The two most common, not to mention useful, features include dedicated compartments for avalanche safety gear, and special attachment systems for skis … What we don’t: Very pricey. There are lighter canister-powered airbags and more affordable packs (the BCA Access Float 2.0 below comes in $180 less), but the Light Protection 3.0 puts it together better than most. But as an affordable electric alternative (relatively speaking) that’s only $170 more than the Mammut Light Protection above, the Scott Patrol E1 is a nice option that’s well-loved by many.See the Scott Patrol E1 30. Day Touring 15 oz.What we like: All you need for the resort and nothing that you don’t.What we don’t: Capacity is limited for true backcountry travel. For example, there are no external straps for ice tools, ski crampons, or a helmet—often necessary tools for skiing big lines. As a result, it’s over a pound lighter, far more affordable, and easy to maintain (with no complex wiring). Backcountry Touring is skiing and riding away from ski resorts. For a closer look at the market, see our article on the best avalanche airbag packs. Best For: Overall. What do you sacrifice with this trimmed-down model? From small packs designed for lift-access skiing to behemoths built for serious backcountry use, we found the best ski backpacks for every budget. Designed for chasing fresh lines beyond the boundaries, the Mission Pro 25L is a dedicated backcountry … 13.5 oz.What we like: Durable, comfortable, and fully featured; long side zip for secondary access to the main compartment.What we don’t: Heavier than the Black Diamond Cirque and no helmet carry. The backpacks listed here are either unisex or men’s-specific models, but many manufacturers make ski backpacks in a women’s version as well (when applicable, the women’s model will be linked directly below the pack's write-up). The rest of the design is equally ski-ready with glove-friendly zipper pulls, an interior compartment for snacks or rescue tools, and external ski straps for carrying skis (although we wouldn’t recommend using these over long distances due to the pack’s small and lightweight build). Airbag System: Yes. As the name indicates, the Lite is an ultralight take on Deuter’s Freerider series, and stands out with a competitive $130 price, low 1-pound 13.6-ounce weight, and women’s-specific “SL” version (the Patagonia SnowDrifter and Black Diamond Dawn Patrol above are only made in unisex styles). And the airbag offers a little less coverage than the PAS system on Mammut’s Light Protection above. All told, airbags are a great safety tool that allow skiers more peace of mind when traveling in avalanche terrain. 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. Further, Mammut’s Protection Airbag System (PAS)—unlike most other airbags—expands around the head and neck and over the shoulders to cradle your upper body. Size-wise, 42 liters is great for technical days or short overnights, but it can feel a bit ungainly when skiing downhill (resort-goers and heli or cat skiers may prefer the smaller 26-liter model). And finally, the Lite’s 100-denier pack body is notably thin for use around chairlifts or sharp ski equipment (the SnowDrifter above features a more durable 420D nylon). If you’re willing to shoulder a bit more weight, the Gregory Targhee is one of the most comfortable and fully featured options on this list. In the end, we prefer an airbag for its ease of use and proven performance. 5 oz.What we like: Compact enough for resort skiing but with enough space for avalanche gear.What we don’t: Too small for full-day tours; limited size adjustments. Additionally, the rectangular shape of the airbag behind the head—as opposed to the Mammut’s full coverage around the head, neck, and shoulders—offers less comprehensive protection during a slide. The Pro 34+ in particular stands out for its all-around nature, and it received a noteworthy update for fall 2020 that gives it 10 liters of expandable capacity via a roll-top closure. The Pro 34+ clocks in a bit heavier than other lightweight ski mountaineering packs here, but the extra ounces could be worth it for the expandable design and Deuter’s reliable comfort and fit. The pack now features helmet-carry capability, and the wider, more supportive hipbelt is built with a pocket on each side for easy access to your phone or snacks. And the SnowDrifter nails the rest of the details, including glove-friendly pull tabs and durable zippers, supple mesh padding on the shoulder straps, backpanel, and waistbelt, and a second external pocket that is great for items like goggles or sunglasses (unfortunately this pocket is no longer fleece-lined). ... Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest 40L Backpack. The 45-liter capacity with removeable lid also gives you a bit more room for customization, making it a versatile choice for those looking for a quiver-of-one pack. In addition, the Dakine is rather heavy for its capacity at over 4 pounds, although that does include a mix of burly 500- and 840-denier nylon on the pack body, the extra rolltop closure for the airbag, and the intuitive storage layout mentioned above. Women’s packs can differ in both shape (namely of the suspension system) and capacity, and often vary in colorway as well. For more information, see our ski backpack comparison table and buying advice below the picks. But you do get more durable fabrics (420D compared to the Cirque’s 210D), a much more useful side zip, and better overall carry (and snowboard compatibility too). 1.6 oz.What we like: Quality day-touring pack with the option to add an airbag system.What we don’t: Heavy and fairly expensive. It’s worth noting that Osprey has also released an airbag variation of the Soelden, the Pro 32, which includes the same Alpride E1 system as the Scott Patrol above. Why is this? One way that ski packs stand out from standard hiking daypacks or climbing packs is in their access to the main compartment. But for the ultimate in comfort and convenience when you need to carry more than an average day’s worth of supplies, the Gregory Targhee 45 should be on your short list.See the Gregory Targhee 45. And it’s worth noting that standard packs generally feature some variety of compression straps or ski-carry straps, which can be used to carry gear externally in a pinch. 14.1 oz. at a Glance: Storage Capacity: 25L. Sure any old backpack would do, but today's backcountry skiing packs have dedicated avlanche tool … Mammut was one of the first companies to develop an airbag-equipped ski pack, so it comes as little surprise that their Light Protection Airbag 3.0 is among the most well-respected designs on the market. But how do you know which is the best ski backpacks for you? 10 oz.What we like: Simple, easy-to-use design and functional organization.What we don’t: Unable to accommodate oversized loads. Category: Day touringCapacities: 18, 26, 32, 36LWeight: 4 lbs. Like the Mammut Light Protection and Ortovox Ascent above, the Backcountry Access (BCA) Float 32 2.0 is a canister-powered airbag pack. We find that unisex backpacks work for most females relatively well, but for the closest fit, we recommend that women look at women’s-specific packs.Back to Our Top Ski Backpack Picks Back to Our Ski Backpack Comparison Table. We love the Cirque’s low weight and streamlined build, but those looking for more features or a plusher suspension will be better served by packs like the Patagonia Descensionist or Gregory Targhee below. Compared to canister airbags, an electric airbag is more convenient and doesn’t require you to refill your canister each time you pull the trigger (great for practice deployment). Additionally, airbags provide a barrier around the head and neck to guard against obstacles like rocks and trees. Skis may be attached to skiing backpacks if you need to hike up and ski down. To account for the added gear and technicality, ski mountaineering packs offer a bump in performance in more streamlined packages to shave crucial weight. 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