Gear Reviews

Ortovox Haute Route 40

Most stable backpack from the Fall/Winter 2018 Gear Guide.

Brand: Ortovox

Model: Haute Route 40


The Haute Route changed the game for our photographer tester, who, until now, had to ski with pared-down camera kits for better mobility in steep terrain. “It skis like a pack half its size, even when I filled it with 35 pounds on a shoot in Chamonix,” our tester says. “It’s not a camera pack, but I carried everything I needed—including a telephoto lens, extra batteries, and ice screws—without losing stability.” The key is a dense, padded foam backpanel: A cutout in the middle lets your body settle into the hollow, allowing the pack to move with you on downhills. The Haute Route also sports a flexible, aluminum perimeter frame that distributes weight over the hipbelt, while a tapered shape keeps the pack narrow at the hips for better mobility in the steeps. 


The panel-loading design prohibits overstuffing and facilitates A-frame ski carry. Backpanel access is useful for opening the pack in deep snow (or loading camera lenses).


“The chunky, glove- friendly zipper pulls were easy to operate in a gale-force wind at the top of the Aiguille Verte in France,” our tester says.

Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz.

Volume: 40 liters

Size: one size

See more Backpacks for Winter 2018

See the entire Winter Gear Guide