We always have a backpack with us when in the outdoors – whether we are out camping, on a soccer match or on a short hiking trip. Backpacks are extremely essential for storage and to conveniently move with your items. As helpful as regular backpacks are, a ski back pack goes all the way because it features all the right components to be as useful and as efficient as possible when indulging in your favorite winter recreational activities.

The best ski backpacks offer space for your gear, protection from extreme conditions and come with emergency solution space to protect you in incidents such as avalanche accidents. Plus, they are so innovatively designed that you don’t feet a strain. Listed below are the 6 best ski backpacks in 2019 and they all outline their unique added value that a ski back pack can offer.

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How To Choose A Ski Backpack – Buying Guide

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Airbags

The best backcountry ski backpacks and ski mountaineering packs include avalanche airbag packs for mountain emergencies. Avalanche airbags increase chancing f survival to people who are involved in an avalanche accident. When they pop, avalanche airbags do this by settling near the surface of the ground/ their distance to the surface of the snow covering is shorter. So for example, if you are carrying  a 30 or 40 liter bag and the airbag pops, it will increase volume to up to  100 and more liters, thus increasing you total surface area and hence, your floatation and protect you from being buried deep into the snow.

To add more protection, top rated backcountry ski backpack come with airbags that wrap your head to prevent severe trauma. This however does not guarantee survival, like most instances, such as a brand new car with an airbag, avalanche airbags decrease the likelihood of trauma and being buried under snow, however, they do not guarantee full protection. If you a frequent backcountry ski, it is wise to invest on avalanche airbag, a helmet and as many emergency assisting tools to keep you safer.

Avalanche emergency options

There are several avalanche emergency storage and sometimes, tools such as shovels and probes. Always go for ski backpacks that offer enough and specialized space with easy access to store your emergency equipment, just in case you are involved in an avalanche accident.

Key avalanche emergency tools include;

Shovels – to help dig through avalanche debris

Probes – a rod used to poke through avalanche debris to find and extricate a buried victim

Transceiver – emergency locator beacons used to find people buried under snow

Rescue systems- rescue systems integrate the use of detectors (used by rescuers) and reflectors (worn by victims), signals released by reflectors helps rescuer know exactly where the victim is buried.

Size

Size which is translated by volume is a key factor to consider and you figure out the size when you know how you are going to use the back pack. Most of the time skiing backpacks carry heavy load, even for the lightest or small ski backpack. This is because of the additional items that are carried during the cold weather – extra insulation/clothing, gear such as snowboards or skis, food and emergency kits. Thus, size is an important detail to pay attention too.

There are three main categories of size from small, medium and large. If you are going for a short half day hike, a small ski backpack is ideal to carry small items and snacks whilst if you are going on a serious mountaineering trip, larger ski mountaineering packs are a better idea.

Small size backpack and low gear capacity

Small backpacks boast a gear capacity of 20 liters or less. They are perfect for a short non-hiking trip. Carry your sunglasses and snacks in this bag, whilst riding on a snow cat or chair lift.

Medium size backpacks and medium gear capacity

Medium gear capacity backpacks are ideal for a one-day trip for backcountry skiing and have a volume capacity if between 25 to 35 liters.

Large backpacks and large gear capacity

These are the whole out, strong bags with ample space and volume capacity of between 35 to 55 liters. They are ideal for longer outdoor trips such as mountaineering. They might be heavier however, compared to the small and medium bags. such

Configuration

The best ski backpacks, especially medium and large ones that carry a lot of gear and accessories externally, are configured with accessible panels to enhance accessibility and ease of use. Backpacks will offer easy access to the front of the bag internally through a back access panel.

Top loaders attached to the bags on the other hand, mostly have on large pocket and a zip to seal them. The zip further protects the body of the bag. Additionally, other backpacks will also feature side access zippers for full access. Just remember to properly arrange your items with articulation. Try to think of their usability and compartmelize their arrangement in the bag. Some bags will come with either configuration whilst some incorporate them all.

Construction

Other than the regular body material, ski backpacks especially large ones, require additional stricter to maintain their integrity and to avoid crumpling or poor distribution of weight. This in turn increases their longevity.

A foam suspension system is a good start. The structures of frames, stays, back panels, weight lifter, hip belts and harnesses have to right and connect to the person carrying the bag. Suspension systems transfer gear weight to the appropriate structures of the wearer’s body, which also prevents fatigue on the body. Additionally the suspension allows one more maneuverability and easy carry.

Some manufacturers incorporate special 3D systems with mesh contours and map out parts of the body to appropriately distribute weight. Special focus should be paid to make special frame sheet that integrates well with the body, use of breathable material such as mesh and make sure each part connects to the other.

Weight

The best ski backpacks are designed whilst taking into consideration their own weight factor. Bags used for specific activities have a certain weight range.

Larger backpacks with higher gear capacity tend to be heavier, with a weight range of between 4 to 7 pounds. This is due to their versatile design that boasts their ample space as well as capacity to attach multiple snsowsports tools such as skis and snowboards. They normally boast other supporting structures such as frames to help with their weight balancing and supporting abilities. Moreover, lightweight qualities are  always helpful, however you don’t want a large gear capacity backpack to be too lightweight and miss out on its ability to actually support heavy weight.

Thus, if manufacturers opt for lightweight backpacks, they compromise on durability, stability, safety and control. Lightweight ski backpacks do exist, however, they don’t come with high gear capacity. Backpacks used for single-day hikes or to carry small items such as phones, gloves and food, have varying weights ranging from below a pound to 5 pounds. Whilst maintaining quality, you want to go for the lightweight ones for ease of use as well as to prevent fatigue and stain on your body.

Features

Many good ski packs come fitted with versatile features that add value. Think – detachable helmet nets, additional pockets for accessories, insulated sitting mats or mats for boot changing, tuck away ice tool loops, and many more. Also, don’t you think a bag carry all the necessities especially for an overnight trip, will be more convenient for you” if the parameters are not exceed however.

Other functional features include hydration system compatibility as well as 2-in 1 bags, a bag with extra space that can be expanded to increase more volume. In most instances, they are normally smaller backpacks that increase size to accommodate more items.

The most exciting feature in back packs for me, especially back country ski or mountaineering backpack, is the designated space to store your emergency avalanche kits and first aid items. In the dawn of danger, you want easy accessibility to your emergency items.  However, do not just go looking for bags with extra and so many feature that you don’t need. Think of how and where you will be using the bag to understand what exactly it that you need is.

Material

Backpacks are constructed with different materials that offer different value.

Nylon makes the best material for the best ski backpacks. Nylon sometimes coated with PVC or polyurethane boasts excellent waterproofing properties – a highly valued quality for ski backpacks.  Additionally, nylon is super strong therefore; it blends well with bag construction designs such as foam suspension systems that help balance weight. Its durable and strong nature also makes them weather resistant. However, nylon, especially coated nylon, may not boast effective moisture wicking properties.

Another, frequently used material is polyester, due to s weather resistance properties. Use of polyester backpacks for prolonged periods of time may not e as damaging to the bag as to other backpacks. Other backpack material includes PVC fabric, canvas as well as the rugged cordura material.

Style

Backpacks are in unisex or gender specific styles. Most of the times its quite easy to spot and tell apart between  men’s ski backpacks and women’s ski backpacks – due to the design. Majority ski packs, especially larger ones, appear to have rugged designs and not-so-flashy colors, however, even in the midst of the undertone attempts, most of the time you can still tell apart men’s ski pack from women’s.

Typically, women’s ski backpacks have shoulder straps that are closer together thus, forming an s-shape.  The hip belts are also contoured to fit a woman’s body. Male ski backpacks are an opposite of this, and normally have wide cavity width. However, women with larger bodies or chests can comfortably carry Mens ski packs.

Some ski packs are unisex and are designed to work just fine with either gender’s body type. Instead of the one size fits all, they have sizes ranging from small- medium and medium- large.

Ski backpack style is also exhibited through the ski carry systems, i.e. diagonal or a-frame carry systems, as I’ve outlined below.

Gear Capacity

Gear capacity is similar to size. Smaller bags used for lighter activities and to carry small personal items such as gloves, and snacks tend have a lower gear capacity of 20 liters or less. Medium sized bags ideal for shorter ski trip, typically, single day trips boast up to 35 liters of gear capacity whilst larger, heavy duty backpacks used for overnight trips or intense activities such as ice mountain hiking like on Mt. Everest have a larger gear capacity of up to 55 liters. It’s pretty simple, I mean there’s a huge difference between 8 liters and 50 liters, so once you know what you need your backpack for, it’s pretty easy to decide on gear capacity.

Ski Carry System

Not all ski backpacks come with carry systems, especially small ski back packs. However, carry systems are an essential part of a ski backpack design, for those which do have them. Carry systems enhance your functionality based on how they are designed to be used. The two main carry systems are;

Diagonal – diagonal systems allow you  to vertically place your skis together or at an angle at the back of your backpack

A-frame – the A0frame system on the other hand, lets you strap skis at the sides of the pack, separately or connected at the tips by a strap

A-frame carry systems are more favorable because they even out the load and offer more balance. Your gear however, is more likely to get trapped on obstacle in your trail such as trees. A- Frame systems are also more ideal for loner hikes than vertical carry systems due to their facilitation of balance and maneuverability.

FAQs

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Q: Can I Carry A Hydration Bladder?

A:

Yes you can. Many ski packs are hydration compatible, allowing for a water tube to be housed in the harnesses and insulated from the cold. Inside the pack, there is space to store water bladders to which one can sip water using the tube from.

Hydration bladders are actually a better option than water bottles. Unlike, many water bottles, hydration bladders utilize less space and have incredible insulating abilities. Furthermore, they are in-destructible to the environment as opposed to purchased bottle water, because they are reusable. They are also very soft and yet sturdy that they don’t easily rip or break. And as an added value, they can even store hot liquids.

Q: What Is RECCO And How Do They Work?

A:

RECCO is an avalanche rescue system. Recco, which basically means reconnaissance, is a system developed in 1983 in Sweden as a response to an avalanche accident that involved the founder of the system. At present, the system is used by many ski resort and mountain rescue teams.

The Recco rescue system is a two-way part technology, of which rescuers have detectors that search out for signals produced by reflectors. Recco reflectors are worn by patrons of the ski resorts, skiers, riders and other outdoor people. The reflectors bounce back a directional signal that directs a rescuer straight to the reflector thus; this lets the rescuer know exactly where the buried victim is.

Q: Will My Skis Or Snowboard Be Secure When Attached To My Backpack?

A:

When strapped to good quality backpacks, skis or snowboards will definitely be safe. The skis or snowboards are normally inserted in the loops available and then strapped in by heavy-duty straps which securely holds them. So even if your skier snowboard is trapped by an obstacle, say a tree branch, the gear will still remain attached to your backpack. The best strap material is Velcro or rubber.

Q: What’s Better, An Avalung Or An Avalanche Airbag?

A:

An Avalung backpack provides breathable when pops in the event one is trapped in an avalanche.  An Avalung works by transforming carbon dioxide under the avalanche into breathable air thus preventing carbon dioxide poisoning.

The breathable air provided by an Avalung is directed into the user’s mouthpiece via respiratory tubing and thanks to the constructed valve within; exhaled air is redirected out the opposite end of the pack. When the victim breathes in and out, valves within the Avalung open and close to minimize carbon dioxide poisoning. An Avalung is almost like an extra set of lungs for you.

An airbag on the other hand works by getting the victim as closer as possible to the surface of the avalanche snow by increasing the total surface area and therefore, preventing the victim from being buried deep down. This makes it easier for the victim to either dig up a little bit for fresh air or increases their chances of being found earlier. Additionally, they come with cushioning to prevent major trauma during the avalanche accident.

Both Avalung and an avalanche airbag work to increase chances of survival. When paired together, their function and effect is much stringer as they work by complementing each other. Imagine sporting an Avalung attached to your backpack and an avalanche airbag safely store in your bag. In the case of an avalanche accident, an Avalung will provide breathable air for longer time whilst you await rescue whilst an airbag will prevent you from being buried deep under snow and protect you from any impact from trees or other larger and blunt objects around. Additionally, an avalanche airbag will reduce time taken to locate you.

Q: Will These Backpacks Help Me At The Resort?

A:

Yes, they would. Staying at a resort does not dissolve the functions of your backpack. Even at a resort, backpacks are still useful, I mean, you will still go backcountry skiing and you’ll need to carry your gear. Whether sporting a small ski backpack to store your gloves, extra scarves and mobile phone to your snow car ride or carrying a large backpack to your long ice hiking activity, backpacks still are helpful at resorts.

Globo Surf Overview

Ski backpack reviews prove how essential they are. Skiing backpacks are being constructed with the versatility that simply makes life easier. The extra performance ski backpacks come with is just so impressive – hydration ability, multi-gear carrying capacity, and even some pack’s ability to adapt to situations by boasting detachable gear space such as helmet carrying nets of a collapsible construction that allows for the increase of volume. I can go for a short outdoor trip with my back pack to simply carry my sunglasses, gloves and mobile phone and use the next pack the next day for my one day backcountry ski trip.

The backpacks above have perfectly outlined the best backcountry ski backpacks, mountaineering backpack, and even, edc backpacks that will work great in the cold weather. The choice is yours – you have an elaborate guide, you know your feature, and you know what you want the ski backpack for. The next step is to choose from the list above!

Sources

  1. Thule Round Trip Ski Backpack, thule.com
  2. Osprey Kamber 42 Ski Backpack, osprey.com

Globo Surf Ski Backpacks Reviews

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I have been looking for a ski backpack for months now. I am an avid cross country skier but finding the right gear has become a true challenge when you have too many options online. Thank you for this list.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!