Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide feature from FREESKIER. Here’s a close-up look at the best ski packs and ski touring backpacks of 2020. Can’t get enough gear? Click here to explore the entire 2020 Buyer’s Guide.
Mammut Pro X Removable Airbag
(Airbag cartridge sold separately, $199.95)
Equipped with Mammut’s lightest airbag system, the Pro X can be relied upon for short or long backcountry trips without too much added bulk on your back. The 35-liter bag’s fabric is made from recycled material, offers back panel access to your goods along with an ultra-fortified top goggle compartment—no scratched or cracked lenses here. As with all of Mammut’s airbag packs, a between-the-legs harness—playfully coined the “thong” in the FREESKIER office—helps keep the pack stabilized should you deploy the airbag.
Dakine Team Poacher RAS 26L Grateful Dead
Indisputably the most psychedelic product in this Buyer’s Guide, the Dakine, Chris Benchetler and Grateful Dead collab is the clear choice for backcountry skiers who wear scarlet begonias tucked into their curls. In addition to the incredible graphic nods to the Dead, the pack is compatible with the Mammut Removable Airbag System 3.0, features multiple ski-carry options, a back panel access, quick-draw ice axe loop, helmet carry and molded back panel with a padded hip-belt, ensuring you’ll be knocking on the golden door of deep backcountry snow safely, comfortably and with ease.
Eddie Bauer Alpine Sisu 50L
The all-new Alpine Sisu is a top-notch hut trip or multi-day backcountry pack. It sports a 50-liter storage capacity, as well as a compression-molded back panel that’s incredibly comfortable for taking big loads deep into the wilderness. The back panel also features a center zip that allows quick access to the pack’s contents, making it incredibly easy to find what you’ve packed away. An exterior tool pocket keeps your shovel and probe away from your other overnight items, and side compression straps help to cinch it all down for a compact load. We recommend the Sisu for your next big trek away from civilization.
Osprey Kamber ABS Compatible 22 + 10
This airbag-compatible pack from Osprey can be relied upon all season long, no matter what kind of terrain you plan on exploring. The ABS Vario airbag system provides added protection during wild mid-winter conditions, but is also removable, which will shed some weight if you plan on skiing a stable spring snowpack. An external expansion zipper can also provide 10 additional liters of main compartment capacity, should you need more space for an extra layer, camera gear or a six pack of cold ones. The padded EVA hip-belt and ergonomically designed suspension system also provide unreal freedom of movement, for improved comfort and efficiency when touring, ensuring your shoulders and back don’t give out before you reach that dream line.
Backcountry Access Float 22
(compressed air cylinder sold separately, $199.95)
With a 22-liter volume, the Float 22 is an ideal airbag pack option for hot laps in the backcountry or quick trips out of the resort gates. Even with the airbag inside, there’s plenty of room for water, snacks and an extra layer, while its dedicated safety tool pocket comfortably houses a shovel and probe. The main compartment also features a dedicated loop to clip a Backcountry Access (BCA) BC Link Radio base unit, while the mic can be attached to the pack strap opposite the one housing the airbag trigger. BCA air cylinders can also be refilled at any of the many authorized refill stations, taking the stress out of traveling with your bag.
Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag
The Cross Rider 18 AVABAG is built for those who live by the “light and fast” mantra, but still want the added security of airbag capabilities. Even with an 18-liter capacity, there’s still enough room for snacks, water and an ultra-packable extra layer, while dedicated tool straps ensure you can fit your shovel and probe. On the exterior, a diagonal ski carry, ice axe loops and helmet carry system aid you in tackling any objective, whether that’s quick mountain pass lap or ski mountaineering on the highest peaks.