Model: Blade 38L
Overall Rating: 4.5
“With seven zippered pockets—including a microfiber one for goggles or gadgets—this pack is perfect for my Type A packing style,” one tester said after ski touring in British Columbia. It’s a top-loader, but the entire backpanel peels back to provide quick access while keeping the shoulder straps and hipbelt snow-free.
“It holds more than you think,” says one notorious over-packer who skied more than 75,000 vertical feet in Washington and Colorado with this pack. His down jacket, full-zip pants, extra gloves, skins, and food ballooned the pack to capacity; when temperatures dropped, he donned the clothes and cinched the six compression straps. “It never flopped or shifted.”
The burly, 400-denier, PU-coated nylon ripstop with bottom reinforcement is bombproof and weatherproof. “My gear stayed dry through some crazy storm-skiing in Jackson, with 18 inches of wet snow in 24 hours,” our Wyoming tester says.
It’s heavy, and the narrow hydration sleeve doesn’t fit some reservoirs (bring yours to the store to check).
$180; 3 lbs. 8 oz.; 38 liters; 1 size; dakine.com