If you’ve spent sleepless nights thinking about minimalist skimo packs (like Ultimate Direction did), you will end up designing the Skimo 8. At just 8 liters, the trail-inspired racing vest is the fastest way to fly. Weighing next to nothing and hugging you like a daughter, the “eight” might as well not even be on your back. But if you’re forced to carry a few items (see race check..
The World Cup Aero Pack is Ski Trab's lightest race pack, designed as a minimalist system to shave weight. Despite that constraint, the form fitting pack is actually featureful enough to tour with on those farther and faster days with a ski carry system, external skin pocket, and a comfort elastic shoulder system. The pack is designed to fit very closely to your shoulders so it doe..
The CAMP Rapid Racing pack is an upgraded version of the acclaimed Rapid 260, which can be seen on the backs of rando racers throughout the world. The new version uses a more durable yet still superlight fabric, and it features two different ski carrying systems that let racers attach and detach skis without removing the pack. While weighing in a bit more than the previous version,..
While better known stateside for producing awesome clothing, Millet actually got their start making backpacks. And since the company is based in Chamonix, it’s not surprising that they make ski mountaineering packs. The Tour Comp 20 is a skimo racing pack with all the features and quality you’d expect. Follow in the footsteps of Reinhold Messner, who used a Millet backpack on the f..
$109.95 From $84.95
Pronounced “energy”, the NRG pack from Crazy Idea is anything but crazy. Non-garish colors, a full checklist of features, and an affordable price make the pack very sensible for skimo racing or light & fast ski mountaineering. We also give them props for taking an honest product photo (your race pack is more likely to look crumpled than stuffed with a pillow).
Ski carry s..
We have been loath to carry airbag packs since they’ve been so heavy. Enter the Mammut Ultralight with the Removable Airbag 3.0 system. Without the canister the pack is nearly race-weight, and it comes in under 2kg when all topped up. That means you may not have to sacrifice much speed for the additional avalanche safety. The compressed air system is the 3rd iteration from Mammut, ..
$139.95 From $119.95
As the big brother of the Ultralight pack, the 30-liter version allows you to carry technical gear and a few more candy bars. The Light Removable Airbag 3.0 offers the same safety features since it’s also equipped with Mammut’s third iteration RAS. The bigger pack is still light by itself, but it’s built with an aluminum frame to better handle a bigger load. That is important when ..
$229.95 From $199.95
We search the world far and wide for skimo packs. Lo and behold, one just turned up in Colorado! Made by veteran backpack company Osprey, the Kode Race 18 is a local take on racing. Of course, locals now do it just like the rest of the world with plenty of ISMF sanctioned races. As such, you can find all expected features on the new, affordable Kode:
Diagonal loop-and-hook sk..
The RC20 backpack is the patent pending culmination of Dynafit's rando racing experience. Recently reworked with improved materials, the race pack now weighs in at just 422 grams (14.9 ounces). Note that light doesn't mean weak in this case, as it uses 210D ripstop nylon which can handle a good amount of abuse. It's also not short on features, as you can see below:
Easy to us..
Inspired by trail vests, the Touring LTK 18 is designed for modern ski touring and mountaineering. As a bonus, it can be converted into a summer-time trail pack whereby the ski carry is used to carry poles. Millet clearly thought everything through on this pack. The LTK 18 has a clean-cut performance shape and flawless zippers with easy-grip cords. You can stow a good amount of ite..
The 18 is Ultimate Direction’s middleweight skimo vest, with more storage space than the ultra-minimalist 8, yet slimmer than the bubba 28. It might be called the default option for those used to skimo race packs. Competing feature-for-feature, the Skimo 18 can carry everything you need for basic day tours and most races. It is also “vest-style”, which is the specialty of Ultimate ..
A new concept for light and fast ski mountaineering, the CAMP Skin is a vest-style backpack that a trail runner might have thought was obvious. Light-yet-durable fabric is designed to hold close to your body and have lots of easy access storage in the front. Plenty of mesh and ventilation channels helps regulate body temperature as you move quickly through the mountains. Add in spe..
A rather complete lightweight day pack from Mammut. The Spindrift is an ultralight backpack for ski touring that has a number of race-inspired features. The ski attachment system can be operated without removing the pack, and the separate side compartment provides quick access for crampons, hydration, or a backup layer. Mammut added a couple nice twists, such as removable back-padd..
Finally a bigger Dynafit race pack. As you could guess, the RC28 is 8 liters more voluminous than the RC20. It shares the ultra-fast ski carry system, breatheable mesh shoulder straps, and other features with its litter brother. But you can just put more in. Enough for the Grand Traverse? Someone will try. Until then, we can say it’s big enough for bigger days in the backcountry.
The Raid is a 22 liter backpack that is fast and robust. Great for daily adventures, the new pack from Ski Trab uses stronger rip-stop nylon than a true race pack, but keeps the features you’ve come to expect. A quick carry system lets you access your skis without taking off the pack. Generous mesh pockets adorn the front and are good for skins, fluids, or layers. Shoulder strap st..
Ultimate Direction packed everything you need for ski touring and mountaineering into the Skimo 28 vest. It is one of the most full-featured packs out there, with access from the top, bottom, side and back. Avalanche gear has a special compartment with probe sleeve that you access from the bottom. A crampon side-door lets you stash ‘pons or anything else. Back-access lets you cushi..
Given the number of skiers happily sporting the X3 600 backpack, it's hard to imagine what CAMP could improve upon for the new Plus version. But improve it they did. Aside from the new color choices to set yourself apart from the crowd, the pack features an upgraded fabric, more solid ski carry, and the new CAMP EZ OP buckle system. The fabric is an even better combination of weigh..
One of the (very) few drawbacks of the amazing X3-600 pack is that gear on the bottom of the top loader can be hard to access. Well now CAMP has enabled you to go in through the back door. A secret zippered panel has been installed on the back for more direct access to that important stuff you accidentally packed first. And since the designers were already adding a few grams, they ..
Made with ultralight Dynex (Dyneema) fabric, the Black Diamond Cirque 30 is a workhorse pack for bigger daily missions. Although less voluminous than the 35, it has enough usable space and extensions to handle just about anything, including the Grand Traverse race. The Cirque line features a slick lid closure system that is fast to operate with one hand, even blindfolded (why are y..
Turns out big packs don’t have to be heavy. Black Diamond solved the age-old problem by weaving Dynex (Dyneema) into the Cirque 35 pack. The ultralight material is not weak, since it’s the same life-saving material in many of BD’s quickdraws. The new backpack is designed for ski mountaineers that need to carry a lot of technical gear, which is supported by an active suspension syst..
The Black Diamond Cirque packs are plenty spacious, especially given their efficient sack-like design. However sometimes you just need that little extra bit to tack on. Add the Cirque Lid and the problem is solved. This ultralight SilNylon triangle weave quickly adds another few liters of space. This helps make the Cirque ski mountaineering packs some of the most versatile on the m..