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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    2,543

    Your Everyday Touring Pack

    What are folks using for their day-in, day-out every day touring pack?

    15-40L size. Either analog or e-...I mean airbag pack. Recs needed!

    Use will be single-day tours, dawn patrol, half-day, up to full-day. Infrequent resort/sidecountry use (10%); 90% foot-powered touring. Skiing in the California Sierra Nevada, generally with extra stuff (space blanket, first aid, repair kit, etc.).

    Looking at:
    Black Diamond Cirque 22 vest - vest-style. Really light. Never skied with a vest-pack.
    Mammut Spindrift 26 - almost a vest, but with hip-hugging-hippockets. Cool design - never used a pack like this.
    Patagonia Descensionist 32 - standard, simple, spartan. Familiar.
    Black Diamond Jetforce Pro 25 - if I want to break the piggybank and float above rivers of molten snow.

    What else should I be looking at?

    Do the vests ski like crap, or are they Ullr's gift from touring heaven?

    How about that Spindrift, with the skin pockets and wrap-around hip belt? Looks rad - xcept the Euro white colorway.

    Is that Jetforce the best e-pack around?

    Need:
    - Everyday touring pack to use all year long.
    - Back panel or similar access to main compartment
    - Separate avy gear pocket

    Want:
    - Chest-mounted water carry possibilities
    - One of those balloon things, maybe.

    I have been using my Gregory Targhee 48 as a daily driver. It's too big and overkill, but carries everything well. I've used it for up to 5 day trips.
    I also have an aging BCA Float 32. It's pretty solid, but a pain to travel with and too big for resort/sidecountry use.
    And an ancient Black Diamond Stealth 35

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    5,129
    For the last 4 years I've been in a 40L patagonia pack. It's felt pretty good most of the time. It's big but lightweight and compresses down so it never felt like overkill really. Details on it and what I pack most days here: https://imgur.com/gallery/XKzFXBR

    This year I'm going to start carrying an airbag for the first time any day it isn't super mellow. I opted for the Scott E1 system and have both the 30L (thanks proform) and the 40L (thank SpyderJon!). I plan to use the 30L for most of the year -- when I need it for patrol, most day touring trips, side country etc. Plan to use the 40L for when I'm in a hut for a week/Lvl 2, and for spring when I need extra space for ski/boot cramps etc. If I was buying just one, the 40L is pretty clearly the superior bag with more space, a hip pocket, gear loop, padded waist band, and a superior avy storage solution. Hoping that I can get 6-7 years out of this system/packs.

    I chose the E1 system over the Black Diamond because the ability to quickly swap in extra AAs for more charges, and the supercapacitors resistance to power loss due to cold, and weight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    506
    I have a ski pack addiction. Here's a list of various selects I have tried over the past few years.

    Black Diamond Cirque 35:
    Checks all of your boxes except the balloon thingy. Lightest weight of the bunch. Was my workhorse pack last year and will be this year.

    Black Diamond Cirque 22 vest:
    Neat, but found ski carry lacking and would overheat with the chest straps. Did carry well without skis however. I struggled to actually fit a probe and shovel handle in the small size.

    Deuter Freerider 26:
    Couldn't fit a normal length probe in it...

    Blue Ice Yagi 25L:
    My current inbounds/short tour pack. Would not hesitate to recommend anything in the blue ice product line that looks interesting to you.

    MHW Snoskiwoski 40L:
    New for this year, I am very excited to try it out. Was looking for a framed pack to carry a bit heavier loads than the cirque does.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Maine Coast
    Posts
    3,542
    Gregory targhee 26. Carries everything I need. I have a abs airbag, but would look at a Scott pack today.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    NW WA
    Posts
    261
    Near the top of my priority list is that the pack fits comfortably - my Osprey Kamber 30 does well in that regard, and meets your "need" requirements. Your torso isn't mine though, but I think going into a shop, throwing a bunch of weight into some packs, and seeing how they carry would be a good place to start.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,741
    The new TNF Snowmad 23/35/45 looks pretty dope. As does the MH Powabunga 32.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Truckee & Sonoma
    Posts
    13,417
    I use the Black Diamond 32L one - not sure what it's called but they're really popular for a good reason. I'd rather error on the side of having a little extra space than too little.

    So... take this with a grain of salt because it was the first year they came out, but I do not trust the electric airbags. Deployed mine once or twice as a test and then couldn't get it to work after that, then returned it. All of the various AK heli outfits won't use them either, at least to date, from my personal experience and from what I've heard elsewhere. Hopefully they've improved?

    Edit: this is the one, and I'd buy it again: https://www.backcountry.com/black-di...pack-1953cu-in
    I ski 135 degree chutes switch to the road.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    laus'angeles
    Posts
    292
    I've been using a 25l mystery ranch fuze inbounds and out for going on 10 years.
    It has the MR futra frame, which seems a bit overkill for a pack this size but carries very nice.

    Only problem is when the beaver tail and yoke get stuffed with snow after a tumble in pow.

    Sent from my M2101K6G using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    829
    Add the Gregory Targhee to your list. 35L. Slightly heavier than average but fully loaded with useful stuff like 3 different carry modes, quick access avy panel, dividers, helmet carry, etc

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    847
    I have a BCA 32L but it has an airbag so probably close to a 25L. Maybe it's because I'm a larger guy, but the "backbone" of the pack just feels like a noodle. Sounds like Charlie's rec of the MR Fuse would be up my alley but nothing comes up when I google it, looks like the saddle peak might be the replacement? Anyone have recs for a ~30L pack with more a more substantial "backbone"/frame?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    11,185
    I switch back and forth between a Gregory Targhee 32 and a Thule Upslope 35.

    Gregory Targhee 32:
    Pros:
    -Well made
    -Carries well, at least on my body
    -Tall enough that avy tools fit inside without fussing

    Cons:
    -helmet carry doesn't work with diagonal ski carry (I like that configuration for short sidecountry boot packs, which I do a lot of)
    -Tall pack means it's right behind your head, which is occasionally annoying.
    -If it was a smidge bigger, I wouldn't complain

    Thule Upslope 35:
    Pros:
    -The wing pockets are awesome. Super useful, easy access without removing the pack. Big enough to fit a water bottle in one side and skins in the other.
    -Airbag compatible
    -Well made
    -Can do a helmet + diagonal carry at the same time.

    Cons:
    -Doesn't fit me super well. Shoulder straps are better situated for broad shoulders, which I don't have.
    -If you're not using the airbag feature, it's just extra weight and wasted space.
    -Has a fussy metal waist belt buckle (common on airbag packs)
    -Expensive

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    5,129
    Brundo -- airbag or no airbag for a more substantial backbone? Scott back is pretty stout.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Winthrop, WA.
    Posts
    1,152
    I switched from a BCA Float 32 to an Ortovox Avabag 30 for day use. The ortovox is much more comfortable to carry, hangs on my shoulders better, is much lighter, and is pretty straight forward design. A minimal design. There are a couple of design features I don't like (e.g. layout of the main compartment zipper) so well but so far I haven't had any problems with it and all of my gear just barely fits in. It's on the small side for a 30L

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    25,900
    Arcterxy KEA 37 or a Bora 40, I like the zippered pouch on the back to stow skins in, I've sent them in for minor repair and Arcterxy fixes them free

    IMO you need a substantial enough pack with a suspension that will carry skis/ enough room for all the stuff you need out there ( sometimes its -25C ) and thats around 40 litres
    Last edited by XXX-er; 11-03-2021 at 11:58 AM.
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    89
    I'm a big fan of the Mammut Light 30L airbag. It's light for a balloon pack and cheaper than some of the E-airbag packs. It carries quite well, better than my buddies BCA float 32. Mine has held up well to ~250 days with only some modest wear.

    It's a little small for some but here in balmy tahoe, I have no problem fitting a repair kit, first aid kit, PLB, space blanket, extra gloves, puffy, shell, water/food, Avy kit/snow saw, helmet and goggles in it. Can fit a lot more inside if I bump the helmet to an external sling.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    847
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    Brundo -- airbag or no airbag for a more substantial backbone? Scott back is pretty stout.
    Honestly haven't decided. I like the idea of an airbag and currently don't mind the extra weight but non of the people I tour with use them and they are spendy. If I were to go airbag, it'd be canister style (fan style is too spendy for my wallet last time I checked).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Posts
    133
    How anyone can tour for a full day with all the necessary food, water, layers, gear, repair kit, etc in anything less than a 35l pack is mind boggling to me...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Maine Coast
    Posts
    3,542
    Not a problem for me. Compressed down jacket, balaclava, extra goggles, helmet, extra gloves, extra mittens, repair/first aid kit, emergency bevy, food, water, crampons, shovel, probe, ice axe, sunscreen and Safety gear fit in my 26 pack (well helmet is carried outside). Jacket has hat sunglasses, skins, buff and camera if I am carrying. If super windy or cold an extra mid layer comes along and things are tight, but I am usually wearing it in those situations

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    5,129
    Quote Originally Posted by beeeom View Post
    How anyone can tour for a full day with all the necessary food, water, layers, gear, repair kit, etc in anything less than a 35l pack is mind boggling to me...
    My guide on the Urner Haute route had a 28 or 30L pack. Small rappel rope, glacial gear, and all the standard guide needs. I was impressed. Dude in red.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Portland by way of Bozeman
    Posts
    4,048
    MeterMan - for what you describe, I've had great luck with my Osprey Kode 22. Though I don't know if it's made anymore. I prize a pack that is adjustable such that it carries well and found this pack to do that well.

    For bigger or higher exposure days, I have a Mammut airbag pack that gets it done.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    259
    Currently have an Osprey Kamber 42 that's probably been used ~ 400 days so far, it's holding up well & meets the needs the OP listed. Plenty of lighter packs out there. I Don't use the brain so its maybe closer to 38L. Most people I ski with use 35-40L packs daily. Though things are pretty mellow in our circle...No need for crampons, ropes, ice axes or even strategically packing really. Pretty much always carry the same stuff regardless of how long I'll be out, just adding more food/water/beer depending on the day's goals. I almost always have room left in my pack. Seems like a personal choice based on your intentions for a day on skis.
    Last edited by O.C.; 11-03-2021 at 02:44 PM. Reason: context

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Ashford, eventually
    Posts
    93
    I have a 32 or 35L Gregory Targhee that I use for longer days and short overnight trips. It climbs and skis well, though I've encountered some durability issues (i.e., tumbled down some rocks last year and shredded the helmet carry zipper). I also have a 20L Patagonia Snowdrifter that I use for uphill at the resort or very short days. The fit kind of sucks on it, it's heavy for its size, and it doesn't carry efficiently. Actually, I kind of hate it. Looking at picking up a Mystery Ranch Scepter 50 later this season.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    454
    Most touring specific packs are heavy and bloated with features, zippers and seams waiting to blow. Something like the arc alpha 30 or 45 with side zips, straps and a avy pocket would be ideal. The alpha sk32 blew (wtf was that top flap?) and the newer line of arc touring packs also look awful. The BD packs are generally in the right direction re simplicity and utility but theyre not reliably well constructed.

    Dunno why the smaller mfg havent jumped on this bit of the pack market...

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    7,781
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    My guide on the Urner Haute route had a 28 or 30L pack. Small rappel rope, glacial gear, and all the standard guide needs. I was impressed. Dude in red.
    I prefer a 40ish liter pack, even though I tend to carry more like 20-30 liters of stuff. Getting stuff in and out of an extremely full pack is pain. And a little more pack volume adds minimal weight.

    One reason I don't love my airbag pack is that even though Mammut tells me it's 35L, the usable space is more like 20L. I can fit everything but it has to be arranged just so. I prefer an oversized top loader. Started using this last spring and it has been good: https://us.blueice.com/products/kume...saApSgEALw_wcB

    It has skimo style carry that lets you put your skis on and off the pack without removing it- useful for when you're walking/booting/climbing for a short distance (but less comfy for longer periods).

    Edit to add: If I'm carrying a heavy load I use an older Osprey Variant 37 or 52, both of which happen to fit me very well and have a rather sturdy suspension for a light pack. The more weight I'm carrying, the less I care about "features" and the more I care about how a pack carries. They same goes for when I'm skiing somewhere an airbag could conceivably save my life. I'm pretty darn conservative with where I choose to ski, but if there is a reasonable possibility that the avy bag could help, I take it.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    385
    I've been using the Mystery Ranch Patrol 35 for a few seasons. It's not the lightest pack out there but the suspension setup works really well for me. It's very comfortable and I can adjust it so it feels good for the up (carrying skis) as well as the down.

    I went up a little bit in pack size because I can carry my helmet inside this pack. Sounds odd but I got so sick of putting on a cold/icy helmet.

    Has drawstring closure on top and the whole back panel unzips for access. This one in particular has been discontinued but still available some places

    https://www.moosejaw.com/product/mys...-pack_10344979

    Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk

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