The right ski backpack for even more fun in the snow.

Ski Backpack

As for all types of backpack, there are big differences between the different makes of ski backpack and certain important points to consider when buying. A trekking backpack is not the same as a hiking backpack and a ski touring backpack is definitely not a freeriding backpack! We have put together some tips for choosing your backpack, including the right combination of features, design and size for each of the different winter sports.

Harness system, fit and cut of skiing backpacks

Fit and cut sound almost like clothing. When choosing a backpack, it is hugely important to consider just how robust it is, how closely it hugs your back and whether you should go for a longer or wider model.
All of these things are contingent on the harness system. Unlike the well-known mesh backs used in hiking, skiing backpacks use padded carry systems that are close to the body, fitting snugly and keeping the weight well-distributed so that they don't unbalance the wearer in fast turns on the piste. Either thermoformed foam or soft mesh offer the greatest comfort and keep the load balanced on the back where it belongs.
Skiing backpacks come in different designs depending on their size and intended use. Small models for victuals while out on the slopes or for safety equipment when freeriding outside of secured pistes usually hold about ten to 15 litres and are relatively flat and long. Even the smaller models of skiing backpacks can carry airbags.
The mid-sized model with a 20 to 30 litre volume are ideal for day tours and are good both for ski mountaineering and slopes. The are cut somewhat shorter and deeper. This makes it easy to access them and to keep track of the contents, and though it this skiing backpack is somewhat larger, it is still short enough not to be in the way at the neck if you need to move your head back while wearing a helmet.
Skiing backpacks offering greater volume are not meant for simple downhill skiing, but for All Mountain, Back country and ski touring, when you need more equipment for one day or even - as is often the case - do tours lasting several days. The long, thin, almost tube-like design allows for good freedom of movement as well as offering the possibility of strapping skis or a snowboard to the sides.
The waist belts are different for skiing backpacks than for walking backpacks or trekking backpacks; similar to cycling backpacks, they tend to be smaller and are often detachable. This allows for more freedom of movement and makes the backpacks suitable for short climbing passages or approaches. In such cases, the load lies flat along the back, since you are generally stooping rather than standing straight.

Features found in skiing backpacks

The sheer number of attachment straps for skis, snowboards, helmets and poles as well as various loops for carabiners and gloves and other equipment means that skiing backpacks look very similar to climbing backpacks. However, winter sport backpacks have more specialised inner pockets (for avalanche transceivers, for example), sometimes include an airbag or avalung and are designed for easy, intuitive use while wearing thick winter gloves.

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