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Editors’ Choice Snow Award 2012: Sierra Designs Ymir 55 Backpack

A pack made for multi-day ski touring.
Sierra designs ymir 445x260Sierra Designs Ymir (Courtesy Photo)

[versatile ski-touring pack]
Skiers and snowboarders enjoy plenty of options when it comes to daypacks—but the dearth of larger-capacity, snow-specific models has long forced hut-trippers to adapt summer packs to winter needs (like lashing shovel blades to pockets that aren’t designed to carry them). Enter the Ymir 55, which solves that dilemma by offering snow-specific features and enough capacity for a weekend ski tour or a five-day hut-based trip. Reinforced straps carry skis (A-frame and diagonal) or a snowboard (vertically). A dedicated pocket for avy tools keeps an oversized shovel blade and probe easily accessible.

The molded foam backpanel sheds snow. There’s even a fleecy goggle pocket and helmet sling. The main, top-loading compartment has a side zipper for easy access to the entire packbag. “Even when overstuffed with wine and a hard-cover novel, it’s impressively comfortable,” reports our Colorado tester. Credit the plastic framesheet and aluminum stays, which levitate heavy loads by placing them firmly on testers’ hips. When properly packed (with weightier items placed low, not high), the Ymir also proved stable enough for dicey descents through tight trees and rotten spring snow. Although it does carry an ice axe, the Ymir isn’t dialed for climbing (other packs are better-equipped for ice tools and ropes) and its capacity is too small for multi-day winter campouts. But spring tourers and hut-sheltered skiers and snowboarders declare it “exactly the pack I’ve been wishing for.” $200; 4 lbs. 6 oz. (S/M); S/M and M/L (60 liters); sierradesigns.com

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