[stable ski daypack]
“I’ve never worn a pack that’s so unobtrusive on the downhill,” raves one of our veteran ski tourers, who reports that the Quintic felt unusually trim and balanced when cranking turns in narrow couloirs or crusty snow—situations that call for absolute stability. Credit the unique teardrop shape, which places the bulk of the load at the hips (for less impact on one’s center of gravity) and tapers toward the top. The lack of upper-end capacity gives the Quintic its “barely there” feel and enforces a novel approach to access: Instead of using a top lid or clamshell opening, the Quintic has a 12-inch side zipper that opens to the main compartment (which our tester accessed on the go by swinging the pack around to the front of her body). On top, a smaller compartment stashes gloves or goggles.
A dedicated safety-tools pocket stores a probe and shovel (even oversized blades), and a side pocket holds a water bottle or skins. Some testers loved how the compartmentalized layout makes finding stuff fast and easy; others griped about shoving bulky items (like a puffy jacket) through the smallish side zipper. All, however, praised how those pockets remain accessible when carrying skis (diagonal or A-frame) or a snowboard (horizontal or vertical). The suspension (a molded foam backpanel) ably supports up to 20-pound loads. Says one tester, “Few sub-three-pound packs offer so much.” $200; 2 lbs. 10 oz.; 28 liters; arcteryx.com