Gear

Backcountry Packs

Why endure an ill-suited pack? Get organized and stay safe, comfortably. haul these packs up the hill; they’ll carry you through the day.


When the snow melts, you don’t quit playing outside, and neither should your pack. Ski straps and glove-friendly zippers make the Direttissima a true…

When the snow melts, you don’t quit playing outside, and neither should your pack. Ski straps and glove-friendly zippers make the Direttissima a true winter warrior. But when summer rolls around, unobtrusive ski features mean it’s hike- and climb-friendly. The TopFlap design lets you remove an entire compartment to shed weight. Two built-in toggle bottle openers on the tool loops bring a whole new meaning to double-fisting. 42-, 46-, and 50-liter models; 55, 58, and 61 ounces, respectively.  [$200; mountainhardware.com]

You want to ski powder on your fatties, but you need a pack that can haul those sexy 100-millimeter waistlines when you’re hiking to the goods.…

You want to ski powder on your fatties, but you need a pack that can haul those sexy 100-millimeter waistlines when you’re hiking to the goods. Extra-long, snowboard-compatible ski straps offer A-frame or diagonal mounts for boards with girth. When you bring out your narrower skis, Velcro manages the straps’ excess length. An adjustable padded waist strap is lady-hips-friendly, and holster pockets keep your camera close at hand for those epic moments. 18 liters, 33.5 ounces.  [$130; ortovox.com]

We all love untracked powder, but the last place anyone wants to be is buried under an avalanche. BCA’s line of Float Avalanche Airbags includes 18-,…

We all love untracked powder, but the last place anyone wants to be is buried under an avalanche. BCA’s line of Float Avalanche Airbags includes 18-, 30-, and 36-liter models. The airbag inflates behind your head and neck—which, presumably, could offer impact protection during a slide, though no statistics exist to back this up—and makes you bigger, which keeps you on the surface of moving snow (think about the marshmallows in a box of Lucky Charms). The compressed-air cylinder (included) can be refilled, but it has to be empty to carry for airplane travel. 36 liters, 128 ounces.  [$785; bcaccess.com]

When you ski, you ski hard; when you fall, well, you fall hard. The Freeride has an integrated spine-protection system that absorbs the blow. Extra…

When you ski, you ski hard; when you fall, well, you fall hard. The Freeride has an integrated spine-protection system that absorbs the blow. Extra padding wraps your rib cage and connects to the hipbelt for superior fit and balance, so your form and ferocity aren’t hindered by an ungainly load. An outside compression pocket holds wet skins, easily organizes avy gear, and protects goggles with an inner fleece-lined compartment. It also comes in a women’s version. 24 liters, 52.9 ounces.  [$180; pieps.com]