conda-pack is a command line tool for creating relocatable conda environments. This is useful for deploying code in a consistent environment, potentially in a location where python/conda isn’t already installed.

Use Cases

  • Bundling an application with its environment for deployment
  • Packaging a conda environment for usage with Apache Spark when deploying on YARN (see here for more information).
  • Packaging a conda environment for deployment on Apache YARN. One way to do this is to use Skein.
  • Archiving an environment in a functioning state. Note that a more sustainable way to do this is to specify your environment as a environment.yml, and recreate the environment when needed.


It’s recommended to install in your root conda environment - the conda pack command will then be available in all sub-environments as well.

Install from Conda-Forge:

conda-pack is available on conda-forge:

conda install -c conda-forge conda-pack

Install from PyPI:

While conda-pack requires an existing conda install, it can also be installed from PyPI:

pip install conda-pack

Install from source:

conda-pack is available on github and can always be installed from source.

pip install git+

Commandline Usage

conda-pack is primarily a commandline tool. Full CLI docs can be found here.

One common use case is packing an environment on one machine to distribute to other machines that may not have conda/python installed.

On the source machine

# Pack environment my_env into my_env.tar.gz
$ conda pack -n my_env

# Pack environment my_env into out_name.tar.gz
$ conda pack -n my_env -o out_name.tar.gz

# Pack environment located at an explicit path into my_env.tar.gz
$ conda pack -p /explicit/path/to/my_env

On the target machine

# Unpack environment into directory `my_env`
$ mkdir -p my_env
$ tar -xzf my_env.tar.gz -C my_env

# Use python without activating or fixing the prefixes. Most python
# libraries will work fine, but things that require prefix cleanups
# will fail.
$ ./my_env/bin/python

# Activate the environment. This adds `my_env/bin` to your path
$ source my_env/bin/activate

# Run python from in the environment
(my_env) $ python

# Cleanup prefixes from in the active environment.
# Note that you can run this script without activating via
# `$ ./my_env/bin/python my_env/bin/conda-unpack`
(my_env) $ conda-unpack

# At this point the environment is exactly as if you installed it here
# using conda directly. All scripts should work fine.
(my_env) $ ipython --version

# Deactivate the environment to remove it from your path
(my_env) $ source my_env/bin/deactivate

API Usage

conda-pack also provides a Python API, the full documentation of which can be found here. The API mostly mirrors that of the conda pack commandline. Repeating the examples from above:

import conda_pack

# Pack environment my_env into my_env.tar.gz

# Pack environment my_env into out_name.tar.gz
conda_pack.pack(name="my_env", output="out_name.tar.gz")

# Pack environment located at an explicit path into my_env.tar.gz


This tool is new, and has a few caveats.

  • Conda must be installed and be on your path.
  • Windows is not currently supported (should be easy to fix, contributions welcome!)
  • The os type where the environment was built must match the os type of the target. This means that environments built on windows can’t be relocated to linux.