Designed for all of your mountaineering cargo
If you've ever done any mountain climbing or ice climbing, you probably found out pretty quickly that a regular backpack just doesn't cut it when it comes to hauling your gear vertically up the side of a mountain. While climbing, most people will only take along the essentials, which includes their climbing gear, food, and water. This is where an alpine pack is useful.
Alpine packs are made to be sleek, light and easy to carry, instead of being built for comfort. You need to find an alpine pack that will let you move quickly and won't restrict your climbing movements in any way. The heavier the backpack is; the bigger the load usually is and that translates into a slower climb.
Alpine packs are made to keep the load close to your back and properly and evenly balanced. Many packs will also let you haul them by rope when you have to take the pack off to climb. This means most alpine packs are abrasion resistant and have few loops and straps that could get caught or snagged on the terrain. However, an alpine pack should come with essential, exterior attachment points that allow you to safely carry an ice axe, crampons, skis, wands, and rope, etc.
It's a good idea to try and learn the differences about the various types of backpacks and make sure you get one that is designed for your needs.
Like most other types of backpacks, alpine packs are available in a wide variety of materials, designs, sizes, weights and colors.
Most alpine packs are made out of lightweight fabrics - such as nylon and polyester - and most of the materials are coated to be water resistant. These backpacks usually don't come with many storage pockets, but you need to make sure that you can easily and quickly get into the pack to retrieve your essentials.
Most alpine packs are also compatible with internal bladder hydration systems that allow you to suck water through a tube while climbing. Some bags will also come with water bottle pockets. Another important feature that many alpine packs have is a built in safety whistle, that may come in handy if you ever get yourself into a tight jam. While searching for an alpine pack you'll find that some models also come with other unique features - such as the pack doubling as a bivy sack.