Best Ski Backpacks – 10 Proven Options For Your Next Adventure

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Skiing is a thrilling winter sport that demands the right equipment to ensure safety and comfort on the slopes. A good ski backpack is essential for carrying avalanche rescue tools, extra layers of clothing, snacks, and other necessary items. Choosing the best ski pack depends on several factors such as volume, style, and intended use.

This article will provide an in-depth analysis of some of the best ski backpacks available in the market today. In this article, we present a comprehensive guide to help you choose the ideal ski backpack for your winter adventures. We have tested various designs across different volumes and styles to bring you our top picks for beginner skiers, advanced skiers, freeriders, backcountry skiers, and those looking for ample storage space or comfortable straps and padding.

Additionally, we highlight critical features such as built-in hydration systems and avalanche safety features that can make all the difference in emergency situations. Whether you’re skiing off-piste or sticking to groomed runs, our buyer’s guide provides all the information you need to make an informed decision when selecting your next ski backpack.

Key Features to Look for in a Ski Backpack

When selecting the best ski backpack, it is crucial to consider key design features such as dedicated pockets for avalanche gear and goggles, external carry straps, and deployable airbags. However, personalized fit and comfort are also essential factors to ensure optimal performance on the mountain. The BCA Stash 30’s adjustable torso and flexible frame sheet that shadows every movement like a loyal companion illustrate this point.

Design trends in ski backpacks include multiple access points, external straps for carrying skis or snowboards, and deployable airbags. Material durability is another important consideration when choosing a pack. A well-made backpack should be able to withstand harsh winter conditions and frequent use in rugged terrain.

Hydration compatibility is another factor to keep in mind when selecting a ski backpack. Many packs come with hydration reservoirs or are compatible with them. Weight considerations are also vital; lighter packs can be more comfortable to wear over long periods of time.

Other features to look out for include:

  • helmet attachment options
  • goggle pocket features
  • ski/snowboard carry options
  • price range comparison between different models on the market.

Which Are the Best Ski Backpacks?

ImageNameOur RatingPrice
Black Diamond Equipment - Cirque 45 - Best Ski Mountaineering Pack

Black Diamond Equipment - Cirque 45 - Best Ski Mountaineering Pack

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Osprey Packs Kamber 22 - Best Overall Ski Backpack

Osprey Packs Kamber 22 - Best Overall Ski Backpack

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Osprey Stratos 24 - Best Day-Trip Pack

Osprey Stratos 24 - Best Day-Trip Pack

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Black DiamondJetForce UL Pack 26L - Best for Sidecountry

Black DiamondJetForce UL Pack 26L - Best for Sidecountry

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Backcountry Access BCA Float 32- Best Budget Airbag Pack

Backcountry Access BCA Float 32- Best Budget Airbag Pack

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Dakine Poacher 32L - Best for Snowboarders

Dakine Poacher 32L - Best for Snowboarders

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Last update on 22nd September 2023 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Osprey’s Kamber/Kresta is the ideal lightweight companion for your next backpacking adventure. It’s easy to open and close, and it has a padded shoulder strap for added comfort when carrying. It has a spacious interior to keep your items organized and protected from the elements. and it’s made of water-resistant materials to keep your items safe from the rain.

You can find the backpack in various colors to choose from, but keep in mind that there are different options depending on the model. The Kamber is the men’s version from Osprey, while Kresta is the women’s specific backpack, that better matches women’s bodies and moves. The clean exterior look of the backpack, with all the straps, tucked away, makes getting on and off chairlifts a breeze. You can choose between two sizes, so let’s have a look at their specifications:

Cubic Inches1220 1343
Liters 20 22
Pounds 2.65 2.79
Kilograms 1.20 1.27
Inches 22h x 11w x 8d22h x 11w x 8d
Centimeters 56h x 27w x 20d56h x 27w x 20d
Load Range15-25 lbs / 7-12 kg15-25 lbs / 7-12 kg
Torso fit6–20 inches / 41–51cm19–23 inches (48–58 cm)
Waist belt fit40.5–51 inches / 103–130 cm48-58.5 inches / 122–149 cm

This ski backpack is made from 420D Nylon which helps keep your items safe from the rain and snow. Many will appreciate that the Kamber/Kresta backpacks feature a stowable helmet carry system. It is designed to secure your helmet when not in use, staying in place on top of the backpack with the help of cord loops and plastic hooks.

Moreover, you can also store your sunglasses or goggles in the dedicated, scratch-free fleece-lined pocket. I like that this compartment is also the top of the backpack for easy access.  

So. what about your safety gear, you might be wondering? The Osprey has a dedicated compartment that is easy to access from the front. It has enough room to store your probe and shovel in an organized manner. The reinforced tool loop attachment on the side will allow you to attach your ice axe with the use of bungee ties, securing it in place and out of your way while skiing. 


If you are coming from other 20L backpacks, you will be amazed by all the features packed in this one! This backpack is a huge leap forward if you are for example been using the Osprey Talon. While they have the same capacity, as the Kamber/Kresta we get all the features we were missing, like the dedicated goggle pocket, or the insulated hydration sleeve on the strap. I would consider the Kamber/Kresta an upgrade for most users of 20L daypacks. 

You can add your Hydraulics or Hydraulics LT Reservoir inside the backpack with ease. It features a dedicated, sewn-in sleeve that is fully insulated, this way you will not have to worry about your hydration system getting frosted.

One feature you will appreciate from Osprey is their compression straps. If you’ve ever wanted to use the backpack without filling it at its full capacity, the compression straps will help you by tightening the interior load for improved stability. This alone makes the backpack very versatile and can be used on way more occasions apart from skiing. I personally love the attachment points offered on the harness, where you can attach your GPS or radio, or any gadget really, for easy access. Moreover, the key attachment clip on the internal pocket is also a nice feature to have. 


The glove-friendly buckle makes loading and unloading skis a breeze, but due to its size diagonally is the only option. When it comes to snowboards, you can use the same reinforced straps to tether your snowboard vertically, or you can opt for horizontal carry using the hip belt to secure your snowboard between your back and the pack. 

That been said, the harness of the backpack is fixed, you won’t be able to make adjustments on the fly, so you have to make sure you pick the right size for the perfect fit. Once you pick the right size for you, you won’t have to worry about ergonomics and comfort as the contoured EVA cushions will help you carry your load with the help of the padded hip belt. 

osprey torso measurement

The Osprey Kamber/Kresta is a great option because it’s affordable, durable, comfortable, and fashionable. Every hardware on this backpack is of top quality, so you can expect it to last for many years to come.

The perfect way to travel light and enjoy nature at its best. This is a great backpack for someone starting out, and perfect for those into the inbound and side country. It is exceptionally made, comfortable and the price is reasonable, but not a bargain.

I would consider these the best lightweight ski backpacks at their price range. Backed by Osprey’s lifetime guarantee, you can’t go wrong investing in this one if you are looking for a lightweight ski backpack. 

I just wish there were more ski carry options, which would make it a great all-around backpack you wouldn’t worry about taking in longer hikes. If you need a little more room, the larger 30L version (Amazon) might be something to consider. The 30L version allows for A-frame ski carry, plus you get a dedicated compartment for your avalanche gear. It’s pricier and obviously larger, but for some skiers might be a better choice over the 22L one.

I personally went for the 32L Kamber (wanted more space coming from the Talon) and have no regrets! I suggest you try out both sizes if possible, but if you are shopping online I would suggest going for the smaller 20-22L first. Pick a retailer that would accept returns, and if you absolutely need more space, just return it for the larger 30-32L version.

Osprey Packs | Kamber Kresta| Product TourOsprey Packs | Kamber Kresta| Product Tour
If you find the Kamber/Kresta interesting, but you are not sure whether to go for the 20-22L or the 30-32L one,
this video might help you make up your mind!

Top Picks for Beginner Skiers

For novice skiers seeking a reliable and functional pack for their winter sports adventures, there are several affordable options available on the market. These packs offer stylish designs, beginner-friendly features, and customizable fit for a comfortable and hassle-free experience. With different capacity options to choose from, these backpacks are versatile enough to be used not only for skiing but also for other winter sports activities.

When it comes to selecting the best ski backpacks for beginners, weather-resistant materials should be one of the primary considerations. Durability is essential in ensuring that the pack can withstand harsh weather conditions to protect your gear inside. Additionally, eco-friendly options are also available on the market today that cater to environmentally conscious individuals who want to lessen their impact on nature.

Lastly, top-loading vs panel loading designs should also be taken into account when choosing a ski backpack. Top-loading packs provide easy access to your gear while panel loading packs allow you to organize your equipment more efficiently.

For resort skiing activities, some of the best beginner-friendly ski backpacks include Salomon QST 30 Backpack and Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack. Both packs offer ample space and convenient features such as hydration compatibility and quick-access pockets perfect for resort skiing adventure needs.

Top Picks for Advanced Skiers

In selecting a backpack for advanced skiers, it is crucial to consider the pack’s technical features that cater to the unique demands of backcountry skiing. Deployable airbags and dedicated pockets for avalanche gear are like a lifeline in the unpredictable terrain of backcountry skiing. Expert recommendations suggest that Black Diamond JetForce Pro 25L is currently one of the best picks for advanced skiers due to its cutting-edge electric airbag technology, customizable fit, and high capacity options.

The latest innovations in ski backpacks have seen brands focus on durability tests, ensuring that their packs are made from high-quality materials that can withstand harsh winter conditions. Customizable fit has also become an essential feature as backcountry skiers require a comfortable pack that will not hinder their movement or balance while skiing. High capacity options have been developed to accommodate more gear, while stylish designs allow users to express themselves on the slopes.

Budget-friendly picks and eco-friendly options have also emerged as important considerations when selecting a ski backpack. Versatile features such as hydration reservoirs and attachment points for snowshoes or ice axes add value to packs. User reviews continue to be an essential aspect of selecting a ski backpack since they provide insights into user experiences with specific models. Overall, choosing a ski backpack requires careful consideration of technical features tailored to individual needs combined with expert recommendations and user reviews.

BrandModelTechnical Features
Black DiamondJetForce Pro 25LElectric airbag
OspreyKamber/Kresta 42LCustomizable fit
DakinePoacher RAS 36LRemovable airbag

Table: Top Picks for Advanced Skiers

Best Ski Backpacks for Freeriders

Skiing in the backcountry requires specialized gear, and finding the right backpack for freeriding comes down to a balance of technical features and comfort. When it comes to ski backpack materials, durability is key. Look for packs made with reinforced fabrics that can withstand abrasion from sharp ski edges or rocks. Additionally, deployable airbags have become increasingly popular in recent years as a safety feature for skiers caught in an avalanche.

Goggle pockets are a must-have feature in any quality ski backpack, as they protect your lenses from scratches while keeping them easily accessible. External carry straps are also important for efficiently transporting skis or snowboards on your pack when not in use. Adjustable sizing is another significant factor to consider when choosing a pack that fits you well and provides comfort during long days on the mountain.

Budget options are available for those who don’t want to break the bank but still require quality features such as avalanche-gear pockets, hydration compatibility, and breathable mesh ventilation systems. Top-loading versus panel access is another consideration when selecting a pack – top loaders generally offer more storage space while panel access allows easy access to all compartments without unpacking everything.

Lastly, consider whether you need a pack designed specifically for skiing or one that caters to multiple winter sports like snowboarding or splitboarding.

Best Ski Backpacks for Backcountry Skiers

Deployable airbags have revolutionized the safety features of backpacks for backcountry skiers, providing a potentially life-saving tool in the event of an avalanche.

The Mammut Pro X is a standout in this category, offering customizable fit options with its height-adjustable and removable hip belt. This pack also boasts easy access to essential gear through its front and rear zipper openings.

For extra protection, the Arc’teryx Alpha SK 32 stands out with its durable construction and padded back panel that can double as an emergency sled. Its sleek design also allows for comfortable wear during high-intensity activities like skiing or snowboarding. In addition to being versatile for use in different winter sports, this pack also offers weather resistance with its waterproof zippers and materials.

Affordable options like the Deuter Freerider Lite 25 provide innovative features such as helmet carry attachments and insulated hydration tube routing. It also uses sustainable materials like recycled nylon to reduce environmental impact while still maintaining quality and durability.

Other popular brands in this category include Ortovox, Black Diamond, and Osprey, each offering unique features tailored to different needs of backcountry skiers.

Best Ski Backpacks for Snowboarders

Moving on from the previous subtopic, let’s now explore the best ski backpacks specifically designed for snowboarders. Snowboarders require different features compared to skiers, such as easily accessible pockets for gloves and beanies, diagonal or vertical board carry systems, and a wider fit to accommodate bulkier snowboarding boots.

When it comes to affordability and stylish designs, Dakine is a popular choice among snowboarders. Their Heli Pack 12L is an excellent option for those who want a lightweight pack with a low profile design that won’t interfere with their riding.

For those needing more space, Burton offers high capacity packs such as the Day Hiker Pro 28L that also includes eco-friendly materials in its construction.

In terms of brands known for producing quality ski/snowboarding hybrid packs, Osprey stands out with their Kamber series. These packs can be used both on-piste and off-piste thanks to their versatile design that allows you to carry both skis and boards. Additionally, they come in both top-loading and panel-loading options depending on your preference.

Lastly, for those looking for multi-sport versatility in their backpacks, Patagonia’s SnowDrifter line is an excellent choice. These packs are not only designed for skiing or snowboarding but can also be used for activities like hiking or camping due to its durable construction and multiple access points.

Best Ski Backpacks for Women

When selecting a backpack for skiing or snowboarding, it’s important to consider the specific needs of women. Women require a pack that fits comfortably and caters to their unique body shape and size. Ski backpacks for women should have an adjustable fit, ensuring that the pack sits snugly on their back without causing discomfort.

When it comes to style and functionality, there are many top-rated picks for women skiers. These packs come in various sizes and designs, providing ample space for avalanche rescue tools and other essentials while also being fashionable.

Some ski backpacks for women have unique designs with bright colors or patterns that stand out on the mountain. Ski backpacks for women with hydration systems are also popular choices as they keep you hydrated throughout your day on the slopes.

Additionally, some ski backpacks feature airbag technology which can save lives in case of an avalanche. Lightweight ski backpacks specifically designed for women are also available, providing comfort and ease of movement while still carrying all necessary gear.

With so many options available, finding the perfect ski backpack has never been easier for female skiers.

Best Ski Backpacks for Men

The previous subtopic focused on the best ski backpacks for women, and now we will delve into the top picks for men. Design trends in ski backpacks continue to focus on dedicated pockets for avalanche gear and goggles, multiple access points, and external straps to carry skis or snowboards. Brand comparison is essential when selecting a high-quality ski pack, with Black Diamond leading the way in backcountry skiing equipment.

Style choices are plentiful among ski backpacks, with options ranging from affordable budget packs like the Dakine Mission Pro 18L to cutting-edge electric airbags like the Black Diamond JetForce Pro 25L. Material durability is crucial in harsh winter conditions, and user reviews can provide valuable insight into which packs hold up over time. Price ranges vary depending on features and customization options, making it important to assess individual needs before investing in a high-end pack.

Safety features such as deployable airbags and dedicated avalanche-gear pockets are becoming increasingly common among top-tier ski backpacks. Additionally, environmental impact should be considered when purchasing a new pack. Popular color choices range from bright neon hues to sleek black or gray designs that blend seamlessly into any winter landscape.

Overall, there are many excellent options available for men looking for a reliable and functional ski backpack for their next adventure on the mountain.

Best Ski Backpacks for Kids

Skiing with children requires careful preparation, and selecting the appropriate backpack for their needs is a crucial part of ensuring their safety and comfort on the slopes. When looking for the best ski backpacks for kids, there are several important factors to consider. These include fun designs that appeal to children, durability concerns given the rough-and-tumble nature of outdoor activities, size options that fit a range of ages and body types, as well as comfort features such as padded straps and back panels.

To help narrow down your search for the best ski backpacks for kids, here are four key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Size options: Look for packs that come in different sizes to accommodate different age groups and body types. Some packs may also be adjustable or offer customizable torso lengths.
  2. Safety features: Consider packs with dedicated pockets or straps for avalanche gear like shovels and probes, as well as reflective accents or bright colors that make it easier to spot your child on the slopes.
  3. Durability concerns: Kids can be tough on gear, so look for packs made from durable materials like reinforced nylon or waterproof fabrics.
  4. Price ranges: Ski backpacks can vary widely in price depending on their features and quality. Some lower-priced options may sacrifice certain features like customization or waterproofing, while higher-end models may offer more advanced safety features but come at a steeper cost.

When comparing brands of ski backpacks for kids, some popular options include Deuter, Dakine, and Osprey. Each brand offers unique customization options and safety features designed specifically for younger skiers or snowboarders. Additionally, many packs feature compatibility with other gear like helmets or hydration systems which can add extra value when making your purchase decision.

Ultimately finding the right pack will depend on your child’s individual needs and preferences but keeping these factors in mind should help you select a reliable option that lasts season after season of outdoor fun.

Lightweight Ski Backpacks for Easy Carrying

Selecting a lightweight ski backpack can make carrying gear more comfortable and efficient while out on the slopes. One stylish design to consider is the Salomon QST 30 Backpack, which has been praised for its comfort and versatility. It features a padded back panel, adjustable sternum strap, and waist belt for added stability.

The pack also comes with multiple pockets and compartments, including an insulated hydration sleeve. Eco-friendly options are becoming increasingly popular among ski backpacks. The Patagonia SnowDrifter Pack is made from recycled materials and boasts a durable waterproof coating.

It offers plenty of storage space for overnight trips or off-piste adventures, including a dedicated compartment for avalanche safety gear. Additionally, it has adjustable straps that allow you to attach skis or snowboards in both A-frame and diagonal configurations. For those on a budget, the Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack is one of the most affordable picks available without sacrificing quality or features.

It’s lightweight yet sturdy with waterproof zippers and breathable shoulder straps. Additionally, it comes equipped with several pockets for goggles, water bottles, and other essentials as well as detachable daypacks for added convenience when exploring cross country trails or skiing off-piste.

Ski Backpacks with Built-In Hydration Systems

When considering ski backpacks with built-in hydration systems, it is important to note that these packs offer the convenience of easily accessing water while out on the slopes. Ski backpacks come in a variety of styles and functions, but finding one with a built-in hydration system can take your skiing experience to the next level.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a ski backpack with a hydration system:

  1. Eco-friendly options: Some ski backpack manufacturers have started incorporating eco-friendly materials into their designs, such as recycled nylon or polyester. These options provide skiers with an environmentally conscious choice while still delivering reliable performance.
  2. Customizable features: Many ski backpacks allow for adjustable straps and customizable compartments for storing equipment and personal items. Having these features can make carrying gear more comfortable and efficient.
  3. Budget-friendly picks: Skiing can be an expensive sport, so finding a budget-friendly option that still offers quality construction and necessary features is key for many skiers.
  4. Trendy designs: While functionality should always be a priority when choosing a ski pack, having stylish options can also be appealing to some skiers who want to look good on the slopes.

Whether you plan on cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or taking photographs in extreme weather conditions, there are specific types of ski backpacks that cater to those activities. Additionally, if you’re planning an overnight trip into the backcountry, selecting a pack with ample space for food and sleeping gear will be essential for your safety and comfort on the mountain.

Ultimately, investing in a high-quality ski backpack with built-in hydration capabilities will enhance your skiing experience by providing easy access to water without sacrificing necessary storage space for gear and personal items.

Ski Backpacks with Avalanche Safety Features

Moving on from discussing ski backpacks with built-in hydration systems, we now shift our focus towards ski backpacks with avalanche safety features.

When it comes to skiing in the backcountry, safety must always be a top priority. Hence, choosing a ski pack that has dedicated pockets for avalanche gear and deployable airbags can make all the difference in case of an emergency.

Apart from safety features, these packs also come with convenient design elements such as goggle and helmet pockets, multiple access points, and external carry straps for skis or snowboards.

Whether you’re planning to go on a day tour or hitting the slopes at a resort, there are affordable options available that offer versatility for all winter sports activities.

Moreover, top-notch build quality is crucial when it comes to selecting a ski backpack that can withstand harsh weather conditions while keeping your equipment safe. A customizable fit is also essential to ensure comfort during long days out on the mountain.

Quick deployment of skis or snowboard is another feature that testers loved while trying out these packs across multiple winter seasons in various locations around the world.

Ski Backpacks with Ample Storage Space

Ski backpacks that offer ample storage space are essential for carrying all necessary equipment and gear during winter sports activities. When selecting a ski pack with enough storage solutions, it is important to consider:

  • Organization options
  • Versatile designs
  • Comfortable carrying
  • Weather protection
  • Durability requirements
  • Budget-friendly options
  • Stylish ski packs
  • Eco-friendly materials
  • Customizable fit

To ensure efficient organization of your gear and equipment during skiing or snowboarding activities, look for a ski backpack that provides multiple pockets and compartments. These storage spaces should be easily accessible and strategically placed to enable quick access in case of an emergency. Additionally, choose a pack with various attachment points such as external straps for skis or snowboards.

A good ski backpack should also have a comfortable carrying design that distributes the weight evenly across your back. Look for packs with padded shoulder straps and hip belts to reduce pressure on your shoulders and hips. The material used should also resist abrasion while offering weather protection from the harsh winter conditions.

It’s also worth considering budget-friendly options without compromising quality features like eco-friendly materials if you’re environmentally conscious. Finally, ensure the pack has adjustable fittings such as torso length adjustments or custom-shaped frames to create a personalized fit that’s most comfortable for you during long days out on the mountain.

Ski Backpacks with Comfortable Straps and Padding

The comfort of the wearer is paramount when it comes to selecting a suitable backpack for winter sports activities, and one crucial factor to consider is the level of cushioning provided by the straps and padding. Ergonomic design is essential in ensuring that the backpack can contour to your body shape while skiing or snowboarding. This feature not only enhances comfort but also ensures that weight distribution is evenly balanced across your back.

Strap adjustability is another critical feature that allows you to customize the fit of your backpack according to your unique build. The straps should be adjustable enough to secure the pack firmly on your back without causing discomfort or restricting movement. Additionally, breathable backpanels are essential in preventing sweat buildup during intense physical activity, keeping you dry and comfortable throughout.

When choosing a ski backpack with comfortable straps and padding, it’s important to consider weather-resistant materials that ensure durability and longevity even in harsh winter conditions. Pockets organization is also important in keeping all essentials organized and easily accessible during outdoor adventures.

Impact protection features like reinforced compartments protect fragile gear from damage due to unexpected falls or collisions with trees or rocks. Other features like quick access pockets, minimalist design, trendy colors, and affordable options are also worth considering when selecting an ideal ski backpack for winter sports activities.

Categories of Ski Backpacks – Which Type is Ideal For You?

Resort Backpacks

These backpacks are the most popular because they’re designed for quick and easy access to your gear. They can carry a pair of boots, poles, helmets, and other small items easily. This is the type of backpack you’ll find in retail stores because resort skiers make up the majority of their customer base. They’re great for most skiers but may not be right for backcountry skiers because of their smaller size and lack of features.

With a capacity of 20 liters or less, they are among the smallest types of ski backpacks. If you like to explore off-piste at your own pace without a set trail to follow, these backpacks are not suitable for you! They are perfect for resort skiers, though.

They have enough room to pack your snacks and an extra layer of clothes. Some will even fit your water bladder for easy hydration. These backpacks are not built for rough conditions. Look for models that feature minimal straps and buckles, as they can make getting on and off chairlifts a nightmare.

On the positive side, resort skiers benefit from this type of backpack because it gives them quick access to their gear and keeps the weight down.

Day Touring Backpacks

They’re larger than resort-specific models, making them ideal for skiers who like to tour or spend time exploring off-piste.

They typically have a 25-35 liter storage capacity and come equipped with many features. For example, day touring backpacks are often hydration compatible with large openings for drinking tubes. They also feature ski straps to keep your skis secure and sometimes removable accessories for convenience. Other features may include mesh side pockets that let you stash snacks or energy bars close at hand, safety gear compartments, hip belts, external shovel holder loops, and more.

Day touring backpacks are designed for close-to-home adventures and allow for maximum comfort. Backpacks in this category are ideal for people that value comfort over weight savings. They will allow you to carry food, water, an extra layer, and even have dedicated pockets for your gear, helmer, skins, or snow goggles. If you value easy access to your gear, and full backpack access these are your best bet.

Most will be pleased with a day touring backpack as most models feature padded belts and straps. With just the right capacity for your day trip, easy access to gear, and excellent organization, you can’t go wrong with a day touring backpack for your backcountry tours.

Ski Mountaineering Backpacks

Ski mountaineering backpacks are perfect for experienced skiers who want to push the envelope and explore deeper into the backcountry. They tend to be larger than resort or day touring packs, making them suitable for multi-day tours with heavy loads.

When traveling on mountainous terrain, you will face potentially dangerous and physically demanding situations. You need a backpack that can withstand extreme weather conditions while providing easy access to all your equipment.

These backpacks are usually between 35 and 60 liters. They tend to have more technical features, such as a helmet holder, ice tool holders, crampon pouch, and hydration port or bladder compartment. They also tend to have more space for first-aid equipment and a safety shovel. Moreover, they will allow you to carry your ski and snowboard equipment as well as a lot of overnight gear.

Mountaineering is a demanding sport that requires proper gear. Also, you may get wet during your adventures so it is important to select the right materials. If you are heading out into the deepest powder or on multi-day tours these are the type of ski backpacks you should invest into.

Airbag Backpacks

Not all skiers or snowboarders need an airbag avalanche pack, but if you are thinking about taking your playing around in the deep pow beyond the resort boundaries, the airbag backpacks can be a life savior. The great thing about avalanche airbag packs is that they keep close to the surface during an avalanche. That means if you end up buried, your chances of survival increase significantly with an airbag pack.

The airbag system is designed in such a way that when you pull one cord it will shoot out the pack and inflate in a few seconds, providing protection for your head and neck. They work with either compressed air or electric fans, and they will keep your head above the snow as you wait for help to arrive.

You will find out that canister models are not only lighter, but also less expensive compared to the electric versions. The bad news is that you won’t be allowed on an airplane with a canister version. What I don’t like about compressed air models is that you have to refill them every time you use them. It’s not a big deal but I appreciate the fact that electric ones can be deployed over and over again on a single charge.

Keep in mind that these backpacks are not only heavier, but their limited capacity might not be adequate for prolonged tours. They are perfect for short day trips or heli-skiing. Even though their price is more expensive, they are a great investment due to the added safety provided. I would consider them a great option for anyone interested in backcountry skiing and even though they are less versatile, they can be a great asset to your ski gear.

What to Consider When Buying a Ski Backpack?

  • Capacity

For a day on the slopes, it’ll be very difficult if your backpack can’t carry all of your equipment without feeling too heavy or bulky. For beginners and anyone interested in sidecountry ski, a smaller backpack with a 20-30L capacity should be enough.

If you don’t need to carry rescue gear with you, the resort is close by, or you won’t be spending more than a day on the slopes, then choose a smaller backpack. This is where resort backpacks around 12 liters come in handy, being versatile for both backcountry and resort skiing.

If you plan on spending more than a day out or are interested inside country ski tours or maybe even tree skiing, then it would be wise to take a look at all-mountain/touring backpacks which have about 30-45L capacity.

If you plan to ski all day, it’ll be better to get a backpack with at least 50L capacity so you have more room for extra gear and food. I’ve found that 40-50L models are perfect for overnight trips where I can also carry extra clothing, a sleeping bag, and whatever else I need.

Keep in mind though that the extra capacity will result in not only in extra weight, but you may also end up with a cumbersome backpack.

  • Comfort

Before even thinking about the actual capacity, you should look for a backpack that fits your size and weight. Obviously, bigger backpacks will have more space to store equipment, but this comes with a price in terms of comfort and fit.

Look at the shoulder straps and hip belts to see that they are adjustable, padded, and comfortable. The best ski backpacks will come with a large stiff waist belt that doesn’t leave too much empty space around them.

Make sure you’re able to cinch down the shoulder strap so it fits snugly around your lower arm. A simple trick is to put on the pack and tighten up all the straps, then move your arm around to make sure nothing is pinching.

  • Weight

Weight is a big factor when it comes to any kind of backpack and probably most overlooked. The lighter your equipment the more you can carry, even if you’re going on an overnight trip. If you plan on touring, the backpack itself should weigh less than 3 pounds.

For an average day of skiing, even a larger, heavier pack (2 lbs or more) will be great for carrying your equipment. If you’re not into side-country or backcountry skiing, however, then lighter weight models are preferred.

  • Hydration Compatibility

Another thing to look for is a ski backpack with a hydration bladder or external water bottle pockets. You’ll definitely want a sip tube to have easy access to drinking on the slopes, and depending on what you’re planning to do out there, it can be helpful to have an insulated sleeve for your drink.

  • Materials And Durability

When it comes to materials, pick something that can withstand heavy use and abuse. A ski backpack with a durable exterior made of nylon or polyester will make sure you have enough protection without wearing it out too quickly.

Nylon tends to be less expensive while polyester is the preferred choice for ski backpacks. It’s lighter, stronger, wears better, and offers more water resistance. The exterior should have a surface made of abrasion-resistant fabric to withstand scrapes and snags. The best ski backpacks will be made out of waterproof fabric or have a storm cover that can shield against rain and snow.

When it comes to ski backpacks, the inside of them is just as important. You want to make sure that you have a pack with enough padding on the back and the waist belt, but not too much where it could affect breathability or your movement. Having back ventilation is another feature you should consider so the pack doesn’t get too hot against your skin when skiing all day long.

  • Organizational Features

Having a separate compartment for your avalanche gear is key so you aren’t packing it around with everything else. Having a dedicated pocket for your shovel blade and probe is definitely preferable, but if it’s not an option you can always go with strapping them to the outside.

Other things to look for are internal mesh pockets where you can separate out your lunch, sunscreen, bug spray, extra ski socks (in case you get wet), headlamps, and so on. If you have a hydration bladder, it’s best to look for ski backpacks with an external sleeve where they can slide in and out easily.

  • Ease of Use

The best ski backpacks will have a main compartment with a drawstring closure or zipper so you can quickly unzip the pack to get at all your stuff.

Ski packs should also NOT be top-loading only (unless they’re also a panel loader).

  • Attachment Points

A top flap that secures with a drawstring or buckle lets you carry your skis vertically, and it’s especially useful if the snow isn’t deep enough for a ski strap.

Soft ski straps on the side of your pack are another feature that comes in very handy for carrying multiple pairs of skis (or one pair on your shoulder). This is especially great if you’re hiking through the backcountry.

Other great features to look for are daisy chains, multiple compression straps on the outside of the pack, and bungee tie-downs where you can secure extra gear (like an extra pair of skis or poles).

  • Women’s-Specific Ski Backpacks

While the features I’ve listed below are useful for anyone using a ski backpack, women’s-specific ski packs focus on better fit and comfort. By adjusting shoulder straps and hip belts you’ll find that they will contour to your body better than other ski backpacks. Most women’s-specific ski packs are shorter in length, have a narrower width between straps, and taper towards the waist belt.

All of these things are designed to provide better upper body balance when carrying skis, poles, and other gear at once. They also feature more flexible shoulder straps that curve down to reach your hips instead of just hanging off your shoulders. Having a waist belt designed specifically for women’s bodies helps to balance weight over both your hips and upper body; this reduces fatigue on any one part of your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I properly fit a ski backpack?

To properly fit a ski backpack, adjust the shoulder straps and hip belt for comfort and weight distribution. Ensure range of motion is not compromised, with ventilation and breathability in mind. Check hydration compatibility, material durability, hip belt support, and shoulder strap padding.

Can I use a ski backpack for other winter activities besides skiing?

Winter backpacking and other outdoor winter activities require specialized gear, including snowshoeing essentials, cold weather camping equipment, and winter hiking gear. A ski backpack can also serve as a useful accessory for winter sports and staying warm outdoors with its versatile features and storage options for winter survival equipment and adventure gear.

What should I consider when choosing between a backpack with an avalanche safety feature and one without?

When choosing between a backpack with or without avalanche safety features, consider factors such as the snow conditions you will be in, weight distribution, back panel ventilation, hydration compatibility, durability standards, and emergency equipment. Additionally, researching customer reviews and comparing prices can help inform your decision.

Are there any ski backpacks specifically designed for carrying a camera or other photography equipment?

There are several ski backpacks that have camera compatibility, providing padded compartments for photography equipment. These packs also feature good weight distribution, easy accessibility, ample storage capacity, weather resistance, high durability standards, and comfortable fit options. Additional pockets are available for extra storage.

According to a survey, over 70% of skiers prefer ski backpacks with helmet storage options. The recommended ski backpacks feature helmet clips, backpack helmet straps, and customizable ski gear organization for effortless helmet attachment compatibility.