The 10 Best Ski Backpacks of 2022

The Rossignol Escaper Tour 25L Pack is functional, comfortable, and versatile.

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The 10 Best Ski Backpacks in 2022

 Rossignol / Backcountry

The right backpack can make or break your day on the slopes. You don't want a bag that’s too small to fit a water bottle, extra warm layer, protein boost, and anything else you need. On the other hand, a bag that's too big or has poor weight distribution can seriously throw off a skier's balance. Take time to consider the details—waterproofing, strap position, and organization—and you’ll find a backpack that feels like a natural extension of your body and serves you well for all your winter adventures.

“Organization, comfort, and access are three key aspects I look for,” says Anderson James, marketing manager for The Lodge at Spruce Peak and regular skier at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont. As an on-mountain photographer, for instance, he values a backpack that can securely store lenses and camera bodies safely but also allows him to access gear within seconds so as not to miss a great photo opportunity.

“I would definitely recommend considering what kind of usage you’re planning for a pack before you buy,” says James. “Are you looking for a pack to carry gear for a single day from first to last chair, or are you planning a multi-day excursion? The size of a bag will affect not only how much and what kind of gear you can carry but also how comfortable you’ll be when using it.” Many skiers will find our overall favorite ski backpack, the versatile Rossignol Escaper Tour 25L Pack, well-suited for their alpine needs, but we have ultralight, budget, and avalanche-ready picks too. 

Here, we’ve rounded up the best of the best ski and snowboarding backpacks, for every type of rider: 

Best Overall: Rossignol Escaper Tour 25L Pack

Rossignol Escaper Tour 25L Pack

Rossignol

Why We Love It: Its functionality punches well above its weight.

What to Consider: It doesn’t have the abundance of interior organization compartments that some skiers prefer.

Some bags are too big, some bags are too small, but this Rossignol option is just right. With a 25-liter capacity, it hits that sweet spot of being able to carry all your essentials without being bulky, and its low-profile design makes it a solid option for both shorter days on the slopes and longer adventures. It has dedicated spaces for all the essentials, including a detachable helmet holder as well as ski and board carry straps that make it convert easily between resort and backcountry skiing. If you are going off the grid, an easily accessible pocket for storing a shovel, probe, and other avalanche safety tools will help you be prepared. Like any good ski backpack, it has ample cushioning and straps on the sternum and hips to ensure it moves with you as you dance down trails. As nature-lovers, we also love that it’s made with 100 percent recycled polyester fibers.

Price at time of publish: $150

Capacity: 25 liters | Weight: 1.98 pounds

Best Ultralight: Black Diamond Cirque 30 Backpack

Black Diamond Cirque 30 Backpack

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s incredibly lightweight yet durable.

What to Consider: The price is relatively high for such a minimalist pack.

Sleek, streamlined, and suave, the Black Diamond Cirque 30 is made from a lightweight Dynex fabric that is positively feathery in its weight yet durable enough to stand up to your adventures. The single-hand cinch closure makes opening and closing this bag a breeze. Something we especially liked—and isn’t often included with ultralight gear—is the form-fitting suspension back panel with a removable foam insert, which keeps this pack comfortable no matter how much gear you stuff into it.

Price at time of publish: $180

Capacity: 30 liters | Weight: 1.6 pounds

Best Backcountry: Deuter Freescape Lite 26L Backpack

Deuter Freescape Lite 26L Backpack

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s made from Bluesign-certified repurposed ripstop material.

What to Consider: It’s perfect for day tours but may be a little small for longer backcountry trips.

Finally, the lightweight pack that's perfect for ventures into pristine powder. A 26-liter capacity means this Deuter bag can carry pretty much all of your extra gear, layers, and snacks. It has a tensioned frame setup and compression straps for your skis or snowboard that keeps everything balanced and in place as you navigate the gnarliest terrain. There are also external attachment points for axes, goggles, and a helmet. Zipper pockets on the hip fins and sides of the main pack ensure you can grab essentials quickly. And since the Deuter Freescape was specifically designed for mountaineering and backcountry skiing, you can rest assured knowing it’ll keep the weight of your gear well-distributed.

Price at time of publish: $200

Capacity: 26 liters | Weight: 2.6 pounds

Best Budget: Dakine Mission 25L Backpack

Dakine Mission 25L Backpack

Amazon

Why We Love It: It has a padded laptop sleeve that brings “work from anywhere” to new heights.

What to Consider: It’s not the sleekest design out there.

The value of this Dakine backpack is undeniable. We love the padded laptop sleeve that lets you truly go from work to play in no time, as well as the ergonomic air-mesh shoulder straps that sit comfortably all day long. The design may not necessarily be the sleekest option out there, but this is a solid backpack that will go easily between your day-to-day life and your days on the slopes. You can even tuck away the waist belt when you're on less athletic pursuits, and there are a host of different colors to choose from to suit your style. Although it does have straps to carry a snowboard vertically, keep in mind there is no option for supporting skis. 

Price at time of publish: $95

Capacity: 25 liters | Weight: 2.1 pounds

Best Hydration Pack: Camelbak Powderhound 12 Hydration Pack

Camelbak Ski Backpack

Camelbak

Why We Love It: An insulated drinking tube sleeve protects your water supply from the elements.

What to Consider: As with most hydration packs, cleaning can be a challenge.

CamelBak owns the hydration pack space, and the Powderhound range is a solid option for all your winter adventures. With a Crux Reservoir that delivers sizable sips, an ergonomic handle for effortless refills, and an on/off lever that makes it easy to prevent leaks, the Powderhound makes staying hydrated between runs easier than ever. But this pack goes beyond just hydration—newly redesigned for the 2022/2023 season, it’s got room on the inside so you can carry extra layers and gloves and external ski straps so you can head into the backcountry with equipment on your back. The adjustable sternum strap also slides up and down the harness for a customizable, chafe-free fit. 

Price at time of publish: $110

Gear capacity: 12 liters | Hydration capacity: 2 liters | Weight: 1.8 pounds

Most Versatile: Marmot Eiger 32L Backpack

Marmot Eiger 32

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s a durable bag that works for year-round adventures

What to Consider: It isn’t the lightest or most minimal pack.

There are plenty of things we loved about the Marmot Eiger, one of the brand’s best-selling products, made from an incredibly durable 200D ripstop nylon. It’s compact without being too snug, sturdy without being heavy, and durable without being clunky. This is a perfect middle-of-the-road backpack that will follow your every step throughout ski season and beyond. We especially liked how the compression straps can double as ski straps, and that the waist belt, frame sheet and lid are all removable, so you can customize this bag to whatever adventure you’re bringing it on. 

Price at time of publish: $189

Capacity: 32 liters | Weight: 2.9 pounds

Best for Smaller Frames: Dakine Youth Heli Pro 18L Backpack

Dakine Youth Held Pro 18L Backpack

Backcountry

Why We Love It: It can carry skis or a snowboard and comes with a rescue whistle.

What to Consider: It’s not as lightweight as more expensive (and grown-up) models.

It may be built for young skiers and shredders, but the Youth Held Pro 18L is also a great choice for grown-ups with smaller frames. It’s got built-in side straps which are perfect for setting your skis up in an A-frame for backcountry days, as well as a quick-drying, built-in mesh panel on the back so it stays fresh when you’re working up a sweat. The straps are adjustable, too, so you can find the perfect fit—and it even has an internal laptop sleeve so you can go from work to play in no time.  

Price at time of publish: $115

Capacity: 18 liters | Weight: Not listed

Best Ski Carry Straps: Mountain Hardware Snoskiwoski 40L Backpack

Mountain Hardware Snoskiwoski 40L Backpack

Backcountry

Why We Love It: Durable, adjustable straps fit any pair of skis.

What to Consider: The white color looks sharp but can show dirt quickly.

Mountaineers love this pack. The adjustable, high-quality straps make transitioning from uphill to downhill modes effortless. As opposed to other bags that have fully attached straps, these can be easily hooked and unhooked from one end, so instead of slidingr very long skis all the way in from the top, you can simply wrap the straps around them. The pack is made from a recycled 210D ripstop shell and a 500D Cordura base that makes it lightweight but amongst the most durable bags in its class. It can be accessed from a cinched top and through a large zipper on the right side for access to the main compartment. There’s also a pocket on the left side for skins, extra layers, or whatever else you’re traveling with. The bag comes with all the functionality bells and whistles, such as a removable helmet hammock, a foam-reinforced front panel to protect against diagonal ski edges and other sharp gear, quick access front-tool carry so you can reach for your snow axe, and larger buckles that are easy to use when you’re wearing gloves. No detail was overlooked with this pack. 

Price at time of publish: $220

Capacity: 40 liters | Weight: 2.5 pounds

Best for Snowboarders: Burton AK Dispatcher 25L Backpack

Burton AK Dispatcher 25L Backpack

Backcountry

Why We Love It: The colors, the shape, the durability—what’s not to love?

What to Consider: It’s a snowboard brand, but it’s not just for snowboarders.

Burton makes some excellent rider-friendly packs in a range of sizes, but the 25L is just right for most snowboarders. It’s roomy enough to carry all your essentials for the day but small enough to be balanced and remain tight on your back for all the sitting, standing, and cruising you’ll throw its way. The placement of the exterior straps means that a split board flits comfortably in an A-frame setup, but a regular board can be snapped on the front panel. The bag also comes with an integrated hydration sleeve so you can add a water system if that suits you.

Price at time of publish: $170

Capacity: 24 liters | Weight: 2.6 pounds

Best With Avalanche Airbag: Ortovox Ascent 30 AVABAG Avalanche Airbag Pack

Ortovox Ascent 30 AVABAG Avalanche Airbag Pack

REI

Why We Love It: The Avabag airbag system can be removed and used with other Ortovox Avabag packs.

What to Consider: The addition of an airbag system makes this a bit heavier than other ski packs.

If you’re heading into the backcountry, avalanche safety is an absolute must, and all the pros swear by Ortovox’s Avabag range, which includes integrated avalanche airbag systems. The height of the airbag activation handle is adjustable, and the bag can be deployed again and again without the cartridge attached, allowing you to simulate a real-life activation. Aside from the excellent safety system, it’s also just a really sturdy, well-built pack—with a generous 30 liters of interior storage, locking, adjustable hip belt, and sternum straps for a snug fit.

Price at time of publish: $720

Capacity: 30 Liters | Weight: 4.1 pounds

Tips for Buying a Ski Backpack

Consider what kinds of ski trips you'll use it for

Every pack is different, and the number one way to sort through the multitude of options out there is to think clearly about how you’re going to use it. Do you need something small just to carry the essentials for a single day or half-day of resort skiing? Or are you the adventurous type who needs to carry large loads into the backcountry? Don’t go overboard here, and don’t sell yourself short either. When selecting the right backpack, it pays dividends to discern between the different types of packs out there.

Think about what accessories are best for you

Not every skier will need every accessory. If you’re staying in bounds at the resort, for instance, you won’t necessarily need ski straps like a backcountry skier will. If you plan on leaving your helmet on the entire day, you won’t need a helmet hammock either. And unless you plan on skiing straight to the office, an insulated laptop sleeve might be overkill as well. If you’re considering a pack that has too many accessories for you, it’s worth moving on—there are so many options, we can pretty much guarantee that the perfect pack for you is out there.

Check for warranties

Backpacks in particular are a type of gear that goes through a lot. You toss it on, wear it on your adventures, throw it in the back of a car—accidents happen and even the best quality packs get worn over time. Especially at the higher price points, it helps to know that a manufacturer has your back. Check for warranties, whether lifetime or limited, and you’ll end up with a purchase that gives you have peace of mind. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How should a backpack fit?

    A backpack should be snug against your back but not tight. If a certain style comes in multiple sizes, measure your torso length from the very top of the hip bone to the C7 vertebrae at the bases of your neck. From there, you should be able to tighten and loosen the shoulder straps and hip belt accordingly so that the bag hugs you comfortably. The idea is to keep the load perfectly balanced between your shoulders and down your back without it being too tight on the shoulders or resting on the lower back.

  • What should I include in my backpack?

    It’s really personal preference and comes down to how intense of a ski day you have ahead of you, but those who ski with backpacks typically carry a source of hydration, a snack, some glove warmers in case their hands get cold, and an extra layer to swap out in case snowmelt turns your crucial warm layers wet.

  • What are the pros and cons of skiing with a backpack?

    The obvious upside is that you’ll be able to have more gear with you, which means you can adapt to changing conditions more easily. That being said, the more stuff you bring with you, the more weight you’ll have to carry throughout the day. Plus, some resorts require you to remove your backpack when loading onto the chairlifts, and the repeated action of taking off and putting on a backpack can tire you out and, more importantly, eat up valuable skiing time.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Todd Plummer is a travel writer and outdoors enthusiast living in Boston. He spoke to professional skiers and scoured through dozens of products to curate this list. 

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