12 Best Ski Backpacks: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Perfect For Women
Gregory Mountain Products Jade Women’s Backpack

Gregory Mountain Jade

Perfect For Men
CamelBak SnoBlast Ski Hydration Pack

CamelBak SnoBlast

If you’re a ski or snowboard enthusiast, there are few greater pleasures than anticipating your precious time enjoying the freedom of a magnificent mountain landscape in the winter. From the moment the trip is booked, the white stuff beckons and the momentum builds as the day approaches.

When you start to gather your essentials together for your trip, don’t forget to include a well-designed ski backpack. You’ll need to carry everything from goggles to gloves and that all-important sunscreen to some basic first aid kit – not forgetting the essential water bottle or hydration bladder to keep you hydrated. 

If your planned trip takes you into the white wilderness of the backcountry where the risk of avalanches is greater, then it’s seriously worth looking at ‘avalanche ready’ backpacks with dedicated easy-access compartment for a small shovel, ice pick, etc, and other safety features.

Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure or a few days enjoying well-tended slopes, there’s no doubt that adventures out in the mountains can be even better if you’re well prepared. With the right ski backpack you can be sure that you’ll have all the necessary gear at your fingertips when you need it.

Types of Ski & Snowboard Backpacks

Ski backpack

A good ski backpack will have plenty of useful features specifically designed for winter sports. Here are few of the key features to look for:

  • Clipboard List
    Wet/dry compartments
  • Clipboard List
    Protective compartment for goggles/sunglasses
  • Clipboard List
    Ski attachments
  • Clipboard List
    Helmet attachments
  • Clipboard List
    Large zipper pulls to open pack with gloves on
  • Clipboard List
    Bungee strap for additional items
  • Clipboard List
    Ergonomic, low-profile design to ensure comfort and minimize bounce
  • Clipboard List
    Extra zippered pockets for small items, e.g. smart phone, keys, wallet
  • Clipboard List
    Water resistance and/or integral protective cover
best ski backpack

Ski touring backpack

Essentially a ski touring backpack will have the same elements as a ski backpack. The main thing to look out for is that there’s sufficient storage for additional clothing layers – the exertion of ski touring involves a lot of perspiration! In addition to the features above, you may like to consider these extra points:

  • Clipboard List
    Insulated hydration bladder
  • Clipboard List
    Safety whistle
  • Clipboard List
    Dedicated, easily accessible compartment for shovel, ice pick, etc
  • Clipboard List
    ‘Avalanche ready’
  • Clipboard List
    Reflective tabs for visibility in low light
  • Clipboard List
    Sufficient storage capacity for extra layers
  • Clipboard List
    Space for energy bars/snacks

Hydration ski backpack

There are different types of hydration backpacks on the market. Some have just a basic hydration bladder and are pretty much the same as you’d use for running or cycling. These can be suitable for winter sports use but the problem lies in the lack of insulation – potentially a significant problem in sub-zero temperatures.

We’d recommend that you invest in a hydration backpack with an insulated bladder to ensure that your water doesn’t freeze. The high-end packs also include special insulation sleeves in the shoulder straps for the drinking tube - a really useful additional feature if you’re in consistently low temperatures to ensure on-demand hydration.

Snowboard backpack

The only real difference between a ski backpack and a snowboard backpack is that you need long enough straps to attach your board securely. Snowboards are usually attached vertically, whereas skis are often attached diagonally.

Multi-day ski touring backpack

For longer ski touring adventures, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll need more storage capacity and possibly quite a few more items on your packing list.

The items suggested in the ski touring backpack section above will cover most essentials but don’t be tempted to skimp on the safety features as you may encounter some pretty hostile conditions out there in the backcountry.

Clearly, comfort is essential, so you should invest in the best quality pack you can afford which is specifically designed to be fit for purpose.


Carrying Gear

Ski carry backpack

If you’re not looking for storage capacity but just want a method of carrying your skis/snowboard/poles efficiently with minimum effort, then a ski carry pack could be the answer. They’re particularly useful if you’re skiing with the family and need to keep your hands free to help little people manage their skis, poles and helmet.

Ski carry packs are very simply designed, being just a system of straps to hold your skis and poles securely. They’re light and easily packable when not in use. Some are over-the-shoulder ‘sling’ style packs which often need a hand to keep skis stabilized as you move.

If you have to carry skis or snowboard for any distance, therefore, we recommend a pack with two shoulder straps for optimum efficiency and comfort.

Ski boot and/or helmet backpack

These packs are just as useful for boarders as skiers and are contoured to fit the shape of your boots. There are often separate compartments for each boot. These usually have waterproof lining and drainage grommets at the base to allow melting snow to drain. Keeping the boots separately means that your other items are kept away from those inevitable but seriously unpleasant foot odors.

The main compartment, usually in the center between the boots, has plenty of space for extra layers of clothing, snacks, phone, etc. Some packs have external attachments for your helmet, to free up more internal space for other essential gear.

Many ski boot backpacks are suitable for use as carry-on bags if you’re taking a flight. We suggest you look for bags with TSA approval or check the measurements carefully before you travel to make sure they comply with regulations.  


What To Look For In a Good Ski Backpack

Compartments Options

Skiing, snowboarding and ski touring all require special equipment and when you’re enjoying a day in the snow there’s a whole list of essentials you need to carry with you (see below). So it makes sense to buy a backpack with compartments of different sizes to keep your gear organized and easily accessible.

In addition to the main storage compartment, ski backpacks often have a fleece-lined, protective compartment for goggles and/or sunglasses and many have an insulated pocket for a hydration bladder. You’ll also often find that they have smaller zippered compartments for miscellaneous items such as a smart phone, keys, wallet, etc.

Backpacks designed specifically with backcountry adventures in mind often have a separate easy-access compartment for essential tools - an ice pick and small shovel, for example.

Gear Carrying Capacity

Extra layers of clothing, snacks, hydration are all stored within the pack but larger items like a helmet, skis/poles/snowboard need to be attached to the outside of your pack with a variety of straps and hooks.

For more extreme adventures, where the risk of avalanches is ever present, you may need to carry an ice axe, also attached to the outside of your pack.

If you’re travelling by plane, you may prefer to carry your boots, helmet and other items like your jacket in a boot bag, contoured to the shape of your boots and designed with special waterproof boot compartments.

Carrying this cumbersome gear on your back makes much more sense than in a holdall and leaves your hands free. Our tip is to look out for bags that are TSA approved as carry-on baggage.

That way, you won’t waste your checked baggage allowance on these heavy items and you can fill your suitcase with all the other essentials for your trip. It’s not easy to travel light when you’re off to the mountains!

Waterproof/Water Resistant

Since you’re going to be in wet and snowy conditions, it’s only sensible to invest in gear with at least some level of water resistance. You should consider features such as water-resistant coatings, a back panel designed to shed snow, water-resistant zippers, sealed seams, and storm flaps over zippers.

Of course, the level of weatherproofing will be specific to your particular trip and the environment you’ll be in. We reckon it’s worth investing in a high quality pack which will ensure that your gear stays dry no matter what the elements throw at you.

If you’re on a tighter budget, though, and don’t want to pay top dollar for a top-of-the-range weatherproof pack, we suggest buying some inexpensive dry bags to keep your essentials like clothing and electronics dry. Or, cheaper still, you could just use trash bags to do the same job!  

Safety Features

If you’re heading into the backcountry and away from well-groomed slopes where help is usually near at hand, you’d be foolish not to think about your safety in the harsh conditions you’re likely to encounter. These are a few additional features you may like to consider:

  • Clipboard List
    Accessible compartment for ice probe/shovel
  • Clipboard List
    Ice axe
  • Clipboard List
    Safety whistle
  • Clipboard List
    Reflective tabs
  • Clipboard List
    Avalanche airbag

Warranty

Most high quality ski backpacks come with a warranty which is often valid for the lifetime of the item, especially for the more expensive products. The scope of the lifetime warranty is always limited and usually excludes wear and tear. We recommend reading the small print to find out what warranty is offered, especially if you’re paying top dollar for your pack.


12 Top Ski Backpacks Reviewed

1. Athalon Everything Boot Pack

Athalon Everything Boot Pack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Ski boot and/or helmet backpack

Capacity

58.5 liters

Weight

3.8 lbs

Colour Options

30

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes - 5 years

Without doubt, Athalon’s Everything Boot Pack is one of the best ski boot backpacks. It’s also one of the most comfortable and useful boot bags you’ll find.

It has space for pretty much every bit of gear you could want to carry (except your skis). It’s the perfect choice for a skier/boarder to carry all that bulky equipment from the parking lot to the slopes.

Not only is this backpack cleverly organized, but it’s also designed for comfort and support, with its contoured shape, four padded lumbar back pads and reinforced backpack straps.

The large main compartment has separate side entry zippered boot sections so it’s easy to slip your boots inside. The boot compartment is vented at the bottom to allow drainage. 

There’s plenty of room for all sorts of other essentials in the spacious expandable pocket, including your ski helmet or jacket. The bungee cords on the front can hold goggles, maps or a host of other accessories.

But it doesn’t end there! You’ll find clips in each pocket to secure gloves, keys and other small items to keep them easily accessible. If you like to enjoy music as you ski, there’s a front MP3 player pocket with an exterior earphone port. And on gloomy days when light levels are low, the reflective piping will help to keep you visible.

Pros

  • Contoured shape to fit boots
  • 5-year warranty
  • Expandable additional pocket for helmet, etc
  • Bungee cords to hold extra items
  • 30 color choices

Cons

  • When fully loaded this bag is quite bulky to carry
  • Unladen weight is heavier than some packs
  • Some reviewers report problems with zippers/straps/handles

2. Transpack Edge Isosceles Ski Boot Bag

Transpack Edge Isosceles Ski Boot Bag

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Ski backpack, ski boot and/or helmet backpack

Capacity

17" x 17” x 13”

Weight

2.1 lbs

Colour Options

12

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes - 1 year

If you’re searching for a lightweight yet durable ski boot bag, you’ll find that the Transpack Edge fits the bill. It’s the best ski boot bag for transporting your boots and other gear to the mountain no matter what the weather.

Its adjustable neoprene padded shoulder straps and the tough, water-resistant 600 Denier coated polyester material make it comfortable to transport yet rugged and able to stand up to any amount of rough treatment.

The Isosceles storage system includes two side pockets to contain each boot separately on either side of a spacious central compartment designed for a helmet, jacket or other essential gear. The drainage grommets in the base of the boot compartment ensure that snow-melt doesn’t gather in the base of the bag.

There’s a further internal zippered pocket to keep small personal items easily accessible. The self-repairing nylon coil zippers are all double locking for security.

If you have to take a plane to get to you to the slopes, then you’ll find that this ski boot bag is TSA approved for carry-on baggage.

Pros

  • Spacious
  • Water resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Durable 600 Denier coated polyester
  • TSA Carry-on approved

Cons

  • Straps not hidden or covered
  • Some confusion between smaller Junior bag and standard bag

3. Gregory Mountain Products Jade Women’s Backpack

Gregory Mountain Products Jade Women’s Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Ski touring backpack, hydration ski backpack

Capacity

28 liters

Weight

2.45 lbs

Colour Options

3

Price Range

$$$

Warranty

Yes - lifetime (limited)

This versatile pack, with its women specific design, is just as useful for ski touring and skiing as it’s for ice climbing, bike touring or ridge running. On the other hand, it would also make a perfect day pack for summer hiking.

The unique and updated CrossFlo suspension is designed to keep your back cool and dry. The main compartment features a useful hybrid design with a choice of top-loading and zippered opening. There’s an interior hydration sleeve with hose port to make sure you keep hydrated while you push yourself to your limits.

As well as the spacious main compartment, there are zippered pockets on the exterior and interior, two external stretch water bottle pockets and two quick-access waist belt pockets. The integrated rain cover ensures that your gear stays dry no matter what the elements throw at you.

Other useful features of this thoughtfully designed pack are trekking pole attachment points (doubling as ice axe loops), a sunglass stash on the shoulder harness and an interior zippered pocket with key clip to keep small and valuable items accessible and secure.

Pros

  • Suitable for other sports: ridge running, bike touring
  • CrossFlo design keeps you cool
  • Integrated raincover
  • Attachment points for trekking poles/ice axe
  • Interior hydration sleeve

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Not suitable for carrying ski boots

4. Teton Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack

Teton Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Hydration ski backpack

Capacity

18 liters

Weight

2 lbs

Colour Options

5

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes - Lifetime (limited)

If you need to keep hydrated while you’re pushing yourself to your physical limits during winter sports, then the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 backpack is a great choice. It’s light, comfortable and fully adjustable and sensibly priced.

With an 18 liter capacity, it’s spacious enough to fit the essentials you need for day-long or even overnight outdoor adventures.

The 2-liter hydration bladder included in this backpack comes complete with a kink-free, durable sip tube and a specially-designed push-lock bite valve which is cushioned for comfort. The large (2.5”) opening makes it easy to fill with ice, if required, and also makes cleaning much easier.

It’s an all-round backpack designed to fit men, women and youths. Its low profile, athletic and fully-adjustable styling makes it suitable for all shapes and sizes.

The shoulder, waist and chest straps are designed for comfort and the air mesh back panel will keep you cool while exercising. The multiple compression straps allow you to minimize the size of your load, reducing bounce and improving overall comfort. 

Finally, the integrated rain cover, sewn into the base and easily deployed when needed, will ensure that all your essentials are kept dry.

Pros

  • Versatile – also suitable for hiking, cycling, etc
  • Lightweight
  • 2 liter hydration bladder included
  • Fully adjustable
  • Suitable for men/women/youths
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Gasket in hydration bladder valve needs careful seating to prevent leaks
  • Not specifically designed for winter sports

5. CamelBak SnoBlast Ski Hydration Pack

CamelBak SnoBlast Ski Hydration Pack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Ski Hydration Backpack

Capacity

21 liters

Weight

2 lbs

Colour Options

6

Price Range

$$$

Warranty

Yes - Lifetime (limited)

There’s no doubt that CamelBak is one of the top names when it comes to hydration during sports. If you’re looking for the best hydration pack for skiing, then this specially-designed pack could be just what you need.

This pack has so many clever features specific to winter sports use. The SnoBlast has a triple zipper design so you have the option of opening the top of the pack or unzipping it down the side so all your gear is easily accessible.

This 21-liter pack is versatile and compact but has enough room to carry extra layers, helmet and lunch as well as 2 liters of hydration – enough for a whole day on the slopes.

The specially-designed Therminator harness features an insulated drinking tube zipped into the shoulder strap, so there’s no chance that your hydration fluid will freeze in those subzero temperatures.

The main compartment is expandable – a really useful feature as you shed layers during the day and need to stash more stuff. You just have to unzip the side panels and you get a whole 6 liters more storage space.

Pros

  • Therminator harness prevents drinking tube freezing
  • Crux Reservoir delivers 20% more water per sip
  • Snowshed Back Panel repels snow
  • Expandable storage compartment
  • Tri-Zip access to you can get to your gear quickly
  • 4 point compression straps to minimize bounce & improve fit

Cons

  • More expensive than other hydration packs
  • One reviewer complained that the quality didn’t match other CamelBak products

6. Vibrelli Hydration Pack

Vibrelli Hydration Pack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Hydration Ski Backpack

Capacity

10 liters

Weight

0.8 lbs

Colour Options

1

Price Range

$

Warranty

Yes - Lifetime (limited)

There are so many reasons why this pack from Vibrelli is one of the best ski hydration packs on the market and, without doubt, it offers the best value for money. It’s also super-versatile and can be used for any sport where constant hydration is needed: running, cycling, etc.

The integral taste-free 2 liter hydration bladder is made of a tough and durable medical-grade PE film using anti-microbial technology. The ergonomically designed shut-off bite valve is easy to use and designed to prevent accidental leaks – a common problem with hydration packs. 

The adjustable shoulder straps are made of breathable material with mesh overlay for comfort and the pack is made of 420 Denier water resistant ripstop fabric. Although the pack itself doesn’t have much storage capacity, there are external bungee straps for additional items like helmet, jacket, etc.

The fully adjustable waist and chest straps keep the pack stabilized and centered to your core to maximize efficiency when you’re on the move.

Other useful features of this versatile ski hydration backpack are an internal key clip, an easy-access outer mesh pocket for water bottles, etc, reflective safety tabs to keep you visible in poor light and a safety whistle for emergencies.

Pros

  • Integral 2-liter hydration bladder
  • Versatile – can be used for other sports
  • Water resistant, ripstop fabric
  • Bungee straps for additional items
  • Reflective tabs for visibility

Cons

  • Only one small storage compartment
  • Insulated hose may not be enough to prevent fluid freezing in sub-zero temps

7. Thule Upslope Snowsports Backpack

Thule Upslope Snowsports Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Ski Backpack, Snowboard Backpack, Ski Touring Backpack, Hydration Ski Backpack

Capacity

35 liters

Weight

3.04 lbs

Colour Options

3

Price Range

$$$

Warranty

Yes - 2 years +

Thule is one of the market leaders in travel accessories, so it’s not surprising that they’ve covered all the bases in producing the Upslope range of packs.

This is our top choice if you’re searching for the best ski backpack or the best snowboard backpack. It also ticks the boxes for the best ski touring backpack, so it’s very versatile. The same goes if you’re looking for a backcountry ski backpack.

It’s definitely worth a look, even if you hadn’t planned on splashing the cash on this particular purchase. You may find it’s just what you need.

There are so many clever and useful features included, mostly designed with winter sports in mind. It’s perfect for backcountry expeditions with skis or snowboards. There are roomy side pockets, designed for easy access while the pack’s on your back, which are will fit a 1 liter water bottle or climbing skins for ski touring.

You can attach your skis or snowboard to the front of the pack with the adjustable straps. Your helmet either attaches to the bottom of the pack, where you can get at it easily when needed, or it can be attached to the front of the pack.

The separate avalanche compartment has sleeves for a probe and shovel (not included), so your tools are separated from the main compartment for accessibility. There’s also an external ice axe loop.

The insulated hydration sleeve and specially-designed reservoir pocket minimizes the chance of your hose freezing and also prevents any leakages into the main compartment. There’s also a fleecy-lined protective pocket to keep your goggles and/or sunglasses safe from harm.

Pros

  • Large capacity to fit most essentials
  • Durable nylon material
  • 2 year guarantee, even on wear and tear
  • Separate insulated hydration sleeve

Cons

  • 3lb unladen weight
  • Expensive

8. CamelBak 2016 Phantom Backpack

CamelBak 2016 Phantom Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Hydration ski backpack

Capacity

20 liters

Weight

3 lbs

Colour Options

1

Price Range

$$$

Warranty

Yes - Lifetime (limited)

No matter what the snow conditions are, you’ll be prepared with our pick for the best ski hydration pack. CamelBak are brand leaders in sports hydration. The Phantom features a lumbar reservoir which means that the 3 liters of water (weighing 3 kg when full) is carried low and snug to your back, giving you improved stability.

The drinking tube is kept insulated and frost-free in the special sleeve in the shoulder strap and is designed to deliver maximum hydration with every sip.

All the gear and essentials you’ll need for a day on the mountain can either be stored in or attached to this cleverly designed pack. A variety of hooks and straps are provided for carrying skis, snowboard, helmet, etc. There’s a separate compartment for wet/dry gear and a dedicated pocket for avalanche tools so they’re easy to get at in that unwished-for emergency.

Even the waist belt has storage pockets where you can keep items handy. The extra-large zipper pulls mean that you don’t have to take your gloves off to open your pack – a really useful feature in sub-zero temperatures.

Pros

  • 3 liters of hydration
  • External straps with multiple options for carrying skis
  • Vertical snowboard attachment
  • Insulated drinking tube sleeve
  • Large zipper tabs for easy access while wearing gloves

Cons

  • Not especially lightweight
  • Expensive

9. Dakine Poacher Snowsport Backpack

Dakine Poacher Snowsport Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Ski Backpack, Snowboard Backpack

Capacity

14 liters

Weight

2 lbs

Colour Options

2

Price Range

$$

Warranty

Yes - Lifetime (limited)

This backpack is designed with minimalism in mind, so it’s really compact and yet it’s well provided with plenty of useful features for days out in the backcountry or on the slopes.

It only has a 14-liter capacity but if you like to ski light and not load yourself down with unnecessary gear then this is a great ski or snowboard backpack. It has a low-profile design that fits snugly into the contours of your back, so it’s not too bulky when you’re riding the slopes or the lift.

There’s room inside for a shovel and probe, so you’re avalanche-ready, and there’s also room for an insulated hydration pack or a two-way radio. The integral rescue whistle on the breast strap is a useful additional feature in case of an emergency.

You can carry your skis diagonally or your board vertically and there are attachment loops for your helmet. Your goggles or sunglasses have their own fleece-lined pocket, so they’ll be protected by any impact and from getting scratched.

Pros

  • Low-profile, minimalist design
  • Lightweight
  • Dedicated space for avalanche gear
  • Lifetime limited warranty

Cons

  • Limited storage capacity
  • Pricey for a smaller capacity pack

10. Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack

Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Hydration Backpack

Capacity

2 liters

Weight

1.6 lbs

Colour Options

9

Price Range

$

Warranty

Yes - limited

Although it’s not specifically designed for winter sports use, if you’re in the market for an insulated hydration backpack to use on the slopes or out in the winter wilderness then this could be the one for you.

It’s ergonomically designed for comfort, with padded and fully adjustable waist, shoulder and chest straps. When correctly adjusted, even with the bladder full, any bounce is minimized.

This pack includes 2 liters of insulated hydration in a BPA-free, FDA approved, food grade bladder. The insulated bladder compartment keeps fluids frost-free. The bladder is easy to clean as it has a large opening, so all you need to do is to stand it bottom up to dry. The click-in connection is 100% leak-proof so your other gear stays dry.

There’s space for a few other essentials - a light extra layer, purse, phone, etc - in the second compartment. The front bungee straps are useful for storing extra items for easy access without opening the pack. There are more useful small zippered compartments on the waist strap.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Multi-purpose insulated hydration pack
  • 2 liter capacity
  • Versatile – winter/summer use
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not a lot of space for additional items when bladder is full
  • Not specifically designed for winter sports use

11. YYST Ski & Poles Backpack Carrier

YYST Ski & Poles Backpack Carrier

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Ski Carry Backpack

Capacity

0 liters

Weight

9.6 ounces

Colour Options

1

Price Range

$

Warranty

No

Skiing with the family can be a challenge, especially when children are small and struggle with carrying their own gear. This is the best ski carry backpack we could find and it’ll free your hands either to help your kids or to carry other items.

It’s also useful if you have a bit of a trek from the parking lot to the lifts and find the task of carrying skis, poles, helmet and boots a rather stressful juggling act.

Some ski carry packs are an over-the-shoulder ‘sling’ design but we don’t think that’s an efficient method for carrying such bulky and potentially heavy items. This pack has two shoulder straps like a normal backpack, which spreads the load evenly.

What’s more, there’s no need to use one hand to stabilize the skis on your back, which is sometimes necessary with ‘sling’ style systems.

The straps are fully adjustable to accommodate skis or snowboards. They’re designed to fit everyone – adults and children alike.

Pros

  • Hands-free transportation of skis/poles
  • Very inexpensive
  • Adjustable straps for skis/snowboards
  • Easy to adjust
  • Featherweight
  • Packable

Cons

  • No other storage capacity
  • No padding over shoulders

12. YYST Snowboard Shoulder Carrier

YYST Snowboard Shoulder Carrier

Quick Look - Bag Features

Type of Backpack

Snowboard Carry Backpack

Capacity

0 liters

Weight

3.2 ounces

Colour Options

1

Price Range

$

Warranty

No

Snowboards can be bulky and awkward to carry, especially if you have to walk any distance from the parking lot. Also, kids can really struggle with their ski/snowboard gear when they’re little, so having your hands free to help out is a big step toward happiness and harmony getting to and from the slopes.

Although it’s designed for snowboards, you can also carry skis with the adjustable straps, so it’s a versatile piece of kit. It’s very lightweight and can be rolled up and slipped into your pocket or bag when its job is done. It can also be used to hang your snowboard on the wall out of season or even between snow-time adventures.

Pros

  • Super-lightweight
  • Foldable and packable
  • Versatile for ski or snowboard
  • Also suitable for skateboards

Cons

  • Over-the-shoulder sling design can be uncomfortable
  • No padding on the strap to prevent chafing

Packing List

As with most check lists, there’ll be a big element of personal choice here. What you take will also depend on whether you’re going solo or with the family. What you take also depends on whether you’re enjoying the slopes at a resort or if you’re heading out on a backcountry adventure.

If that’s the case, then your needs will be very specific and we suggest you do some careful research so you’re prepared for all eventualities in that potentially hostile environment.

For a day on the slopes, here’s a basic list to get you started:

  • Clipboard List
    Goggles (if it’s likely to snow) or sunglasses (if it’s not)  - since conditions are unpredictable, taking both is probably the best plan
  • Clipboard List
    Water – hydration is very important at altitude
  • Clipboard List
    Sunscreen with high SPF
  • Clipboard List
    Lip balm with high SPF
  • Clipboard List
    Basic first aid items
  • Clipboard List
    Energy bars or snacks

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between ski backpacks and snowboard backpacks?

Essentially there’s no difference between the two. If you need to carry a snowboard, though, make sure you check the attachments are long enough to cope with the width of your board.

I’ll be renting my ski gear – do I need a backpack that can carry my helmet and boots?

No, you really don’t need a special pack as the chances are you’ll be able to wear your boots and helmet to make the (hopefully short!) trip from your accommodation or car to the slopes. We suggest that you might find a ‘bum bag’ useful for some small items like your smartphone, sunscreen, wallet, etc, and maybe even a water bottle.

Or, if you’re an experienced skier or boarder and are planning a more adventurous itinerary away from the well-managed slopes, then you’d be wise to look into buying a ski backpack like those recommended above to carry all the gear you’ll need.

Is a hydration pack useful in a ski backpack?

For casual skiing where you’re in reach of outlets selling drink, almost definitely not. If you’re planning a more extreme outing into the backcountry, then an insulated hydration bladder inside your pack is definitely worth considering – in fact, it could be considered essential.

Hydration is so important at altitude and having to take your gloves off, open your backpack and locate a water bottle is a waste of time, so having water delivered on demand via a drinking tube is a huge benefit.

How much should I look to spend on a ski backpack?

There are decent backpacks available in the region of $30 – we’ve included some in our reviews above - but you could also pay up to $150 for a pack specifically designed for winter sports with all the bells and whistles.

As with everything, it comes down to quality and how much you’re willing to spend. The smart option is to find a backpack which is versatile and can be used for other activities. It might make sense to spend a bit more to get the best possible quality you can afford.

Where can I buy a good quality ski backpack?

There are some great options for everything from ski backpacks to snowboard backpacks and hydration packs right here among our recommendations. We’ve done the research for you to save you time and help you to narrow down the right ski backpack for your particular needs.


Conclusion

So, now you have all the facts at your fingertips. You know all the features to look out for that’ll make your snow-time adventures as enjoyable as possible. Once you’ve tracked down the best ski backpack, all you need to do is start packing.

Before you know it, you’ll be out in that curiously addictive magical winter mountain landscape. It’ll just be you against the elements, surrounded by some of the most magnificent scenery that can be found on this planet.

If you plan wisely, your trusty backpack will contain all you need to make the most of every minute you’re lucky enough to spend in the snow.


  • Updated October 8, 2019
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