Prep Your Gear: Pack to Backcountry Ski - Backpacker

Prep Your Gear: Pack to Backcountry Ski

Use this advice to hone your backcountry layers for any trip length or conditions.

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Outfit For Survival

Moderate Temperatures (>30°F)


Day trip and multiday: Wear silkweight materials with sweat-wicking power like Craft’s Concept Piece.


Day trip: It’ll spend most of the day in your pack, so go with an ultralight puffy like L.L. Bean’s Ascent Packaway Pullover.

Multiday: A vest/jacket combo offers versatility. Opt for a synthetic, like REI’s Spruce Peak in case of damp snow.


Day trip: For alpine-style days you need low weight and volume, with a slim profile. Try Black Diamond’s 18-liter Agent.

Multiday: A mid-size overnighter like Sierra Designs Sorcery 55 has essential-toting capacity and ski- safe stability.


Day trip: Blend lightweight breathability with protection. Rab’s Fusion (1 lb. 1 oz.) uses Polartec’s NeoShell where rain hits, and a no-membrane poly where you sweat.

Multiday: You may never need to wear it, so prioritize packability. Patagonia’s Super Pluma is low-bulk, lightweight, and has pack-friendly pit-zips and pockets.

Cold Temperatures (<30°F)


Day trip and multiday: Try a midweight layer with enhanced insulation, like Columbia’s Omni-Heat Half-Zip. It will provide sufficient warmth with just a shell, but you can layer it without bulk.


Day trip and multiday: Opt for high- quality down and performance details like a hood and cinchable hem. Good choice: Mountain Hardwear’s Kelvinator.


Day trip:Pieps’s Plecotus has an exterior avy-gear pocket and 36-liters of interior space— perfect for cold- weather gear.

Multiday: Large capacity, adjustable fit, and lightweight, rigid support are keys to hauling big winter loads. Try GoLite’s Terrono 90.


Day trip and multiday: Pack a heavy-duty weatherproof outerlayer like Mammut’s Eiger Extreme Nordwand. Pair it with just your baselayer, or your insulating puffy for versatility at camp and on the slope.