/ Ski-mountaineering pack.

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Fultonius - on 27 Feb 2013
I'm in the market for a ski-mountaineering pack. I already have an OMM 35l pack which I use for cragging, ice climbing and alpinism but the ski-carry loops are too narrow for my current touring setup. (tail width~ 116mm)

I would like the following features:

Diagonal and Side Ski carry. (I prefer side carry for long bootpacks but diagonal for quickly chucking the skis in. Important that it is a stable and secure carry.

Helmet carry.

Avi-kit pouch would be nice, but not essential.

I have a small pack for skins-only tours (non glacier) but need a bigger pack that can accomodate: skins, 30m/60m rope, crmpaons, axes, coutoux and all other random paraphenalia. So I'm thinking somehere in the 28-33l range.

SO far I've looked at the Osprey Code 30l, Black Diamond Axis 33l, Deuter Freeride 28.

Any other options? Please give pros and cons if you can, but even just suggestions for research would be great.

Tim Davies - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

Just bought an ortovox 45 haute route 100

Well featured, perhaps over featured?

choice of carry system.

Suspect it will be slightly too short for me, but need to see when it's loaded up.

Me- 181cms/ 5'11"

Black diamond orange ski straps very good for securing skis.
telemarker - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

My Dad got himself the Haglofs Rand 40 and loves it. They also do it in other sizes, i think a 30 and 50 version. Would be worth a look.
Ruub on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:
Can only vouch for Deuter Guide 45, carries skis really well and secure with dedicated ski loop plus 2 other compression straps, also has lower compartment zip, shovel will sit in here and zip up around the handle. Side opening zip to main compartment.
Maybe bigger than you need but a very comfy and stable pack.
Had a look at some Mammut recently too, look very good...(V12 in Llanberis)
Fultonius - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to telemarker: Looks interesting - shame there's no diagonal carry. Might need to go and check one of those out.
Fultonius - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Ruub: I actually have a guide 45+ - quite an old one though. Not a big fan. The floating lid bugs me as it never seems to sit right. It's also way to big for what I'm wanting. Oh, and in a naive attempt to lighten it up I took Andy Kirkpatricks advice and erm...cut off loads of straps n things so it's pretty much useless now (woops).

Still, not a big fan of the shape and the lack of diagonal carry.

Anyone used the Dueter Freerider Pro 30? Seems quite heavy but covers all bases.
Cuthbert on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

The North Face Off Chute is brilliant and cheaper than others. It also has one of the best carrying systems I think.
Fultonius - on 27 Feb 2013
Mammut Spindrift Guide 35+ ticks all boxes but I'm thinking it's pretty heavy also at 1730grm. However, if it carries well it might be worth the extra. Anyone used it?
Cuthbert on 27 Feb 2013
GrendeI on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius: Have been mooching about with An Arc'teryx Arrakis 40 this winter. Its a ski touring specific pack so may be of interest. I picked mine up cheap second hand, really rate it but wouldn't ever recommend anyone pay full price.

Based on your specifics and my personal op...



Side and diagonal ski carry.
Takes axes, designed for one but can fit two at a push.
Has probe pouch and external pocket which fits a shovel blade but not handle. Also room for a snow saw.
Relatively waterproof, certainly snow tight.
Large carry capacity and comfortable under load, rotary waist belt really does help motion.
Totally adjustable harness system so easy to make very comfortable and very stable.


No real helmet carry option.
Back panel comes quite high which can limit head movement, esp if wearing a big helmet.
No rope specific carrying option, unless you keep it inside.

Not sure how well it fits with what you're after but is an option nonetheless :)
Frank4short - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius: voila http://www.dakine.com/p/ski/packs/mens/blade-38l

I think often times da Kine are overlooked by the mountaineering community as they're considered a fashion brand as opposed to a proper mountainwear brand. Though they make great back packs for skiing and boarding and are certainly worth strongly considering. I've had several over the years and generally they do exactly what's required of them.
Fultonius - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: How well do they carry a load? i.e. is it fairly comfortable and stable carrying them up a 500m ice route, up snow couloirs etc?

I just bodged a diagonal carry on my OMM 35 yesterday and it was horrible up a 300m couloir with a short ridge scramble and abseil. Really unstable and not very comfortable. I could maybe try and "extend" the side carry on that pack and try to improve the way I had it for diagonal.

I'll go and see if I can find most of these packs for a look.

Cheers folks!
Fultonius - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius: P.S. a friend of mine still loves hi Dakine Heli Pro and he gets around!
In reply to Fultonius: I've also seriously been considering the Osprey Kode 30, it seems a really clever design with things like the helmet holder and the insulated drinks tube sleeve, but I need to check it could deal with my new ridiculous snowshoe/ski thingies which are 140 at the tail.

Sometime Osprey seem very gimmicky with lots of "features", but my experience with now three of their bags is that as long as you do your research and get what you want, their bags are really well thought out and clever, and also very well made. I've met a number of people who have had big problems with newish BD packs on the other hand (plus my mate's brand new Punisher gloves blew a seam on Sunday!). So if you go for the Kode, I'd be interested to hear what you think.
Calski - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius: I use a BCA Stash BC 35 - works very well for me.

Good points:
Has a very effective system to prevent hydration pack from freezing
Able to access whole pack from zip around back padding
Dedicated space for avi kit
Nice goggles pocket - actually very useful despite sounding like a marketing gimmick

Fairly heavy
Definitely focussed at ski touring/mountaineering and perhaps not as flexible as other packs
Strange - but effective - wire system for diagonal carry


Frank4short - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:
> (In reply to Fultonius) P.S. a friend of mine still loves hi Dakine Heli Pro and he gets around!

Well like your mate i previously had a heli pro, have a heli pack which is to be fair mostly used for carrying college books, etc. these days. However I have toured extensively with it and never had a problem other than that it's on the smaller side. The heli pro was better again but I lost that and haven't required a bigger touring pack since then so haven't bothered getting one. I am unfamiliar with the pack I listed above though it fits most if not all of your requirements and as I said in my experience Da Kine make great skiing packs and are often ignored for fashion reasons rather than direct experience. I certainly believe based on my own experience with them it would be worth at bare minimum trying to find a shop with one to look at before scratching it off of the list.
Cuthbert on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to GrendeI:

It's 380!!!!!! Total rip off for a ruck sack.
Denni on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

I looked at the following: (6ft 3)

Mammut Nirvana, only one back size so useless if you are tall
BCA stash, good but it didn't fit me right
Haute route , as above
Arcteryx Silo, bought on eBay hoping the medium would fit me, didn't but an excellent sack (spent ages looking around for a size large and I would have one of these over the Kode)
Osprey Kode, excellent all round and what I eventually bought
BD Axis, excellent piece of kit, really liked it but preferred the Kode

My mate has the older Kode version, forget the name but it is bloody awesome! Has a dedicated helmet holder and really comfy.
inboard - on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

I'm sceptical about the 'need' to have a 'ski-mountaineering pack' - I would argue that this is a false need which has been driven by gear manufacturers desire to sell more.

I have an Ortovox ski pack which I barely use. I don't like the diverse pockets which many ski-mountaineering specific packs have, which are designed for specific items. It's perfectly easy to keep avy gear in the main compartment and extract quickly if need be. These pockets either add weight, or in order to keep the weight down force the use of a very light material which doesn't last well. I feel restricted by the overly specific design of these packs. More, I feel that many are designed for Euro-conditions and not for the wetter conditions we enjoy here in Scotland. But perhaps that's what you seek...:-)

I do a lot of ski mountaineering in Scotland and the Alps, as well as a lot of general mountaineering both summer and winter. I have two packs which I use for (almost) everything I do:

- Lowe Alpine Alpine Attack 35-45L pack, which has a great ski carry system, is fairly light, yet robust; it's top loading (I don't trust zips down the side of packs - a weak point likely to fail when inevitably you try to squeeze just another thing in...); it's pretty water resistant (although I'd never use it without a liner); it's very comfortable even when heavily laden; and, it carries skis, tools, ropes well. I use this all the time in winter for ski touring and climbing (apart from short Euro day tours/ lift assisted hedonism). It's great for summer backpacking too. Although it's a 35-45, it doesn't feel massive - it's ideal for me for day trips and Alpine hut tours, yet can be extended without losing too much stability to carry extra stuff.

- For shorter days needing a smaller pack, I use a Blue Ice Warthog 26L. Doesn't have specific ski straps, but it's easy to arrange a system across the front - roughly diagonal. I'm hugely impressed with this pack. It's basic - strong, yet light, but exactly right.

Whether or not you agree with my cynicism about manufactures motives, I really cannot recommend the Lowe Alpine pack highly enough for all winter activity - it's my perfect pack :-)

happy shopping...
Denni on 27 Feb 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I have the Kode 30 Toby, it is excellent. A frame carry for ski tour skis, 185 length, 95 at the waist and I have also used it for my Atlas snowhoes which are about 90 cm in length and mounted like this:


It took me a while to get used to the full front opening zip thing and the buckles but soon got used to it. The compression straps really are well thought out and it is very comfortable, the tube holder is excellent, hip pockets are quite big, soft goggle pocket again excellent and I was surprised even though it is compartmentalised, how much kit I could get in after the obligatory avalanche kit.

The ridged back system is really comfortable as well, ice axe holder simple and effective. I'd really recommend it. I tend to cut things off rucksacks when there is not a need for them but this is very well thought out, streamlined and comfy. If I was to have a gripe, I'd add wand pockets underneath the A frame carry but apart from that, I love it.
In reply to Denni: Thanks Denni, from time to time I need to strap snowshoes onto my pack as well and it can be tricky to do with many packs. Maybe I can now justify to the missus! ;)
macstinator on 27 Feb 2013
Morgan Woods - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius: Dynafit Manaslu 35 maybe. I tried one on in the shop and it felt nice and has good compartments for skins shovel etc. seemed quite expensive here in Oz so hopefully better value in Europe. Seemed ideal for something like the haute route.
Dave Kerr - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to GrendeI)
> It's 380!!!!!! Total rip off for a ruck sack.

WTF? Who buys Arc'teryx stuff?
macstinator on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr: That knob who writes Cold Thistle waxes lyrical about the stuff.

He espouses how he like the minimalism of it, but fails to mention that translates to less features and much more cash. I am pretty sure he is sponsored by them, as you would be hard pressed to find a bad review on Arc'teryx gear.

I have one of these.

Morgan Woods - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to macstinator: anonymity on the net is a wonderful thing eh?
Fultonius - on 28 Feb 2013
In the end I realised that the only real issue with my OMM Jirischanca 35 was that the diagonal carry was a bit unstable and my skis were too wide for the side carry.

So, I cut the side carry straps and extended them with some nylon webbing, then tweaked the way I attach them diagonally. Just saved myself 380...

(not that I would have bought the Arcteryx one anyway...)
blurty - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

Another vote for the BCA stash 35. The downside is that it's heavy (But i think it needs to be robust to carry skis when you haven't got much stuff in the pack. A bog standard mountain pack is really floppy in the same situation IME)
birdman - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

I've got an osprey kode 30. I love it. I've used it for the last 7 weeks straight, alpine skiing in resort, ski touring and don't an advanced avalanche course. It's carried everything I've needed in a very easy to use way, it's robust and well thought out.

I looked at the north face patrol and it just seemed poor quality. Everything on the kode is well thought out and well built. I've not had a good experience previously with osprey but I'm very impressed with this bag. I'm using it for 2 weeks of ski mountaineering soon too.

navigator - on 28 Feb 2013
In reply to Fultonius: Try the Exped Mountain Pro 40. An excellent sack designed by Swiss Guides inc. Serge Lambert one of Europes most experienced ski mountaineers/tourers.

Mountain Factor in Ambleside still have some old models in stock at 77.50. An absolute bargain, and apparently much better than the new model which has been enhanced with unnecessary features. It is a very comfortable sack with none of the usual trailing straps. It is very well balanced and remains stable on the back when turning on ski.
In reply to birdman: My wife is going to hate you as I think I'm gonna have to get one now! :)
Henry Iddon - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Bergans of Norway do a great Guide pack as well. 34l I think.
HeMa on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:


I might actually give the Kode a miss... yes, seems nice but mainly way too much crap on it.

Arva packs (from Varuste.net) are rather good and have straps that work well with snowshoes (or boards) plus big skis as well.

Also BlueIce offerings are rather fine (only thing they are missing, is a dedicated pocket for Avy-gear, not sure you need it though).
Henry Iddon - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to HeMa:

> I might actually give the Kode a miss... yes, seems nice but mainly way too much crap on it.

That's the thing though, I find lots of the features on Osprey packs rather good. I don't think they're ridiculously heavy either for the size. Will have a look at the Arva ones though.
HeMa on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:

My sack (for skitouring and lift served off-piste stuff):
Fultonius - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to HeMa: Looks good actually. Carries skis well for longer hikes?
Frank4short - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to birdman) My wife is going to hate you as I think I'm gonna have to get one now! :)

So Toby what would the tally be then?

I seem to recall some years ago you saying you had something like 7 or 8 different rucksacks. Which I would presume on the basis of that you aren't in the business of throwing them away lightly and that you've probably acquired a few more in the meantime.

Or did I just imagine all of that... ?
In reply to Frank4short: Very much guilty as charged m'lud. :)

I have actually sold on a bunch of packs in recent years, but I've also been sent a bunch more for UKC reviews! :) BUT I did sell my v. old Lowe 'ski' pack - one of those dumpy things with a flap on the front for shovels, and my new Marquettes don't fit into the side straps of a number of my current packs. Then again the strange things are so bloomin' heavy, carrying them around much doesn't appeal! :)
Frank4short - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Frank4short) Very much guilty as charged m'lud. :)

Nicely avoided. Admit guilt yet get around the question. So again Toby how many packs do you currently have in your possession? ;-)
HeMa on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

Yup, carries well.

Either a-frame or diagonal. I prefer the diagonal.

The avy-pocket is pretty good as well.
Kimberley on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

just got a Pieps sac and it's excellent.

do the search on e bay

Morgan Woods - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to Fultonius:

it hasn't been mentioned, so this is the one i use anyway:


OwenM - on 01 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Frank4short) :) BUT I did sell my v. old Lowe 'ski' pack - one of those dumpy things with a flap on the front for shovels,

Still using one of these, every now and again I start to think that I should get a new one but when I look I can't find anything as light, comfortable and functional. My skis, the widest I've ever owned are 100mm wide at the tails they only just fit the ski slots with a bit of squeeze. This pack works well from day tours to week long Alpine trips.
In reply to Frank4short: Hmm, alpkit gourdon, REI flash, Lowe Alpine 30 ltr little mountain pack, Podsac 40, Osprey backpacking thing, an Arcteryx crag pack from a review and then my older crag pack that is mainly used for storage, and a Haglof commuter pack that has a computer sleeve in it.

There are couple of my older packs from the 90s at my parents' attic in the England with my "UK rack" in them if they count, and my son uses a very old North Face backpack as his school bag now.

We have more bags of other descriptions though! :)

What about you? Have you got life down to a minimalist core and one pack for everything?
PMG on 02 Mar 2013
In reply to Fultonius:


Versatile, flat and light. Little smaller than your specification. There is a larger and heavier version.

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