I purchased up the Variant pack to replace a similar pack I had worn through from another company with the goal of getting something a little more compact for one day alpine climbs. In the year since, I've had a lot of trips with this pack and so far, it has absolutely crushed. Functionally, the pack is solid. The dual ice axe clips could use some extra strap to be more adjustable, the crampon pocket is hard to use when the pack is full but beyond that, it's well designed and well executed on. Having a few extra pockets in the lid is handy for storing maps, car keys and the likes while the hydration compartment is an unexpected win on an alpine pack for warmer trips. Most importantly, the suspension system is incredible at handling weight considering how small the volume is. I'm more comfortable with a 45lbs load in my 37L Variant than my 75L mountaineering pack from another company (though they both weigh about the same empty so you can see where the tradeoff is and 50lbs in the Variant is never going to happen.) For a more typical 35 lb load (I tend to lug around a big camera, a large med kit, and a lot of water), the pack is super comfortable. The biggest drawback and why I gave it a 4 rather than 5 is the lack of waterproofing and related exterior durability. Given the intended use, wet, cold and abrasive environments are to be expected and yet it's pretty much summer materials that soak through rather quickly. That's unfortunately pretty common in most alpine packs out there but it seems like an easy one for Osprey to improve and really pull ahead on. That said, I'm looking at getting the larger size for overnight trips as well so you can tell how much I like the thing.