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Ski Pack Advice?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Now that I've gotten A LOT of really great tips about how to go about taking my first steps into the backcountry on a VERY limited budget (I'll be taking my powder setup on my back and snow-shoeing/hiking up, and coming down in my powder skis - not ideal, and not particularly lightweight, but definitely ok for me for now), I've realized that after I invest in an avalanche course and the necessary safety gear, I'm ALSO going to have to get a pack to carry my supplies and gear (and my skis too, obviously).  Unfortunately, this means I'll probably have to put off getting the AT setup I have a feeling I'm really going to want after getting a taste of the backcountry experience - but it's going to have to be a "one step at a time" thing.


So, I'm interested in advice about a good pack.  The only one I've looked into extensively is the Gregory Targhee, which does looks very good to me.  My needs are pretty simple: it doesn't need to be too big, because I'll only be going out for day trips; it needs to be able to secure my skis on the way up, my snow shoes (if I hiked up in them) on the way down.  I'll probably wear my winter boots on the way up, and either secure my ski boots in the bindings of the skis, or in the bag (if there's room).  So I'm interested in any advice people have about a pack that would fit these needs.  Also, I'm interested in any more feedback about the plan of putting the boots in the skis versus in the pack - let me know if you think one plan is better than the other, and if you do advocate putting them in the pack I would be particularly interested in hearing about a pack that would be able to fit them, along with the other stuff I'll need (safety gear, puffy, some food, etc.).




post #2 of 9

I like the Osprey ski packs, but it's all about what fits you.  That said, you might check this out:


Osprey 26 has both A-frame and diagonal ski carry, a separate compartment for shovel, probe, skins etc., a nice helmet-carrying top, cold-weather hydration compatibility, and nice pockets on the hip belt for snacks and the camera.  It isn't made any more - the Kode series has replaced it, but that post linked above would represent a good value...if it fits.  


Most people that carry boots on the pack attach them to skis in an A-frame carry.  


post #3 of 9

I use a BD Covert 32L pack... don't get anything smaller than 32L, in my opinion, otherwise you won't have room for any of the odds and ends that smart people take with them into the backcountry.  You can always cinch it down smaller, but you won't be able to expand it down the road if you need more stuff.


If you have any kind of opportunity to do so, load the pack up with skis and all and carry it around a bit before you buy it.  The suspension on some packs is significantly better than others.  The best pack I've owned for carrying skis was one made by Ortovox some years ago, but it was just too small to be anything other than a side/slackcountry pack.  The Covert is a really strong runner-up in that regard.  And it will carry skis in an A-frame, as well as on the back of the pack.


Make sure you get a ski-specific pack.  In my experience regular daypack-type items don't have the suspension or the strap reinforcement necessary to effectively carry skis.

post #4 of 9
Weight is your enemy. I use a BD Avalung pack, to which I was first turned on by Cirquerider of this forum, which saves the weight of a separate Avalung. And, in my opinion, if you need a 32L pack you are probably carrying too much, except on Denali or the like. As to where your boots should be, except for the longest approaches, I prefer to just wear AT boots comfortable enough to hike/climb/ski in, which saves a lot of weight.
post #5 of 9

I haven't weighed my pack but it doesn't weigh all that much in the scheme of things, IMO.  I agree that weight is your enemy, but I'd rather be prepared to spend the night out or deal with other emergencies if I need to.  I've had to bivy once, I'd prefer not to do it again but if I do I'd rather have the wherewithal to do it easily.  


Here's what I carry, FWIW:


10-essentials kit (50' parachute cord, firestarter, leatherman, fist-sized bivy sack from Adventure Medical, headlamp, couple of packages of Shot Blocks, little pot of zinc oxide, waterproof matches, whistle, Sharpie, aqua drops, all fits in a very small stuff sack.)


First aid kit (some real basics, same size as 10-essentials kit, both kits fit inside of shovel blade)


Shovel, probe


4' x 6' tarp


Shortie pad


Puffy sweater in a fist-sized stuff sack


Extra insulating top, extra gloves, thin balaclava, goggles


Food, water, sunscreen






There isn't a whole lot here I'd be inclined to leave behind.  The 32L pack gives me room for all of this stuff... if I want to add more clothes I can easily enough.


Like I said, I had an Ortovox pack that was (IIRC) around 28L... I was always out of room and didn't at that point carry the tarp or shortie.

post #6 of 9

Sorry; you're right. I wasn't thinking straight. Nothing wrong with a 32L pack.  Nevertheless, my packing list is somewhat different from yours.

post #7 of 9

I would suggest carrying an avalung as well, but consider buying a separate one.. the reason being, you can ride w/ the avalung alone (without pack) inbounds on deep days. There were several deaths from skiers falling in tree wells last year alone, and I didn't hear of one of those deaths having an avalung w/ them.


A frame is the way to go. I have an Osprey switch, its a great pack. I also have a Dakine heli for my day pack, which i don't like so much. cheap materials, falling apart, and cramped for space.


FYI there is an Osprey Switch 25+5 on TGR for $80 

post #8 of 9
+1 on the A Frame
post #9 of 9
Definitely an Osprey for me. The Kode 38 is the best pack I've used without a doubt.
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