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Backpacks / Wear suggestions


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I'm going to be hiking up mountains almost every day come February, and gear that keeps me warm and dry without suffocating, and a backpack that's can carry a board, snowshoes, water, a video-camera, and some snacks--without being ungainly or cumbersome, are both indispensable.

Any suggestions for either the wear or the back-pack, or both, would be appreciated!



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Sinecure> thanks for the suggestion, I've duplicated the post over there.

Sheffy> It's hard to tell how big the guide pack is from 3000 cubic inches and the picture alone -- not very encumbering, I hope?

bullwings> thanks, but if I was worrying about cotton clothes I'd be way out of my league going backcountry :p

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The Osprey Switch series is pretty close to perfection for a snow series pack as I've seen. It comes in pretty much every size imaginable in both capacity and wearer size. I think the older series (2006 spring and earlier) with the side wings are better for snowboards. You can get a great price for these older models on the web.

Features I love are the completely enclosed hydration tube zipper, zippered pockets on the waist belt and, on the older models, the wings that encase the sides of the board (which work great with my longboard as well).

I think backcountrygear.com has alot of the older models as well as the current ones.

Good luck with your search...

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Most of my backcountry board packs are in the 700-2500 cubic inch range.

I have them pre-packed with survival gear and nav gear, and usually just have to drop in food, water, and an insulating layer in them to be ready to head out the door.

My pack quivver for backcountry snowboarding looks like this:

2 Da-Kine Heli packs

-one for day trips, one for resort skiing

1 Da-Kine Heli pro pack- for remote backcountry day trips, when you have to bring extra clothing and a shelter.

1- Arcteryx K38 pack- for winter rescue work

1- Arcteryx K50 pack- for weekend trips

1- Osprey ultralite 4000 cubic inch pack - for 3-4 day tours

1- Dana Designs Arcflex Alpine pack 5500 cubic inches - for week long trips

All of these packs have snowboard carrier systems built into them, and are equipped with Dana Designs wet-rib carrier systems on the shoulder straps for carrying things that you need to be quick at hand- sunglasses, sunscreen, spare gloves, neck gaiter, balaclava, water bottle, camera, GPS, compass and map, multi-tool etc.

They all have the following equipment pre-packed into each pack- color coded by a stuffsack system so that I can see by a quick glance if anything is missing when I'm packing:

Blue stuff sack- CLOTHING- spare 100 weight top- socks, sock liners, glove liners, lightweight balaclava to wick mosture to my outer balaclava.

Red stuff sack- EMERGENCY GEAR- spare AA batteries for my headlamp, beacon, camera and GPS, FAK, survival kit, firemaking kit, repair kit, VHF radio for rescue trips.

YELLOW stuff sack- FOOD - w/ a jetboil stove on overnight trips.

ORANGE stuff sack - mylar bivvy survival suit- spare goggles, spare outer gloves/mitts- bivvy jacket

A Camelbak bladder is preloaded into each pack too- I use the neoprene tube covers on all of them- and made velcro pouches on half of them to surround the bite valves with a chemical handwarmer packet. That way it helps with keeping the water flowing. The Dakine packs come with a shoulder strap that holds the hydration tube and valve inside for extra insulation.

The snow specific safety gear like my shovel, probe, snow saw, lightweight crampons, aluminum ice-axe, VERT climbing snowshoes, and avalanche beacon are in a large stuff sack that sits in my gear closet- it gets loaded into the pack that I'll be using at the trailhead.

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I have a Mountainsmith off-piste 20. Perfect size for everything you mentioned and you can carry your board two different ways. Only downside is it has no built-in camelbak bladder pocket. So I got the camelbak Menace which isn't ideal for long hikes because it doesn't fit alot into the bag itself.

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it all depends on the camera. if it's a beauty get a professional alpine photography pack that protects your geat. they most often are not as nice as a pack made just for ski sports. i use a lowe alpine for cameras and an ortovox with the sps system to house my emergency equipment.

dont be afraid to strap boards and stuff on the new pack in the shop. see if it is easy to use. take a look at the sewing to see if it looks nuke proof.

dont know where you are but norrøna has some of the best packs. wish i could afford one!

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If you live in the northeast (NH/VT/ME/MA) Check out EMS. They sell anything you could possibly need for almost anything outdoors. They have good prices, and (wait until after christmas for this) people who know their **** really well. They normally only hire people who do activities that they sell stuff for in the store. The one in Concord, NH is probally the best, they have an ENORMOUS selection, and are probally the nicest one of their stores that I've been to. It's off of exit 14 in the big shopping center. And best of all, their house brand gear hasn't been watered down by the recent "look like you're outdoorsy trend", so it's very high quality stuff. I would say higher quality than TNF and Dakine anymore, and it's on par with BlackDiamond and the like.

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This pack would work well. I tried one on with a modest load (about 25 lbs) the other day, and it was really comfortable. It has almost all the fit adjustability of my heavy-duty backpacking pack, except it's about 1/5th the size, which should make for some great hiking.


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