/ Ski touring packs

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damowilk 28 Jul 2019

I’ve had a few ski touring packs, some better than others, but none ticking all of my ideal tick list of features, hoping for some ideas to widen the search.

I’m looking for more of a traditional alpine sack shape, than a free ride pack, top opening with a top pocket, a side zip is purely optional, but a separate internal or ext pocket for Avi gear would be good. About 40l give or take, and somewhere around 1kg. Integrated hip belt pockets are essential, I find them too useful to forgo, and aftermarket ones always seem to hang poorly and fall off at I inconvenient moments. As well as A frame carry, I’d like a front carry system, ideally something like the straps on the Deuter Rise so could carry skis together with boots attached. Finally an external helmet carrier system, and 2 ice axe holders that will hold technical tools. 

I don’t want much!

The closest I’ve come is the BD Cirque 45, but has only 1 hip pocket, and that one is a bit useless, open it and it seems to catapult its contents out. And no vertical ski carry option except A Frame. Otherwise it’s pretty close. The Patagonia Descensionist looks similarly close. I didn’t get on with the Osprey Kode, too heavy, too many pockets, not streamlined enough.

I’ve got a feeling the pack I want doesn’t exist, but here’s hoping.

chadogrady 28 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Hello, I’ve got a Mammut Spindrift Guide 42L. It’s an older model. I’ve had it for about 4 years but it’s been great and I think it has all the features you are looking for apart from only having one hip belt pocket. 

Might be worth a look if you haven’t already seen it. 

Womble 28 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

I have the descentionist and it’s great. Lightweight, streamlined etc. Can flop around when empty but all lightweight packs do. I got it because I have the 30L ascentionist for cragging. 

On the negatives, I don’t think you’ll be happy with the single hip pocket as only 1 and it’s not huge. Didn’t bother me as I don’t carry much in it. Also they have made a few odd departures that are good features in  the ascentionist - eg I think the inside stash picked below the lid. 

Alsothe removable ski clips it comes with are a bit fiddly, but has lots of attachment options so I just rigged up some permanent ones. 

It’s light & takes the kit weight  well - get it  

ps but maybe try it out in a shop first...

OwenM 28 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Anything with the features you want will be heavy. I had a Gregory pack with all the whistles and bells but it weighted in at 2kg. I now use a Dueter pace 35 much simpler but only 900g.

daviemore 28 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Have a look at Millet sacs. I have an older 35l one which has all the features you are after. Its quite heavy - 1400g? - but very comfy and well made.

damowilk 28 Jul 2019
In reply to daviemore:

Thanks for all the suggestions, a few more to look at. I had been looking at the Millet Peutery already, looks pretty close, though more up in that 1.5kg weight class. I don’t think my full list of features would necessarily mean it had to be that weight, both the BD Cirque and the Patagonia descensionist are very close and around 1k. Just missing a few things, mostly good hip pockets, which I accept most people may not be too bothered about. 

richlan 29 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Aiguille in Staveley could probably adapt one of their packs with the bits you need as they will do custom stuff, bomb proof kit.

Frank4short 29 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Have you looked at ortovox? I'm not in depthly (sp?) acquainted with their current line up but previous lines have accounted for most if not all of what you've specified above, including a waste band pocket.

Graham Briffett 29 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

+1 for the Descensionist. I had a very similar shortlist to yours and also struggled for a long to find something. Its good, light and simple. But as somebody else said above, pretty floppy when its not full. I have the 30 litre version for day touring / lightweight short hut trips. Its perhaps a touch too big for day touring unless you're carrying rope / glacier gear.  Also,as pointed out the ski carrying straps are a bit fiddly, but its a fairly minor niggle. Comes with the no-quibbles Patagonia guarantee. 

Might also be worth looking at Blue Ice White tiger. Its a fair bit heavier than the Patagonia sack, but its a really comfortable carry when fully loaded. I think this only goes up to 35 litre at the biggest of the range, which is fine for me for 3-4 days. I know some people whov'e had durability issues with Blue Ice stuff and they are not reputed to be especially great with warranty / failed items. That said, mine seems pretty well made and I have no issues with it. Bizarrely this fits my wife's back better than anything I've been able to find marketed as a women's specific sack i.e. if you have a short back then this might be another reason to look at the Blue Ice stuff.

vscott 29 Jul 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Not that common in UK, but I've never managed to find fault with BCA packs - the alp 40 (perhaps discontinued) or stash 40 should meet many of your criteria.

RichardB 27 Aug 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Hi, I have the Cirque 45 although not skied with it yet. It does a diagonal ski carry as well as an A frame  and you could always add a hip pouch to the waste belt? 



In reply to vscott:

Yeah I have a BCA stash, probably the 30l one, it's a really good ski touring pack. Very well designed for the task. 

HeMa 09 Sep 2019
In reply to damowilk:

There have been numerous suggestions already, they all have their pro’s and con’s.

One brand still un mentioned is Arva. And I recall that they have Atleast had something that ticks Most of yer boxes. Their main con IMHO is the fact that they pack too many features in and are thus heavy (like Osprey).

Neil Pratt 09 Sep 2019
In reply to damowilk:

Another Decensionist user here - I have the 40l version, which i’ve Managed to cram with enough kit for an overnight bike/ski tour. Ticks pretty much all your boxes bar only having one hip pocket. Like others, I found the Patagonia supplied carry loops for the diagonal carry a bit faffy, and replaced them with two long Voile straps which do the same job, but are easier and simpler to cinch up tight, and have the advantage of being useable at other points in the day, like helping to keep soggy skins on skis.

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