Many skiers choose to wear a rucksack (I prefer the term backpack) when skiing. Often we are out all day in the mountains and we simply need to carry stuff around with us.
As skiers, we do have different requirements for what we need to carry. For some, it’s simply a picnic lunch for the family whilst for others it’s crucial safety equipment for off piste skiing.
Some skiers do not like wearing backpacks because they feel cumbersome and heavy. This is personal preference, and if you feel that you can carry all you need in your pockets, then fine, but today you can choose from a huge variety of backpacks to suit your needs.
If an extra pair of gloves and some sandwiches are all you need, then you can use a small pack that you would hardly notice wearing at all. Of course, fashion plays a big part and the look and styling of your backpack is important to some.
Backcountry or off piste skiers need to wear well designed, strong and fairly large day packs (20 – 30 litres). This is because the equipment that needs to be carried is extensive. The pack needs to take a snow shovel and a telescopic avalanche probe. These are designed to be light and strong and the shovel handle can be removed to make it easier to fit in the pack. Sometimes a light weight rope is required, if ski touring on glaciers, as well as extra clothing, drinking water, first aid kit and food.
An ideal off-piste backpack: My review of the EVOC FR Guide Backpack.
If you are on a multi day ski tour, then you need to carry everything on your back. The rucksack needs to be larger. Usually on ski tours you stay in mountain huts. Sometimes food is provided, but you need to carry changes of clothing and other everyday requirements.
Essentially, you need to ascertain what you want to use a backpack for. Once you know then you can choose according to your needs. Manufactures now design backpacks specifically for skiing. They will also produce packs for the different requirements we have e.g. general recreational use, off piste/back country skiing, ski touring and ski mountaineering.
What I carry in my backpack when skiing off piste:
Snow shovel, avalanche probe, first aid kit, spare gloves and hat, binoculars, energy bars, water in thermos flask to prevent freezing, penknife, spare googles, spare sunglasses, fleece, 2 way radios, sun cream and lunch, if required.
In future posts, I will go into detail for each category of backpack.
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