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The 10 Best Ski & Snowboard Backpacks of 2023

By: Kevin Katsafanas: Ski & Snowboard Bags Buyer | November 4, 2022

 

Whether you’re going out for a long backcountry tour, or just a few laps inbounds, any time spent skiing or snowboarding is a good reminder of how valuable a good backpack can be. In the backcountry, it’s essential, you need a place to carry your avalanche gear, extra food and water, and spare layers. Inbounds, a snowboard backpack means that you’ll always have snacks, that extra goggle lens, and your camera close at hand. Either way, the right ski backpack makes all the difference. The best ski & snowboard backpacks are specifically designed for time spent in the mountains. They’re durable and fit well so that you can move your body fluidly while wearing them. And they’ll have special features to make essential gear easier to get to, as well as straps to help you carry your skis or board.

New This Year:

Of course, there’s no one “best ski backpack ever” because everyone is looking for different things out of a day on skis. So instead, we’ve put together this list of the best options we’ve found. We’ve got everything from small, light packs, with room for just the essentials, perfect for inbounds days or short tours, to bigger, higher-capacity packs that can carry all the gear you need for a big mission. So think about how much gear you want to carry, and how long you need to be self-sufficient, and then choose a ski backpack

Dakine Heli Pro 20L

Dakine Heli Pro 20L

As the slimmed-down version of the backcountry-standard 24L Heli Pro, the Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack is perfect for quick-hit missions and sidecountry shredding. This little pack has everything you need to get after it: plenty of carry options for skis and snowboards, a dedicated pocket with quick access to your snow safety tools, and enough room for an extra layer, a hydration bladder, and a snack or two. And most importantly it's snug, supported, and ergonomic, so you can forget all about it when you're on the way down. This is a classic pack for good reason, it’s got all the essentials you need, and no extra fluff you don’t.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
20LFour ways to carry ski or snowboard$99.95

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Dakine Poacher 14L

Dakine Poacher 14L

The Dakine Poacher 14L Backpack is Dakine's smallest and lowest profile snowsports day pack, built to hold your avy tools securely along with a day's food and water but not push you off the chair when you're riding up. Ideal for lift-served riding or heli or cat-accessed terrain where you don't need a ton of gear, the Poacher 14 is an essential part of your pack quiver. This pack keeps your essential gear close at hand but disappears when it comes time to rip some turns.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
14LRadio Handset Routing$109.95

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Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25L

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25L

The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 25L Backpack is a full-featured daypack meant for day touring or sidecountry use, and ready to let you travel stealthily through the mountains with everything you need nicely organized. Built with 100% recycled body fabric and designed to carry your essentials and more like you aren't even wearing a pack, the Dawn Patrol 25 "has your back" in more ways than one. This pack works well for everything from quick after-work laps, to full-day backcountry missions. It’s versatile and durable.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
25LSeperated Snow Saftey Pocket$179.95

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Mammut Nirvana 35L

Mammut Nirvana 35L - Women's

Gear up for missions into the high alpine with the Mammut Nirvana 35L Backpack. CONTACT U Frame™ construction ensures all day comfort and wearability with heavier loads, with a spacious main compartment that means you'll never have to leave that just-in-case layer behind. The full rear zipper provides speedy access when you need to grab emergency PB+Js lurking at the bottom of your pack, and the adjustable helmet carry system keeps your dome protection well secured. The backcountry isn't the place for compromise, grab the Mammut Nirvana 35L Backpack and get after it!

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
35LIce Tool Attachment$189.95

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The North Face Snomad 34

The North Face Snomad 34

Designed for quick sidecountry endeavors, The North Face Snomad 34 Backpack offers a lightweight solution derived from 100% recycled materials that are both waterproof and durable. Equipped with both ski and snowboard carry options, dedicated avy tool storage (for probe and shovel), and integrated carry systems for a helmet and skins, the Snomad 34 Backpack is the ultimate back gate companion with enough storage for an additional layer, snacks, and plenty of water. The Snomad strips away all the fluff to create a lightweight, versatile pack that’s easy to carry and has space for all your gear.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
34L100% recycled material throughout$168.95

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Burton AK Dispatcher 18L

Burton AK Dispatcher 18L

Find your snowy happy place in the sidecountry and beyond with help from the Burton AK Dispatcher 18L Backpack. This adventure companion features durable Nylon Cordura® construction and comes equipped with a helmet sling, A-frame and vertical carry options for your favorite pieces of descent wood, ergonomic straps with a built-in whistle, a fleece-lined goggle and accessory pocket, glove-friendly zipper pulls, and more. This is a snowboard-specific pack, with all the features you’d expect to make your splitboarding adventures safe and fun.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
18LSnow Repelling Panel$144.95

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Dakine Heli 12L

Dakine Heli 12L

The super slim Dakine Heli 12L Backpack is designed to be as out of the way as possible for backcountry freeriding. The pack is just big enough to carry your snow safety tools and a few other essentials for backcountry travel, and not much else. For minimalist missions where downhill performance is the highest priority, the Heli 12L is the way to go. All the gear you need, nothing that you don’t, light, fast, and free - that’s the Heli 12L.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
12LExternal Quick Stash Pocket$79.95

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Patagonia Snow Drifter 20L

Patagonia Snow Drifter 20L

The light, fast and simple Patagonia Snow Drifter 20L Backpack is designed for lift-served backcountry, cat and heli skiing where the intent is to keep the load to a minimum. 20 liters of space with internal compartments for your avy gear and straightforward clamshell entry make this the perfect slackcountry pack. This pack has plenty of space for all your safety gear but won’t take up too much space on the lift or in the cat.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
20LExternal Helmet Carry$149.00 - $159.00

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Mammut Nirvana 18L

Mammut Nirvana 18L

The Mammut Nirvana 18L Backpack lets you pack what you need without sacrificing speed and comfort. This compact bag has all the features to support pro-level freeriders with a low-profile fit that complements pro-level maneuvers. Its hard-wearing fabric and durable construction build can withstand the rigors of backcountry travel, and attachment points for all your gear mean you'll never have to leave your ice-axe behind again. This is a great pack for shorter mountaineering missions that require technical gear.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
18LSOS Label w/ Emergency Instructions$109.95

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evo Sea to Sky 26L

evo Sea to Sky 26L

From the skin track to the work slog: the evo Sea to Sky 26L Backpack is a multi-functional day bag that makes it from the office to the outdoors with ease. Featuring a laptop sleeve that doubles as a shovel pocket and dual internal water bottle pockets that also store your probe, it's never been easier to close the computer and hit the skin track. This is an affordable pack that gets the job done.

CapacitySpecial FeatureOriginal Price
26LLaptop Sleeve$99.95

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The Selection Process:

Our snow accessories buyers have an endless amount of knowledge on all things snow accessory related stemming from years of experience in the outdoor industry in tandem with their countless hours spent outside in all conditions around the world. From hot to cold, snow, rain, wind, and even sunshine, they know what accessories will keep you comfortable or make traveling with gear that much smoother. evo's buyers assess all products coming to market, lean into this knowledge, and put together this selection of the best products. They have a unique perspective as they truly see everything offered across the category.

Kevin Katsafanas

Growing up in the northwest I took to snowboarding when I was 13 and spent most weekends up at Snoqualmie riding the park. As I grew as a rider I traded out rails and jumps for more freeride terrain found on the other side of I-90 over at Alpental. With evo in my backyard, I spent countless weekends hounding the shop staff about gear. Finally, when I was 19 years old I found my way into a full-time position selling snowboards at the Seattle store. In the decade since I've worn a number of hats in the outdoor industry in addition to talking gear, including spending time as the Seattle store's marketing and events coordinator. 9 years later and I am still here at evo in my role as the Buyer for men's techwear, and ski/snowboard bags.