How to buy the perfect pack

Picking the right pack for your ski escapades is an art. So here’s our no-nonsense guide to getting it right.

Size matters

Day tourers should aim for 25-35L packs | Callum Jelley

Day tourers should aim for 25-35L packs | Callum Jelley

The first step in getting your pack right is selecting the right size. If you’re just going to be cruising around the resort, hitting pistes and lift-accessed powder, then look at the 10 to 20-litre range.

Day tourers will want something a little more generous to stash extra layers and touring kit in (25-35 litre is the sweet spot). Multi-day tourers should look at the 35 litre-plus packs.   

Fit first

Account for layers when shopping for a new pack | Callum jelley

Account for layers when shopping for a new pack | Callum jelley

Always try before you buy, and remember to account for all the layers you’ll be wearing. The most crucial bit to get right is your torso length (some brands offer different lengths for this), as waist and chest straps are usually adjustable. Female-specific packs are great for small-framed ladies as they accommodate narrow shoulders and shorter torsos.

Friendly features

If you're heading off-piste, ensure there's room for your shovel and probe | Callum Jelley

If you’re heading off-piste, ensure there’s room for your shovel and probe | Callum Jelley

As you go up in price, expect more durable outer fabrics with a higher water-resistance rating and sealed zips. Anyone going off-piste will want separate compartments for shovels and probes, and tourers should look for easy-access skin compartments.

If you hike for your lines, a good ski carry system is crucial, while ski mountaineers will want ice axe carries and loops for climbing gear. Other useful features include helmet carries, hydration compatibility and compression straps.

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