Few climbing-oriented ski packs combine high performance and low weight as well as this one, which is ideal for anyone doing big days in the backcountry. “Light enough to disappear on your back and be nimble, yet it’s still capable of handling a heavy load and a savage beating,” reports our Colorado tester, who used it ice-climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park, ski touring (with up to 30 pounds) in Wyoming’s Tetons, and ascending multi-pitch routes in Colorado’s Front Range.
None of it scuffed the pack’s bottom, made of rugged, 420-denier ripstop nylon. A heavy-gauge side zipper offers fast access to the top-loading packbag, and the lid has three pockets (one is waterproof, but too small for a phone). A transparent front panel lets light shine inside, making it easier to locate packed items. More smart features: a sleeve that let our tester stow his axe without removing the pack, and a removable helmet sling that frees space inside for clothing. $200; 2 lbs. 10 oz.; 36 liters; pieps.com