What we don’t: Very pricey. An airbag backpack designed especially for women. Many of the packs here could play double duty for resort skiing or riding, but 30 liters (or more) is fairly overkill (read: cumbersome) unless you’re carrying skins, a helmet, and extra layers too. 6.4 oz. at a Glance: Storage Capacity: 25L. But the Light Protection is an attractive option nevertheless that is significantly more affordable and over a pound lighter. Most ski backpacks feature at least one pocket in addition to the main compartment and avalanche gear compartment. Sometimes, it’s located on the inside rather than the outside of a pack, which streamlines the exterior but is less convenient to access. It’s worth noting that some—and particularly those with broad shoulders—have reported fit-related issues with the Dawn Patrol, so we recommend trying it on before you buy.See the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25L. And if you want to haul a snowboard or skis in an A-frame configuration, you’ll need to purchase extra straps separately (keep in mind you’re already spending a whopping $345 on the bag itself). How Long Should Your Snowboard And Skis Be. Choosing a backpack with an avalanche safety mechanism can be a big step toward ensuring your personal safety before even leaving home. For skiers, backpacks … A 375-Denier woven-Dyneema face fabric instead of our more … Best Backcountry Ski Backpack - Ortovox FREE RIDER 24; Budget Option - Arva Calgary 26L; Less Than 25L - Dakine Heli 12L Backpack All these improvements added almost 8 ounces to the pack, making it a good deal heavier than the Cirque above (and it’s a small gripe, but the Descensionist still doesn’t offer a great option for helmet carry). One of the dangers of an avalanche is that it can pull you deep under the snow, making rescue a physical and time-consuming process. They also place a high priority on comfort (over the weight-savings of ski mountaineering designs), with robust backpanels and nicely padded hipbelt and shoulder straps. That said, while the AvaLung can certainly be an effective safety tool, riders must ski with the tube in their mouth in order for it to work—a very tall order should you suddenly be outrunning a slide. And clocking in at 5 pounds 14 ounces for the backpack and airbag, the Scott is a reasonably lightweight design and $300 less than the JetForce Pro above. Fans also are activated with a pull cord and take around the same time to inflate. All told, the Cirque gets our top pick due to its more streamlined weight and time-tested design, but the new Descensionist is a very worthy choice for ski mountaineers and will save you $20 in the process.See the Patagonia Descensionist 40L. At only 2 pounds 4 ounces for the 45-liter version, you get a generous amount of space for the weight, making the Cirque a great choice for fast-and-light missions. No matter the design, the goal is to make your rescue equipment easily accessible. But you do get more durable fabrics (420D compared to the Cirque’s 210D), a much more useful side zip, and better overall carry (and snowboard compatibility too). For a closer look at the market, see our article on the best avalanche airbag packs. Similar to the SnowDrifter above, the Mission Pro features a dedicated avalanche-gear pocket and padded hipbelt and shoulder straps, and tacks on a fleece-lined goggle pocket (the SnowDrifter has a compartment for smaller items, but the fleece is a nice touch). In addition, some ski backpacks have insulated sleeves to prevent the water from freezing in the tube. Finally, we found the simple webbing waist strap to be notably uncomfortable. For example, the most affordable design in our airbag pack round-up is the BCA Float 22L 2.0 at $735, and the fan-equipped Black Diamond JetForce Pro comes in at a whopping $1,400. Right off the bat, we’ll note that this is one of the most feature-rich packs on our list. Unlike their lift-assisted alpine cousins, backcountry skis have two jobs: getting you uphill efficiently while retaining enough power to make the downhill worth the effort (and fun). For lift-accessed terrain, you’ll also want to look for a clean exterior with minimal straps to avoid snagging the chairlift when loading/unloading. But the true cherry on top here is fit. Many new skiers will use a hydration pack, climbing pack, or hiking daypack for in-bounds days or ski touring. The Pro 34+ clocks in a bit heavier than other lightweight ski mountaineering packs here, but the extra ounces could be worth it for the expandable design and Deuter’s reliable comfort and fit. And for a similar design with more capacity and even stiffer suspension, check out the Ortovox Peak 45, which boasts a unique moisture-wicking wool backpanel.See the Ortovox Haute Route 32  See the Women's Ortovox Haute Route 30S. When a canister is triggered, it shoots air (or gas) into the bag, inflating it in about three seconds. Learn more. There are ski backpacks, and then there are airbag-equipped ski backpacks. If cross-country skiing makes you think of kicking lazy laps across your local golf course, it's time to change your image of the sport. Second, you miss out on the convenient backpanel access that we value with the SnowDrifter above. Category: Day touring/ski mountaineeringCapacities: 32, 40LWeight: 2 lbs. Backcountry Skiing Canada has reviewed all the best backpacks on the market from 50 litre all the way up to 85 litre capacity. The main distinguishing factor here is capacity—packs in this category are around 12-22 liters in size, which is perfect for carrying your water and snacks, an extra layer, and avy tools (if needed). 100% Satisfaction Guarantee If your ski gear is even a few years old, there’s new technology out there that will help make good days on the snow even better. In the end, it’s important to identify your priorities and understand that there will be tradeoffs with any pack you choose. $209.95 . The Cirque has earned its place as our top pick for ski mountaineering objectives, but it does have room for improvement. *Editor's note: prices and weights include batteries or canisters where applicable. For $1,200, you get a light yet reasonably tough build that utilizes Osprey’s unique NanoFly fabric (a material that impressed us with its tear resistance on their Levity backpacking pack). On the other hand, when weighted down with 40+ liters of gear on the skin track, you’ll be thankful to have a robust backpanel, shoulder straps, hipbelt, and features like load lifters that allow you to dial in fit. Category: Ski mountaineering/day touringCapacity: 32LWeight: 2 lbs. For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out the Best Ski Bags. 3 oz.What we like: Sleek design and impressively light. These straps are also especially helpful for streamlining larger-capacity bags. In fact, researcher Dr. John Seifert has, The primary pieces of equipment for backcountry skiing is the avalanche beacon and the. Ski backpacks range from lightweight 2-pound models to heavy airbag-equipped bags like the Black Diamond JetForce Pro which clocks in at 6.5 pounds. It is also an ideal bag for traveling as it has a lot of compartmentalized room. 9.6 oz.What we like: Streamlined and affordable design is great for the resort.What we don’t: No backpanel access or compression straps. Category: Day touringCapacities: 20, 30LWeight: 2 lbs. For starters, although the largest version can accommodate 45 liters of gear, the lack of load lifters and stiff suspension means it isn’t quite as comfortabe as we’d like. Further, it’s not rare to find a pack that is is unable to haul a snowboard (the Black Diamond Cirque, for example). In fact, it’s our in-house photographer’s pack of choice when hauling heavy cameras and lenses into the backcountry. For those who want a bit more storage, CamelBak also offers the 24-liter Phantom LR, which adds hipbelt pockets and straps for hauling a snowboard vertically.See the CamelBak Powderhound 12. 5 5 out of 5 stars from 1 reviews 5 1. The Patrol features an Alpride E1 airbag that—similar to the JetForce Pro—is fully electric and rechargeable via USB (it can also be charged by AA batteries in the field). We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. These straps are incredibly useful in the event that you need to hike with your skis on your back, which is common in ski mountaineering and accessing hike-to terrain at resorts. Backcountry Skiing; Backcountry Snowboarding; Ski Mountaineering; Backcountry Snowshoeing; Show 2 more. Sure any old backpack would do, but today's backcountry skiing packs have dedicated avlanche tool … Some can be used for resort skiing, simply storing extra, Dehydration is one of the most dangerous things that skiers will face. Created by Black Diamond, the AvaLung is essentially a snorkel that inserts into the shoulder strap of a backpack. All of the packs in this article are designed with external straps for attaching skis (or often a snowboard) to the outside. From small packs designed for lift-access skiing to behemoths built for serious backcountry use, we found the best ski backpacks for every budget. That said, we like what Ortovox did with the Ascent, and the ability to practice without the canister might be the tipping point for many.See the Ortovox Ascent 30  See the Women's Ortovox Ascent 28 S. Category: ResortCapacity: 12LWeight: 1 lb. While some (the lithium battery system) are travel friendly, others are not. What we don’t: A bit overkill for shorter outings. Ski mountaineering packs will often range from 35-45 liters to accommodate technical or overnight gear. Category: Ski mountaineering/day touringCapacity: 32, 40LWeight: 2 lbs. Backcountry Access Float 42. What we like: Great price for an airbag pack.What we don’t: Trauma protection isn’t as comprehensive as the Mammut above; difficult to pack and unpack. Available in both 32 and 40-liter versions, it features a breathable harness and backpanel that keep you cool on the skin track, and on the boot pack an innovative strap system carries skis or a snowboard in a variety of configurations. We had a few gripes about the first iteration of the SnowDrifter, but Patagonia made some notable improvements with the latest update (last season). But it’s hard to beat Osprey’s top-notch carrying comfort and fit (women can opt for the female-specific Kresta 14), which ensures that the pack won’t get in the way while you’re bombing downhill. And in the majority of cases, airbags and AvaLungs are removable, which means you can streamline your pack when avy danger is low (or when you want to use your pack for other gear).Airbags: Canister and Electric And interestingly, most manufacturers offer larger-capacity packs with the same suspension as their smaller counterparts (the Patagonia Descensionist 40, for example, has the same harness and backpanel as the 32-liter version), so don’t necessarily expect to find increased support as you size up. The Dawn Patrol is also AvaLung-compatible for that extra margin of safety when you venture out of bounds. However, while the Alpha SK is aimed squarely at the ski mountaineering crowd, the extremely simple design limits the type of gear it can carry. We hesitate to rank the Freerider Pro higher as we haven’t yet taken it for a test drive, but it’s certainly caught our eye as an intriguing new option from a dependable backpack company.See the Deuter Freerider Pro 34+  See the Women's Deuter Freerider Pro 32+ SL. Diagonal ski carry. A resort pack is the ideal choice for in-bounds riding, sidecountry terrain, and even sno-cat or heli-accessed skiing. We find this extra pocket extremely useful for smaller items such as goggles, sunglasses, lip balm, and snacks. What we like: Relatively affordable and PAS offers class-leading trauma protection. Legendary pack maker Osprey dipped their toes into the ski market with their Kamber above, and we’re really excited to see the backpack-maker solidifying its presence this year with the new Soelden (men’s) and Sopris (women’s). For 2020-2021, Black Diamond’s top-of-the-line JetForce Pro is our favorite all-around design, featuring a proprietary battery-powered airbag that’s exceptionally lightweight and easy to recharge. Category: Ski mountaineeringCapacities: 26, 32, 45LWeight: 3 lbs. These two technologies differ greatly in form and function, but both serve to keep you alive and breathing. That said, simply carrying the equipment is not enough—it’s imperative to practice so that you have that muscle memory if you do encounter a slide. Best For: Overall. If you're a skiing enthusiast as I am, you can agree that skiing in solitude and not having to fight for first-chair to get fresh track is becoming all more difficult in the cramped ski Ultimate Review Of The Best Ski Backpacks For Backcountry Skiing … Whether you’re headed to the resort or gearing up for a big backcountry outing, a pack is useful for carrying your essentials: extra layers, water, snacks, and—if you’re going out of bounds—avalanche equipment. You’re in the wilderness, hiking through the forest, and then gliding down powdery blissful, untracked snow in the quiet, winter … 13.6 oz.What we like: Lightweight, great price, and offered in a women’s-specific version.What we don’t: Thin construction, and we’d prefer a few more features. Packs built for backcountry skiing and snowboarding are made with durable fabrics and are reinforced where ski edges rub. The Float also carries skis or a snowboard in a variety of positions, and we love the external helmet-carry system for saving space inside on the uphill. 10.6 oz.What we like: Fully featured and comfortable.What we don’t: Does not ski especially well; straps and pockets add significant weight. 10 oz.What we like: Simple, easy-to-use design and functional organization.What we don’t: Unable to accommodate oversized loads. Further, Mammut’s Protection Airbag System (PAS)—unlike most other airbags—expands around the head and neck and over the shoulders to cradle your upper body. Many skiers prefer to ski in-bounds, on mellow terrain, or opt to stay home when avalanche danger is high. With our goggles in the dedicated fleece-lined pocket and our helmet attached to the exterior, we were surprised at how little room was left inside. For example, there are no external straps for ice tools, ski crampons, or a helmet—often necessary tools for skiing big lines. What we like: The most cutting-edge electric airbag available; modular design allows for multiple capacities.What we don’t: Expensive and not time-tested. We also feature a few packs in slightly larger sizes for overnight trips or exceptionally frigid days when you want to carry along your bulky puffy jacket and thermos of tea. When used correctly, it gives skiers buried by an avalanche a supply of oxygen when trapped under the snow. In most cases, it goes hand-in-hand with the type of skiing you will do. Many backpacks on our list are only available in unisex models, but come in a variety of sizes (our #1 pick Patagonia SnowDrifter is offered in S/M and L/XL). Category: Day touring/resortCapacities: 15, 25, 32LWeight: 2 lbs. However, unlike other canister airbags (the Mammut included), the Ortovox allows you to practice deployment with the compressed-air cartridge removed, simulating a realistic pull of the handle without blowing through pricey and difficult-to-fill cylinders. And as expected from the brand, carrying comfort was a priority with dedicated men’s and women’s variations (the Sopris Pro 30 is the women’s model), a padded hipbelt, and a sturdy frame. Curbside Pickup Available NOW! 15.3 oz.What we like: Nice mix of weight, storage, and features. With only 12 liters of capacity, you won’t be going very far from the car or lodge with the CamelBak Powderhound, but we think it’s a great companion for resort skiers who like to stay hydrated throughout the day. After being asked on many occasions what I carry in my backcountry pack, I wanted to do a post to share my approach and recommendations as to what works for my backcountry backpack. It’ll cost you a pretty penny (and with an average lifespan of 5 years, you’ll have to ask yourself if it’s worth it), but electric airbag designs are the wave of the future and Black Diamond’s JetForce Pro is far and away the best yet. A good place to start: Are you more focused on the uphill or downhill? Like with beacons and ski helmets, every backcountry … Additionally, airbags provide a barrier around the head and neck to guard against obstacles like rocks and trees. For starters, the Mission Pro isn’t as durable as the $79-pricier Patagonia above, and you lose the convenience of a full backpanel zipper. … By nature, these packs are heavier and have limited capacities, and are thus not the first choice for most ski mountaineers. If you want added carrying comfort or an airbag system, expect a big bump in weight. There are lighter canister-powered airbags and more affordable packs (the BCA Access Float 2.0 below comes in $180 less), but the Light Protection 3.0 puts it together better than most. Time will tell if the packs can match the reliability of the options above, but the entire Soelden/Sopris lineup looks to be a winner.See the Men's Osprey Soelden 32  See the Women's Osprey Sopris 30. The pack now features helmet-carry capability, and the wider, more supportive hipbelt is built with a pocket on each side for easy access to your phone or snacks. Finally, the Descensionist comes fully equipped to handle all your technical tools, with rope straps, internal and external ice tool attachments, and a dedicated safety tool pocket that keeps your avy gear organized and easy to access. We don’t feature any AvaLung-equipped packs in this article, but we do list a couple that are compatible with the device, including the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol and Cirque. Category: AirbagCapacities: 12, 22, 32, 42LWeight: 6 lbs. Finally, the Mission Pro’s 18-liter capacity makes it serviceable for short missions, but the SnowDrifter’s 30 liters can better handle a full day’s worth of layers and food. The Ascent offers a full 30 liters of capacity and the streamlined airbag system takes up less than 2 liters of space inside. And similar to the Patagonia, the two larger versions of the Dawn Patrol feature compression straps on the sides, allowing them to maintain their comfort and shape when underpacked. One way that ski packs stand out from standard hiking daypacks or climbing packs is in their access to the main compartment. Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest 40L Backpack… The Descensionist has been one of our favorite ski mountaineering packs for the past few winters, and this year it got a full overhaul. Many factors contribute to a pack’s overall comfort, including the shape and size, beefiness of the suspension, and the amount of adjustment the pack offers. What do you sacrifice with this trimmed-down model? It also features an internal sleeve for rescue gear that’s separated from the main compartment by a flap, saving weight and giving the exterior a sleek and streamlined look. There currently are two types of mechanisms used to inflate airbags: compressed air or gas cartridges and electric fans. Ski backpacks with medium gear capacity are ideal for single-day skiing in the backcountry. Not all skiing backpacks contain a hydration system. What we don’t: Canister airbags are less convenient than battery designs. This bag is used for riding in non-glaciated terrain and in my role as a cat ski … In addition, the Dakine is rather heavy for its capacity at over 4 pounds, although that does include a mix of burly 500- and 840-denier nylon on the pack body, the extra rolltop closure for the airbag, and the intuitive storage layout mentioned above. Before making a purchase, it’s important to consider whether or not you really need these features—if you don’t, they might feel unnecessary and burdensome. For that, you’ll need a pack that can carry everything you need without weighing you down, and the Black Diamond Cirque fits the bill nicely. All told, airbags are a great safety tool that allow skiers more peace of mind when traveling in avalanche terrain. 8.6 oz.What we like: Great fit, comfortable suspension, and tons of organization.What we don’t: Doesn’t come in a 40-liter capacity for longer tours. What we like: More affordable and lighter than the BD JetForce Pro above.What we don’t: Overly simplistic hipbelt; disappointing access to the main compartment. Shop for Ski Packs at REI - FREE SHIPPING With $50 minimum purchase. It’s also becoming more common to find deployable airbags built in for use in the event of a slide. As the name indicates, the Lite is an ultralight take on Deuter’s Freerider series, and stands out with a competitive $130 price, low 1-pound 13.6-ounce weight, and women’s-specific “SL” version (the Patagonia SnowDrifter and Black Diamond Dawn Patrol above are only made in unisex styles). The BD Cirque 45 an… Again, compared to canister airbags, the battery design means you get unlimited practice deployments (only battery life limits you), don’t have to bother with refilling your compressed air canisters, and there’s no hassle in terms of air travel. Plus, organization is excellent with a zippered backpanel access, helmet attachment, and dedicated pockets for avy tools and a ski goggle. This allows skiers to practice without the hassle and cost of expending canisters (if you don’t live near a refill location, you’ll have to mail the cartridge in for replacement). On the other hand, many of the lightweight options above (like the Black Diamond Cirque and Arc’teryx Alpha SK) sacrifice support to shave weight, which can make skinning and bootpacking rather arduous. The Patagonia SnowDrifter above ski Trip 30L backpack and medium/large ) instead of a with. The best ski bags what we like: nice mix of weight, storage, and a vertical snowboard.! 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