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Ski-Specific Daypacks

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1) GRANITE GEAR Q21,200 cu. in.; 2 lb., 8 oz.$145; granitegear.comThe Q2's smart ski-hauling system allows you to load your skis, carry them…

1) GRANITE GEAR Q2
1,200 cu. in.; 2 lb., 8 oz.
$145; granitegear.com
The Q2’s smart ski-hauling system allows you to load your skis, carry them diagonally, and then unload them without taking off the pack. Reach under your left arm, yank a retractable cable loop, insert your skis, and lock them down with an elastic tether sewn into the right shoulder strap. Gripes: A single side zip on the main compartment makes it difficult to get to your stuff when the pack’s full. Props: You don’t have to remove the pack to strap on your skis. This is a great feature.

2) CAMELBAK HELLION1,400 cu. in.; 3 lb., 5 oz. $100; camelbak.comFinally, CamelBak has made a decent ski pack. The 100-ounce drinking reservoir is…

2) CAMELBAK HELLION
1,400 cu. in.; 3 lb., 5 oz.
$100; camelbak.com
Finally, CamelBak has made a decent ski pack. The 100-ounce drinking reservoir is insulated, and the tube and bite valve tuck into a protective pocket in the right shoulder strap (like The North Face Shuttle and BCA Alp40, following). Not once did we suck frozen slush. Gripes: Loaded with heavy fat skis, the diagonal ski-carrying system was a bit floppy. Props: Plenty of pockets and sleeves to organize your essentials.

3) DEUTER RAZOR 231,400 cu. in.; 3 lb., 12 oz. $149; deuter.comSmart touches include a fleece-lined goggle pocket and a detachable mesh panel (it…

3) DEUTER RAZOR 23
1,400 cu. in.; 3 lb., 12 oz.
$149; deuter.com
Smart touches include a fleece-lined goggle pocket and a detachable mesh panel (it stows in a stash pocket on the hipbelt) that carries your helmet securely during ascents. Burly patches of Hypalon (a highly durable rubberized fabric) help protect the pack from ski edges while you climb. Gripes: The how-to-signal-an-airplane diagram silk-screened to the goggle pocket is funny, but not terribly useful. Props: Mesh-coated pads on the back panel promote airflow and help your back stay sweat-free. Plus, a built-in polyethylene-and-foam back protector keeps your spine safe during falls.

4)BLACK DIAMOND FRENZY 281,709 cu. in.; 3 lb., 5 oz. $119; bdel.comOrganization freaks will love the Frenzy's front panel-it hides an easy-access…

4)BLACK DIAMOND FRENZY 28
1,709 cu. in.; 3 lb., 5 oz.
$119; bdel.com
Organization freaks will love the Frenzy’s front panel-it hides an easy-access skin pocket and has sleeves and straps that secure shovel, handle, and probe. Flap it up to protect everything, or down to keep avy gear out of the way while you dig into the main compartment. Gripes: The back panel’s interior access door makes grabbing gear easy, but we wish it was bigger. Props: Our favorite pack of the bunch: clean, simple, loaded with skier-friendly features-and provides the best bang for your buck.

5) ARC'TERYX M301,708 cu. in.; 4 lb., 1 oz. $190; arcteryx.comThanks to a heavy-gauge, ripstop-nylon fabric and a watertight roll-top closure (like a…

5) ARC’TERYX M30
1,708 cu. in.; 4 lb., 1 oz.
$190; arcteryx.com
Thanks to a heavy-gauge, ripstop-nylon fabric and a watertight roll-top closure (like a drybag’s), the M30 kept gear safe and dry through foul weather and travel. The two indestructible, rubberized ski straps are intuitive and easy to use. Gripes: Big shovels don’t fit easily in the low-profile external pocket. Props: The wide-mouthed roll-top makes it easy to root around for your stuff.

6) INDIGO R»VE 301,830 cu. in.; 3 lb., 2 oz. $150; indigoequipment.comThe pack designers at Indigo continue to impress us. The Cafè pocket, a side…

6) INDIGO R»VE 30
1,830 cu. in.; 3 lb., 2 oz.
$150; indigoequipment.com
The pack designers at Indigo continue to impress us. The Cafè pocket, a side zipper that lets you access the bottom of the main compartment while the pack is on, is perfect for stashing skins or a water bottle. We also liked the Lariat ski-carrying system, which consists of a retractable cable loop, a Fastex buckle, and a nylon strap that let you secure your boards in seconds. Gripes: Dedicated probe and shovel-handle sleeves would be nice. Props: When not in use, all external straps tuck discreetly into their own pockets.

7) THE NORTH FACE SHUTTLE 301,850 cu. in.; 3 lb., 10 oz. $120; thenorthface.comThe Shuttle's simple design-one main compartment, a top lid, an…

7) THE NORTH FACE SHUTTLE 30
1,850 cu. in.; 3 lb., 10 oz.
$120; thenorthface.com
The Shuttle’s simple design-one main compartment, a top lid, an external shovel-blade pocket, and side pockets for handle and probe-will make minimalists giddy. A rigid internal plastic frame manages heavy loads better than the other packs here, making it ideal for extended backcountry adventures. Gripes: A side- or back-panel zipper would make getting into the compartment easier. Props: Insulated, zippered channels (like ones on the BCA and CamelBak packs) in both shoulder straps let you position a drinking tube on either side.

8) BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS ALP402,850 cu. in.; 3 lb., 14 oz. $165; bcaccess.comLike The North Face Shuttle 30, BCA's Alp40 is a traditional toploader, but…

8) BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS ALP40
2,850 cu. in.; 3 lb., 14 oz.
$165; bcaccess.com
Like The North Face Shuttle 30, BCA’s Alp40 is a traditional toploader, but with an additional side-access zipper-and more room. If your day’s adventure might require a rope, stove, and emergency bivy in addition to the basics, you’ll need a pack this big. Gripes: Lots of external straps to flap about in the breeze or catch on a chairlift. Props: Skip the bladder. The ice-free drinking tube stows inside an insulated shoulder strap and leads to a Nalgene bottle-compatible lid in the main compartment.