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WInter Pack

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WInter Pack

Postby SingleSpeed » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:35 pm

I love my summer pack (Osprey Talon 22?) but I do not think it is big enough for a winter pack, so I am in search of a new one. So far I have not found anything that I really like. So I need some suggestions. A few features I am loking for are: side pockets big enough for nalgenes, ice axe loops, a good attachment system/points for snowshoes when not being worn, hip belt pockets. Thanks for the input. You all always give me great suggetions.

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Re: WInter Pack

Postby Alpineair » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:50 pm

I took a look at these today, and although I still haven't made up my mind, I think it would be hard to beat for less then $100.
http://www.golite.com/packs-and-luggage
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Re: WInter Pack

Postby dsunwall » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:54 pm

a little lighter go lite, winter day pack. Snowshoes strap to the sides, it does have tool loops.

http://www.golite.com/Jam-50L-Pack-Unisex-P46812.aspx

but, it all depends on exactly what all you are doing and how long you are out. The would be a little small for a winter overnight, along with snowshoes, beacon, shovel, probe, ice axe, rope, harness, it all adds up to an incredible load. I like a BD 75 mission in this case.
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/mountain/packs/mission-75-pack. BD also makes smaller versions which are a little more rugged than the go-lites. The mission 50 is a great winter day pack and still fairly light.

if it's truely winter you won't be putting your nalgene bottles in outside pockets. I also should mention, nalgenes are way heavy, gator-aide bottles are stronger and much lighter.

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Re: WInter Pack

Postby powhound » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:28 am

Being you are an Osprey fan already (like me-I own 3), check out the Osprey Kode. It has many features that are specific to winter. I like the 38 size, but it comes smaller too. It has everything you wanted except the side pockets for nalgenes. I got around this by getting an after market insulated bottle holder that attaches to the waist belt. I found the larger bottle (32 oz.) size too big, obnoxious and getting in the way. A 16 oz. works better and you finish it before it gets too slushy from freezing. Then replenish it from your larger bottle(s), which is wrapped in insulation, deep in your pack. I've never been a fan of the camelback thing, but I've learned the hard way, if your water isn't easily accessible, and you have to stop and dig in the pack every time you are thirsty, you will dehydrate as that is a pain in the @ss...and you won't drink as often. The above method seems to solve the problem for me.

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Re: WInter Pack

Postby Mindy » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:07 am

Thanks for starting this thread. I too am on market for a winter pack I think. I currently have a BD, and I love the hip belt system, it is awesome the way it moves with my hips as I hike or “scramble” :) . I found out over last weekend that my ice axe would keep turning as I was hiking though, strangest thing, so the sharp point would have seriously hurt me if I had fallen on it at times (yes I need ice axe guards too). Also, I am not sure how I would strap on my snowshoes to my current pack. Otina had an Osprey, and she has that thing locked down with where everything is at - looked like lots of pockets, etc...... Bob and Kate what packs do you guys have? I remember thinking they were a nice size to hold all your stuff. Bob, yours had your axe down the middle I think? Is there a special pack out there for those times you want to simply pull your axe out quickly and not have to take the pack off (or is that ever simple?)? Anyone use BD out there for winter? What size?

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Re: WInter Pack

Postby dsunwall » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:50 am

Mindy wrote: I found out over last weekend that my ice axe would keep turning as I was hiking though, strangest thing, so the sharp point would have seriously hurt me if I had fallen on it at times (yes I need ice axe guards too). Also, I am not sure how I would strap on my snowshoes to my current pack. Otina had an Osprey, and she has that thing locked down with where everything is at - looked like lots of pockets, etc...... Bob and Kate what packs do you guys have? I remember thinking they were a nice size to hold all your stuff. Bob, yours had your axe down the middle I think? Is there a special pack out there for those times you want to simply pull your axe out quickly and not have to take the pack off (or is that ever simple?)? Anyone use BD out there for winter? What size?


I do use a BD pack. If you look closely at how the axe pick goes inside on the mission 50 you won't have either of the problems you describe. With the pack on you can reach back, unclip the bottom strap that holds the axe and remove it. I haven't figured out how to put it back in without removing the pack though. The BD's also have a great crampon pocket on the back middle. It also has gear loops on the hip belt.

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/mountain/packs/mission-50-pack
Last edited by dsunwall on Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: WInter Pack

Postby Voodoo302 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:53 am

I have an Osprey Variant 37 (it also comes in a 52L if you want more room) and I absolutely love it. It has all the features you mentioned except the pockets on the hipbelt but I end up putting snacks in my pants or jacket pocket. I got it specifically for winter and alpine climbing, knowing that I'd be climbing rock/ice/snow/mixed, hiking, and skiing in it, and it fits my needs perfectly. It's comfortable, holds a lot but compresses well, and has a nice low profile when climbing and skiing.

The pack is durable, but I destroyed my first one in a bad fall on the Notch last spring; Osprey sent me a new one no problem.

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Re: WInter Pack

Postby Alpineair » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:16 am

If, like me, you are looking for a winter day pack and not something for extended trips the Golite's are light and cheap. Not sure about the suspension system without trying it with some weight in it.

BD's suspension system looks intriguing and they appear bullet proof, but a bit heavier and definitely geared more toward climbers. More money also.

Most of what I've looked at has too much stuff I don't need.
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Re: WInter Pack

Postby metalmountain » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:20 am

Voodoo302 wrote:I have an Osprey Variant 37 (it also comes in a 52L if you want more room) and I absolutely love it. It has all the features you mentioned except the pockets on the hipbelt but I end up putting snacks in my pants or jacket pocket. I got it specifically for winter and alpine climbing, knowing that I'd be climbing rock/ice/snow/mixed, hiking, and skiing in it, and it fits my needs perfectly. It's comfortable, holds a lot but compresses well, and has a nice low profile when climbing and skiing.

The pack is durable, but I destroyed my first one in a bad fall on the Notch last spring; Osprey sent me a new one no problem.


I have the Variant 52 and love it, but it got to where it felt too big for me on day trips and out snowboarding. I just picked this up last week and love it:

http://www.rei.com/product/816105/rei-pinnacle-35-pack

The roll down top is actually pretty nice. I was skeptical when I bought it, but it works great. It has enough attachments points where you should be able to get anything you want on it, and has a side access zipper and crampon compartment on the back. It also has internal gear loops and removable straps on the outside for your rope. Personally I think REI hit it out of the park with this one. There is also a 50 L version as well.
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Re: WInter Pack

Postby Dave B » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:38 am

I've spent the last two winters climbing with an Osprey Variant 37. Bomber pack that is very versatile in handling just about any load you can throw at it. I've used it as an overnight pack in milder temps, have skied, hiked, rock/ice/mixed climbed in it and can't say enough good things about it. However it is also a very "minimalist" pack so if you're looking for lots of bells and whistles, pockets, attachment points etc. this might not be the pack for you. Also, I just sold my Variant 52 because, despite a perfect fit with the 37, I couldn't carry any kind of heavy load without the pack killing my back.

With that said, this winter I bought a ski specific pack. The Black Diamond Covert. This pack has a few more features that I've been missing from my ski touring pack including hip-belt pocket, helmet carry (which I think is the bees-knees), insulated hydration sleeve in the shoulder strap, fleece lined goggle pouch, back panel access, diagonal ski carry and most importantly an easily accessible "mud-room" for carrying avy gear and somewhere to easily slip skins when running laps. With the variant I had to dig everything out of the pack to get to my shovel blade which meant I probably was less willing to dig in the snow than I should have been.

I'm taking it out for the first time this weekend, but I did a bit of research and this seemed to be the perfect pack for BC skiing, but I think it would also function quite well as a general use winter pack.


EDIT - Nalgenes will not last long on the outside of your pack without freezing BTW, I'd be more concerned with a pack that accepts insulated water bottle sleeves or has some kind of insulated hydration system than pockets on the outside.
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Re: WInter Pack

Postby GregMiller » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:26 am

I have the Osprey Kode 30 and like it, but I'd recommend the Kode 38, just so you have a little more room. I use a camelbak with it, and the right shoulder strap serves as an insulating sleeve (although it still has frozen up on occasion, I don't know of any that wouldn't if it gets cold enough). It doesn't have external pockets for water bottles, but as said above, you really don't want those. It has a single ice axe loop centered on the bottom, and you could use the center strap hole on the bottom if you wanted to carry two ice tools. While I haven't tried carrying snowshoes with mine, I have carried (not at the same time) my shell jacket, my skis, or my 70m climbing rope - I have no doubt you could make something work.
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Re: WInter Pack

Postby lordhelmut » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:48 am

farcedude wrote:I have the Osprey Kode 30 and like it, but I'd recommend the Kode 38, just so you have a little more room. I use a camelbak with it, and the right shoulder strap serves as an insulating sleeve (although it still has frozen up on occasion, I don't know of any that wouldn't if it gets cold enough). It doesn't have external pockets for water bottles, but as said above, you really don't want those. It has a single ice axe loop centered on the bottom, and you could use the center strap hole on the bottom if you wanted to carry two ice tools. While I haven't tried carrying snowshoes with mine, I have carried (not at the same time) my shell jacket, my skis, or my 70m climbing rope - I have no doubt you could make something work.


+1. The Kode has all the basic features you look for, especially from a ski mountaineering perspective. Stretch helmet pouch and avy gear compartments are nice. My only gripe is the front compartment is rendered useless when you fill up the body from the back panel. Like farcedude says, the 38 is better and has a pack head, which probably solves this space problem. Also, Osprey's customer service, as mentioned many times before, is top notch. When the fabric rips, they have burly reinforcements to fix it.

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