Have you ever wondered how you would carry your gear while skiing? Maybe you simply need a place to store an extra pair of gloves, some snacks, and a heavier jacket, or perhaps you need a way to store an avalanche airbag system for a backcountry trip. For every type of ski trip, whether it is a day in the chutes, a backcountry adventure, or a day at the resort, finding the best ski backpack can make a difference. But how do you know what’s the best ski backpacks for you?

Here, at The Adventure Junkies, we want to help you narrow down your choices when selecting the best ski backpacks. We’ll break down the features that you should consider, explain why those features are important—depending on the type of skiing you will do—and review a range of ski backpacks to help you find the best one for you.

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QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST SKI BACKPACKS

  1. Black Diamond Halo 28
  2. Black Diamond Saga 40
  3. Deuter Freerider Pro 30
  4. Ortovox Tour 32 + 7 ABS Pack
  5. Mammut Ride R.A.S. Pack
  6. Backcountry Access Float 32
  7. Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32
  8. Salomon Quest 30
  9. Osprey Kamber 42
  10. Dakine Heli-Pro

 

 

 

SKI BACKPACKS REVIEWS

BLACK DIAMOND HALO 28

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiing in the side or backcountry

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

GEAR CAPACITY: 28 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: None

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: JetForce Technology used, jet fan and rechargeable lithium batteries to inflate airbag, can practice deploying airbag because system is reusable, plane ready because system does not use compressed air, puncture resistant airbag.

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal ski-carry systems

PROS: Helmet holder, avalanche tool pocket, TSA friendly, plane ready

CONS: Heavy (7 lbs. 8 oz.), back panel access is not great, nylon-not microfiber-goggle pocket, pricy

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND SAGA 40

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Overnight hut trips

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

GEAR CAPACITY: 40 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: None

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: Float airbag system deployed via compressed air cylinder, left or right trigger mount

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal ski-carry system

PROS: Lightweight, great value for an airbag pack, integration for BC Link radios, fleece goggle pocket, helmet sling, shovel and probe sleeves, unisex only but two sizes for different body types (small/medium and medium/large)

CONS: One size only, small safety gear pocket

 

 

 

DEUTER FREERIDER PRO 30

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Skiing in the side or backcountry

WOMEN’S VERSION: DEUTER FREERIDER PRO 28 SL 

GEAR CAPACITY: 30 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: Hydration system compatible

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: None

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Vertical (center or sides) and diagonal ski-carry systems

PROS: Helmet holder, avalanche gear storage and goggle pocket, sitting mat, strong zippers

CONS: Pack sits flat against the back so not great for bulky items

 

 

 

 

ORTOVOX TOUR 32 +7 ABS PACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Overall all-mountain use

WOMEN’S VERSION: Ortovox Tour 30 + 7 ABS Pack(https://www.amazon.com/Ortovox-Tour-30-ABS-Pack/dp/B00FKN1GHS)

GEAR CAPACITY: Gear capacity of 32 liters but can add another 7 liters with expandable zippered pocket

HYDRATION SYSTEM: Insulated hydration system compatible

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: Modular Airbag Safety System, easily accessible release handle with right and left handed options, includes removable air cylinder

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal and cross ski-carry options

PROS: Contains hip belt locks and leg straps for additional avalanche protection, helmet net, compartments for maps, skins, electronics, goggles, loops for axe or poles, frameless, supportive

CONS: Not travel friendly because of steel cylinders, pricy, heavy

 

 

 

MAMMUT RIDE R.A.S. PACK

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Overall all-mountain use

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

GEAR CAPACITY: 30 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: Hydration system compatible

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: Removable airbag system with refillable cartridge sold separately

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal and A-frame ski-carry options

PROS: Helmet compartment, axe loop; avalanche gear pocket, ergonomic shoulder straps, fleece-line goggle compartment, TSA friendly so you can fly with empty air canister and refill canister at destination

CONS: No waist belt pockets, airbag system takes up space

 

 

 

BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS FLOAT 32

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Overall all-mountain use

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

GEAR CAPACITY: 32 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: None

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: Float airbag system deployed via compressed air cylinder, left or right trigger mount

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal ski-carry system

PROS: Lightweight, great value for an airbag pack, integration for BC Link radios, fleece goggle pocket, helmet sling, shovel and probe sleeves

CONS: One size only, small safety gear pocket

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND DAWN PATROL 32

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Overall all-mountain use

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

GEAR CAPACITY: 32 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: Insulated hydration system compatible

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: AvaLung ready

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal and A-frame ski-carry options

PROS: Comfortable for all day skiing, helmet compartment, axe loop, avalanche gear pocket, great value, unisex only but two sizes for different body types (small/medium and medium/large)

CONS: Avalanche safety pocket takes up too much room

 

 

 

SALOMON QUEST 30

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backcountry and side country use

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

GEAR CAPACITY: 30 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: Hydration system compatible, will hold a 2-liter reservoir

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: None

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal and vertical ski-carry systems

PROS: Great price, contoured shoulder straps, helmet holder, avalanche tool pocket, axe loop, fleece goggle compartment, adjustable hip belt with wide buckle,

CONS: None could be found

 

 

 

OSPREY KAMBER 42

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Overnight hut trips

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

GEAR CAPACITY: 42 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: Insulated hydration system compatible

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: None

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal and A-frame ski-carry systems

PROS: Helmet pouch, avalanche gear storage and goggle pocket, axe loops, dry pocket access, removable top pocket, great value, unisex only but two sizes for different body types (small/medium and medium large)

CONS: Slightly heavy

 

 

 

DAKINE HELI-PRO

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Sidecountry or chairlift accessible skiing

WOMEN’S VERSION: Dakine Women’s Heli Pro Pack

GEAR CAPACITY: 20 liters

HYDRATION SYSTEM: Hydration system compatible

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM: None

SKI-CARRY OPTIONS: Diagonal ski-carry

PROS: Fleece lined goggle pocket, avalanche whistle, durable, easy to attach helmet and poles, lightweight (1.8 pounds)

CONS: Needs deeper pockets

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST SKI BACKPACKS

PICTURE
SKI BACKPACK
BEST USE
GEAR CAPACITY
HYDRATION SYSTEM
AIRBAG SYSTEM
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
SKI BACKPACK
BEST USE
GEAR CAPACITY
HYDRATION SYSTEM
AIRBAG SYSTEM
PRICE
RATING
Black Diamond Halo 28
Side or backcountry
28 liters
No
Yes
$$$
4.2
Black Diamond Saga 40
Side or backcountry
40 liters
Yes
Yes
$$$
4.8
Deuter Freerider Pro 30
Side or backcountry
30 liters
Yes
No
$
4.3
Ortovox Tour 32 + 7 ABS Pack
Overall
32 liters + 7 additional
Yes
Yes
$$
4
Mammut Ride R.A.S. Pack
Overall
30 liters
Yes
Yes
$$
4.5
Backcountry Access Float 32
Overall
32 liter
No
Yes
$$
5
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32
Overall
32 liter
Yes
Yes
$
5
Salomon Quest 30
Budget
30 liters
Yes
No
$
5
Osprey Kamber 42
Budget
42 liters
Yes
No
$
5
Dakine Heli-Pro
Budget
20 liters
Yes
No
$
4

 

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SKI BACKPACKS

GEAR CAPACITY

Gear capacity is a great way to narrow down your options when selecting the best ski backpack. In most cases, it goes hand-in-hand with the type of skiing you will do. There are three major categories that gear capacity can fall under.

 

LARGE GEAR CAPACITY (35-55 LITERS)

These ski backpacks are often used for overnight hut trips because of their abundance of room. Expect a heavier bag, but more features and room.

 

MEDIUM GEAR CAPACITY (20-35 LITERS)

Ski backpacks with medium gear capacity are ideal for single-day skiing in the backcountry.

 

LOW GEAR CAPACITY (20 LITERS OR LESS)

These small ski backpacks are perfect for trips into the side country that are served by chairlifts, helicopter, or snowcats. Some can be used for resort skiing, simply storing extra gloves and a snack.

 

GENDER-SPECIFIC OR UNISEX-ONLY OPTIONS

Depending on your body shape, a gender-specific ski backpack may be necessary. Typically, women’s ski backpacks have shoulder straps that are closer together and form an s-shape. The hip belts may be contoured for a woman’s body more so than for their male-specific counterparts. Some ski backpacks only have unisex options available, which may work fine for many body types. Plus, some of those unisex skiing backpacks offer two sizes (small/medium and medium/large) instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

 

HYDRATION SYSTEM INCLUDED OR COMPATIBLE

Dehydration is one of the most dangerous things that skiers will face. In fact, researcher Dr. John Seifert has reported that—every hour— a minimum of twelve ounces of water or sports drink should be consumed while skiing. There are three different hydration system options for ski backpacks. The ski backpack hydration system can include the reservoir/bladder, or it can be compatible for a reservoir/bladder. In addition, some ski backpacks have insulated sleeves to prevent the water from freezing in the tube. Not all skiing backpacks contain a hydration system.

 

AVALANCHE AIRBAG SYSTEM

The primary pieces of equipment for backcountry skiing is the avalanche beacon and the helmet. However, some people prefer to add additional safety measures, such as an avalanche airbag system. In fact, the American Avalanche Association’s journal, The Avalanche Review, reported in October 2014 that 36 out of every 100 skiers who were killed in an avalanche would have survived if they had an avalanche airbag system.

While not all skiing backpacks come equipped with an avalanche airbag system, many are. There are four different types of avalanche airbag systems: sealed nitrogen cylinders, atmospheric air cylinders (refillable), CO2 cylinders (disposable), rechargeable lithium battery systems that operate a jet fan. While some (the lithium battery system) are travel friendly, others are not. There is also a system called the AvaLung, which basically allows a skier caught in an avalanche to breathe residual air from within the pockets of their clothes.

 

SKI-CARRY SYSTEM

Skis may be attached to skiing backpacks if you need to hike up and ski down. Depending on if there are deployable air bags, skis may be attached vertically, diagonally, or as an A-frame.

 

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Expect a good ski backpack to have some additional features. While some features are key for skiing the backcountry, others are nice to have when skiing in areas accessible via chairlift. These features can include easy zipper access, helmet attachment (loop, sling, or clip), axe loop, avalanche gear tool pouch, extra avalanche protection, and google pouch (preferably fleece-lined).

Top 10 Best Ski Backpacks – Best Ski Gear - Skiing Tips for Beginners -  Skiing Clothes For Women, Men and Kids
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