Winter Sports

Best Ski Backpack Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best ski backpack for the money? Read on as we review all the top options with Pros & Cons

After spending hours researching and comparing dozens of different models – and reading through countless customer reviews – we’ve put together a list of the best ski backpacks that are currently on the market.

In this guide, we provide an overview of the models we’ve selected. We also included a buyer’s guide, which details some of the most important factors that you should take into consideration that will help you decide which backpack for skiing will work best for your particular needs.

To wrap things up, we answer some of the questions that you may have about this important piece of skiing and snowboarding equipment. With the information presented in this guide, you’ll be able to outfit yourself with a high-quality, comfortable, and reliable ski backpack.

Our Top Picks

To start things off, we’re going to share a brief review of our top three choices: the best overall, the best premium, and the best budget backpacks for skiing. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read through the rest of our guide, this section is for you.

Best Pick: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25 Backpack

Black Diamond really hit the nail on the head with their Dawn Patrol 25 Backpack, which is why it’s our pick for the best overall ski backpack. The lightweight, low profile design and the form-fitting suspension of this pack make it perfect for super-fast shredding in the backcountry or down the slopes.

Premium Pick: Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag

Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag Kit Black Raven 18 Liter
  • Thanks to its extremely lightweight AVABAG airbag system, this new member of the AVABAG family is ORTOVOXs lightest avalanche airbag yet.
  • Its close fit and foamed back means it sits perfectly against the body and ensures maximum freedom of movement on any ride.
  • Quick front access to the main compartment or the separate safety compartment keeps your gear organized and always at the ready

For skiers and riders who like to take risks but want to ensure they are properly prepared for any emergencies that may arise, the Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag Avalanche Airbag System Snow Backpack is a great choice. This backpack is made of light and sturdy materials and is specially designed to form to your shape so you can ski or snowboard in total comfort.

Budget Pick: Osprey Daylite Backpack

Osprey Daylite Daypack
  • Large panel loading main compartment provides accessibility to inside contents
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets provide additional storage options
  • The multi-function interior sleeve can be used for either a hydration reservoir or tablet
  • Mesh-covered die-cut foam back panel provides both comfort and ventilation.
  • Front zippered pocket with mesh organizer and key clip

For skiers and snowboarders who are looking for a high-quality backpack but don’ want to spend a fortune, the Daylite Backpack from Osprey is the perfect option. Made of high-grade nylon material and featuring a mesh-covered panel with slotted foam on the back, this backpack is both durable and comfortable.

Ski Backpack Reviews

Now that we’ve share a brief overview of our top three picks for the best ski backpacks, we want to break things down even further and share some more great options with you. In this part of our guide, you’ll find more detailed reviews of each of the above-mentioned backpacks (the best overall, best premium, and best budget models) as well as four additional high-quality ski backpacks. Each review features a list of pros and cons, too.

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25 Ski Backpack

For our best overall ski backpack, we chose the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25 daypack. Made of durable, yet lightweight nylon material and featuring a low profile design, complete with a form-fitting suspension system, this backpack moves with you and won’t hold you back when you’re heading down the slopes.

The shoulder straps are made of lightweight and sturdy Dynex material, and they’re adjustable too, so you can get the right fit for you. With 25 liters of space, you’ll be able to store all of your gear with ease, and with zippered access to the main compartment, you’ll accessing your gear will be a breeze.

With a dedicated avalanche tool organizer panel and PickPockets that are designed to hold ice tools, this pack allows you to stow away all of those essential items that will help to get you out of a jam. A HiLo helmet holder and side straps make carrying around your skis, snowboard, and helmet when you’re taking a timeout really convenient.

This pack is compatible with the AvaLung Element snow safety system, too, and can even accommodate a hydration system (do note that both have to be purchased separately). The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25 backpack is available in three colors and very aesthetically pleasing, so not only will you be able to access all of your gear and stay safe with this comfortable ski backpack, but you’ll also look cool while you’re chuting down the slopes or kicking the halfpipes, too.

Pros:
  • Made of durable, lightweight nylon
  • Offers 25 liters of space
  • Compatible with the AvaLung snow safety system and hydration systems
  • Features several convenient storage pockets.
  • Form-fitting suspension and low-profile design for exceptional comfort
  • Adjustable shoulder and waist straps
  • Available in three colors
  • Aesthetically pleasing
Cons:
  • Might not be suitable for very large people

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Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag Snow Backpack

For skiers and snowboarders who like to push the envelope and aren’t afraid to climb higher to experience mind blowing descents, the Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag Avalanche Airbag System Snow Backpack is an excellent option.

Made of sturdy nylon fabric, it’s lightweight, yet durable, and can take on pretty much anything that comes its way. The close fit and foamed back ensures exceptional comfort so you can enjoy maximum movement and won’t be limited. With a zippered access main compartment, you’ll be able to grab whatever you have stowed inside in just a matter of seconds.

There’s a hip pocket, too, so you can keep any small items easily accessible. The aluminum locking clasp and safety leg strap will keep the pack securely attached to your body while you’re descending. It even offers activation training, so you can test out the safety system as much as you want to ensure that you’re prepared in the event that things don’t go as planned.

With the Ortovox Cross Rider 18 Avabag, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that everything you need will be within arm’s reach – including potentially life-saving help in an emergency situation.

Pros:
  • Made of high-quality, durable, and lightweight nylon material
  • Close fit and foamed back for exceptional comfort and mobility
  • Plenty of space to accommodate all of the necessities
  • Aluminum locking clasp and safety leg strap for added security
  • D-skifix affixes skis directly onto the backpack
  • Snowboard and snowshoe attachment
  • Ice and hiking pole fasteners
  • Removable helmet net
  • Endless activation training for the included airbag
  • Hydration system compatible
Cons:
  • Premium Price

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Osprey Daylite Daypack

The Osprey Daylite Daypack is the ideal choice for shoppers who don’t want to spend a lot but also don’t want to sacrifice quality for value. This 13 liter backpack can be used on its own or attached to several of the other larger packs that Osprey makes.

With a large zippered panel on the top, it will be easy to access your gear. Mesh pockets along the sides of the backpack can accommodate snacks and beverages so that you can easily grab them while you’re on the slopes.

The front pocket features a mesh organizer that you can use to stow away smaller items, as well as a key clip. Inside, there’s a multi-functional sleeve that can be used for a hydration system, a laptop, or a tablet.

The back panel is covered with mesh and features slotted foam for exceptional breathability. The shoulder straps are made of innovative space mesh material and feature an integrated handle. The Osprey Daylite Backpack is available in 13 attractive colors and of course, as our budget pick, it’s affordably priced.

Pros:
  • Constructed of durable and lightweight nylon material
  • A large panel loading main compartment makes it easy to access the 13 liter pack
  • A versatile interior sleeve can be used to stow a hydration system, a laptop, or a tablet
  • Slotted foam back panel is covered with mesh to ensure breathability and comfort
  • Shoulder straps are made of innovative space mesh material
  • Numerous exterior pockets, including side mesh pockets and a front zippered pocket with a key clip
  • Can be used on its own or attached to several larger Osprey snow backpacks
  • 13 color options
  • Affordably priced
Cons:
  • Some users didn’t like the positioning of the straps

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Osprey Kamber 42 Men’s Ski Pack

Another great option from Osprey is their Kamber 42 Men’s Ski Back. You can use this 42 liter ski backpack solo or attach the Osprey Daylite Daypack to it for even more storage. It’s constructed of high-quality nylon material, so it’s lightweight and durable, too.

Access to the main compartment can be easily reached through the top load and dual zippered rear back panel. You can also access the included hydration reservoir sleeve with an insulated zippered harness router – which can accommodate a 3 liter reservoir (not included) – through the back panel, too.

The front panel is very spacious and is accessible via a j-zip, where you’ll be able to reach the avalanche safety pocket, which is equipped with a shovel handle and probe sleeves. The ski carry loops are lower reinforced, which, combined with the upper side carry straps, offers a secure A-frame ski carry.

You can also carry your skis diagonally or a snowboard vertically, if you choose. The zippered hip belt is dual articulated and features pockets and a goggle pocket that will prevent your eyewear from getting scratched. The dual-position deployable helmet net can be used to quickly and securely stow away your helmet. The zipper pulls and buckles can be easily adjusted with gloved hands, and there’s a removable top pocket with a FlapJacket skirt cover, too.

Pros:
  • Made of durable and lightweight nylon frabric
  • 42 liters of space
  • Can be used on its own or with the Osprey Daylite Daypack
  • Rear back panel is top loading and dual zippered to provide easy access to the main compartment and hydration reservoir sleeve
  • The hydration reservoir sleeve features an insulated zippered harness router
  • Can accommodate skis or a snowboard
  • Dual tuck away ice tool loops
  • Lower side compression
  • Top pocket boasts a FlapJacked with skirt cover and is removable
  • Removable helmet net
  • Available in three color choices
Cons:
  • The price is a bit on the high side, though considering the size, construction, and features, it’s actually pretty economically priced

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Black Diamond Saga 40 JetForce Avalanche Airbag Pack

With the Black Diamond Saga 40 JetForce Avalanche Airbag Pack, you’ll have tons of room to hold all of your gear, as well as the protection you’ll need in the event that you encounter an avalanche.

It offers an impressive 40 liters of space, so there’s plenty of room to accommodate extra clothes, food, gloves, drinks, a first aid kit, a tablet, etc. This ski backpack is also outfitted with an advanced Jetforce Technology airbag system, which is easy to activate and is fully rechargeable.

With shoulder straps that feature integrated suspension and a hip belt that swings outward, you’ll be able to keep this pack securely fastened to your body while you’re heading down steep ascents. And, thanks to the outward swinging hip belt, you’ll be able to access the back panel without having to remove your skis or snowboard.

With a Hilo helmet holder, a zippered top accessory pocket, and a dedicated avy-tools pocket and ice tool pick pockets, you’ll have no trouble stowing and access all of your gear and safety equipment. Available in two colors – black and fire red – you’ll be easy to spot on the slopes or in the backcountry.

Pros:
  • Offers 40 liters of space
  • Lightweight and durably constructed
  • Equipped with a rechargeable Jetforce Technology airbag system
  • Reactor suspension for comfort
  • Swing arm straps provides easy access to the zippered back panel
  • Hilo helmet holder
  • Stash pocket on the hip belt
  • Zippered accessory pocket
  • Avy tools and ice tool pockets
  • Available in two bold colors
Cons:
  • The price is quite steep, but if you’re looking for a reliable ski backpack that can also serve as a lifeline in the event of an emergency, the price is well worth the investment

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XCMAN Ski Boot Backpack

Another economically priced, yet durable and reliable option,the XCMAN Ski Boot Backpack can accommodate your gear and then some. I t features a stow-away mesh pocket inside a zippered pocket and can hold a ski helmet.

It also boasts stow-away boot straps that can bind any type of boots. There are even zippered pockets that can hold your gloves, goggles, or any other type of smaller accessories that you may want to keep close at hand.

The main compartment in the center can be used to stow an extra jacket, shirt, or any other type of spare clothing you may want to bring along on your adventures. With padded, contoured, adjustable shoulder straps that are made out of neoprene material, as well as four padded lumbar back pads, and you’ll certainly be comfortable while you’re toting around this pack.

The bottom is made of non-slip, waterproof, wear-resistant material, so it can take on whatever conditions you throw its way. All of these features and the XCMAN Ski Boot Backpack comes at a very affordable price.

Pros:
  • Made of durable polyester material
  • Can accommodate a helmet, ski boots, skis, and a snowboard
  • Excellent storage space
  • Contoured adjustable neoprene straps with four padded lumbar back pads for comfort
  • Bottom is made of non-slip waterproof and wear-resistant material
  • Economically priced
Cons:
  • A few users said that they straps weren’t as comfortable as they thought they would be

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CamelBak Powderhound 12 Ski Hydration Pack

The last, but most certainly not the least, ski backpack on our list is the CamelBak Powderhound 12 Ski Hydration Pack. The 9 liter capacity is just enough to carry the essentials, such as your keys, an extra pair of gloves, a shirt, socks, and a first aid kit.

With the external straps, you can carry your skis diagonally on the outside of the backpack. What really sets this pack apart is the hydration system. It features a Terminator Harness, which includes a drinking tube that zips into an insulated sleeve right into the shoulder strap, so your supply of fresh water will be easy to access and protected from the freezing in frigid temps.

The Crux reservoir with an ergonomic handle makes refilling the bladder a cinch. There’s even an on/off lever that prevents water from leaking. The adjustable sternum strap slides up and down the harness so that you can customize the fit to your specific needs without having to worry about chaffing.

To round out the features, the CamelBak Powderhound ski backpack boasts a snowshoed back panel that repels snow and prevents it from attaching to it. It’s available in two neutral colors: black or graphite (gray) and Adriatic blue.

Pros:
  • Crux Reservoir system with an ergonomic handle that makes refilling a cinch and has an on/off lever to prevent leaks
  • The Terminator Harness keeps the drinking tube tucked safely inside the shoulder strap’s insulated sleeve to prevent water from freezing
  • External straps for a diagonal ski carry
  • Adjustable sternum straps
  • Easily accessible zippered main compartment
  • Durable and lightweight
Cons:
  • Smaller storage capacity than some other options
  • Water could freeze in the hydration system

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Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
Osprey Kamber 16 Men's Ski Backpack , Galactic Black , One Size
  • Glove friendly zipper pulls and buckles allow for quick and easy use
  • Front panel access to main compartment dry gear and insulated hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Extra-large front panel pocket with internal organization, key clip and a scratch-free goggle pocket
  • Tuckaway diagonal ski or vertical snowboard attachment
  • Reinforced wear points to protect pack from metal abrasion
SaleBestseller No. 2
Dakine Heli Pack 12L - Women's (Black, 12L)
  • Women's specific fit
  • Vertical snowboard carry
  • 25mm web belt with hip wings
  • Rescue whistle on sternum strap
  • Insulated hydro sleeve
Bestseller No. 3
Unigear Ski Boot Bag, 50L Ski Boot Travel Backpack for Ski Helmet, Goggles, Gloves, Skis, Snowboard & Accessories (Black)
  • 50L STORAGE CAPACITY: Unigear ski boot bag features a thoughtful design, which can go a long way toward making the prospect of getting your gear to the slopes as simple and stress-free as possible. Possessing 50 liters of storage capacity, it’s big enough to store boots, helmets, goggles, clothing, valuables, and more. If you have a lot of equipment to store and transport, this bag will surely get the job done.
  • INDIVIDUAL COMPARTMENT: This ski boot bag backpack will give you the ultimate protection for your gear. It measures in at 11.8 x 12.6 x 19.7 inches, and is capable of storing US men’s boots up to size 12.5. Three individual compartments and some pockets will stay your gear organized. Easily attach skis and snowboard by using external adjustable webbing. Easy to change boots in any place and keep your feet dry by flipping down back-panel door for using as a standing mat.
  • WATERPROOF AND DURABLE: Strong exterior fabrics use a combination of tarpaulin and 1050D nylon, giving the ski boot bag durable and waterproof qualities that will keep it thriving for long time use. Well-padded ski boot bag backpack can protect your fragile items. The bottom of the bag is fully lined with waterproof and low temperature resistant tarpaulin, no worries about snow will soak through.
  • SOFT BACK PANEL: Possessing a EVA padded mesh back panel, it can keep the boots from jabbing you in the back. The padded backpack straps with adjustable system never dig into the shoulders and it manages to stay put against your back regardless of how much you’re moving around, allowing the ski boot bag to be taken from place to place with general ease.
  • 365 DAYS 100% SATISFACTION: Ski Boot Bag Backpack makes carrying a clunky, heavy pair of ski boots and other ski gear easier, protecting them during travel, even in a car. If you are not 100% satisfied with this product for any reason, please contact customer service and we will immediately help you to solve the problem.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Osprey Daylite Daypack
  • Large panel loading main compartment provides accessibility to inside contents
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets provide additional storage options
  • The multi-function interior sleeve can be used for either a hydration reservoir or tablet
  • Mesh-covered die-cut foam back panel provides both comfort and ventilation.
  • Front zippered pocket with mesh organizer and key clip
Bestseller No. 5
Athalon EVERYTHING BOOT BAG/BACKPACK – SKI - SNOWBOARD – HOLDS EVERYTHING – (BOOTS, HELMET, GOGGLES, GLOVES)
  • ADVENTURE TRAVEL READY – pack a jacket, helmet, boots, and all your must have gear in this bag for your next outdoor adventure. The Athalon "Everything" Boot Bag is loaded with features to suit your active lifestyle.
  • AMAZING STORAGE – the boot bag features zippered, ventilated side pockets for boots, a center section for a jacket, helmet, or clothing, an MP3 pocket on the front with headphone port, and clips in each pocket for gloves, keys, and small accessories.
  • COMFORT FEATURES – this bag include padded hidden backpack straps, four padded lumbar back pads for comfort, and versatile top and front carry handles.
  • SPECIAL FEATURES – bottom drainage grommets, a waterproof PVC bottom, a bungee cord on the front to hold a jacket or clothing layers, and reflective piping for increased visibility.
  • DIMENSIONS: 17" x 15" x 14" / Capacity = 3570 cu. in. (58.5 liters) / Weight = 3.8 lbs. / Fits boots up to Size 13 men’s

Ski Backpack Buyer’s Guide

Whether you’re a backcountry or alpine skier or you love the thrill of snowboarding, getting ready to hit the slopes involves a lot more than just snapping on a pair of boots and riding a lift up the mountain.

If you’re heading out for a long day in the backcountry or you’re just planning on hitting the chutes for an hour or two, you’re going to want to bring along a few necessities; snacks, drinks, some extra clothing, your mobile device, a first aid kit, and anything else that may come in handy.

But where are you going to put all of that gear? You certainly can’t carry it in your hands! That’s where a ski backpack comes in handy.

While a standard backpack could to the trick, it me too big and bulky and could seriously slow you down or just be uncomfortable. There’s a good chance that a standard backpack won’t protect your belongings from the elements. Ski backpacks, on the other hand, are specifically designed for, well, skiing and snowboarding. They’re lighter, more comfortable, and are made of materials that will shield your gear from moisture. But which ski backpack should you get?

When you’re shopping for a ski backpack, it makes sense that you want to be sure the model you pick will accommodate all of your needs. It should be comfortable, offer enough storage space, be durably constructed, yet lightweight, and it should offer any additional features that would be beneficial to you.

With all of that said, in this section, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important factors that you should take into consideration before you purchase a ski backpack.

The Size

First and foremost, you should consider the size of the pack. It goes without saying that you want to be sure it offers enough space to hold all of the gear that you’re planning on taking along; however, you don’t want it to be excessively large because you’ll end being bogged down.

There is no such thing as an ideal backpack size. When you’re shopping, just make sure that it will accommodate your gear. For example, if you’re only planning on hitting the slopes for a few hours at a time, something on the smaller size will probably offer the space you need for the essentials; however, if you’re intending on spending an entire day – or more – out in the backcountry, than you’ll likely need to bring more gear, and as such, will need more space to hold it all. Ski backpacks are sized according to liters; the more liters, the more the pack can stow.

Suspension

The suspension refers to the shoulder straps, hip belt, and frame sheet of a ski backpack. The larger the bag, the more weight it’s going to carry, so the more advanced suspension system you’ll want.

Padded shoulder straps and hip belts provide cushioning and help to disperse the weight of the pack. High-quality ski backpacks will feature a combination of dense foam and breathable mesh on the straps; the more weight the pack is designed to carry, the more hearty the foam should be.

The Materials

You’ll also want to consider the materials that the ski backpack is made of. It’s important to choose something that is made of rugged materials that can easily withstand all types of climates and wear and tear.

Most of the ski backpacks that are on the market today are comprised of high-quality nylon or polyester material and feature additional materials or protective coatings that are wear- and weather-resistant.

Storage Features

It’s also important to select a backpack that offers thoughtful storage features. That is, handy pockets that simplify the process of stowing your gear so you’ll be able to grab whatever it is that you’ll need without having to tear through the entire contents of the bag (that’s definitely the last thing you’ll want to do when you’re out on the slopes).

Main storage compartments that feature dividers are ideal for separating things like clothing from an electronics you may want to bring along, a separate compartment for a hydration system, smaller storage pockets along the sides or front that can be used to store grab-and-go snacks, chap stick, keys, etc., and external straps that can be used to secure your skis or snowboard right on to the pack when you’re off the slopes are all ideal features to look for.

Accessibility

Whether you’re looking for a pack that offers a lot of storage space and several compartments or a simple backpack that offers a main compartment and just an additional pocket or two, you’ll want to be sure that all storage space is easy to access. Standard packs usually feature wide mouthed openings with zippered closures with a lid is ideal.

Large packs that are intended for multi-day use often features side zippers so that you don’t have to search through the entire contents of the pack to find what you’re looking. Snowsport packs typically feature a U-shaped zipper that provides back panel access. Whatever kind of ski backpack you choose, make sure you opt for something that you can easily access.

Additional Features

Ski backpacks can be outfitted with a variety of features. For example, some are designed with airbag systems that can be deployed in the event that you encounter an avalanche, or they can come complete with their very own hydration systems. When you’re shopping, consider what type of features are important to you and that you will really get use out of.

Ski Backpack FAQs

To finish up our review of the best ski backs, we’ve compiled a list of questions that skiers and snowboarders often have about this all-important piece of equipment, and of course, we’ve included the answers to those questions.

Should I look for a back that can hold skis or a snowboard?

It really depends on your specific needs; however, we recommend doing so. This feature will make toting your gear around a lot easier when you’re off the slopes.

Are additional storage pockets important?

All ski backpacks feature a main storage compartment, but many also have additional storage pockets. Whether or not additional pockets will be valuable to you depends on your specific needs; for example, if you plan on toting around an assortment of things, additional storage pockets would make accessing those items a lot easier.

Is hydration system important?

You don’t technically need a hydration system because you can always just toss a few bottles of water in your backpack; however, if you want to be able to easily access water while you’re on the slopes, a hydration system would definitely be beneficial, as all you’ll need to do is pull out the straw from the strap and take a sip whenever you need it.

Conclusion

The right ski backpack can make all the difference in the world, and with the information presented in this guide, you should have no trouble finding the perfect backpack for your needs.

Adrienne is a traveller and blogger with many years experience of the outdoors life. An adrenaline junkie at heart she loves to try different sports and activities all year round. With a degree in journalism she combines her love of sports with writing here at BeActiveOutdoors.com Contact adrienne@beactiveoutdoors.com

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