“I pride myself on my sharp ski edges,” says our New York-based tester. “I’ve had them cut through pack cloth before, but this pack bites right back.” Credit the heavy-duty (210-denier) ripstop nylon with a reinforced front pocket. Hypalon-reinforced straps secure a snowboard for a wiggle-free carry, then tuck away when not needed, while compression straps kept our super-fat skis secure. The pack doesn���t have a scratch, even after 25 ski days through grabby forest.
You’ve got three options to get to your gear: from the top; through a big, U-shaped zipper that peels back the padded backpanel; or via a smaller panel that opens on the front side.
Instead of internal avy gear storage, the Snowfield has a handy zippered side pocket for your probe and a pair of reinforced loops on the other side for the shovel handle; strap the shovel blade on the pack’s front, or slip it into the front pocket. “I could grab my entire avalanche kit in less than five seconds, no fumbling,” says one tester after a snow-safety course on Mt. Shasta. Two hipbelt pockets are big enough for snacks and a cell phone. But the zippered hydration tube sleeve on the shoulder strap is narrow and fussy.
The wide, padded hipbelt and shoulder straps comfortably support loads up to 20 pounds.