A relatively recent arrival to the scene, POC have had a busy couple of seasons switching from pure protection, centred mainly around helmets, to a wider offering with goggles and packs. They’ve also been bought by Black Diamond, making them more widely available, though the packs are only expected in the UK now.
The VPD Tourpack comes across as a simple, efficient one-compartment design containing some neat touches. Access is by laying the pack down and unzipping the back protector panel.
Pros are complete visibility of the contents; cons versus a top-loading pack are its tendency to allow snow in when opened in deep powder or tricky conditions, and opening it on a chairlift. There are a couple of small accessory pockets, and safety gear is stowed in an fold-out flap at the front. There’s the option to drop in a hydration pouch.
Inside, there’s a back protector and a large main compartment which will expand to take a helmet – the whole pack sits flat on your back and can be worn on a lift unless you’ve gone to town on loading it up. The straps and waistbelt are very comfortable, and the back pad has a sort of bobbly feel which allows a little air to circulate. The VPD was very comfortable to wear all day, whether loaded for hiking or just skiing around. Fitting skis is very rapid because there are quick-release fasteners at the top and bottom, so it’s a perfect hike and ride pack.
Very well thought out, high quality, a top end price, good size, comfortable… At £250, the VPD Tourpack is the most expensive packs I’ve tested, but also one of the best.