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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    What Day Pack Do I Want? (non airbag)

    I need a new pack for day tours. Don't need an airbag. Pack will be used for single day tours, and also some lift accessed side country (that often requires putting skis on the pack).

    Criteria:

    -30-35 Liters
    -good diagonal ski carry (so skis can be on the pack in 30 seconds without a bunch of fiddle-fucking around)
    -good helmet carry (that still works well when skis are mounted diagonally)
    -more concerned with having burly material that won't abrade / wear through than having a lightweight pack
    -simple is better. The more straps and weird buckles that're attached to the pack, the more skeptical I am.
    -avy tools compartment that's easy to get at, and is tall enough that long-ish shovel handles and probes aren't sticking out the zipper
    -multiple avenues of access into the main compartment is a plus, but not a necessity
    -obviously it should carry well

    Current front runner is a BCA Stash 30. It fits my criteria pretty well, but I haven't been super impressed by the quality of BCA packs I've had in the past. Anything else I should be looking at?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Golden, CO
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    1,814
    Poacher?
    Fits most everything, except the helmet carry + diagonal ski carry, maybe.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    18,455
    I go 40 on a day pack cuz a larger pack carries skis better, fits everything and you can always leave shit out if you want

    I use a Rab helmet holder to keep the helmet outside

    its important to try on a pack

    of buy one on line and sell it cuz you don't like
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Your Mom's House
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    6,454
    Quote Originally Posted by N1CK. View Post
    Poacher?
    Fits most everything, except the helmet carry + diagonal ski carry, maybe.
    I agree with this, I just got the Poacher 36L airbag which I believe is the same thing as the 32L non-airbag Poacher. It's really nice. Helmet carry and diagonal carry don't work at the same time, and upper diagonal strap is just a touch more fiddly than it probably should be but otherwise it hits all of your bullets.

    Helmet carry with diagonal ski carry at the same time is tough to find, pretty much means the helmet carry needs to be on top rather than on the backpanel. Only one off the top of my head is the Osprey Kamber 32. I hated previous Osprey ski packs, way too complicated, but the Kamber series looks pretty nice. Worth fondling.

    I think BCA packs carry like shit. YMMV.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Salomon X-alp 30 fits most of the criteria except it doesn't have a dedicated tool compartment, just a sleeve I use for proble & shovel handle.
    It's burly, the diagonal carry is fast to setup and works well, and the reinforced crampon pouch I thought was a gimmick is nice, it either takes crampons + ski crampons or wet skins that I want to keep away form the dry stuff in the main compartment. Zipper access from the top or through the back panel. No experience with the helmet carry though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    I go 40 on a day pack cuz a larger pack carries skis better, fits everything and you can always leave shit out if you want

    I use a Rab helmet holder to keep the helmet outside

    its important to try on a pack

    of buy one on line and sell it cuz you don't like
    Yeah, if a 40L option fit the bill perfectly, I'd be fine with it. Only reason I try to keep it a little smaller is for lift bumps - just a bit easier to wrangle a smaller pack when on a chair with 3 random tourists.

    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    I agree with this, I just got the Poacher 36L airbag which I believe is the same thing as the 32L non-airbag Poacher. It's really nice. Helmet carry and diagonal carry don't work at the same time, and upper diagonal strap is just a touch more fiddly than it probably should be but otherwise it hits all of your bullets.

    Helmet carry with diagonal ski carry at the same time is tough to find, pretty much means the helmet carry needs to be on top rather than on the backpanel. Only one off the top of my head is the Osprey Kamber 32. I hated previous Osprey ski packs, way too complicated, but the Kamber series looks pretty nice. Worth fondling.

    I think BCA packs carry like shit. YMMV.
    Right on. I'll add the Poacher to my "to check out" list.

    And agreed on the Osprey packs. I'm replacing a Kode 32, which is like 70% of what I want on most criteria. But every possible element of the pack is twice as complicated as it needs to be, which makes me hate it. I should probably look at the Kamber though.

    I like the general layout / features of the BCA. I just wish someone would make a nicer version of it with a better harness and materials that last more than a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boissal View Post
    Salomon X-alp 30 fits most of the criteria except it doesn't have a dedicated tool compartment, just a sleeve I use for proble & shovel handle.
    It's burly, the diagonal carry is fast to setup and works well, and the reinforced crampon pouch I thought was a gimmick is nice, it either takes crampons + ski crampons or wet skins that I want to keep away form the dry stuff in the main compartment. Zipper access from the top or through the back panel. No experience with the helmet carry though.
    Looks like a nice pack, but doesn't look to have any helmet carry options. I'm sure I could rig something up, but something that's clean and integrated is preferred (since I have a helmet strapped to the pack almost any time I'm skinning).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Looks like a nice pack, but doesn't look to have any helmet carry options. I'm sure I could rig something up, but something that's clean and integrated is preferred (since I have a helmet strapped to the pack almost any time I'm skinning).
    I think you could adapt the BCA helmet carry system to the pack but it would probably conflict with the skis once they're on the pack. I've actually latched a helmet on the top of that pack a couple of times last season when I was going to ski steep stuff and it worked well with a low profile climbing helmet, might not be as good with a ski helmet.
    Standard advice would be to wear your lid at all times since you could get nailed on the head while going up... but I can't imagine skinning more than 2 minutes with a helmet on.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    531
    I really like my alpha sk 32 from last season. Checks all your boxes except maybe the helmet carry doesnít work great if the pack is super full. But price is the main drawback.

    A couple friends have the kamber (one of both sizes) and really like them too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    SLC
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    4,485
    Quote Originally Posted by Boissal View Post
    Salomon X-alp 30 fits most of the criteria except it doesn't have a dedicated tool compartment, just a sleeve I use for proble & shovel handle.
    It's burly, the diagonal carry is fast to setup and works well, and the reinforced crampon pouch I thought was a gimmick is nice, it either takes crampons + ski crampons or wet skins that I want to keep away form the dry stuff in the main compartment. Zipper access from the top or through the back panel. No experience with the helmet carry though.
    is the diagonal carry via a hook or self-attaching skimo style thing where you can use it without taking the pack off? I finally destroyed my GT pack and am back in the market...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Driggs
    Posts
    90
    The old Thule Upslope 35L fit all of those criteria perfectly except for simultaneous diagonal carry and helmet. Best day touring pack I've ever owned, well thought out and super bomber. It got changed this year, but it doesn't look like the changes made it any worse, and now there's more size options. I've never had a pack that size, with that much capacity, that felt so small an out of the way on my back. Only reason I'm not using it now is I got an airbag so the lady friend got dibs on it.

  11. #11
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    Jan 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    is the diagonal carry via a hook or self-attaching skimo style thing where you can use it without taking the pack off? I finally destroyed my GT pack and am back in the market...
    I'm sure smart people can make it work without taking the pack off as it's a hook-based design, albeit a very small hook that I latch on the pack strap. You've seen me transition though, speed isn't really my thing so the pack goes on the ground for skit attachment. If you want to take a look I can bring you the pack at some point...

  12. #12
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    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    Quote Originally Posted by cydwhit View Post
    The old Thule Upslope 35L fit all of those criteria perfectly except for simultaneous diagonal carry and helmet. Best day touring pack I've ever owned, well thought out and super bomber. It got changed this year, but it doesn't look like the changes made it any worse, and now there's more size options. I've never had a pack that size, with that much capacity, that felt so small an out of the way on my back. Only reason I'm not using it now is I got an airbag so the lady friend got dibs on it.
    Good call. That looks like a good option, although the new version appears to be airbag compatible. I'd need to see if the airbag fittings got in the way of the functionality of the pack for non-airbag use.

    But I played with some of their bike packs at the trade show. Nice stuff. Although fuck me sideways, they don't come cheap.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    842
    Quote Originally Posted by jorion View Post
    I really like my alpha sk 32 from last season. Checks all your boxes except maybe the helmet carry doesnít work great if the pack is super full. But price is the main drawback.
    Same here. Was the best drunk purchase of last season - only way to spend that much on goddamned ski pack without an airbag

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    96
    Wookey Sundog or Shovel pack if 30L isn't actually important..
    Wary Avi pack, but it has an airbag (actually designed by the Wookey design studio)
    Mystery Ranch Saddle peak... close to 30L, but super slim for easier rides on a lift for slack-country..

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
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    1,020
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Looks like a nice pack, but doesn't look to have any helmet carry options. I'm sure I could rig something up, but something that's clean and integrated is preferred (since I have a helmet strapped to the pack almost any time I'm skinning).
    I used this pack for spring touring the last 2yrs or so. At moderate capacity, it was the most comfortable pack I've ever owned. Less so at full capacity. I usually rigged my helmet by attaching the straps to the ice axe bungee loops. A bit fiddly but secure - probably not a good option for multiple transitions (winter touring) but good for more objective-based outings. No separate avy tool compartment either.

    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Good call. That looks like a good option, although the new version appears to be airbag compatible. I'd need to see if the airbag fittings got in the way of the functionality of the pack for non-airbag use.

    But I played with some of their bike packs at the trade show. Nice stuff. Although fuck me sideways, they don't come cheap.
    I launched the X-Alp out of my roof box a few months back and have been looking for a good replacement. The Thule is near the top of my list.

    Check out the Mammut Spindrift for similar build (26L version) w/o airbag. More affordable as well.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExPowderSnob View Post
    Wookey Sundog or Shovel pack if 30L isn't actually important..
    Wary Avi pack, but it has an airbag (actually designed by the Wookey design studio)
    Mystery Ranch Saddle peak... close to 30L, but super slim for easier rides on a lift for slack-country..
    Does Wookey still make packs? Doesn't seem like it. Wife has a Wary Avi pack that's pretty sweet. Something similar minus the airbag would be great.

    Looked at the mystery ranch stuff. Nice packs, but they're all just slightly not what I want, for one reason or another.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    1,180
    I'd say get your hands on the Kamber and check it out. It's simpler than the old ski pack we have by them - forget the model name.

    But I'm an Osprey fanboy. We own tons of their bags. Best warranty service I've ever experienced. Most recently my kid bought a Nebula, managed to tear out a little portion of the liner seam, and when we contacted them about it they had us send it back and they sent him a brand new pack within a week. They've done that kind of thing over and over. They've even sent free bite valves for their bike packs.

    If I can convince myself an Osprey will work, that's what I buy.
    Last edited by beece; 12-02-2019 at 07:01 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    201
    Gregory Targhee 32. Goes a-frame or diagonal ski carry. Separate well organized avy tool pouch. Very roomy google/sunglass top compartment. I researched the same looking for 32 L pack last year. Also comes in a L=long size if your tall. I'm a little passed I just looked and they are on sale $75 less than a year ago...of course.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Aloft
    Posts
    3,387
    I am in the same boat. Finally replacing a BD covert avalung that I hate. Rolling the dice and went with the Ortovox Haute Route 32. It was between that and the Deuter freeride pro as they are pretty cheap with activejunky cash back on backcounty.com. Both of those seemed to have checked all my boxes.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    No longer somewhere in Idaho
    Posts
    967
    Can anyone comment on the Patagonia Descensionist? Iím looking hard at the 40l version. Mostly same criteria, plus some minir ski mountaineering stuff.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Gravity always wins...

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Ogden
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    5,649
    Quote Originally Posted by riff View Post
    Can anyone comment on the Patagonia Descensionist? Iím looking hard at the 40l version. Mostly same criteria, plus some minir ski mountaineering stuff.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I used one for half of last season. I really like it, intuitive and not a lot of bells and whistles that I donít need. But I would put it on the lightweight spectrum and not in the burly category. Love the lid/closure system, simplicity.

    The photo below is a close up of some small picks where my binding rubbed in diagonal carry, doesnít look like itís in danger of tearing through, but not burly. Iíll probably just sew a patch of keprotec or something there eventually.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    394
    Arcteryx Khamski should be considered, simple, light, bomber and efficient. Love mine.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
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    Went and fondled the Osprey stuff and the Patagonia Descenonist tonight. Osprey Kamber 22 looks like they fixed a lot of the things that I hate about my old Kode. Unfortunately the Kamber 32 doesn't have most of those fixes. The Patagonia has a cool top closure, but otherwise I'm not a fan. The diagonal carry looks not great (bottom loop isn't adjustable, and doesn't look like it'd fit fat skis), it doesn't have a helmet carrying system, the avy tool compartment doesn't have any real organization (except drawstrings, which seem guaranteed to get tangled with your probe when you're trying to be quick), and overall the material seems like it wouldn't hold up all that well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Pabst View Post
    Gregory Targhee 32. Goes a-frame or diagonal ski carry. Separate well organized avy tool pouch. Very roomy google/sunglass top compartment. I researched the same looking for 32 L pack last year. Also comes in a L=long size if your tall. I'm a little passed I just looked and they are on sale $75 less than a year ago...of course.
    That looks like a nice pack. Doesn't appear to handle helmet + diagonal skis at the same time, but other than that, I like the look of it a lot. I think that and the Thule might be at the top of my list.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    29
    Check out the Mammut Nirvana Flip. On the smaller end at 25L but checks most of the other boxes. I have been using for a number of years and love it.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    SW, CO for now
    Posts
    562
    Had this debate last season as my Osprey Kode from years ago finally bit the dust and I hated that pack anyways. I ended up going with the BD Cirque 35 since I got a discount with my job last winter.

    The Cirque is a great pack. Easy to use, light, durable and the side access zipper is super clutch. Great ski carry in both diagonal and A-frame, also carries ice tools securely if you're into that sort of thing.

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