As a climber, I value my gear, and what says value than buying the best climbing backpack?

A climbing backpack carries all your equipment during the adventure, which is why it is vital to have a high-quality one.

However, with the number of intimidating climbing backpacks on the market, how will you know the ideal climbing backpack for you?

I understand how essential the right backpack can be.

The number of gear you require to carry can be intimidating during climbing, and the journey can be long and tedious.

I have compiled a list of the 5 best climbing backpacks, followed by a detailed buying guide to give you a hand.

Unveiling the Best Climbing Backpacks
Unveiling the 10 Best Climbing Backpacks for This Year | Free to use this image with proper credit

List of the 5 Best Climbing Backpacks for Rock Climbers

While most of the websites reviewing rock climbing backpacks will present you with more than 15+ options for the best climbing backpacks, we have decided to tackle this article with reviews simply.

Instead of overloading you with options, we have tested five of our favorite rock climbing backpacks for rock climbers.

Why complicate things, when the best climbing shoes are limited to a handful of options?

  1. PETZL Bug Climbing Backpack 18L
  2. Black Diamond Rock Blitz Backpack 15L
  3. Mountain Hardwear Camp 4 Backpack 28L
  4. Black Diamond Equipment Blitz Backpack 20L
  5. Arc’teryx Alpha SL Backpack 23L

1. PETZL Bug Climbing Backpack 18L

Category: Follower
Weight: 18.5 ounces
Capacity: 18L

Top on my list of best climbing backpacks is this outstanding Petzl Bug climbing pack, offering fantastic performance at an affordable price.

It features a rectangular shape with a robust foam panel, which provides an additional structure for it.

Quick Facts

  • 18 liters capacity
  • Reinforced top, bottom, and sides
  • Weighs 18.5 ounces
  • Closure: zip

I also loved the extra padding on the straps, which makes it comfortable to carry – it is the best small climbing backpack I’ve ever used.

There’s a compression strap at the top, which is linked by two compression fasteners, and together they create a tremendous rope-carrying structure.

What’s more, there is a small zip pocket and a chain to complete the set at the front.

The PETZL Bug backpack has a compact build, and my 15-inch screen laptop fits well in it.

This is a good choice if you need a climbing backpack to cope with your everyday duties.

While this amazing climbing backpack features extra-thick fabric on the top, bottom, and sides, most of the body has a thinner material.

This is handy in reducing the backpack’s weight, though it may reduce sturdiness.

When it comes to price, the PELTZ Bug is quite affordable, and it is worth buying if you’re looking to buy a comfortable, flexible, and good-looking climbing backpack.

It fit securely on my back due to its compact build, and the additional pockets on the exterior and interior are an incredible bonus.

What we like

  • Good-looking
  • Comfortable to carry
  • Affordable
  • Additional pockets

What we didn’t like

  • The thinner fabric may sacrifice durability with time

2. Black Diamond Rock Blitz Backpack 15L

Category: Follower
Weight: 14.4 ounces
Capacity: 15L

The Rock Blitz backpack by Black Diamond is an incredible climbing backpack in terms of durability and functionality.

It is a perfect combination of a well-fitting design and plenty of storage space. 

Quick Facts

  • Capacity – 15 liters
  • Weighs – 14.4 ounces
  • Made of 840D nylon material

The blitz-style central opening is user-friendly, and the top strip can also be utilized as a rope carry when it’s stretched out.

With the EVA padding on the back panel and both shoulder straps, you can be sure to wear this amazing climbing backpack for long periods without getting exhausted.

Additionally, the belt and sternum strap is detachable, and you can remove them to reduce the weight of the bag or create more storage space.

If you want to carry water, the Black Diamond Rock Blitz Backpack also exhibits a hose routing, making it among the most impressive packs I’ve used.

What we like

  • Compact design
  • The top strip can be utilized as a rope
  • The padded back panels and shoulder straps allow for comfort
  • The blitz-style opening and closing mechanism are user-friendly

What we didn’t like

  • Shoulder straps tend to fall out after using them several times

3. Mountain Hardwear Camp 4 Backpack 28L

Category: Follower/alpine
Weight: 1 pound
Capacity: 28L

The main advantage of the Mountain Hardwear Camp 4 climbing backpack is that it’s waterproof.

For this reason, I never had to worry about the gear inside my Mountain Hardwear backpack getting wet during the rain. 

Quick Facts

  • Capacity: 28 liters
  • Drawstring and hook are the main closures
  • Weighs 1 pound

Despite its ample size, you will hardly feel it on your head.

And that’s not all; it also features an incredible suspension system, among other handy features.

It has a drawstring liner which creates additional room if you have a lot of gear to carry with you.

Also, this climbing backpack handles your luggage quite well.

The compression straps allow for easy management, while the sides feature several gear loops.

Mountain Hardwear Camp 4 backpack has multiple attachment options, making it perfect for fitting all your items and climbing gear. 

On the other hand, this climbing backpack is quite heavy, with its weight standing at 1 pound.

For this reason, it doesn’t offer much versatility – besides the spacious main pouch, it has a zip pocket and a hydration pouch.

The waterproof feature makes this climbing backpack ideal for those who go climbing in wet or snowy surroundings.

What we like

  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Awesome suspension system
  • Quite spacious

What we didn’t like

  • It is heavier than the other backpacks on this list

4. Black Diamond Equipment Blitz Backpack 20L

Category: Alpine
Weight: 14 ounces
Capacity: 20L

Black Diamond Equipment Blitz 20L Backpack is an excellent alpine climbing backpack. It dons an orderly and straightforward design.

This, combined with the light material, keeps the weight low. 

Quick Facts:

  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Weighs 14 ounces
  • Ice ax attachment option

It has many features, like its compact design and one additional external attachment option for the ice ax.

The central opening is reliable and extremely user-friendly.

It is made of a lightweight fabric that does not resist abrasion well. 

Additionally, this alpine climbing backpack only has one external attachment option for the ice ax, making it hard to manage the gear that could get strapped on without creating the attachment points with the carabiners and strings by yourself.

On the other hand, this encourages you to pack as lightly as possible.

This is the alpine backpack to carry with you when going on swift and light adventures.

What we like

  • Lightweight
  • Compact design
  • The central opening is user-friendly
  • Ideal for fast and light adventures

What we didn’t like

  • Less durable than its 20L competitors

5. Arc’teryx Alpha SL 23 Backpack

Category: Rock Climbing/Ice Climbing/Alpine Climbing/Mixed Climbing
Weight:  1.3 pounds
Capacity: 23L

Arc’teryx Alpha Alpha SL is an excellent all-around climbing backpack.

It’s relatively snug, and it has most of the features I like in a small climbing backpack. 

Quick Facts

  • Made of nylon material
  • Capacity: 23 liters
  • Weighs 1.3 pounds

Besides, the fancy material used feels sturdier than nylon.

However, the lid is not entirely functional.

The best advantage of this climbing backpack is versatility, though it’s also a weakness if you go rock climbing with it. 

Arc’teryx Alpha SL 23 rock climbing backpack is mainly designed for alpine climbing.

This alpine climbing backpack is somewhat comfortable to carry.

The shoulder straps have reduced padding, though this is adequate considering its volume. 

It features a standard hydration structure accessory.

It has a small zipped pocket that is quite spacious, allowing you to store extra gear.

Besides, it has an exterior zippered pocket.

However, I found that the shock cord featured on the pack makes it more difficult to utilize this pocket fully. 

What we like

  • Ideal for alpine climbing
  • Spacious
  • Extremely versatile
  • Standard hydration system

What we didn’t like

  • Some features of these backpacks aren’t well designed

Extra 3 Favorite Climbing Backpack Picks from the Team

Climbing Backpack Comparison Table

PETZL Bug Climbing Backpack 18L$69.95Follower18.5 ounces18L
Black Diamond Rock Blitz Backpack 15L$159.95Follower14.4 ounces15L
Mountain Hardwear Camp 4 Backpack 28L$119.99Follower/alpine1 pound28L
Black Diamond Equipment Blitz Backpack 20L$99.95Alpine14 ounces20L
Arc’teryx Alpha SL 23 Backpack$180Rock Climbing/Ice Climbing/Alpine Climbing/Mixed Climbing1.3 pounds23.L

Rock Climbing Backpacks FAQs

What Is a Rock Climbing Backpack?

A rock-climbing backpack is a handy pack in overcoming carrying water, food, and the necessary tools while climbing.

These backpacks are more durable than hiking ones, more spacious than hydration bags, and more compact and ergonomic than the alpine climbing pack.

Why Do You Require a Rock Climbing Backpack?

You need a rock-climbing backpack since it is an effective and comfortable way to carry all your gear and necessities while going on your adventure.

When searching for a backpack to comfortably carry your tools, you require one that’s reliable and easy to climb with.

For most climbers, the ideal rock-climbing backpack is one with a compact design to carry during climbs or multi-pitch adventures finished in a day.

It has to have plenty of room to store necessities such as shoes, water, a phone, food, and a headlamp, among others.

Numerous rock-climbing backpacks will suitably hold your gear.

What Distinguishes a Pack as a Climbing Pack?

Climbing packs are often smaller, have a lower profile, and backpacks have the features needed to connect a helmet and climbing-specific equipment, such as ice equipment, crampons, and climbing ropes

They are different from hiking daypacks, backpacking packs, or climbing backpacks in that they are designed to be used when hiking and ascending technical terrains, such as steep rock, ridge scrambling, or even indoor climbing

In general, climbing packs trade frame support and hiking comfort in exchange for improved climbing performance.

What Type of Rock Climbing Backpack Do I Need?

There are several sizes of climbing backpacks, and the size you need depends on the gear you’re carrying.

Here are the different backpack sizes:

1. Hydration packs

Hydration backpacks are for people who like long, climbing routes in unwavering weather.

They are built to be superior to rock climbing backpacks.

They are smaller than the other types of climbing backpacks, and they exhibit a narrower build that makes them easier to climb with.

On the other hand, these advantages come with drawbacks.

Typically, they are not spacious enough for shoes or additional layers. Besides, they are less durable.

Still, I prefer hydration packs during the sunny, tedious routes when I need water but don’t want the inconvenience that comes with a full-fledged climbing backpack.

2. Rock climbing backpack

The rock climbing backpacks are small, mostly with a capacity of 12 to 24 liters, and they are constructed to sit high on your back so it won’t hinder a harness.

Moreover, they are more durable than the standard backpack, mostly made using fabric that will easily resist abrasion.

Most rock climbing backpacks feature detachable parts which allow you to customize them depending on your needs. 

Additionally, the best rock climbing backpacks also feature reinforced anchor points for intermittent hauling.

Hiking backpacks can be suitable for the climber who infrequently climbs longer routes though you will have to sacrifice durability. 

3. Mini haul packs

This is another suitable option for handling strenuous routes.

It could be the best backpack to go for on difficult-to-climb routes.

A mini haul backpack has a carrying capacity enough for a day’s worth of tools, which is quite impressive.

Besides, if you utilize a capture pulley and a tagline, it becomes easier.

Additionally, I like this type of backpack since it is spacious enough to keep the aid gear packed until you require it.

4. Mountaineering and alpine packs 

When the slope becomes steeper and the temperatures drop, climbers have to wear additional gear to stay comfortable.

Climbing with an alpine backpack is more suitable for this situation because an alpine terrain makes carrying it more convenient.

Alpine climbing backpacks can be lighter since abrasion is not an issue in snowy surroundings.

They usually have a bigger construction to accommodate the heavier insulating layers.

Out of the five climbing backpacks I’ve reviewed here, the Arc’teryx Alpha SL 23 and the Arc’teryx Alpha FL 40 are constructed purposely for alpine climbing.

What Do I Have to Consider When Buying a Rock Climbing Backpack?


This climbing pack’s size you buy mostly significantly depends on the type of climbing you partake in.

When it comes to a rock climbing-specific daypack, you require one with a capacity of 16 to 20 liters which is more than enough to carry layers, snacks, or food and water.

Sport vs. Trad

For rock climbers, go for a durable backpack that is extremely abrasion-resistant.

Rock climbing involves bolted routes, and it requires a tougher bag like PELTZ Backpack 18.

Easy ways to attach climbing gear

Ensure you go for a rock climbing backpack that has several options for attaching a rope, a water bottle, as well as other necessities.

Also, ensure that the tools attached to it are not dangling around.

Make sure you pack most of your rock climbing necessities inside the backpack.

However, you can carry the rope on the outside since most rock climbing backpacks will not have enough space to accommodate it, depending on the number of tools you’re carrying.

Consider the number of times you will require strapping gear on the outside and look at every pack’s available attachment points.

Climbing Backpack Features

The backpacking backpacks are today equipped with a variety of features that may provide for a more hassle-free, convenient, and exciting hiking and trip experience. 

Once you have picked the right side for your backpack, you need to have a look at the features as well.

Internal/external frames

Backpacks with external frames are the original designs.

They offer benefits including an option to strap more hiking and other gear on the outside, a capacity to carry heavier loads, higher durability, and better affordability. 

Backpacks with internal frames are made of lightweight materials and hence are lighter to carry.

These backpacks may have a lower and more optimized profile and provide a convenient walking experience even in tight quarters. 

When you are looking for better mobility, you should look for backpacks with internal frames.


When you are planning to visit a location that has warm weather, you should look for backpacks with ventilation features, including perforated foam, lightweight mesh, and special framing systems.

Rain cover

Depending on the place you want to visit, or the season of your trip, you may like to have a backpack with an integrated rain cover.

Rain covers are available separately with some backpack models.

Haul points 

The Mountain Hardwear features two durable loops designed for rock climbing.

On the other hand, the single-haul loop could also be efficient for most rock climbers.

You can also create additional haul points utilizing other attachment options or the shoulder straps, a rope, and a bit of creativity.

Hip belts 

Choose a rock climbing backpack with at least one removable hip belt.

Also, you can go for one with a permanently attached hip belt.

Emergency whistles 

Rock climbing daypacks should have a safety whistle.

They are compact and light and can come in handy as a signaling device in times of emergency.


While this is crucial for any rock climbing backpack, it is relatively difficult to explain in theory.

After choosing the rock climbing-specific backpack you need, check if it fits. Your backpack must fit your back length.

The lower part of the backpack is supposed to be above the hips.


The presence of compartments in a bag, including the sleeping bag compartment, can be important for you.

For longer trips, you should go for backpacks with large and multiple compartments that may be accessible through the side, back, front, or top.


When you aim to carry large loads of gear and for a long duration, you may need a backpack with padding on the shoulder and a hip belt.

How to Choose a Backpack with an Appropriate Volume?

The volume (often denoted in liters) reveals the space available inside a backpack.

The full-size backpack models can carry your essential items for a full six-month trip on an Appalachian trail! 

The smaller and daypack varieties are also available.

You can choose a backpacking pack by considering the information given below.

Less than 35 liters backpacks

The overnight backpacks may have a volume and capacity of around 35 liters or less. 

These backpacks can carry your essentials gear and food for 1 or 2 nights.

You can carry your hiking gear, including tents, sleeping bags, and pads among others easily.

35 to 50 liters backpacks

When you are looking for a weekend trip, you may need a backpack having a capacity of somewhere between 35 to 50 liters backpacks. 

Apart from the usual gear including the small tents and sleeping bags, the backpacks can also carry extra clothing. 

The large capacity of the backpack ensures that you can also carry basic cookware, food, a small stove, a first aid kit, a water purifier, water bottle insulators, and some navigation tools as well. 

If you are skilled enough at packing, you can also pack items including a lightweight backpacking chair, coffee press, and a small lantern.

1. 35 liters backpacks

A 35L pack is ideal for car-to-car climbs and one-night adventures with a lightweight bivy setup.

Climbing rough terrain with a 35L backpack is significantly more comfortable than with a larger load because 35L backpacks are compact and low profile. 

If you do most of your climbing on weekends, a 35L pack will suit you far better than a larger backpack in terms of performance, bulk, and weight. 

Because of the restricted carry space, climbing longer than a day with a 35L pack necessitates traveling light.

Climbing challenging terrain will be a lot more pleasurable if you travel light.

2. 45 liters backpacks

This is a capacity that can be used in a variety of situations. It isn’t too big or too small.

If you take many trips that are modest in duration, such as three days, this type of pack will be ideal for you. 

You can far more easily carry the goods you need to stay comfortably in the mountains with the extra liters of capacity over a 35L pack – fuel, stove, shelter, and extra food.

However, because 45L is still a tiny volume, many 45L packs feature light and simple frames, making them easy to climb.

If you do a lot of ice climbing, a 45L pack might be the best option. 

All of the extra layers of clothing you’ll be carrying in the winter will fit more readily in a backpack of this size than a 35L pack.

A 45L pack is the best pick if you only want to buy one climbing pack and go on multi-day expeditions only once in a while. 

For day-long rock climbs, a 35 pack is also recommended since it will feel easier on your back than your 45L pack.

This size pack is designed for multi-day climbs.

A smaller climbing packs better suits most people because most people’s climbing is done on the weekends or days off from work. 

50 to 75 liters backpacks

With up to 75-liter storage capacity available, a light packer may plan a trip for up to five nights with these large backpacks.

Varieties including winter camping or expedition varieties are also available at this site. 

Apart from the other items listed above, these backpacks may also carry your survival gear, mountaineering equipment, and warm sleeping setups.

The backpacks available today include adjustable hip belts.

The latest and best ones may also offer you interchangeable belts for an even better fit. 

Some of the backpacks may also offer the feature of suspension adjustment.

With the feature, you can better adjust the shoulder harness system of the backpack to the size of your back. 

Because the size of the backpack may vary with the manufacturers, you should read the description carefully in the backdrop of the size of your back to make the best purchase.

What Kind of Materials Are Used for the Manufacturing of Backpacks?

The materials used for the manufacturing of backpacks are another distinguishing feature of a high-quality backpack.

Here’s a basic rundown of the fabrics.

  • Nylon is widely used due to its resistance to wear and tear. Nylon twill, which has a solid diagonal weave, is another popular choice.
  • Ripstop textiles (polyester or nylon) are woven in diamond or box patterns, resulting in a reinforced grid. 
  • High-tenacity fibers are used in nylon fabrics to improve tear resistance and abrasion. Their disadvantage is that the tough fibers are hefty. 
  • Nylon oxford is a lightweight, smooth fabric with a simple weave that has long been utilized in pack construction.
  • Polyester/Nylon blends are commonly utilized to provide various hues inside a single fabric. It’s all a matter of taste.
  • Hypalon is a synthetic rubber used to reinforce high-wear sections of packs, such as the edges of important touchpoints. Because of its weight, it is only used sparingly on packs.

The denier of the fabric is just as important as the type of fabric.

A fabric’s yarn is measured in deniers, which is a measure of fineness.

Denier has an impact on a backpack’s wear resistance and, as a result, its weight. 

More robust denier fabrics have larger abrasion resistance, but they also have a higher weight.

Fabrics as light as 70 deniers may be used in ultralight explorer backpacks.

Ballistic nylon, on the other hand, is frequently graded at 1,600 deniers or greater.

Backpack materials mostly have one of two coatings

The standard coating used in internal walls is polyurethane.

It has good water resistance (but not waterproofness – if you submerge your backpack in water, the contents will ultimately become wet). 

Silicone is used to reduce weight.

It has a high tear strength, although silicone breaks down more quickly than a PU covering.

PU coatings may improve water resistance.

What Should You Look for in Terms of Backpack Durability?

The zippers and straps are the two critical elements on any pack as they are most likely to wear and tear.

Look for double-stitched, metal zippers of decent quality and buckles that aren’t fragile or flimsy.

By trying a zipper several times back and forth, you may get a good idea of how prone it is to lock up.

Ventilation mechanisms or netting on good packs keep the load away from your lower back and keep your clothes from sweating through.

While this adds to the comfort, take extra precautions because these are more prone to tearing than a plain back pad.

Our Best Backpack Buying Tip: Take a Torso Measurement

Before you even begin shopping, measure the length of your torso to ensure that you purchase the correct backpack for your physique. 

Nothing is more crucial than the perfect measurement when it comes to fitting a larger backpack since, without it, your shoulders, hips, and back will not be able to take the burden properly, causing discomfort and possibly damage.

You’ll need a pal and a tape measure or a length of thread to achieve this.

If you are into multiple climbing disciplines and you have many packs and backpacks, learn how to store backpacks and preserve their lifespan.

Be sure to pack light if you are backpacking.

Final Thoughts on the Best Rock Climbing Backpacks

Hopefully, my guide will help you find the right climbing backpack to help make your adventure more comfortable.

The PETZL Bug Climbing Backpack 18L is durable, versatile, and good-looking.

Additionally, it is spacious and durable enough to resist abrasion during your adventure, which is why it is our top pick!

Besides, if you need a climbing backpack that will cope with your everyday duties, it is the perfect fit.

Ensure that you are picking a backpack following the duration of your trip and the features and capabilities you want your backpack to include and carry.

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