Best Ski Backpack – Reviews & Buying Guide
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Best Ski Backpack – Reviews & Buying Guide (October 2019)

Updated: December 18, 2018

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack

After 43 hours spent researching the best ski backpacks, we think Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack is the best for most people.

This choice is based on several criteria: dimensions, capacity, material, color, gender, frame type, pack access, closure, hipbelt, hydration system, ski carry, snowboard carry, best use, weight, and warranty, among other things.

 ProductPriceOverall RatingQualityDurabilityAppearanceMaintenanceValue for Moneydimensionscapacitymaterialcolorgenderframe typepack accessclosurehipbelthydration systemski carrysnowboard carrybest useweightwarranty
Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski BackpackBlack Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski BackpackCheck Price4.95.04.55.05.05.022 x 11 x 4 in28 LNylon2 colorsUnisexInternalTop / panelZipperPadded + pocketNoDiagonalDiagonalSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking1 lbs1 year
Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski BackpackDeuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski BackpackCheck Price4.85.04.54.55.05.09 x 14 x 18 in30 LNylon / polyamideFire / arcticUnisexInternalPanel / back panel2-way zipperPaddedYesDiagonalVerticalSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking2.5 lbs2 years
Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski BackpackOsprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski BackpackCheck Price4.55.04.54.04.05.025 x 17 x 6 in42 LNylon3 colorsUnisexInternal Top / panelZipperPadded + pocketYesVerticalHorizontalSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking3.44 lbs1 year
Salomon Quest 30 Ski BackpackSalomon Quest 30 Ski BackpackCheck Price4.65.04.54.04.55.016 x 4 x 25 in30 LNylon / closed-cell foamBlackUnisexInternalSides2-way zipperPadded + pocketYesDiagonalDiagonalSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking2 lbs1 year
Dakine Heli Pro Ski BackpackDakine Heli Pro Ski BackpackCheck Price4.34.54.04.04.54.58 x 21 x 12 in24 LPolyester11 colorsUnisexFramelessPanel 2-way zipperPaddedYesDiagonalVerticalSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking1.98 lbs1 year
Best Ski Backpack

Carrying the best ski backpack on your winter adventures is important, especially for avalanche gear.

For touring, you want to have a solid a frame ski backpack to hold the necessities for that sport. But the best ski touring backpack may not be ideal for your type of skiing.

If you’re someone that often goes out on your cross-country skis or backcountry skis, you likely know how vital it is to have somewhere safe and secure to store items like your avy gear, ski helmet, ski boots, and ski mask.

While you’re shopping for ski backpacks for boots and helmet, you may be at a point where you’re trying to ensure that you find the best ski backpack for your favorite winter activities.

As you communicate with other skiers about what you need in a ski boots bag, you want to be sure that you’re talking to those who do the same sort of activities as you – people who use snowshoes are going to have different needs than people who snowboard.

You can find a number of different bags out there, but what do they need to stand up against your use and abuse? What sorts of things do you need to shop for?

Many of the things that you want from a great ski bag or snowboard bag also apply when you’re looking to purchase any sort of backpack to wear on your expeditions. The best ski backpack for sale can go a long way and will be something you use for years to come.

Selection Of The Best Ski Backpacks

Here are the best ski backpacks for most people according to Outlinist:

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack
(rated 4.9 / 5)
Quality
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There’s a tremendous difference between alpine skiing – sticking to groomed trails with the benefit of a ski patrol team – and backcountry skiing (also called off-piste) in unpatrolled areas.

A ski backpack suitable for going off the beaten path is unique also.

Backcountry ski packs accommodate gear that could literally save your life, not just keep you comfortable during a day spent on the mountain.

This is not the time to “make do” with a hiking backpack. You need a pack that’s constructed for specific purposes.

You’ll be hauling quite a lot, so a ski backpack that suits your body size and type is essential.

Information

The built-in JetForce Technology airbag system is different from many others.

Makers of the Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack packed serious avalanche technology and practical design into this backcountry ski backpack. The features on this pack were planned to cover your needs whether you’re new to big mountain skiing, spending a day touring, or have years of experience conquering steep vertical descents.

First, they’ve collaborated with PIEPS (a company with 40+ years of experience developing and producing avalanche beacons) to produce their airbag safety system. For avalanche-prone areas, this type of best backcountry backpack helps you end up on top of the slide, instead of under.

The built-in JetForce Technology airbag system is different from many others. It’s located in the zippered back panel and uses jet-fan inflation rather than a charged, sealed cylinder. This type of system is rechargeable, and the airbag is re-packable.

dimensions22 x 11 x 4 in
capacity28 L
materialNylon
color2 colors
genderUnisex
frame typeInternal
pack accessTop / panel
closureZipper
hipbeltPadded + pocket
hydration systemNo
ski carryDiagonal
snowboard carryDiagonal
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight1 lbs
warranty1 year

This gives you the ability to practice deploying the airbag without having to recharge or replace an air canister. The Halo 28 JetForce backpack is considered travel-friendly, but check with your individual airlines to confirm.

“SwingArm” shoulder straps are traditional configuration at the top, but a cable connects the bottom of the two shoulder straps into a single unit across the small of the back, helping you to maintain a balanced load.

A diagonal ski carry (the simplest way to tote skis on a backpack when necessary) allows the airbag to deploy even while skis are attached. Storage includes an avalanche tool pocket, ice ax attachment, helmet holder, internal pockets and a hip belt pocket.

Pros

An avalanche tool pocket, attachment for an ice ax, internal pockets, helmet holder and pocket in the hip belt add further options.

Safety considerations take high priority in extreme sports. You hope you’ll never need it, but finding the best ski touring backpack with built-in avalanche gear and multiple other great features seems like a foregone conclusion. Analyze thoughtfully to make a confident decision.

  • Sturdy and durable materials: This JetForce pack and airbag are made of three different types of nylon material: Cordura nylon, ripstop nylon, and ballistic nylon. Nylon is inherently lightweight, strong, and durable so it’s suitable for backpacks. The zippers included on the pack are also sturdy.
  • Rechargeable cylinder and re-packable airbag: With help from PIEPS, a fully functional airbag system protects skiers in the event of an avalanche. A deployed airbag decreases the user’s density, allowing them to end up closer to the surface of sliding snow. As the bag deflates, an air pocket is created.
  • Shoulder straps that balance loads: The JetForce reactive suspension system, easy closure hip belt, and “SwingArm” shoulder straps combine to provide an easy fit while also distributing the weight of the load you’re carrying. Padded and adjustable straps help make this pack comfortable for all-day wear.
  • Storage for additional items: Even though part of the capacity is taken up with the fan and airbag, the makers have included other storage details. An avalanche tool pocket, attachment for an ice ax, internal pockets, helmet holder and pocket in the hip belt add further options.
  • Includes a diagonal ski carry: Occasionally you need to walk sans skis. If you’ve wondered how to pack skis on a backpack, JetForce has the answer. Adding skis to your pack is more efficient than even the best ski carrier strap. Those are suited to getting around at a ski resort.
  • Airline-travel friendly: A battery and fan-based system, which is rechargeable and refillable, allows you to travel without hassle on airlines since there’s no canister of compressed air or nitrogen involved. You should always check your airline’s regulations to be certain your ski equipment complies.

Cons

New technologies for safety are wonderful improvements but have to be integrated well with practical needs. Don’t be swayed by the latest enhancement to a product line if the basics are compromised. Make sure the general requirements are being met also.

  • May be more backpack than you need: High-tech backpacks are a lifesaving innovation, but if you’re not skiing/snowboarding in terrain that’s prone to avalanches the added cost is hard to justify. Look for a bag with features more in line with the type of skiing you do frequently.
  • Pack is not large capacity: Even though it’s a large pack it’s still only intended for a day tour, not extended trips. Once you add any extra clothing desired and a water bottle/snacks to the main compartment, there won’t be much room left for incidentals.
  • Not for wearing on ski lifts: The large size means it’s not a lift-friendly ski backpack. You should take it off and hold it in front of you. Due to incidents of getting hung up by a backpack, some resorts now ask everyone to remove packs.

Comparison

 

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski BackpackBlack Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack

Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski BackpackDeuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack

Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski BackpackOsprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski Backpack

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
dimensions22 x 11 x 4 in9 x 14 x 18 in25 x 17 x 6 in
capacity28 L30 L42 L
materialNylonNylon / polyamideNylon
color2 colorsFire / arctic3 colors
genderUnisexUnisexUnisex
frame typeInternalInternalInternal
pack accessTop / panelPanel / back panelTop / panel
closureZipper2-way zipperZipper
hipbeltPadded + pocketPaddedPadded + pocket
hydration systemNoYesYes
ski carryDiagonalDiagonalVertical
snowboard carryDiagonalVerticalHorizontal
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight1 lbs2.5 lbs3.44 lbs
warranty1 year2 years1 year

Summary

The design is well executed in this pack with weight-distributing features, storage pockets, and attachments for gear.

When considering any backcountry pack or ski touring backpack for sale it’s a bonus to have the added security of an airbag to deploy in the event of an avalanche. This type of bag is becoming increasingly popular for those who ski outside of groomed trails.

The Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack has the additional perk of being airline friendly with no compressed air canister. This system enables practicing deployment of the bag numerous times without the expense of purchasing or refilling canisters.

The design is well executed in this pack with weight-distributing features, storage pockets, and attachments for gear. Safety is first, accompanied by comfort and practical features to make this ski backpack a top choice for backcountry adventures.


Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack

Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack
(rated 4.8 / 5)
Quality
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The opportunity to ski or snowboard on pristine powder-covered slopes has an appeal like no other. It’s exhilarating, exciting, and carries certain risks.

If you’re motivated to try backcountry skiing outside groomed resort trails, get familiar with the potential hazards and learn about critical gear.

A backpack for freeride, ski mountaineering or backcountry skiing should meet minimum standards in order to provide you with the safety and comfort needed for these challenging sports. Choose wisely!

Skiers and snowboarders who go off trail need adequate room to carry extra layers, gloves, snacks, and water.

A ski backpack with that amount of capacity may not be the best backpack for ski lifts.

Information

Three ways to attach skis provide nice options – in the center, on the diagonal, or at the sides.

The Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack has much to commend it. Examining all of its features in detail is virtually a lesson in how to pack a backpack for backcountry skiing.

Forget needing a ski carry strap or a potentially awkward ski tote. Three ways to attach skis provide nice options – in the center, on the diagonal, or at the sides. Fastening straps are included for vertically attaching a snowboard or snowshoes. You don’t have to remove those for access to the main compartment either, since there’s a large two-way opening at the back.

The Freerider Pro 30 has attachment loops for ski poles and an ice axe. The safety gear pocket in front can handle a probe, shovel and handle. An emergency whistle comes on the chest strap. The best ski pack for avalanche-prone terrain should, at a minimum, include safety items like this.

dimensions9 x 14 x 18 in
capacity30 L
materialNylon / polyamide
colorFire / arctic
genderUnisex
frame typeInternal
pack accessPanel / back panel
closure2-way zipper
hipbeltPadded
hydration systemYes
ski carryDiagonal
snowboard carryVertical
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight2.5 lbs
warranty2 years

Hydration is another safety issue that accompanies off-trail skiing and snowboarding. You should be drinking water or sports drinks regularly to avoid headaches, cramping, and exhaustion. This pack is compatible with a 3-liter hydration system.

Overall comfort is practically guaranteed with the Freerider Pro 30. It includes multiple adjustment features including load adjustment/compression straps, a hip belt with “pull forward” system, and a removable sitting mat.

For stowing extras you can use the helmet carrier, fill up the stretch side pockets, take extra lenses in the fleece-lined goggle pocket, and add other items to the zipped inside compartments. This ski backpack carries enough for any active winter sport.

Pros

The Freerider Pro 30 allows you to adjust loads for best fit to prevent strain, and compression straps add to comfort.

Any experienced backcountry or freeride skier will tell you to thoroughly research and prepare the right gear for the treks you’ll be taking. Read, ask questions, and weigh the concrete features of any backpack to be sure it’s the appropriate one.

  • Hydration system compatible: The Freerider Pro 30 could be ranked the best hydration pack for snowboarding or skiing since it can fit with a 3-liter hydration system. Stamina and energy correlate to staying hydrated. When you’re off-trail all day you need fluids frequently.
  • Three ways to carry skis: The option to change things up when required is a valuable advantage. You can carry skis vertically in the center or on the sides, or carry them on the diagonal. Alternatively, straps are even provided for a snowboard or snowshoes.
  • Attachment loops and gear pocket for external storage: There’s much to carry when you’ll be out all day. The Pro 30 includes loops to place an ice axe and your ski poles. You’ll probably want to take a shovel plus handle and a probe. There’s a gear pocket for those.
  • Multiple adjustments for comfort: The Freerider Pro 30 allows you to adjust loads for best fit to prevent strain, and compression straps add to comfort. With any new backpack, add weight to simulate a full pack, and adjust the straps and hip belt to see how it feels.
  • Hip belt with a pull-forward system: If you have back issues or carrying the weight of a pack causes other discomfort, you’ll appreciate the ergonomic design of the hip belt with its pull forward feature. It places weight in the optimal position and spreads out pressure.
  • Emergency whistle on chest strap: If an emergency arises you’ll want to let others know your location and the need for assistance. Everyone hopes they’ll never need to use it, but this safety bonus is a handy addition for unexpected situations. Your voice alone typically isn’t enough.

Cons

Some products have virtually no negative features to consider, but there could be omissions or small details to consider that would rule it out for your use. A few minutes spent considering scenarios you might encounter could change your selection.

  • Avalanche airbag not included: High-tech airbag systems are increasingly popular for off-trail skiers and snowboarders. It’s up to you of course, but when skiing in avalanche-prone terrain those systems could be lifesaving. The Freerider Pro 30 does provide a whistle and storage for probe, ice axe and shovel.
  • Intended for specific torso and waist sizes: For a pack to be truly comfortable it needs to be sized for your torso length and your waist size. This ski backpack is intended for a specific range so check the manufacturer’s specifications to be sure you fit within the limits.
  • Rigid back prevents folding: If you’re going to travel with this pack, just keep in mind it cannot be folded since the back has a rigid spine. You could use it as a carry-on bag, but check airline FAQ’s to make sure it falls within required dimensions.

Comparison

 

Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski BackpackDeuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski BackpackBlack Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack

Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski BackpackOsprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski Backpack

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
dimensions9 x 14 x 18 in22 x 11 x 4 in25 x 17 x 6 in
capacity30 L28 L42 L
materialNylon / polyamideNylonNylon
colorFire / arctic2 colors3 colors
genderUnisexUnisexUnisex
frame typeInternalInternalInternal
pack accessPanel / back panelTop / panelTop / panel
closure2-way zipperZipperZipper
hipbeltPaddedPadded + pocketPadded + pocket
hydration systemYesNoYes
ski carryDiagonalDiagonalVertical
snowboard carryVerticalDiagonalHorizontal
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight2.5 lbs1 lbs3.44 lbs
warranty2 years1 year1 year

Summary

Taking fluids along for drinking is simple since it’s compatible with hydration systems.

Ample room for loads of storage and rugged materials combine to make the Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack a choice that almost anyone would relish having for backcountry expeditions or ski touring. It’s even outfitted for the addition of snowshoes or a snowboard.

You’d want a smaller pack if only sticking to groomed trails at a ski resort, but this one more than meets the needs for a half or full day with friends on the mountainsides. Taking fluids along for drinking is simple since it’s compatible with hydration systems.

Comfort is the aspect you will appreciate the most as the hours fly by. Much thought went into creating multiple ways to maximize this quality in the Freerider Pro 30. This ski backpack is likely to become a hands-down favorite.


Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski Backpack

Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski Backpack
(rated 4.5 / 5)
Quality
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Ever had those moments where packing light for a multi-day adventure on the slopes got the best of you? It’s one of the worst, most avoidable feelings in the world.

It’s time for a larger, more versatile ski backpack for those overnight trips.

There are levels of skiing. For the longer, overnight adventurer who needs more than the essentials and possibly non-essentials, a larger backpack is needed.

Besides safety and security, you need to be comfortable and energized for the long haul.

Osprey has made a name for itself creating packs that let you tell it what you need, when you need it.

Information

This Osprey model is big on versatility with removable options for shorter day trips.

If you like a bag with tons of features that actually have a purpose, the Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski Backpack delivers. On those long, cold days, size definitely matters in the backcountry.

The Kamber 42 weighs four pounds and can carry a maximum of 42 pounds. Ideal for snowboarders and skiers, it is a multi-functioning backpack that can securely accommodate just about any set of skis or snowboard.

Similar to the Osprey snowkit, there is seriously a place for everything and then for the other things you never imagined you could bring along. Osprey has mastered the art of pocket design, fitting this model with hidden pockets, large pockets and divisional compartments for wet and dry clothing or tools.

dimensions25 x 17 x 6 in
capacity42 L
materialNylon
color3 colors
genderUnisex
frame typeInternal
pack accessTop / panel
closureZipper
hipbeltPadded + pocket
hydration systemYes
ski carryVertical
snowboard carryHorizontal
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight3.44 lbs
warranty1 year

The smart design is also highly functional. If you have ever had to dump your pack out to find your goggles at the bottom or grab your phone, a back panel grants you access to the bottom of your pack so you never have to worry about where things are in an emergency.

This Osprey model is big on versatility with removable options for shorter day trips. It’s available in two sizes (small/medium and medium/large) with both being great sizes for snowshoeing, skiing or boarding. It’s customizable and versatile to keep you prepared for some of the trickier situations that come along with longer expeditions.

Known for quality, this Osprey ski touring pack stands with the best the brand has to offer and is ideal for those who value safety, space and having lots of options.

Pros

Skis carry well but so does a snowboard thanks to the horizontal carry strap found on the Kamber 42 pack.

Osprey Kamber backpacks are some of the best fitting packs and this model is no different. This larger size pack has more cool features packed into a well thought out design and is great for a number of different skiers out on the slopes.

  • Good design: Ergonomic and thin, the shoulder straps provide comfort and mobility. Zippers and buckles are oversized for easy use with gloves, and the material that comes into contact with sharp edges is reinforced. Osprey knows how to make a solid bag.
  • Dual access: A zippered panel in the back lets you access the main compartment, including any gear you shoved to the bottom, without having to dump your entire pack out. When your skis are strapped to the sides, you’ll be thankful for this feature.
  • Removable lid: Could this be the best ski patrol pack? The lid can be kept attached for added storage or removed to reduce unneeded weight (it sheds about 5 liters). The removable lid also houses an option to carry and access rope line.
  • Distributed load: Skis carry well but so does a snowboard thanks to the horizontal carry strap found on the Kamber 42 pack. What’s great is the extra, reinforced straps across the hip belts that distribute the load. Osprey adds this nifty, oft forgotten feature of small ski backpacks.
  • Pockets galore: Hip belt pockets, avalanche tools pocket for shovel and probe, internal non-essential gear pocket and back panel pocket are a few of the pockets incorporated into the Kamber 42. The hip belts are big and particularly loved for easy phone access. They have nailed the art of storage.
  • Versatility: Osprey offers this ski backpack in 2 different sizes if you need a little bit more or less. Mostly, this pack can be used for overnight or multi-day trips but can just as easily be stripped down if you’re planning on a shorter backcountry outing.

Cons

Ski tours that last days, day-long ski trips or hut trips are the perfect times for a ski backpack of this magnitude. This Osprey Kamber pack’s bells and whistles come with a few disadvantages that the cautious buyer should be aware of.

  • Slightly heavy: Skinning requires energy, and more weight makes everything a bit harder. The Kamber 42 comes with a variety of eye-popping features that make it one of the best backcountry ski packs. They also make it a bit heavier and bulky than other similar packs.
  • Difficult helmet holder: The helmet system is well designed, but the execution can be a bit frustrating for some. It can be a struggle, almost relationship-like levels of struggle, to unhook the holder. If you have a black bag, it’s even harder, especially in the dark.
  • Complicated and loaded with straps: Look, there are a lot of straps and buckles. They all have a purpose, but there are a lot. To reduce the risk of being overwhelmed, become familiar with them and what they do before your first trip. You may want to keep the user manual.

Comparison

 

Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski BackpackOsprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski Backpack

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski BackpackBlack Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack

Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski BackpackDeuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
dimensions25 x 17 x 6 in22 x 11 x 4 in9 x 14 x 18 in
capacity42 L28 L30 L
materialNylonNylonNylon / polyamide
color3 colors2 colorsFire / arctic
genderUnisexUnisexUnisex
frame typeInternal InternalInternal
pack accessTop / panelTop / panelPanel / back panel
closureZipperZipper2-way zipper
hipbeltPadded + pocketPadded + pocketPadded
hydration systemYesNoYes
ski carryVerticalDiagonalDiagonal
snowboard carryHorizontalDiagonalVertical
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight3.44 lbs1 lbs2.5 lbs
warranty1 year1 year2 years

Summary

Fit for the tougher, harsher conditions faced on longer excursions, it is also designed to have a slimmer profile when necessary.

The quality of this bag and the thought that has gone into the design is nothing short of what all skiers and snowboarders have come to expect from Osprey. Their products are top-notch.

Fit for the tougher, harsher conditions faced on longer excursions, it is also designed to have a slimmer profile when necessary. Very useful features like the removable lid, back panel dual access and a compartment division to keep wet clothes away from your dry things, the Osprey Packs Kamber 42 Ski Backpack is designed for almost any need or situation you may confront.

While some features feel extra, each one makes you feel more secure. Comfortable, large and pocket heavy, this ski backpack is a backcountry lover’s dream.


Salomon Quest 30 Ski Backpack

Salomon Quest 30 Ski Backpack
(rated 4.6 / 5)
Quality
Durability
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Maintenance
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Check Price

Brave souls venturing outside the lodge depend on a ski backpack to hold not only their ski equipment, but safety gear for any conditions that may arise.

Being prepared is great, but what about looking good? Well a quality pack can do that, too.

Specific to skiing/boarding and harsh conditions, your hiking bag simply won’t do.

You will not be able to make it without a backpack if you’re about to spend time on the slopes as they keep you prepared for any terrain you’ll encounter.

This is why the ski pack you choose is so important: your life may be in its hands.

Information

Easily reach avalanche safety gear using an external, zippered pocket or use the large double zip to get to the main compartment just as fast.

Depending on the kind of skiing you’ll be doing, your ski backpack can hurt or help you. If you’re out for a full day of touring or backcountry fun, a 10 liter bag will barely hold more than your food and water.

Toeing the line of an overnight ski touring pack, the Salomon Quest 30 Ski Backpack is ideal for a long day in the backcountry. Sleek, comfortable, lightweight and huge, it looks good, feels good while trekking through snow and has the features serious backcountry skiers expect.

Its 30-liter capacity can easily handle anything you need for the day – even if you’re the haphazard kind of packer. This bag has internal and external storage, hydration bladder compartment and sturdy ski attachments for ice and snow tools.

dimensions16 x 4 x 25 in
capacity30 L
materialNylon / closed-cell foam
colorBlack
genderUnisex
frame typeInternal
pack accessSides
closure2-way zipper
hipbeltPadded + pocket
hydration systemYes
ski carryDiagonal
snowboard carryDiagonal
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight2 lbs
warranty1 year

Straps, belts and buckles are all adjustable for maximum comfort and the slick fabric keeps the snow from weighing you down. Contoured straps, mesh and padding all provide extra comfort and the back panel features an air venting system for ventilation.

In an emergency, this pack is more than functional. Easily reach avalanche safety gear using an external, zippered pocket or use the large double zip to get to the main compartment just as fast. Made for easy access and use with large gloves, it’s impressive just how much detail went into its safety design.

The best backcountry ski backpack stays out of your way. Salomon has created a very nicely balanced backpack that is secure, stays in place and best of all, makes your forget it’s even there.

Pros

The slick exterior keeps snow off your pack, over-sized zippers make opening compartments easy with gloves on and the fleece-lined goggle pocket won’t scratch those expensive lenses.

Offering high comfort, space and mobility, with the Quest 30 pack you will stay comfortable on the slopes the entire time you’re out there. Highly function and well-designed, this snazzy backpack was made to feel invisible and last a long time. No buyer’s remorse in sight.

  • More than comfortable: Adjustable straps and belts guarantee you will find the perfect fit and provide unparalleled mobility. Contoured shoulder straps keep friction off your arms and shoulders and the low profile design keeps the bag from swinging side to side while skinning.
  • Envy-inducing ski carry system: This carry system is a thing of beauty. More than an A-frame ski backpack, you can attach skis diagonally within a few minutes too. Seriously! You’ll be able to catch your breath or smile smugly as everyone else fumbles to arrange their skis.
  • Functional, good-looking design: The Quest 30 is lightweight, slim, balanced and sleek. The slick exterior keeps snow off your pack, over-sized zippers make opening compartments easy with gloves on and the fleece-lined goggle pocket won’t scratch those expensive lenses. This is the perfect ski touring backpack to make your life easier.
  • Space for essentials and then some: With a storage capacity of 30 liters, this pack can carry almost anything inside and out. There are two internal pockets within the main compartment, a hip belt, security pocket, helmet holder and space for anything else you can think of.
  • Easily accessible everything: The best ski backpack makes finding gear fast and easy. Double zips running around the main compartment make accessing items at the top or bottom a breeze, and an external zipped pocket gets you to avalanche safety gear fast in case of emergency.
  • Versatile: You’re more than a skier or snowboarder right? The sleek design, light weight and large carry handle at the top make it great for weekend trips. Built for all kinds of adventure, it compacts easily, fitting in overhead or under plane seats.

Cons

Given that the Quest 30 pack is one of the best, it’s hard to find any disastrous downsides. But, the few features it does lack could rub some the wrong way when it comes to staying safe while touring or in the backcountry.

  • Insulation for hydration system: This pack has a hydration bladder and hanging system ready for use but on colder days you may not be able to use it. Without insulation on the pack, the bit valve and tube can freeze in a relatively short time.
  • No avalanche airbag system: There’s no rule saying you need to have an airbag, but as they become more common you may want a ski backpack that comes with one. If you’re going to be in avalanche prone places, you may seriously consider a pack that has one.
  • Noticeable wear and tear: Typically, the more durable something is, the heavier it is. This is one sturdy, tough pack, but being on the lighter side means rougher handling of it may lead to more obvious signs of use. Be reasonable with how you treat it.

Comparison

 

Salomon Quest 30 Ski BackpackSalomon Quest 30 Ski Backpack

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski BackpackBlack Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack

Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski BackpackDeuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
dimensions16 x 4 x 25 in22 x 11 x 4 in9 x 14 x 18 in
capacity30 L28 L30 L
materialNylon / closed-cell foamNylonNylon / polyamide
colorBlack2 colorsFire / arctic
genderUnisexUnisexUnisex
frame typeInternalInternalInternal
pack accessSidesTop / panelPanel / back panel
closure2-way zipperZipper2-way zipper
hipbeltPadded + pocketPadded + pocketPadded
hydration systemYesNoYes
ski carryDiagonalDiagonalDiagonal
snowboard carryDiagonalDiagonalVertical
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight2 lbs1 lbs2.5 lbs
warranty1 year1 year2 years

Summary

Its comfort alone is worth the price, but the unbelievably easy ski carry system and excellent storage organizers make this product stand out as a great overall value.

Refined, effective and feature-heavy, the Salomon Quest 30 Ski Backpack belongs in the arsenal of any serious backcountry skier or those looking to get a bit more serious.

Its comfort alone is worth the price, but the unbelievably easy ski carry system and excellent storage organizers make this product stand out as a great overall value. It never feels bulky, even at max capacity, making it great if you’re in need of backcountry snowboarding backpack. The last thing you’d ever want is a pack that makes skiing or boarding harder!

Accessibility and its sleek look are a few more things we can’t stop raving about. It’s one of the few backpacks you can easily maneuver with thick gloves on thanks to the oversized zippers and handle. Even with your skis attached, you will easily forget you have a large bag on your back. And shouldn’t that be the goal of every ski backpack?


Dakine Heli Pro Ski Backpack

Dakine Heli Pro Ski Backpack
(rated 4.3 / 5)
Quality
Durability
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If you ski often, you’ve noticed a few ski backpacks that are well-worn, impossibly strong and well-guarded by their owners. Those were definitely Dakines.

Have you seen those experienced resort riders slipping into sidecountry sporting colorful packs? Yup, those are Dakines on their backs too.

Ski packs aren’t only for the most serious, aggressive backcountry skiers and boarders. Well maybe, but even they have chill days.

Hopefully every single visit to the ski slope has some beer or apple cider involved along with those awesome diamond runs.

When there is more variety planned in your day, a high-performing small ski backpack is more than you need.

Information

Designed cleanly, with superb functionality and performance, you’ll wonder how you were able to move at all in that heavier pack you carried before.

For skiers who generally don’t take themselves seriously, but sometimes decide to take themselves very seriously, the Dakine Heli Pro Ski Backpack should be your go-to.

This pack focuses on only what is necessary to get you to the mountain and back down. They are life partners, taking you through short sidecountry trips or groomed resort runs. There’s a reason everyone loves their Dakine ski backpacks.

At 20 liters max storage capacity, there is room for avalanche gear, gloves, food, water and anything else that will make you happy shredding backcountry terrain. The size is perfect for most skiers; any smaller and you’re kicking yourself about what couldn’t fit. If you go a size up, you’re kicking yourself for bringing items or gear you don’t need.

dimensions8 x 21 x 12 in
capacity24 L
materialPolyester
color11 colors
genderUnisex
frame typeFrameless
pack accessPanel
closure 2-way zipper
hipbeltPadded
hydration systemYes
ski carryDiagonal
snowboard carryVertical
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight1.98 lbs
warranty1 year

Though one of the best budget ski backpacks, it is made from durable polyester, is soft and has no right to be as rugged as it is. There’s no need to worry about quality being sacrificed, with this bag, you’re going to get a well-made ski pack that will probably be around much longer than you’d expect.

Designed cleanly, with superb functionality and performance, you’ll wonder how you were able to move at all in that heavier pack you carried before. The color choices you can find are unique and stylish, making up for any feature you thought you’d miss.

Above all else this is one comfortable, versatile backpack that you will love enough to take with you well beyond the current ski season.

Pros

If resort riding turns into sidecountry riding often, this pack on your back will feel like a match made in heaven.

This Dakine pack is about simplicity, with its clean design focusing on the essentials. Just the right size, it offers lots of space but doesn’t let you fill it up with a ton of things you know you won’t need on the slopes. What else does it offer?

  • Fantastic design that performs on the slopes: Equipped with a hydration system, organized front pockets, tons of interior space, a fleece-lined pocket for goggles, waterproof bottom, and a laptop compartment make this design friendly to skiers and snowboarders. There’s even a waterproof camera pocket for letting Instagram see you shine.
  • Durable, rugged construction: Ski bags should handle more than a few bumps and bruises. Your gear edges are sharp and can damage your pack over time. Constructed from 600D polyester, there’s no denying the rugged, tough feel of this pack. It will last.
  • Comfortable design for longer days: The top handle is large and easy to carry and the pack is fitted with super comfortable straps. The sternum strap greatly reduces shoulder pressure, making the backpack feel weightless, even when it’s loaded to full capacity. Optional lower back support is available.
  • Stylish color options stand out: Although most commonly sold in black, you can find this Dakine ski backpack for sale in cool patterns like camo and “Castaway” (yes, reminiscent of the movie but without Wilson) as well as a wide range of colors including blue, Mineral Yellow and a gorgeous muted orange ski backpack.
  • Sidecountry living at its best: If resort riding turns into sidecountry riding often, this pack on your back will feel like a match made in heaven. This bag really has everything you need to make the short day’s trip to any area a lift refuses to take you.
  • All year long use: The laptop compartment is enough to indicate this bag is built for more than winter activities. Use it for weekend traveling trips, school or work. It’s also light enough to use year-round. This bag holds its own on and off the mountains.

Cons

The wide range of uses for this Dakine pack may make it less appealing for the more serious backcountry skier who needs more features for longer, colder days. The simple design, though very functional, offers less versatility and customization than other packs in its class.

  • Needs deeper, more secure pockets: Whatever you’re putting in these pockets, let’s hope it’s still there after a long day of aggressive skiing. The pocket for goggles can hold sunglasses better than actual ski goggles and the avalanche gear pocket is only a few inches deep.
  • Not the best for backcountry: The front panel is great for storing iPods, pens and phones but isn’t specifically designed to hold avalanche gear. The pockets can hold your shovel blade and handle but is probably only good for a one or two quick laps in the backcountry.
  • Dedicated carrying system: Designed for vertical snowboard carry, people are far more successful attaching it horizontally. Though the vertical system works, it is difficult to attach the buckles and unclip them. You won’t need a ski sling but you may need the snowboard equivalent.

Comparison

 

Dakine Heli Pro Ski BackpackDakine Heli Pro Ski Backpack

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski BackpackBlack Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack

Deuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski BackpackDeuter Freerider Pro 30 Ski Backpack

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
dimensions8 x 21 x 12 in22 x 11 x 4 in9 x 14 x 18 in
capacity24 L28 L30 L
materialPolyesterNylonNylon / polyamide
color11 colors2 colorsFire / arctic
genderUnisexUnisexUnisex
frame typeFramelessInternalInternal
pack accessPanelTop / panelPanel / back panel
closure 2-way zipperZipper2-way zipper
hipbeltPaddedPadded + pocketPadded
hydration systemYesNoYes
ski carryDiagonalDiagonalDiagonal
snowboard carryVerticalDiagonalVertical
best useSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekkingSkiing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, trekking
weight1.98 lbs1 lbs2.5 lbs
warranty1 year1 year2 years

Summary

Waterproof, durable and highly functional in a variety of conditions, the Dakine Heli Pro Ski Backpack performs superbly as a winter day backpack, and its other functions perform just as easily.

Ideal for resort, sidecountry and short backcountry trips, this pack takes on any terrain offering plenty of storage, organization and optimal comfort. Especially for those who love to pack with the essentials only, it already comes with a whistle pre-attached so you can’t make an excuse for packing one more thing.

Waterproof, durable and highly functional in a variety of conditions, the Dakine Heli Pro Ski Backpack performs superbly as a winter day backpack, and its other functions perform just as easily.

Sturdy, lightweight and super comfortable, you can take this ski backpack anywhere – and people do! Found in airport overheads, school lockers and boardroom meetings, this bag looks great and can be used year round but it really shines on the slopes.

Best Ski Backpack Buying Guide

Ski or snowboard attachment

Obviously, you won’t be on your skis the entire time that you’re out on a trip. You want to be able to attach your skis or snowboard, along with your ski bindings or snowboard bindings, to your bag.

Look at the way that they attach to your bag. Will they be cumbersome, or is the way that the whole thing is set up going to make it easy for you to continue climbing with your board or skis on your back?

How does the backpack fit?

You will be wearing your bag for hours, and it will be holding heavy items like snowboard boots, other heavy gear as well as lightweight options like an extra pair of ski socks. If you don’t get the best backcountry backpack, you will be in a lot of pain and could end up sustaining injuries.

Look for a bag that is snug, but comfortable on your back. Also, be sure to consider what ski jacket and ski pants that you’ll be wearing, because that additional bulk will change how it fits.

Avalanche emergency options

If you’re out on your all-mountain skis, then you want a backcountry ski backpack that has some considerations if you’re caught in an avalanche or other disaster.

You can find backpacks with air bags, which help to keep the skier toward the surface of the avalanche (which increases the chance for survival). You can also find some bags with AvaLung, which is a breathing apparatus that helps you to pull oxygen from snow in case you get buried.

Can you carry a hydration bladder?

Staying hydrated on the trail is important, so you want to find the best hydration pack for snowboarding or skiing that you can find.

Many of the newer styles of packs actually have a space for a hydration bladder that is separate from many of the other areas of the bag, or it may even have one included for an additional cost.

Where are the zippers?

If you’re going on a long trip, your bag is going to be filled with items like your spare winter boots and whatever else you’ll need. It’s a pain to unpack the whole bag to get to items that may be on the bottom of it.

Look for backpacks that have zippers on the sides and the bottom. These make it much easier to get to everything in the bag without unpacking everything every single time you need to look around in there.

Where will you store climbing gear?

When you’re going on any sort of trail trip, you may have times where you need to climb up a mountain face or through a rock scramble – and you’ll need the right gear with you.

Many of the best ski backpack options will have multiple loops for ice axes, crampons, and other tools and hardware that you may need in order to get up the mountain safely. You can also use these for your ski poles when you’re using the climbing gear.

Is it meant for winter or summer?

There are many different sorts of touring bags out there to choose from, and you will start to see that no two are made the same. Some of them are even meant for different seasons.

When you start researching bags, look at the materials that they are made from. Are they waterproof? What sort of stitching does it use? Is the material lightweight or heavy? Most touring bags will indicate if they are for summer, winter, or both.

Does it have compression straps?

Compression straps are important to consider, even if you have a small ski backpack that isn’t going to hold a lot of gear. Different bags have different strap construction, but the premise is the same for most.

The compression straps usually go over your shoulders (including padding) and around your waist in order to better distribute the weight. This prevents injury and makes it easier for you to get around with the bag on.

How much does your backpack hold?

Backpacks for skiing and snowboarding come in all sizes, and they are usually measured by the liter – you’re usually looking at anywhere from 10 liters of space to 60+ liters of space.

They will also have a weight limit associated with them. Small snowboarding backpacks usually hold 15 pounds or less, and are meant for a day trip; larger bags can hold 50 pounds or more, allowing you to carry a tent, sleeping bag, and other supplies.

What color do you want?

This can seem like a superficial thing, but it is important to know what color you would like to have for your backpack. They come in almost any color that you can think of.

Bright colors are a good idea, no matter where you are. You can find something like a yellow or orange ski backpack that will help you to stand out, which is especially useful in the dark or if there are hunters near the area you’re touring.

How much will it cost?

As you start your search for backpacks for your trail trips, you are probably looking to save a bit of money on the process. Ski backpacks have a large range of prices, depending on what you need and what you want.

You can find the best budget ski backpacks for somewhere around $150, and these usually work well for your purposes. But, you can also see backpacks at $500 or more as well – it all depends on the features, material, and brand.

Are there multiple compartments?

In some of the best ski backpack options, you’ll find that they have special compartments that hold specific items safely and securely.

For example, you can find a special compartment for ski goggles that keeps them from accidentally getting broken; or you can find a spot for ski gloves that keeps them dry. Check out the backpacks that you’re considering and see what special compartments that they have for your most important ski gear.

Can you adjust the straps?

Adjustable straps are useful because, sometimes, you’re going to be too warm and need to remove or switch the jacket that you’re wearing. Or, if you’re on the trail for multiple days, you may end up with fewer items and you need to adjust your straps because there’s less in your bag.

Adjustable straps are usually a standard thing, but be sure that you see how far that they can adjust for your purposes. They could vary in how much you’re able to adjust.

Is it easy to maneuver with gloves?

You’re going to be wearing gloves on the trail, and you want to be sure that you can get in and out of your backpack without necessarily taking those gloves off – it’s cold!

You want to look for a pack that has large zippers that make it easy to grip them with gloves or your hands, and the zippers and buckles should move smoothly and without requiring you to pull too hard to get them opened or closed.

How long will it last?

This is a question that everyone has when they look for a backpack. You are going to spend a decent amount of money for your bag, so you want it to last.

Your ski touring backpack is going to last longer if it’s made from durable materials that can stand up to your use and the weather. The best ski backpacks can last 5 to 10 years or more when taken care of properly.

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack
Our pick for the best ski backpack is: Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching ski backpacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wear a backpack on a ski lift?

For some people, they may be using ski lifts as part of their excursion, or they just want to have a backpack so that they can carry their essentials while they are on the slopes.

You can find many a lift friendly ski backpack when you look around at your options, allowing you to find something that is easy to put on the lift with you or that you can even wear on your back when you’re sitting on the lift.

How do air bags on ski backpacks work?

The air bags on ski backpacks save lives, and they work on a fairly basic principle: the larger items in an avalanche rise to the top, whereas smaller ones are lost under the snow.

So, when you pull the cord for your air bag, it makes you larger, thus making it easier for you to stay toward the top of the avalanche and preventing you from being buried under the snow.

What should I do with my bag in the off season?

It depends. Some people do touring all year long and will use the same bag for summer and winter; be sure that you find a bag that can do that if that’s a consideration for you.

Many people will find something like a snowboard wall mount in order to hang their bag, along with their other skiing or snowboarding supplies. It looks nice on the wall and can keep it safe and ready for the next time you use it.

Can I wash my ski backpack?

While not everyone will want to wash their bags, there are definitely cases where you may want to go ahead and do so. The manufacturer will have instructions as to the best way you can wash it.

Most of the time, you want to wash it by hand or wash it on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Then, you will want to air dry it, switching between having the pack right side out to inside out to prevent mold and mildew from being a problem.

Is there a difference between a ski backpack and a snowboard backpack?

Unlike much of the other sport-specific gear you need, there are very few differences between a ski backpack and a backpack that you would use for snowboarding.

The biggest difference that you’ll find during your search is how your backpack is going to hold your ski or snowboard. The loops will be a different size and may be positioned differently in order to accommodate whatever item you may be putting on there.

Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack
Our pick for the best ski backpack is: Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Ski Backpack. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching ski backpacks.

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