be to have a bag that not only snugly fits on your bag but doesn’t sway around or get caught in anything while you move, so check for simple design and well placed strap when making your decision

Storage And Size

Depending on the type of climbing you plan to do, you’ll need backpack of different capacities. Crag packs tend to be larger since they need to house more gear, whereas follower packs are usually smaller. Choose carefully before you set out, since a backpack that is only half full can prove to be very annoying and potentially dangerous to carry on the walls. It might be better to stuff a smaller pack to its limit, rather than leaving too much empty space. The size of the pack needs to be proportionate to your own body, allowing you to move freely without causing unbalance.


Most backpacks are made from nylon, but you need to check the number alongside it to get an idea of its strength. The higher the number, the more durable the material. A tough bag is needed for climbing since it often comes in contact with sharp rocks or unforgiving thorns. The best you can find is ballistic nylon, giving you excellent durability while keeping the weight very low.


When climbing, every ounce matters, and this is why most alpine backpacks look very simple from the outside, without many outside pockets. Because they are designed for a specific job, they are modelled to best suit the requirements of such a job. Crag packs, on the other hand, feature many more pockets and storage compartments since they can afford to be heavier. They don’t need to be brought all the way up the wall. Nevertheless, saving weight should never come at the expense of safety, so it might be best to carry a little more on your shoulders if it can save your life. 


The most widely used material you will find in climbing backpacks is nylon, and with good reason. It keeps the weight low while providing very good durability and toughness, features that are absolutely needed in a piece of climbing gear. The thicker the nylon, the stronger the bag, so that’s what you need to be on the lookout for if you want strength and reliability. On the other hand, if you prefer speed and agility, you can afford to shave a few layers of nylon off your bag, having in mind though that you will need to treat it a little more carefully.


We strongly recommend that you choose a backpack that comes with sternum straps and waist belts for your adventures in the mountain. These extra straps may seem to get in the way at first, but once you understand how they distribute the bag’s weight evenly across your back you won’t want to be without them. Your joints and back will thank you if you take your time to choose your backpack carefully.

Closure Systems and Access

If you’re considering buying a crag pack, then you’ll enjoy a bit more freedom in your choice of closing systems. Since they don’t endure as much as alpine backpacks you can even afford to bring one shaped like a duffel bag and enjoy your time. If you’re climbing, however, you need to stick to bags that have a single, top opening. This will prevent your gear from falling out should you decide to open your backpack while hanging.

Exterior Gear Attachment

Attaching your gear to the outside of your backpack can prove hazardous sometimes since an excess of equipment will start swinging around and possibly alter your balance. If you take with you an alpine pack you should find plenty of space, but be sure to attach only items that you will then be wearing, as to not have to climb with things loose and hanging. For a crag pack, it’s better if all your gear fits inside it, even though some options are available if you want to clip it on the outside.

Pockets and Organization

Craig packs feature the most options for organization, and can come with a variety of internal or side pockets so you can neatly organize your gear. Alpine or follower backpacks usually do away with too many pockets, since their goal is to be simple to use and quick to access. Keep this distinction in mind so you won’t be surprised when perusing through climbing backpack reviews.

Hydration Compatibility

The use of hydration bladders is mostly a matter of personal choice. Some climbers don’t want to hinder themselves with excess weight or fear that the bladder might get ruptured. Others enjoy having some water close to them at all times, so most climbing backpacks will have room to accommodate one and whichever one you choose you will probably find one.



Q: What is a Crag Pack?


A crag pack is a backpack designed to carry all the needed gear to the base of the wall. The pack then stays next to the person who is holding the belay, and will usually be bigger and sturdier than other kinds of backpack.

Q: Why Do I Need Climbing Backpack?


A climbing backpack is a fundamental tool to have for anyone who ventures in the mountains to carry the gear needed to climb, as well as other items such as food, water and extra clothing. No serious climber will ever leave without one.

Q: What Are The Different Types Of Climbing Backpacks?


Climbing backpacks can be divided into crag, follower or alpine backpacks. Crag packs keep all the gear needed for the climb, acting as a portable home for all the equipment and are larger and more padded. Follower packs are designed to be used on a multi-pitch route and carry a day of supplies, so they have a smaller capacity. Alpine packs need to withstand both hiking and climbing, are a little larger than follower packs and can be used for longer trips.

Related Review: Hiking Backpack

Globo Surf Overview

A good climbing backpack is one of the most important pieces of equipment that a climber can have on the walls. In our reviews, we have presented the best options on the market, the ones that combine strength with light weight and ease of use. Follow our guide to make the best decision and find yourself an exceptional ally for those but rewarding days on the rocks.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!