10 Best Backcountry Ski Backpacks

One of the necessities if you are going skiing or snowboarding is a good and reliable backpack. You do not want to compromise your safety equipment while you venture into the great outdoors. Regardless of the type of ski trip, having the best backcountry ski backpack can make a difference. 

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Dakine Heli Pro Backpack 20L (Black)
  • Vertical snowboard carry, diagonal ski carry
  • Fleece lined goggle pocket
  • Hydration compatible
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25 Backpack - Deep Torch/Black...
  • AvaLung-Ready design accommodates AvaLung Element (sold separately)
  • Active, form-fitting suspension with zippered backpanel access
  • High-tenacity, ultralight Dynex side panels and shoulder straps
Osprey Kamber 42 Men's Ski Pack
  • Top load and dual zippered rear backpanel access to main compartment and hydration...
  • Extra-large front panel j-zip access to avalanche safety pocket with shovel handle and...
  • Lower reinforced ski carry loops and upper side carry straps provide secure A-frame ski...

If you are looking for a backcountry ski pack that’s lightweight, compact, and comfortable, then you don’t need to worry about it, here are the backcountry ski backpack to help you narrow down your choices and choose the one that will suit your skiing needs.

10 Best Backcountry Ski Backpack

1. Dakine Heli Pro Backpack

This backpack is a medium-sized, all-around type of bag that can take you the top of the mountain, or just chill at the lodge with a bottle of beer. You won’t have any issues carrying your split board or snowboard as you can carry them vertically with this bag. With its diagonal ski carry straps, hauling your pair of skis won’t be a problem. 

The bag is made from 600D polyester, making it soft yet durable. It is friendlier to touch compared to nylon and with the 600D polyester, you’ll be sure that your backpack is tough enough to stand some abuse. It is vital that your backcountry ski pack can handle abrasion since you will be carrying gear that has metal edges that tends to damage the bag. 

PROS

  • Fleeced lined goggle packet
  • Non-padded sleeves which can fit 15” laptop
  • Rescue whistle on sternum strap
  • Hydration compatible

CONS

  • The bottom of the bag is narrow which makes the sleeves fold when putting a laptop on it. 

Why You Should Buy

The Dakine Heli Pro Backpack lets you go the distance with its board and ski compatibility. Its a chameleon that can shapeshift between your Microbiology 101 ego bruiser and a backcountry safety-kit carryall. If you are not out there slaying those ski or snowboard moves, this bag can morph into a convenient daypack. Ideal for any type of adventure whether the great outdoor or acing your exams. 

2. Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25

We all want to ski from thousands of vertical feet, less the uphill effort. With that being said, this bag is the ideal tool for you to get you through an afternoon at the ski hill. This ski touring backpack is well-designed for you to carry your bare necessities and avalanche gear. Not only that, with its clean, strapless exterior will not let you catch the chairlift when unloading. 

This pack is on the smaller side with its 25-capacity, though there are other sizes that it comes with, like the 15 and 32-liter versions which are ideal for in-bounds skiing and day tours. The Dawn Patrol is also AvaLung-compatible which means an extra margin of safety for you if ever you venture beyond the limit. 

PROS

  • Mid-sized lightweight designed that offers maximum versatility. 
  • Can accommodate either snowboard or skis
  • AvaLung- ready
  • Ice tool pickpockets, Hi-Lo helmet holder
  • Dedicated any tools organizer pocket. 

CONS

  • Limited size adjustment

Why You Should Buy

It is compact and light enough for resort skiing but has enough space to accommodate an avalanche gear. The pockets are accessible enough and can hold your safety essentials. 

3. Osprey Pack Kamber 42

One of the best things about this ski pack is that it added more mountaineering features that are important for all of your backcountry needs. The J-zip access panel on the front of the bag with glove-friendly zipper pulls, which you can easily get to your shovel and probe. 

As a skier, the pack can accommodate nearly every carrying option of your snowboard and ski which includes diagonal, horizontal/vertical, A-frame, and vertical with reinforced contact points. You can also find a rope compression strap located under the removable top-lid and dual-compartment. 

PROS

  • Ergonomic and thin shoulder straps giving you the freedom to move your arm when skiing or boarding.
  • Lower side compression
  • Dual top-load and back panel access to the main compartment
  • Removable top pocket with FlapJacket skirt cover
  • Insulated hydration

CONS

  • Compared to the sleek Kamber 32, the top of the avalanche kit compartment is covered by the compression straps and lid, which makes it a little cumbersome. 

Why You Should Buy

The Kamber 42 is built for hut-to-hut traverse and multi-day tours. With multiple carrier options for your board, giving you more freedom and comfort. It also provides easy access to your tools which won’t let you waste any critical seconds. Even with the heavyweight that you are carrying, the LightWire suspension can assure you that you’ll be comfortable even when breaking trails. 

4. Mammut Light Protection Airbag 3.0

One of the first companies to develop or introduce an airbag-equipped ski pack, the Light Protection Airbag is one of the favored packs when it comes to the Airbag category. The Protection Airbag System inside the bag, when deployed during an avalanche,  inflates and expands around the head and neck and over your shoulder cradling your upper body. It provides protection from trauma against debris, rocks, trees, and other obstacles. 

Aside from the airbag system, other features of this backpack are the adjustable back length for dialing in fit, gear loop on the hipbelt, and the ice axe attachment point. It is one of the most comfortable and lightweight backcountry packs in the market right now. 

PROS

  • Hydration system compatible
  • Gear loop on hip belt
  • Protection Airbag System 3.0 which gives you trauma protection
  • Attachment for ice-screw carabiners on the hip belt. 
  • Hip belt pocket

CONS:

  • Quite expensive for a CO2-canister model.

Why You Should Buy

The flexibility of this bag is ideal for technical, demanding ski or snowboard tours. The Mammut Light Protection backpack also offers you the option to remove the airbag system that you can install in another 3.0 compatible bag. With its airbag system, you are confident that you are safe from trauma regardless of the activity that you are doing. 

5. Arc’teryx Alpha SK 32

What you will notice first in this backpack is that they removed all the extraneous straps to lessen the snagging, giving the bag that minimalist appeal. The manufacturers retained the patent-pending ski carry straps, which makes it lighter and simpler than your usual backcountry bag. It also has adjustable buckles providing you accessibility and easy leverage.

This award-winning alpinist pack is ideal for your ski-touring as it is lightweight, durable, and weatherproof. You can carry your skis in A-frame or diagonally and your snowboards vertically. If you are looking for a bag that is stylish yet packed with features, then this is the one you are looking for. 

PROS

  • Minimalist, lightweight climbing and alpinism products that provides protection from alpine environments
  • Designed with high-performance materials and snowsports features for movement, layering, and efficient protection in mountain conditions. 
  • Advanced composite construction that gives you lightweight, waterproof, and laminated materials.
  • Fast and light that provides high-performance for rapid travel in variable conditions. 

CONS

  • You need to buy additional straps to carry certain boards. 

Why You Should Buy

An ideal bag that is formidable against all types of alpine conditions. With its minimalist design, this bag is lightweight, yet packed with features that will let you face the challenge of the mountains. 

6. Black Diamond Saga 40

Whether you are doing a backcountry hut tour or working in avalanche terrain, this bag pack can surely accommodate big loads and provides you a truly innovative addition to your avalanche tool kit. With the collaboration between PIEPS and Black Diamond, this backcountry pack is the first avalanche airbag system to use jet-fan inflation, giving you JetForce technology.

The JetForce repackable airbag provides you travel-friendly and zero-cost user practice performance. The bag can accommodate both ski and snowboarding carrying systems. With the updated firmware, this pack can cover all your needs for big trips in the mountain. 

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Great value for an airbag
  • Fleece goggle pocket
  • Integration for BC link radios
  • Helmet sling, probe, and shovel sleeves.

CONS

  • Small safety gear pocket

Why You Should Buy

The Saga Backpack is durable, rechargeable, and travel-friendly. If you are looking for a pack that can accommodate all your mountaineering need without hindering your movement, then this is the bag for you.

7. Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag

This survival backpack is known for its innovation in the avalanche safety gear. It makes great avy beacons and other gears. Now, they are paving the way into the world of avalanche airbag packs realm.

The main feature of this bag is the dual redundant airbags that you cannot find elsewhere. It has two airbags with separate air chambers that improves the safety and reliability of the airbag deployment unit, making it another solid competition for the best avalanche pack.

PROS

  • Lightweight airbag units and is removable making you use the backpack without it
  • Perfectly fits against your body with its close fit and foamed back
  • Maximum freedom of movement
  • Quick front access to the main compartment. 

CONS

  • Size is small which can only allow you limited items.

Why You Should Buy

This bag can offer you reliability and safety without it hindering your movement while you are snowboarding or skiing. If you are looking for a backpack that is reliable, yet, less expensive, then buy this one and enjoy your ski tour. 

8. Backcountry Access Float 42

This bag is best for all-mountain use. With its panel access and zippered tool compartment, providing you easy accessibility to your tools, which makes it readily available. The pack lets you carry your skis diagonally making it easier for you to trek the mountains. 

This high-capacity backpack, with the light-avalanche airbag, makes this ideal for longer missions in the backcountry thanks to its 42L capacity. It also features an ergonomic trigger mount, making you feel confident in deploying the airbag if an emergency arises.

PROS

  • Ergonomic trigger mounts on left or right for your convenience. 
  • Ski and snowboard carry
  • Support frame and molded back panel which distributes the weight evenly for your comfort.
  • Lighter and smaller Float 2.0 system
  • High-capacity backpack

CONS

  • One size only

Why You Should Buy

A backpack that can accompany you for longer missions in the backcountry, which can provide you a bigger overall size to help you with your mountaineering needs. With an avalanche airbag line, this bag is for you if you are into heavy packing.

9. Deuter Freerider Pro 30

If you want to make a statement on the mountain, this backpack is ideal for you. With its versatile strapping system, you can have several options to attach your skis or snowboard while you trek the mountain. There’s also an easy-to-use strap for your ice axes.

One feature that I like most about this bag is the removable sitting mat that provides you warmth and protection from melting snow while you take a breather. It may not be necessary, but it would be nice if you have something to sit on while you take a break. There are also climbing rack straps on the hip belts which is essential for mountaineering. 

PROS

  • Fleece-lined Goggle Top pocket
  • Detachable full-face helmet holder
  • Large front shovel compartment
  • Full-back entry hemispherical zipper
  • Hydration compatible

CONS

  • Hard to access internal pockets

Why You Should Buy

If you are going to bring with you a lot of climbing gear, then you should consider the Freerider Pro. This fully-featured ski/snowboard bag is a great option for short ski traverses, ski mountaineering, and touring. 

10. Deuter Rise 32+ SL

This backpack is made for women who crave adrenaline. It features a narrower shoulder harness and a conical shaped hip belt that fits fearless women to take on the harsh, steep, mountain. 

The bag has a rear panel which gives you accessibility to the main compartment and comes with an additional 5 liters of storage and adjustable lid. With its reinforced compression straps allowing you to mount your skis vertically or mount your snowboard as the straps are flexible since you can fasten it across the front of the pack. 

PROS

  • Covered by Deuter lifetime warranty
  • Hydration compatible
  • 1000-denier, polyurethane-coated fabric, which makes it resist tearing and abrasion 
  • Funnel-shaped main compartment making it easier for you to load your items
  • Extendable pack collar which adds volume

CONS

  • Offers too many straps, not suitable for minimalist

Why You Should Buy

Though the Rise 32+ is small, it covers pretty much everything, whether you are snowboarding or skiing. It is easy to find what you are looking for thanks to its accessible compartment. If you are looking for a practical, comfortable, versatile, and well-constructed bag, then this is the one you are looking for. 

Tips When Buying Ski Backpack

To help you find that ideal backcountry pack for you, here are some things that you need to consider before you purchase one. 

Capacity. The backpacks come in various sizes. You need to consider the items that you will be bringing so that you can decide if you’ll either go for the smaller bag or the larger one. 

Comfort. If you are going to purchase a backcountry pack, you also need to consider how comfortable it is for you to carry it. You need to test and feel the bag as you move to know if there are any things that can hinder your movement or if its too bulky for you. 

Features. Of course, think of what the bag can offer you and if it will be beneficial for your ski tour. There may be some packs that are loaded with features but if you cannot fully maximize it, it might as well go for the ones that have minimal features but is suitable for your ski trip. 

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Conclusion

There are a lot of backcountry bags out in the market. However, knowing which type is durable and ideal for your trip can help you trim down your options and end up with the one that is perfect for you. Having a backpack is essential in the great outdoors, it helps you bring all your necessities and can protect you in dire situations. 

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