Yes, packs without hipbelts are silly, ski packs without hipbelts are plain stupid
. I am actually a little bit unconventional user of ski packs- I don't tour with them, but I often ski with my two young kids, and the pack is a great way to keep spare clothes, snacks, and most important, it lets me carry three pairs of skis AND still hold their hands. So I am looking for a pack that can comfortably carry my stuff (skis, goggles, gloves, helmet) from the car to the lodge, accept two other pairs of skis if necessary, expand to about 20-25L, but also compress tight when necessary. Switch 26 was almost perfect for that, and the top pocket was excellent for keeping the show out of my helmet when I was carrying it from the car or on the bootpack. Switch also had the cool padded front panel which provided some kind of protection when I was carrying an SLR camera in my pack.
I had a look this weekend. The worst feature in the Kode as far as I can see is the location of the dry compartment zipper behind the load lifter strap- basically you have to unclip the load lifters every time you need to get into the dry section of the pack. I also sometimes carry a large camera, and it is enough hassle to get it in and out of the pack, so if I had to unclip and clip the straps, that's more time spent fiddling with the buckles. They also took out the small pocket inside one of the belt pockets, which was perfect for the car keys, a credit card, etc. Why did they took it out? To save a few bucks on a $100+ pack? The fleece-lined google pocket is nice, but good luck drying it if it gets wet. Switch 26 had a removable goggle pocket, which is a more practical solution. Also, I was very disappointed to see that the bottom of the pack does not compress tight enough if the pack is almost empty. This is a problem if you carry a fleece in there and it bunches up in the bottom of the pack-- good luck trying to sit on the chair.
I'd have to look at the ski carry, if it is really good, it may be worth the switch for me, as last year I had problems fitting Nordica Blowers into the diagonal carry loop. But otherwise the Switch 26 looks like a better pack than the Kode 30, which is pretty unexpected from a good company like Osprey, they usually improve from model to model. Other grips about Kode series: Why no double compartment and helmet carry on the Kode 22? People still use it on the snow and they may have the same needs as the users of larger volume packs...
Originally Posted by Jer
I freaking hate that. I don't care how small the pack is or what it's designed for - all backpacks need a hipbelt. Small bike hydropacks used to be notorious for that. OTOH, I usually just loop the chinstrap of my helmet through some webbing or around one of my skis when hiking.
Mainly what got me interested in the Kode 30 was the ski carry. I'm usually hauling Sanouks, but sometimes I'm hauling Praxis Powders and those thing flop all over the place on a lot of other packs unless the pack is almost totally empty (diagonal) or packed full (A-frame). I guess I'll see with the Kode, but from the photos I've seen of guys hauling their skis it looks pretty good.