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The Winter Pack
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By Gnomestyle
Nov 4, 2012

I need a new pack and I'm appealing to the collective knowledge here on mountain project for expert advice on what to buy. I will be using it for ice climbing and ski patrol. Here are my desired characteristics for this pack:

1) 25-40L. Internal gear will be a full EMT med kit + food and extra clothing (or ice climbing gear when not patrolling)
2) Separate pocket for snow shovel and probe
3) Dual ice axe carry
4) Lid (brain as I call it) to stash random, accessible stuff like a headlamp and another pocket for keys and phone
5) Side access (optional but desired) for access to medical supplies when packed on the side of the pack
6) Hip belt with at least one pocket
7) Hydro-pack compatible, ideally with insulated hose but that can be bought separately
8) Durability is desired as well as a daisy chain or 2 to strap random stuff to

Anybody advice?


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By Reginald McChufferton
Nov 4, 2012

I've had one of these for a little less than a year now. Probably the most comfortable climbing pack I've ever owned. Don't know how it'll hold up long term but mines seen a fair bit of abuse including a couple of epic back country skiing yard sales with it loaded to about 45-50 lbs.

Just looking online it looks like the new model for this year got rid of the outer expandable pouch. I thought I was gonna hate that thing but it now one of my favorite features of the pack. My only complaint about the thing is that the water bladder pouch inside is too damn small.


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By Stephan Doyle
Nov 5, 2012

Get ahold of Randy at Cold Cold World and see if he has a shovel/probe pocket design or will work something up for you. A Valdez is just up your alley.

CiloGear meets your criteria, too. Their 30L would be ideal for you.


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Nov 5, 2012

I've got a north face patrol pack that fits all of those criteria except for dual tools. But that's an easy mod to make.


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By Superclimber
Nov 5, 2012

my next pack will very likely be a Valdez.


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By harpo-the-climber
Nov 5, 2012

Look at the Black Diamond Anarchist or Alias. The Anarchist is big enough for short overnighters and has back panel access. The Alias is smaller and doesn't have the zipper access. Both have a avi tool pocket, a brain, and an avalung option. Highly recomended.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Nov 5, 2012
Stoked...

I would say Black Diamond packs are not that bomber anymore and stay away unless maybe you need the integrated avalung. One brand that is often overlooked since it's Euro brand is Vaude. They are amazing packs (though maybe a bit weird looking), bomber, and decently priced.


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By Paul-B
Nov 5, 2012
Flakes of Wrath

I have the BD Alias, great pack, has most of your desires. I have to agree with the previous poster, not that bomber. The ski carry system broke on my first trip out, pack was warrantied, but carry is wearing out again after only a couple of trips.


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By bearbreeder
Nov 5, 2012

Get what fits best its that simple ;)


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By Gnomestyle
Nov 5, 2012

Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm currently comparing the Vaude Sentinel 30+8, the millet peuterey 35, and the deuter guide 35+. Any opinions on these?

www.deuter.com/en_US/backpack-details.php?category=43&artnr=>>>

www.montgear.com/gear-reviews/climb/43-millet-peuterey-35-pa>>>

www.vaude.com/de-DE/Produkte/Ausruestung/Rucksaecke/Sentinel>>>


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By Kilroywashere!
From Harrisonburg, Virginia
Nov 5, 2012
Kilroy

www.mountainhardwear.com/Via-Rapida%E2%84%A2-35/OU4056,defau>>>

awesome pack, has everything your looking for but the hip pockets, its just a smaller version of the direttissima which is an amazing pack.


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By cjon3s
From Sterling, VA
Nov 5, 2012
Hanging at Seneca

I have the Deuter and it's pretty awesome. I use it for cragging, but the materials are bomber. It easily holds a full 60m rope in its tarp, my full trad + sport rack, harness, shoes, chalk, lunch, and a layer. It has side zip access and the lid raises to give extra space. The axe attachment seems solid as does the ski carry system. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it.

No separate pocket for shovel however.


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By gcap
From Tuxedo, NY
Nov 8, 2012
somewhere on Mt. Stuart

Couple to add:

Osprey Varient
no side zip or hip belt pocket though. what they call the 'crampon compression pocket' holds a shovel blade well. wand pocket works for for probe and handle

REI Pinnacle
Might be slightly larger than you want, but pretty much everything you're asking for. Check out the 37L too - roll top, no top lid.


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By Wade J.
From Boulder, CO
Nov 8, 2012
winter aid climbing

DannyUncanny wrote:
I've got a north face patrol pack that fits all of those criteria except for dual tools. But that's an easy mod to make.


I have one as well, the 34L. You can fit two ice tools through the single loop. Fits all your criteria besides that, even has side access. It's a comfy pack.

www.rei.com/product/836612/the-north-face-patrol-34-winter-p>>>


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Nov 8, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

Kilroywashere! wrote:
www.mountainhardwear.com/Via-Rapida%E2%84%A2-35/OU4056,defau>>> awesome pack, has everything your looking for but the hip pockets, its just a smaller version of the direttissima which is an amazing pack.


+1 for that or the direttissima (46L).


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By Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Nov 8, 2012
Stairway to Heaven

gcap wrote:
Couple to add: Osprey Varient no side zip or hip belt pocket though. what they call the 'crampon compression pocket' holds a shovel blade well. wand pocket works for for probe and handle


What the Osprey Variant does have is real gear loops on the waist belt. Useful if you ever have to climb while wearing the pack over a harness (or for glacier travel where you need to have crevasse rescue gear handy).

It also holds a lot more than its stated size (37l or 52l).


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By kevino
Nov 8, 2012

I went on a similar search to you recently, lots of feedback here:

ski mountaineering pack

If you get that vaude i'll be interested to hear more about it. Like I said in that thread, I went with the handmade custom fit canadian pack. The owner/only worker, Neil, communicates very good via e-mail and can do custom work if you desire.

With that being said, I'd go to cold cold world for my next alpine climbing pack.

And for what its worth, I really like cilogear packs for climbing, but found they are unsuitable for skiing.


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By Richard88
From Sheridan, WY
Nov 8, 2012
piney creek canyon

kevino wrote:
I went on a similar search to you recently, lots of feedback here: ski mountaineering pack If you get that vaude i'll be interested to hear more about it. Like I said in that thread, I went with the handmade custom fit canadian pack. The owner/only worker, Neil, communicates very good via e-mail and can do custom work if you desire. With that being said, I'd go to cold cold world for my next alpine climbing pack. And for what its worth, I really like cilogear packs for climbing, but found they are unsuitable for skiing.



Really? I really like my cilogear 30l worksack for skiing. When I bought it I also bought the shovel pocket and have been extremely pleased ever since. I guess that's proof that everyone has their own preferences.


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By akafaultline
Nov 8, 2012

I would go for the arc'teryx silo 40-Ive used mine extensively and it has held up very well. It doesnt have a floating lid nor hip belt pockets but otherwise a great pack. It does carry gear well and has the ice tool holders or you can use them for shovels. And the interior is a bright yellow so you can see your gear in low light. It is hydration compatible.

The material is similar to the modern bora 80-so very durable. And the roll top makes it very weather resistant-never had anything wet for me atleast.


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By milesholland
Nov 8, 2012

I've been using the black diamond axis 33 recently. It has everything your looking for except for the separate avy tools pocket. Also, it doesnt have a typical hood, but it has straps/flaps that can secure stuff to the top of your pack like ropes, helmets and tents. Worth checking out at least


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By Bill Sacks
From Sacramento, CA
Nov 8, 2012
Chapel Pond

gcap wrote:
Couple to add: Osprey Varient no side zip or hip belt pocket though. what they call the 'crampon compression pocket' holds a shovel blade well. wand pocket works for for probe and handle REI Pinnacle Might be slightly larger than you want, but pretty much everything you're asking for. Check out the 37L too - roll top, no top lid.


I wouldn't recommend the REI Pinnacle. As a matter of fact, I haven't had good luck with my past two REI packs and I recently bought an Osprey Variant 52 to replace it. Hopefully I am more satisfied with the Osprey, I've heard good things. The zipper on the front of the Pinnacle tore and jammed up on me. Also, one of the haul loops on the front of the pack randomly fell off.


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By Jeremy Riesberg
From Minneapolis, MN
Nov 8, 2012
Palisaid, SD.

I returned my REI Pinnicle and picked up a Muria 50. Hands down the best decision I have made in a while.


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By kevino
Nov 8, 2012

Richard88 wrote:
Really? I really like my cilogear 30l worksack for skiing. When I bought it I also bought the shovel pocket and have been extremely pleased ever since. I guess that's proof that everyone has their own preferences.


One of their biggest flaws, in addition to having to buy an external pocket, is the side panel fabric does not hold up to ski edges during extended hiking. Maybe I'm unique in my experience but my ski edges tore apart the panels bilaterally. And of course everyone has their own preference, thats just mine. Its too bad their new ski packs uses that same material.


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By Richard88
From Sheridan, WY
Nov 9, 2012
piney creek canyon

kevino wrote:
One of their biggest flaws, in addition to having to buy an external pocket, is the side panel fabric does not hold up to ski edges during extended hiking. Maybe I'm unique in my experience but my ski edges tore apart the panels bilaterally. And of course everyone has their own preference, thats just mine. Its too bad their new ski packs uses that same material.


Yeah i can definitely see that being a problem...I guess i never really thought about it as i mate my skis together and carry between the pack and the shovel pocket where the material is a little burlier. Do you have the balistic worksack or the standard? I've got the standard and i'm curious if the balistic worksack would be better for carrying A style.


Cilogear ski carry
Cilogear ski carry


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By smassey
From CO
Nov 9, 2012

The guide service (ballistics) worksack is substantially more bomber. If you have particular wear points that you want reinforced, contact them and I'm sure they'll adapt a pack for your needs.


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By BGardner
From Colorado
Nov 9, 2012

Personally I've never found a pack that would be great at both. I think the requirements are just to different.

In ice climbing you want simple light design that keeps the weight pulled in close to you're back, and fairly evenly distributed top to bottom. Access is a low priority and top-loading designs rule.

In skiing I find that I really want the weight down low so it doesn't throw me around. I find a good ski pack is wider at the bottom vs the straight cylinder or wider at the top, that I prefer for climbing.

For skiing I also require a separate compartment for shovel, prob, saw. I also like having both methods of ski carry (a-frame and diagonal carry) as they both have different advantages. I like side access compartments too, and I'd imagine this would be even more critical for ski patrol. These features add up to a pack that is far heavier then I desire for multipitch ice climbing.

If your working ski patrol, then you're first priority is getting a good pack for that. If you must you'll be able to use it for some ice until you can afford a dedicated ice/alpine pack. Look at something like the BCA Stash 40. I'm not saying its the best one, just a good example, although be aware, BCA sells it as a 40 litter but it is 32 at best. I would also look into more clam-shell designs.

As much as I love Cilo Gear packs for alpine climbing I think they are poor choices for skiing (ski mountaineering is entirely different), and really poor for patrolling. As a ski patroler you might role up on any number of different incidents that will require a good, durable pack that allows a lot of organisation with fast access.


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