If you’ve been thinking about ditching a regular backpack for a backpack specifically designed for snow sports – now’s the time! Whether this is your first ski backpack or one of many, having the right pack is essential. Not just any pack will do.

A backpack designed for cold weather and mountain activities makes your ski or snowboard experience a million times better! Once you experience the comfort and function they provide, there’s just no going back. But beyond that, having special features is imperative for your safety. Regardless of your ability level or level of intensity, all snow sports are risky.

So if you’re in the market for the perfect snowboard or ski backpack to ensure the best possible mountain experience, here you’ll find top picks for a variety of categories, plus things to consider when choosing your ideal ski backpack. Sit back, get comfy, and enjoy reading through this ultimate guide for finding the best ski backpack for your next winter adventure. 

We’ve got the best lift-friendly ski backpack, the most epic ski-carrying backpack, the comfiest, cheapest and pretty much anything else you can think of!

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And away we go…

Quick Answer: Best Ski Backpacks

#1 Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 – Best Ski Backpack Overall

#2 Dakine Poacher 14L Pack – Best Budget Ski Backpack

#3 Picture Organic Clothing Komit TR 26 Snow Pack – Best Budget Ski Pack #2

#4 Black Diamond JetForce Pro 25 Avalanche Airbag Pack – Best Airbag Ski Pack

#5 Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack – Best Airbag Ski Pack #2

#6 Black Diamond Cirque 35 Pack – Best Ski Mountaineering Pack

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32

  • Price > $$
  • > Lightweight
  • > Has A-frame and diagonal-ski carry
Dakine Poacher 14L Pack

Dakine Poacher 14L Pack

  • Price > $
  • > Minimalist design
  • > Budget-friendly

Picture Organic Clothing Komit TR 26 Snow Pack

  • Price > $
  • > 26 liters of space
  • > Super comfortable
Black Diamond JetForce UL26

Black Diamond JetForce Pro 25 Avalanche Airbag Pack

  • Price > $$$$
  • > Lightweight and fucntional
  • > Plenty of space
Backcountry Access Float 32

Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack

  • Price > $$$
  • > Water-resistant zippers
  • > Large capacity
Black Diamond Cirque 35 Pack

Black Diamond Cirque 35 Pack

  • Price > $$
  • > Pocket for tools and stowable helmet flap
  • > Durable
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Best Ski Backpack Overall

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 is our pick for the best ski backpack overall

  • Best use: IE ski touring
  • Weight: 2 lb 9 oz
  • Volume: [S/M] 30 L, [M/L] 32 L
  • Materials: Dynex (210d + PE200d, 840d nylon oxford)

Are you a hardcore skier or die-hard snowboarder? With the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol, either one is cool because it’s fitted up for both. No matter how off-the-beaten-slope you like to get, this is the most versatile lightweight, mid-sized ski backpack (or snowboard backpack) you’ll find.

With back-side access to the main compartment, keeping the pack dry is easier and provides easy access to all the things you can easily fit for a full day out in the backcountry, such as snacks, extra layers, and other accessories. There are also additional storage compartments with roomy belt pockets and an insulated hydration sleeve built into the shoulder.

For more technical snow enthusiasts, you’ll appreciate the specialized attachment points to easily transport a helmet, ice tools, and avy gear. Most importantly, it’s a low-profile ski pack with form-sitting suspension that hugs your body for a stable, smooth ride. You won’t be disappointed with this one! 

Our team were big fans of this backpack. Being a backpack that holds skis and a snowboard also was a huge selling point for those of the team who participate in both sports and don’t want to buy two packs. They also just love how compact and well fitting the bag feels on the slopes.

  1. Has A-frame and diagonal-ski carry
  2. Lightweight and roomy for day trips or backcountry outings
  3. Available in two sizes
  1. Overkill for leisure resort-style skiing

Best Budget Ski Backpack

Dakine Poacher 14L Pack

The best budget ski backpack in our list is Dakine Poacher 14L Pack

  • Best use: Day touring/resort
  • Weight: 2 lb 9 oz
  • Volume: 14 L
  • Materials: 840-denier ripstop nylon/500-denier high-tenacity nylon

Don’t be fooled by the minimalist, compact design of this 14L ski backpack; it has plenty of space for everything you need for a day on the slopes. And the best part? If you’re on a budget, the Dakine Poacher pack totally fits the bill.

This small ski backpack – which can also serve as a snowboard backpack – is designed to organize avy safety gear essentials, plus fits water, snacks, and extra layers. Your goggles or sunglasses will stay protected in its convenient, fleece-lined pockets.

The Dakine pack doesn’t include a frame, which makes for a secure, snug fit around your body. And it’s so slim that you won’t even have to take it off when hopping on lifts – a cool feature for an active day of resort riding. Sleek, functional, and affordable – what’s not to like? Well, it’s not a backpack with ski straps, but not everyone needs that!

Our team felt this was a great bag for those wanting something cheap that covered all the important features. They felt it offered a great and tight-fitting wearing experience that is just big enough for the essentials yet stays so close to your body they hardly felt it on.

  1. Lightweight and minimally designed for absolute basics
  2. Allows for carrying skis diagonally or a snowboard vertically
  3. Budget-friendly
  1. Too small for longer snowsport trips

Best Budget Ski Pack #2

Picture Organic Clothing Komit TR 26 Snow Pack is our pick for the best budget ski pack #2

  • Best use: IE ski touring
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 14.9 oz
  • Volume: 26 L
  • Materials: 210-denier diamond ripstop recycled polyester; 600-denier recycled polyester plain weave with PU coating

If you need a lightweight but larger ski rucksack, don’t let the price deter you from buying a fantastic bag designed specifically for snowsports. If you venture off into the backcountry, having a ski backpack that properly carries and organizes safety equipment and tools becomes even more crucial. That’s where the budget-friendly Picture Organic Clothing Komit comes to the rescue.

You’ll get an ample 26 litres of space to carry light to medium loads for all your daily essentials. The ski pack has a roll top to ensure all your gear stays perfectly dry. Accessory loops for your helmet and attachments for an ice axe and poles make carrying your vital equipment less cumbersome. Whether you’re a skier or snowboarder, this tidy design keep everything securely in place. 

This thing is also super comfortable. A centrally mounted hipbelt keeps the weight evenly distributed, and wide hip fins adjust to give you that proper secure-feeling hug. You’ll also find a usable zippered pocket – perfect for stashing an easy-accessible chapstick or small item of choice.

For the size, functionality, and price – the Picture Organic Clothing Komit was a winner for our team. They felt it was one of the most comfortable bags on the market, especially at carrying 26 litres whilst on the slopes. They were also impressed by the number of different pockets and straps which made organisation and accessing important gear easy.

  1. Ample 26-liter capacity with an internal frame but ultra-lightweight
  2. Features exterior pockets + main compartment for organized storage
  3. Budget-friendly
  1. Not suitable for carrying large loads

Best Airbag Ski Pack

Black Diamond JetForce UL26

Top pick foir the best airbag ski pack is Black Diamond JetForce Pro 25 Avalanche Airbag Pack

  • Best use: Airbag/Avalanche safety/backcountry skiing
  • Weight: 6 lb 5 oz
  • Volume: 25 L
  • Materials: 100-denier nylon/200-denier polyethylene

Weighing only 6 lbs. 5 oz., the Black Diamond JetForce is the most lightweight and functional airbag ski pack you’ll find. Cartridges are not included, but you’ll feel at peace in the backcountry knowing that the 150-liter airbag inflates in under five seconds.

Your avy safety tools will neatly tuck away in the designated pockets, while the diagonal ski carry comfortably transports your skis, safely out of the way of airbag deployment. The roomy 25-liter interior leaves plenty of space for other goodies like water, food, extra layers, or anything else you want to bring along.

Our team were super impressed by the functionality of this pack and the technology it packs in at such a reasonable weight. They felt the avalanche protection system gave them a huge amount of confidence and also were blown away by the fact that the system can be deployed even whilst carrying their skis.

  1. Lightweight: weight with full cartridges is only 4 lbs. 6.2 oz.
  2. Available in two sizes to provide the best fit
  1. Expensive

Best Airbag Ski Pack #2

Backcountry Access Float 32

Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack is our pick for best airbag ski pack #2

  • Best use: Airbag/Avalanche safety/backcountry skiing
  • Weight: 5 lb 8 oz
  • Volume: 32 L
  • Materials: Polyurethane-coated mini-ripstop nylon

For a larger-capacity airbag ski pack, this Backcountry ski backpack is the best you’ll find for the money. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but venture off more peacefully with its Float 2.0 system – featuring a cylinder that gives your upper body maximum protection while giving you buoyancy in case of an avalanche.

If you like staying organized and keeping your wet items separate from your dry, you’ll appreciate the Backcountry’s many compartments and water-resistant zippers. It has panel access into the main compartment, where there’s plenty of space for all your gear, including tools, first-aid, and personal items.

The team were big fans of this ski-carry backpack and felt it was the perfect size for carrying a larger kit without becoming too heavy. They also loved that the avalanche protection system uses compressed air rather than a battery system and how much weight that saves.

  1. Avalanche safety system zips away separately for maximum storage space in the pack’s interior
  2. Large capacity to accommodate more gear or for longer trips
  1. Not lightweight

Best Ski Mountaineering Pack

Black Diamond Cirque 35 Pack

Our pick for the best ski mountaineering Pack is the Black Diamond Cirque 35 Pack

  • Best use: Ski mountaineering
  • Weight: (S/M): 2 lb 4 oz,  (M/L): 2 lb 6 oz
  • Volume: (S/M): 33 L,  (M/L): 35 L
  • Materials: Dynex (210d + PE 200d)

For the best combination of weight, functionality, and durability, this ski backpack is the best on the market for the avid ski mountaineer. It provides the perfect blend of features and layout, all in a minimalist design.

You’ll love the separate compartment for your shovel and probe so that you can keep them off your back and keep all your other items dry. The side zipper gives you quick access to the essentials you use most; being able to grab a water bottle without needing to take your ski pack off has its perks! 

This ski mountaineering pack features their CINCH closure system, which allows you to open or close the top with just one easy pull. Secure your skis with its diagonal ski carry and rest assured that the Cirque ski pack has been designed for all the technical aspects of any level of mountaineering expedition.

Our team loved the minimalist look of this bag and how it still manages to pack in a heap of different useful features. In particular, the integrated avy tools pocket with drain holes they felt was perfectly designed to allow them to keep everything else dry and organised. They also felt the CINCH closure system was genius and worked perfectly in use.

  1. Mid-sized, lightweight pack with minimalist design
  2. Integrated pocket for tools and stowable helmet flap
  3. Budget-friendly
  1. No hydration compatibility

More of the Best Ski Backpacks 

Ultimate Direction Fastpack 30

For a more multi-purpose, all-in-one ski pack that you can use for a variety of other outdoor adventures – whether on or off the snow – the Ultimate Direction pack is awesome. Its rugged design can handle everything from backcountry skiing to hiking, climbing, and regular everyday wear and tear.

There are easy-access, usable pockets on both shoulders – one with a key fob and the other with a cinch pocket for carrying a water bottle. For more technical use, this ski pack also has an ice axe attachment with an ingenious magnetic closure and external lash points that can easily be reconfigured to carry skis. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Our team felt this bag was super durable and were impressed by the high-quality feel to it whilst still being pretty light for the size. They liked having the ability to pack more gear for a full day of different adventures and they felt it easily fit inside both climbing and skiing gear for example.

Deuter Rise Lite 26 SL Pack (Women’s)

Deuter Rise Lite 26 SL

For a more female-friendly designed ski backpack, the Deuter Rise Lite is everything every woman could want in a slim, lightweight snowsports pack. Easily carry a light-to-medium load with either your skis or snowboard comfortably secured.

There are plenty of pockets to keep all your stuff organized, including a zippered hip pocket to keep lip balm or other small items at your fingertips. Side compression straps ensure a snug fit around any type of body frame. It’s hydration compatible and features a front safety pocket that gives easy access to a shovel and probe for even the most intense backcountry rides.

Our team really loved features like the hip pockets and hydration bladder which meant they could enjoy their time on the slopes without having the reach for things like snacks or water. Other accessible features like the front safety pocket also gave them an added sense of confidence.

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25 Snow Pack

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25

The smaller version of the pack listed as our choice for best mountaineering ski pack, the Dawn Patrol 25 has everything you need for carrying your ski touring essentials along with avalanche gear.

This ski backpack features ski or snowboard carry options with helmet holder, ice tool pockets, plus an organizer pocket for avy tools. Top and back side pack access allow for easy entry into the main compartment, whether you’re putting stuff in or taking an item out. It’s hydration compatible too, with a shoulder strap insulated sleeve for the reservoir you can buy separately.

Our team of course loved this pack in its larger form and also appreciates that Black Diamond has created a smaller version. Many of our team are pretty hardcore lightweight travellers and that transports into their outdoor adventures too. So they really liked how this smaller version still had all the important features of its larger brother whilst facilitating packing lighter.

Osprey Kamber 30 Snow Pack

Osprey Kamber 32

A big selling point for the Osprey Kamber is that it was designed with feedback from legit sources – from ski patrollers and professional guides to avid recreational skiers. This means it has incredible features that make for one comfortable, smart ski pack. 

It comes in three size choices – 16, 20 and 30 L, the perfect size for a day on the slopes or in the backcountry. Thanks to its adjustable torso and wide straps, the pack fits like a dream. You’ll also enjoy the insulated hydration sleeve and all avy gear storage spots—an overall solid choice for any skier or snowboarder.

First and foremost our team think this bag is probably the coolest-looking pack on the list! So there’s that! On top of that, they feel it’s one of the most comfortable and well-fitting backpacks they’ve ever worn, which makes it ideal for wearing all day!

Osprey Kresta 30 Snow Pack (Women’s)

Osprey Kresta 30 Snow Pack - Women's

This female-tailored ski pack includes all of the quality, function, and top-notch design you can expect from Osprey products. It’s available in two sizes, including XS/S, to accommodate petite frames.

From leisurely day tours to backcountry stints, you’ll enjoy how comfortable the Kresta is. With upper and lower side compression, zippered hip pockets, a goggles pocket, and an internal pocket for an optional hydration reservoir, this ski backpack has it all. And for those who need avalanche preparedness, there’s an avy safety kit pocket easily accessible too.

As above the team felt the women’s version of the pack offered the same level of style and functionality without compromise. The small reduction in size didn’t effect the usability of the backpack and instead made for a much more comfortable carry for smaller frames.

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    Mystery Ranch Gallatin Peak 40 Snow Pack

    Mystery Ranch Gallatin Peak 40

    If you need some serious capacity with special emphasis on easily accessible snow safety tools, this Mystery Ranch ski backpack is your best bet. It features an oversized, zippered avy pocket that ensures all safety gear is well within reach.

    It’s easy to stay organized with this 40-liter ski pack with its two zippered lid pockets and a zippered pocket housed within the main bag that you can access either from the top of via the body panel. The Gallatin Peak is also available in two sizes – S/M and L/XL – to accommodate torso lengths ranging from 15 to 24 inches.

    Not all of our team felt the need for such a large pack, but for those who did they felt this was a great lightweight option that carried the extra weight well. They also found it to be super durable and hard wearing with well thought out features that allowed them to keep all 40L of gear organised and easy to access.

    Black Diamond JetForce Pro Avalanche Airbag Pack 10L

    Black Diamond JetForce Pro 10L

    If you’re into super modernized, tech-advanced snow gear – and are willing to pay for it – the JetForce Pro Avalanche Airbag Pack is about as cool as they come. Not only is this ski pack lighter and smaller than its previous models, it comes equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, which means you can update its software through the designated app on your mobile phone.

    As a lightweight, 10-liter pack, this airbag packs it all in with a custom-built avy-tool pocket and storage aplenty for water, snacks, and any additional gear. The JetForce also features an ice-tool attachment and a helmet holder. The whole pack is modular, so you have the option of purchasing an add-on booster pack of 25-liters, 35-liters, or 25-liter.

    Our team love this super compact and lightweight bag that packs all the essentials, including safety gear, in such a tiny package. Some of our team like to pack light and want a bag that you pretty much forget you’re wearing so you can just enjoy your time on the slopes… and this is it!

    Mammut Free 22L

    If the idea of having an airbag ski pack that can handle multiple deployments in one day is appealing, the Mammut Free 22L is for you. It features a removable airbag system so you can choose when you need it and keep things light when you don’t.

    The Mammut Free 22L is top-loading and can carry skis or a snowboard easily. Staying organized is a cinch with the sleeve for storing a shovel, saw, and probe, and a small internal pocket to secure essential personal items. The airbag trigger is mechanical, with no reliance on electronics.

    Our team love that this pack allows for multiple deployments of the avalanche safety system and felt it gave them that added sense of security when it came to adventuring off-piste or in the backcountry. They felt for such a sophisticated system it also kept the weight down well and the 22l size was ideal when it came to weight vs storage.

    Deuter Rise Lite 28 Pack

    Deuter Rise Lite 28 Pack

    The Deuter Rise Lite keeps things simple and flexible. It has just the right amount of capacity to comfortably carry a light-to-medium load of essentials for a long day or weekend of backcountry skiing – or snowboarding – as both carry options are available.

    You’ll find everything you need here – compression straps, a front safety pocket for your snow tools, five exterior pockets plus the main compartment to keep you organized, and it’s even hydration compatible. For the reasonable price, the Deuter Rise is quite a deal.

    One of the main things our team loved about this bag was that it wasn’t only ideal for skiing, but its features and size make it a great general travel backpack too. One of the reasons for that is that the ingenious fixing solutions for things like skis and snow shoes can be neatly tucked away when not needed. They also found it to be a light pack for the size too.

    Dakine Mission Pro 25L Pack (Women’s)

    Dakine Mission Pro 25L

    For a female-focused ski pack, the Dakine Mission has everything a female skier or snowboarder could need for the backcountry or a day on the resort slopes. It’s frameless and gives any waist/hips between 18 and 42 inches a perfectly secured snug fit.

    There are pockets and compartments for snow tools and other technical gear, along with a roomy 25-liter interior for layers, snacks, and other essential gear. It’s hydration-compatible – for a separately sold reservoir – with a drink-tube sleeve neatly tucked into the shoulder strap. Ladies, you’ll love it.

    The female member of our team loves this ski holder backpack and felt it looked super cool without actually looking stereotypically feminine too. In fact, they felt this thing looked pretty badass! They also loved that it doubled well as a skateboard backpack too. Oh, and it was also super comfortable!

    Cotopaxi Tarak 20L Del Dia Pack

    Cotopaxi Tarak 20L Del Dia Pack

    Are you a skier and a climber? If so, the Cotopaxi Tarak is the right pack for you. There’s no fumbling around with this one; all loops are non-existent and essential equipment is secured with straps and configurable compression and lash points.

    With this pack, you can comfortably enjoy a day of backcountry skiing, climbing, or hiking with a removable hip belt, removable frame sheet, and a hydration sleeve. For a no-frills, affordable, multi-purpose pack, the Cotopaxi is a solid choice.

    Ok, so first off, our team of course thought that this was pretty much the coolest backpack out there, ski related or not. I mean, look at it! They also loved the shape with it being compact and close fitting, making it perfect for sports like climbing and skiing.

    Black Diamond Mission 35 Pack

    Black Diamond Mission 25 Pack

    If alpine cragging is on your list of favorite activities, along with gear-intensive snow excursions, take a good look at the Black Diamond Mission pack. This ski backpack is built tough and can be stripped down to the bare minimum with a removable hip belt, lid, and frame sheet. 

    The Mission pack is hydration compatible to keep you going in any style of mountain activity you choose. SwingArm shoulder straps make for a balanced, comfortable carry. You’ll enjoy further versatility with its top-loading access, a rope strap you can tuck away, and ice tool pockets – should you need them.

    The TBB team loves the versatility of this backpack for all their different adventures. For example, the top lid area allows a climbing rope to be attached whilst the back is full. On top of that, they felt it was a proper bullet proof and durable pack too.

    Black Diamond Speed 22 Pack

    Black Diamond Speed 22 Pack

    Lightweight and need for speed. If this describes your priorities, this streamlined 22-liter ski pack really packs a punch. It will haul all your essential gear for snow, ice, or rocks. Two zipper pockets, ice ax holders, and side pockets let you cover all your gear-packing basics.

    Like the larger Mission pack, the Diamond pack is also strippable, with a removable hip belt, lid, and crampon straps. It is also hydration compatible. For an inexpensive do-it-all compact backpack, it’s a winner.

    For those on the team needing a decent amount of storage, whilst being as light as possible, this bag hits a bullseye. Again, like above the ability to throw a rope over the top of the bag and secure it with the top opener was perfect for multisport use. The unique “X-rip” 210d Nylon body fabric also makes this bag feel super durable for how light it is.

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

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    How to Choose the Best Ski Backpack

    ski backpacks
    Snowboarders need backpacks too…

    We’ve provided the above ski backpack reviews to make your search for the perfect ski pack easier, but if you want to keep shopping around, here are some things to know and pointers on how to choose the best ski backpack. 

    Ski Backpack Categories 

    ski backpacks
    What sort of ski activity will you be doing?
    • Day touring/resort

    Ski packs in this category best serve recreational skiing in terrains served by ski lifts. The priority is comfort and convenience with a clean exterior that won’t snag on a chairlift. 

    • Ski mountaineering

    Because this category caters to more technical needs in more rugged terrain, packs are more streamlined to be as lightweight as possible. Dedicated compartments for gear are needed for ice tools and safety equipment, and they’re usually larger capacity to accommodate overnight trips.

    • Airbag

    Airbag packs are equipped with an airbag for safety and are heavier and have more limited capacities by nature. They are more common for backcountry skiing served by lifts and heli-skiing.

    Unisex and Women-Specific Ski Backpacks 

    Many ski backpacks are listed as unisex, and overall, they can work for men and women equally well. But for women looking for the most contoured and close fit possible, female-specific packs are highly recommended.

    Ski packs specifically built for women usually differ in capacity and shape that comes in the suspension system design – hip belts and shoulders are contoured more to a woman’s body. Especially for more petite women, women’s ski packs may provide a better fit.

    Ski Backpack Capacity 

    ski backpacks
    How much stuff do you need to hold?

    You’ll find that ski backpacks come in a wide range of sizes – from compact under 20-liter packs to larger +40-liter packs. To know how much capacity is right for you, you must first figure out what your needs are. If you’re about technical ski mountaineering or longer overnight or multi-night trips, you’ll need the +40-liter range. For side-country skiing or speed, a lighter pack makes more sense.  

    For most skiers and snowboarders looking for a ski pack for long resort days or less technical backcountry ventures, a ski rucksack in the 25- to 32-liter range usually fits the bill. At this capacity, there’s plenty of space for water, food, layers, and avalanche gear.

    Avalanche Safety Mechanisms / Airbags

    ski backpacks
    Always be extra cautious when entering an avalanche zone.

    Even if you make it a habit to avoid the slopes when avalanche danger is high, the risk is always there. That’s why a pack with an avalanche safety mechanism is recommended to keep you prepared for even the most unexpected situations. The two types of avalanche-safety mechanisms you’ll find in ski backpacks are airbags and AvaLungs. 

    The idea behind both mechanisms is to keep the person alive and breathing until help arrives. Airbags are the most common; they’re designed to keep a person afloat in case of a slide, so they don’t get pulled further under. The airbag also provides essential neck and head protection against mountainside rocks and trees. 


    Just like with capacity, ski backpacks can range from a light 3 pounds to over 8 pounds – especially those equipped with airbags. Obviously, to stay fast on a descent – if that’s your priority – you’ll want the most lightweight pack possible with a minimal amount of gear inside. Keep in mind that with lighter weight, you usually get less suspension and padding for comfort. 

    At no point on your average day on the mountain should you be back 10 plus kilos worth of gear. 

    Carrying Comfort 

    ski backpacks
    You’ll want a ski backpack that will be comfortable all day long.

    A big factor here is a ski backpack’s suspension system, along with shape, size, and adjustment mechanisms. What you’ll find most comfortable will depend on the type of skier you are. If downhill skiing with less restricted movement is what you love, you’re best looking for a ski pack with minimal suspension and compression straps that let the pack sit close to your back.

    But if you’re an uphill skier or technical skier that needs a 40-liter pack to hold loads of equipment for overnight expeditions, you’ll want to trade off lighter weight for a hardier back panel, hip belt, and shoulder straps. At that capacity, you need extra support to keep the load manageable and comfortable.

    Closure Systems and Access 

    ski backpacks
    Easy access to your gear is key.

    A ski backpack can have top-zip access, back panel-zip access, side-zip access, or a combination of a zipper, drawstring, etc. The main thing here is to think about the environments you’re mostly in, and how often you typically need to access your pack’s contents throughout the day. 

    For resort or chairlift skiing, top-pack access works best for grabbing water or snacks. For snow activities that involve a lot of transitions, a back panel U-shaped zip lets you see all your gear to find what you need without having to take everything out. For fewer transitions – like for ski mountaineers – more streamlined access works well.

    Organizational Features and Accessory Pockets

    osprey ski backpack
    Compression straps are an integral part of any Ski touring backpack.

    Every skier has accessories, whether it’s lip balm, ID, sunglasses, goggles, snacks – or all of the above. So, in addition to the main compartment and the one for avy gear, you’ll want to a ski pack that has one or more accessory pockets. 

    Also, take into account where the accessory pocket is. An inside pocket makes the exterior more streamlined but will be less convenient to access. If you need lip balm on hand frequently, an exterior accessory pocket is a small detail that will make a big difference in your day’s experience.

    Compression Straps

    Compression straps are the key to keeping things snug and in place, which is important when you’re powering up or down a snowy slope. Luckily, most ski backpacks are designed with a strap system to make carrying a load of gear more comfortable. For resort skiers, consider that external straps easily get caught on chairlifts, so you may want to opt for a ski pack with a clean exterior to avoid this issue. 

    Hydration Compatibility

    You may notice that many ski rucksacks are hydration compatible. Usually, the reservoir is sold separately, but having a hydration system that’s seamlessly built into your pack’s design can be beneficial. For intense backcountry snowsports or very technical mountaineering, reaching into your bag for a water bottle isn’t practical. In this case, you’ll want hydration compatibility to be one of your must-haves.

    Best Ski Backpacks
    NameCapacity (litres)Dimensions (CM)Weight (KG)Price (USD)
    Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 323253.34 x 27.94 x 22.861.16189.95
    Dakine Poacher 14L Pack1450.8 x 30.48 x 10.161.16110
    Picture Organic Clothing Komit TR 26 Snow Pack2648.26 x 30.481.33160
    Black Diamond JetForce Pro 25 Avalanche Airbag Pack25Unavailable2.861,499.95
    Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack32Unavailable2.49599.95
    Black Diamond Cirque 35 Pack3553.34 x 24.13 x 24.131.08199.95
    Ultimate Direction Fastpack 30310.68179.95
    Deuter Rise Lite 26 SL Pack (Women’s)2663.5 x 25.4 x 19.051.16176.99
    Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25 Snow Pack2555.88 x 38.1 x 10.921.16169.95
    Osprey Kamber 30 Snow Pack3055.88 x 30.48 x 30.481.54189.95
    Osprey Kresta 30 Snow Pack (Women’s)3058.42 x 33.02 x 7.621.45210
    Mystery Ranch Gallatin Peak 40 Snow Pack4066.04 x 29.21 x 29.211.72265
    Black Diamond JetForce Pro Avalanche Airbag Pack102.761,499.95
    Mammut Free2254.10 x 27.94 x 17.020.90640
    Deuter Rise Lite 28 Pack281.18120
    Dakine Mission Pro 25L Pack (Women’s)2553.34 x 30.48 x 17.78180
    Cotopaxi Tarak 20L Del Dia Pack20Unavailable0.57100
    Black Diamond Mission 35 Pack351.62224.95
    Black Diamond Speed 22 Pack220.61129.95

    How and Where We Tested To Find The Best Ski Backpacks

    To test these packs, we got our hands on each of them and took them out for a proper test drive. Different members of the team in various ski locations around the world took these packs out and looked at various metrics in order to assess their credentials.

    When it came to picking the best ski pack, we looked at the following:


    A backpack is designed to carry stuff, so of course, one of the main areas we looked at was exactly that. So we awarded points for how packable each bag was. Was it able to maximise its available space and facilitate effective packing?

    Not only that but we also looked at how easy each bag was to unpack too. So, were we able to retrieve items quickly and easily? This was especially important when it came to doing our ski backpack reviews as there are various items you need to be able to get at whilst on the slopes.

    Weight and Comfort of Carrying

    Whilst you’re skiing you really don’t want to be overly burdened with a heavy or unwieldy backpack. Unless you’re carrying specific specialist gear, a ski backpack needs to carry what you need without getting in the way of your manoeuvrability.

    So backpacks that are lightweight, comfortable, don’t get in the way and also hold their weight well when full were awarded max points.


    A ski pack doesn’t just hold all your ski-related accessories inside, but it holds your skis too! So here we looked at ski-carrying backpacks and how well each enabled this super useful function. Not only that but we wanted to know how specifically how easy the straps make it to attach skis, if they are in awkward positions and also how easy is the rest of the bag to access once your skis are attached.


    We all want to look good on the slopes, don’t lie!! I mean, why spend all that money on heading to the Alps if it isn’t to flex!? Here at Broke Backpacker, we think gear can be both practical and cool, so we awarded extra points to the sexiest packs!

    Durability and Weatherproofing

    Ski backpacks of course need to be waterproof with all that snow and powder flying all over it all day! So it was important to us to test that out by pouring a pint or two of water over each one and checking the contents afterwards. Leaky mofos were banished!

    Another important factor was how durable each backpack was. We looked at things like the quality and toughness of the materials used, the traction and hardiness of the zippers, how hard wearing the seam sewing was as well as certain pressure points that are more likely to break.

    FAQ about the Best Ski Backpacks

    Still have some questions about the best ski daypack? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

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      Final Thoughts

      That’s it, guys! All you need to know about the best ski backpacks out there and what you need to know to find the right ski pack for you. As you can see, snow sports can be a leisurely weekend warrior sport or an intense, technical way of life. This is why finding the ski backpack with all the features you need is so important.

      We hope you found this ski backpack shopping guide useful. Remember, it’s about function, comfort, and safety, so don’t hesitate to shop around. Spend what it takes to make sure you get yourself a quality ski pack you love, and that will serve you well for a long spell of mountain bound adventures!

      Right, that’s your backpack sorted. Now check out the best Ski Jackets to keep you all nice and warm.

      best ski touring pack
      Thanks for checking out our review of the best ski backpacks of the year… Happy shredding.