Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack: A Mountaineer’s Delight?

Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack Featured Image

If you’re looking for a new pack for rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing, backpacking, or mountaineering, we’re going to take some time today to assess the Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack.

The Arcteryx brand was founded on the idea that “there is always a better way,” and its products are tested and proven in one of the most challenging ranges on the planet, the Coast Mountains of British Columbia.

Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack Overview

arcteryx alpha fl pack - front

Pack Capacity: 32 liters (1,953 cubic inches)

Weight: 24 ounces

Fabric Details: 46% Nylon, 46% Polyester, 8% Elastane

Best Places to Buy: REI or Amazon

This pack is specifically designed for light and fast ascents. It features a low base weight and ample capability for securing ropes, ice axes, harnesses, and other gear to its exterior. The inside and outside of the pack are urethane coated for weather resistance and improved abrasion protection against rocks and sharp ice climbing gear. It truly combines the “simplicity of design” with “rugged and high-performance materials.”

Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack Technical Specifications

Frame Type: Frameless

Pack Access: Top

Pockets: 2 (+ main compartment)

Ideal Trip Length: Expedition

The Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack is designed to be both ultralight and waterproof. It maintains a small, carry-on size with the ability to be fully loaded for extended expeditions. While Arcteryx focused on minimalist alpine mountaineering when designing this pack, they also kept it functional for a wide variety of climbing applications.

Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack All-Weather Features

arcteryx alpha fl pack - back

The Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack is designed to be capable and efficient throughout the four seasons. For starters, a glove-friendly one-handed cord lock closure makes it quick and easy to open and close the pack without wasting a moment. It’s also been designed with Advanced Composite Construction (AC2) fabric and sealed seams to keep the rain and snow out and your gear dry.

Comfort didn’t escape the minds of the makers of this pack either. The Alpha FL is outfit with revised shoulder and sternum straps for improved fit, as well as a rigid, formed back panel that provides extra support while retaining comfort. The pack’s low-profile, harness-compatible waistbelt also helps you stabilize the pack once it’s loaded down.

The Alpha FL boasts a number of additional all-weather features designed specifically with climbers in mind. These include an external bungee compression system for crampons, 4 ice tools, or a bulky belay parka, four integrated side lash points and six front lash points that accommodate straps up to 22-millimeters wide and a top rope strap buckle now anchored on the back panel for easier use.

Arcteryx Alpha FL PackUser Reviews

Of 21 people that reviewed the Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack on Moosejaw, 16 of them have given the pack a full, 5-star rating. If you’re wondering about the rest, three gave it 4 stars and two awarded the pack 3 stars. It’s hard to find a pack out there these days without a 1-star review, but it seems (on this platform at least) that we’ve done so here. So let’s take a look at some pros and cons of these reviews.

Pro #1: “Light, Durable, and Useful”

One reviewer said that “It is light and durable, and makes for a great climbing pack” and another said that it “carries quite well for how light it is.” The pack’s reviewers seem to be very happy with its ability to strap ropes and other climbing gear to the outside as well, with another reviewer saying that the “crampon straps work great” and “ice axe/tool attachments are easier to use than traditional attachments.”

Con #1: Sizing

One reviewer claimed that this pack was all he or she has ever wanted, but when it arrived it did not fit. Further research then revealed that Arcteryx only makes this pack in a single size, which can be detrimental if you don’t have what they must have deemed to be an “average” body type.

Con #2: Not The Most Comfortable

While simultaneously applauding Arcteryx for making a climbing-specific pack, one reviewer lamented that this pack might be too specific to climbing. With its focus on light and fast climbing, some reviewers have suggested that it’s not very comfortable once fully loaded and that it could use an organization solution to keep gear and supplies organized inside the pack.

Pro #2: All-Year Use

Despite those shortcomings, many reviewers applauded the Alpha FL’s ability to perform functionally for a wide variety of activities and in all-weather settings. Having a pack that is truly useful all-year-round is rare, so that’s a definitely huge pro to consider about this pack.

Is The Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack For You?

arcteryx alpha fl pack - loaded extended

If you’re looking for a new expedition pack for one of these Three Mountaineering Expeditions in North America, it’s hard to ignore the Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack as a great option.

And even those of you gearing up for a winter that might not be quite that adventurous but still includes plenty of backcountry ski trips might consider this pack. When you look at a pack that has the number of potential uses that this one does, there’s really no ruling it out, no matter your intended purpose.


What do you think of the Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack?

I’d love to know what attracts you to one pack over another and what features you deem “indispensable” when it comes to a backpack.

Also, if you decide to purchase this pack after reading this review, I’d love to know how you like it once you’ve put it to good use for a few fall adventures!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review of the Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. I’ll be quick to reply to any questions, comments, or concerns you feel like sharing!

About The Backpack Guide

the backpack guide - rei adventures 2020
The Backpack Guide on the John Muir Trail

As The Backpack Guide, I’m always looking for new trails and wildernesses to explore and I’m also interested in the experiences of others in the wild. If there is one thing I am sure of it’s that we can all spend more time enjoying and connecting with Nature.

Feel free to reach out to me directly (email below), or share your latest adventure or backpack by tagging @thebackpackguide on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

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The Backpack Guide

Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack









  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Year-Round Capable


  • Specific to Alpine Climbing/Mountaineering
  • Sized for "Average" Body Types
  • Not The Most Comfortable


  1. Rodarrick

    Every bit of information written here is awesome and I found them to be insightful and also a guide. Getting quality backpack that can serve the multipurpose function is not what is rampant these days and surely this one here surpasses all expectations. Though to be honest, the pricing is quite steep but then, still worth y in terms of what it does

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Getting a quality hiking or backpacking pack is definitely a matter of getting what you pay for Rodarrick! I’ve gone on the lower end price-wise in the past and been disappointed. I believe the Alpha FL is worthy of its price tag! 

  2. Jake

    Hi, pretty nice backpack. It has some really nice features. Its gotta be durable and waterproof for sure. 

    I am a little disappointed in the size, it doesn’t look big enough to carry a sleeping bag or mattress. Or am I wrong?

    I think it may be a good size for rock climbing. Obviously you don’t want something too big and heavy.

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Hey Jake! This pack would have plenty of room to fit most sleeping bags and pads made for backpacking. But you’ll have a tough time fitting a more standard sleeping bag or larger mattress in it, yes. It’s made for extended expeditions when all the accompanying gear is small, light, and made to fit in a pack just like this one! 

  3. Rose

    Thanks for this great review of the Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack. We went mountaineering last year and I took a small backpack along which fell when we were climbing because it’s not well tightened. a friend of mine took the Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack and he had a great experience with it so am going for this backpack next time we go mountaineering. Thanks! 

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      You are very welcome Rose! I hope that once you get this pack you won’t have to experience that problem again on any future mountaineering trips! 

  4. Lee

    What a great read and review of this pack. I came across this article as I am looking to start hiking next year and looking for some gear. This bag seems more ideal for the cold weather and the more hard core mountain climbers, but I still believe this could be a great pack for doing some long and high walks which I plan on doing and I could fit so much in there too and of course the fact it is waterproof too. A great read and thank you for this information. 

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Hey Lee! You’re absolutely correct in saying this pack is made for colder weather. For your purposes, you might prefer something more like the Kelty Redwing 44. Here’s a link to my review of that pack if you’re interested:

  5. Henderson

    Oh, this is a very good post with some very good information about the Alpha Fl pack. It seems like this backpack has all I would need to get the best out of my travels and my hiking. As a good hiker, I feel like this will be very good for me. Having evaluated your post, I feel it is a good bag and I will buy one. Thanks.

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Glad to hear it Henderson! I’d love to know what you think once you get it and put it to the test on a few trips! 

  6. Vwegbah

    Hello Tucker. As always, I am a huge fan of backpacks and I don’t joke with mine. It’s usually on my back anywhere I go and while I am traveling too.

    The Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack looks and feels incredible. Okay I have been reading articles about backpacks but I haven’t seen any as this. I love its nice features especially being a waterproof backpack.

    Many a times, I always look out for what people have to say about a product before considering it and this backpack ticks all that I have always needed in a backpack. It’s amazing to see a lot of people giving it 5 stars and there are no single one star. It’s really cool.

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Thanks for your genuine feedback! I too rarely go anywhere without a pack on my back and I agree that it’s rare to see a pack that gets such rave reviews. I’m curious, what pack are you rocking right now?

  7. Benson

    This is a very nice pack. Sizes have been a very big problem for me when it comes to picking the right size to get. I go for lots of outings with friends where I need a really good pack, but I lack it and I tend to get really pissed being left out. I will love to have this Alpha FL and I hope it matches my every taste. Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. Post
  8. John

    The Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack is a very good one. I have to say that it is very nice to see you give information about the company first before telling us more about the bag itself. As a person who really loves to explore and go on adventures ,this will be a very good buy for me. I understand that the pros surpass the cons. I will buy this.

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Hey John! Please come on back and leave your thoughts and comments on the pack once you have it and get to use it firsthand. Cheers! 

  9. Bella

    Hello Tucker, I am on a search for a good pack for hiking for my husband and that’s how I stumbled upon this article on Alpha FL. He goes hiking a lot and lately he has been complaining about his bag not containing as much stuff as he wants and wouldn’t want to get just any pack. I will get him this pack as a surprise and hope he likes it. Cheers! 

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Hi Bella! I think it will make an excellent holiday gift for him. Please do pop back in to let us know how he likes it! 

  10. Nimrodngy

    Thanks a lot for such an amazing review about arcteryx alpha fl pack. I’m from Romania and I go in every season with my friends and climb our beautiful mountains ( the Carpathians mountains) . I was looking to buy one backpack with a capacity between 30-40 litres but here in our country are were expansive. 

    The black Arcteryx Alpha FL 45 Pack is all i need. The price 259$ is just perfect considering that in my country the prices starts from 400$. The 4.6 stars out of 5 gives me a confident reason to buy this product and the customer feedback are all positive and they look satisfied. 

    Thanks again and wish you all the best. Hope to see more posts like this. 

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Hey There! I’m glad you found something that suits your needs. By the name alone, your mountains sound beautiful. I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of the U.S., but backpacking throughout Europe is a dream of mine. When I do make it over there, I’ll be sure to seek some advice from you! And if you do happen to get this pack, I’d love to hear your feedback once you get a chance to use it! 

  11. Travis

    The Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack looks like a very nice pack that would be very useful when heading up the mountain, I am a little concerned about the one size fits all however. I am a big guy, and like a pack that is a little larger since I typically end up carrying a bit more for my group obviously. Other than that it looks like a great pack, do you know if there are similar packs that may be a little larger? Thank you for the help, I always know I can come to this page when looking for back pack help!

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Hey Travis! You’re right to be concerned about that for this pack, in particular. If you’re looking for a pack that’s a little more adjustable, I’d recommend looking into Deuter packs. Check out the Deuter 45+8L Pack! Their Vari-Quick adjustment system makes their packs super adjustable for a huge range of body types. Hope that’s helpful! And if you do purchase a Deuter pack, let me know and we can discuss you creating a review for the site (if that’s something you’re interested in!). 

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