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6 Best Ski Backpacks for 2024

Winter is here and it’s time to hit the slopes. If you’ve been lugging around tons of extra gear in a heavy, bulky, uncomfortable backpack while skiing and snowboarding, then you need to keep reading and get yourself a proper ski backpack.

Having a great time out skiing or snowboarding often means needing to carry extra gear like more layers, snacks, water, or avalanche safety gear.

When backcountry skiing, you can’t go without these essentials, so how you carry them is what matters. The last thing you want to experience is a ruined day because of a shoddy pack.

Plus, carrying a backpack at a resort can be a major time saver, keeping you out of long food lines and avoiding dehydration if you go for a reservoir pack.

Top-of-the-line gear of any kind will always enhance your experience, and having the right backpack can make a big difference when skiing at a resort or in the backcountry. That’s why we’ve rounded up and reviewed the best ski backpacks on the market today.

Our top pick is the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 15-35L Backpack because, unlike many ski backpacks, it has the most well-thought-out features specifically for skiers’ and snowboarders’ needs.

Keep reading to discover our top picks for the 2024 season, featuring additional picks like the Osprey Soelden Pro 32 for avalanche protection, Dakine Heli Pro 20Las the best budget option, and the Deuter Freerider SL 28L for women, and everything you need to know to help you choose the best ski pack for the winter season.

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Our Picks for the Best Ski Backpacks of 2024

Best Overall Skiing Backpack: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 15L Backpack

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The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol is an incredibly comfortable and streamlined pack, which is why we chose it as the best overall. The most incredible feature of this versatile ski pack is the zippered back-panel access.

Utilizing the zippered back panel gives you access to all of your gear immediately without having to dig through your backpack. This feature is a massive time-saver when trying to quickly grab an extra layer.

Choose from 15L to 32L storage capacity, the 32L being the most popular. The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol also makes a great pack for resort days.

There are tons of well-thought-out features on this pack, including an easy-to-access snow safety pocket, an internal zippered pocket, an insulated shoulder pocket for storing hydration, a radio, or anything that strikes your fancy. 

The waist buckle is metal, so it won’t break easily and the form-fitting back panel with padding and comfortable shoulder straps means all-day comfort. The fabric is made from recycled material and will shed snow.

One of the best features is the convenient ski-carry or vertical snowboard-carry attachments. There are even piolet attachments and a helmet carry system. This pack can carry heavy loads or light ones and is a great all-rounder to use as a resort pack, for backcountry skiing, and snowboarding.

Best Resort Skiing Backpack: Osprey Glade 12L Ski Backpack

Image by Osprey

When it comes to backpacks, it’s hard to compete with the quality and style of Osprey for resort days. The ergonomic design of this Osprey pack is incredible with adjustable chest straps and a ventilated back panel, and it is small enough to wear while sitting on the ski lift.

The added bonus of a hydration pack carrying 2.5L of water also means avoiding accidental dehydration while going up and down the mountain. You can carry everything you need on your back: snacks, sunglasses, an extra layer, and more. 

There’s a fleece-lined goggle pocket and attachments for a snowboard or skis just in case you need them.

This streamlined pack only compromises with fewer pockets than other models, but for a day at the resort, it’s great for keeping a low profile and you can wear it over your ski jacket. This minimal size and weight pack is a great balance of looking stylish and functionality combined with durability.

If you’re looking for something with a minimal footprint but more sleek colors, try out the Arc’teryx Micon 16L or the Camelback Powderhound Snow Hydration Pack.

Best Avalanche Backpack: Osprey Soelden Pro 32

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The Osprey Soelden Pro 32 is a frontrunner when it comes to avalanche backpacks due to its comfort and top-of-the-line airbag system that takes up very little space. For 32L, this pack feels like it has plenty of room for multi-day outings.

Few ski-specific packs containing avalanche rescue gear are actually comfortable going up and down a hill and that’s why we chose to add this one to our list.

It has an incredible design for a pack with avalanche safety gear. Along with skis, this pack can carry a snowboard or a split board. It also features a helmet carry system that is super easy and fast to use. This pack is unique because it can handful carry skis both diagonally or A-frame style.

Although A-frame carry is more comfortable, it isn’t recommended for backcountry safety in avalanche terrain. A-frame style carrying can compromise the deployment of the airbag.

It has an excellent electronic airbag system from Alpride E1. It uses a supercapacitor to power the fan rather than the more traditional compressed air or a lithium-ion battery.

Supercapacitors are ideal because they are not affected by the cold, as batteries are, they are lighter than lithium-ion batteries, and they can output a lot of power in a small amount of time. This avalanche airbag ski backpack stands out as one of the best backcountry skier packs.

Best Budget Ski Backpack: Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack

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The Dakine Heli Pro is an excellent ski pack ranging from $85 to $120. This affordable ski pack is extremely popular when it comes to ski-specific backpacks. It’s also quite stylish, which isn’t a requirement, but is definitely a plus.

The Dakine Heli Pro is a mid-range pack for storing your gear. It has a convenient front panel to access gear easily and is suitable for carrying avalanche safety gear as well. This pack has convenient sleeves and pockets for things like your phone and a special fleece-lined goggle pocket.

This small backpack is also designed for vertical snowboard carry, with buckles to keep your snowboard in place, even in high winds. You can also use the buckles to secure ski poles.

This backpack is versatile, whether you want a smaller resort pack or want to head out backcountry skiing from time to time. With plenty of room in the main pocket for food, extra layers, and water, the Dakine Heli Pro pack has everything you need for a great price.

Best Lightweight Ski Backpack: Patagonia Descensionist 40L Backpack

Image by Patagonia

This incredible backpack might not appear that light (considering it’s 40L) but it is incredibly lightweight for its capacity coming in at just 2 pounds 13.5 ounces (or 1,289 grams), according to Patagonia’s website.

This is a great backpack for alpine ski adventures. One of the best features of this backpack is the easy-to-access side zipper to get into the main compartment quickly.

Unlike some of the other backpacks, this lightweight ski mountaineering pack provides a high-density foam back panel to provide the ultimate support for carrying heavy loads, especially if you’re mountaineering on alpine terrain or backcountry skiing.

The padded hip belt adds even more comfort. Equipped with snowboard carry straps and loops to carry skis, plus daisy chains on the front, there’s plenty of storage for your gear. Plus, Patagonia’s lifetime guarantee is hard to beat.

The Hyperlite Prism 40L and Headwall 55L are great alternatives if you’re looking for an alpine-focused pack with plenty of attachments to carry all your tools made from Dyneema fabric for high wear and durability.

Best Women’s Specific Ski Backpack: Deuter Freerider SL 28L

Image by Deuter

Straps digging into your shoulders? Think again with Deuter’s Freerider ski touring ski backpack. This pack is one of the most comfortable women’s ski packs available.

If you’re the type of skier who can’t stand an aching back after a long day skiing, the Deuter Freerider is perfect for you. Most ski backpacks are designed for men but Deuter designs their packs for women with the Alpine Back System including an aluminum X-frame.

This women’s specific backpack will fit better than a unisex or men’s pack for backcountry access. The marker of their women’s-specific packs is a yellow flower.

The padded frame and shoulder straps stand out among ski packs. When backcountry skiing, it can get hot huffing it up the hill, and these straps don’t cut into your shoulders, which is why we chose it as the best ski backpack designed specifically for women.

The Alpine Back system includes a pivoting waist belt that shines while boot packing or on ruggedly technical slopes. The hip belt is also padded to protect against agonizing hip rubbing on long days out.

A sleek design with all the essential features of a touring pack with helmet carry attachments, a gear pocket, and carry systems for all your ski gear including skis, snowboard, ice axe, and poles. This pack even allows an a-frame or diagonal ski carry. It also has a fleece-lined goggle pocket.

Sure all of these features are great, but if you’re worried about dehydration, never fear. you can add a reservoir that holds up to three liters to this pack to truly make it the perfect ski pack for you.

This is the best overall ski pack for women. While this pack is designed for backcountry skiers, it’s small enough and is compatible with other winter sports.

How to Choose the Best Ski Backpack

When it comes to buying a great ski backpack, you’re going to want to buy one that is designed for skiing. This means the backpack will include features like a lot of pockets, an easy-to-access main compartment, and straps for your skis or snowboard.

Although we recommend versatile backpacks, if you are only going to ski at a resort, you may not want to bother looking over the backcountry options. It’s important to find something light, comfortable, and with plenty of space that doesn’t get in the way. When it comes to avalanche gear, the lightest and best ski backpacks take the cake, combining comfort with safety.

There are many factors to consider when buying a ski backpack and the first is to consider what type of skiing or snowboarding you’ll be using it for.


Comfort should be the first thing you look for when purchasing a ski pack. The backpack should be adjustable to create a personal, comfortable fit. Look for padded shoulder straps, a hip belt, and chest straps to distribute weight evenly and provide stability.

A well-fitted backpack enhances comfort during extended use. If you have any sort of back problems, make sure to check for features such as padded straps and hip belts.

The way the pack sits on your body will affect your comfort. Hip straps help ensure more comfort for longer outings. A more simple pack may not have an advanced back panel and be less comfortable.

Always make sure to check the specifications of the backpack and ensure you have the correct size for optimized comfort.

Size and Capacity

Choose a ski pack with an appropriate capacity for your needs. Consider the duration and type of skiing activities you’ll be taking part in. Ensure that it can hold essentials like extra layers, food, water, and safety gear.

If you’re heading out to the resort, you can look for something with a smaller capacity, something around 15 to 25L. However, backcountry skiers and ski mountaineers may prefer to have at least 35L and up to ensure they can have enough supplies for a whole day.

Skiers with mountaineering and alpine objectives may want even more storage above 35L to carry their extra gear.


Opt for a durable backpack made from high-quality materials that can withstand the rigors of skiing environments. Look for features like reinforced seams, sturdy zippers, and abrasion-resistant fabrics.

Durable fabrics commonly used in ski backpacks include abrasion-resistant nylon, reinforced polyester, and weather-resistant Cordura.

Ease of Access

How fast you can access your goggles, jacket or snacks may be a make-or-break feature for you. Depending on the pack, access to pockets varies. Make sure to try all the zippers and try out pocket access to discover what you prefer in a pack.

Specific Features

Backpacks made specifically for skiing are different from regular backpacks and have specialized features for skiers and snowboarding listed below:

  • Ski or snowboard carry systems
  • Avalanche safety compartments
  • Hydration pack compatibility
  • Convenient pockets for organized storage
  • Easy access points
  • Helmet carry systems
  • Mountaineering gear or ice axe carry systems

Ski packs provide hands-free equipment carry systems for skis or snowboards. Consider the type of carrying you prefer such as diagonal, A-frame, and vertical carry attachments.

Explore and determine your preferred carry system based on personal preference and comfort and choose the backpack that has attachments for your favorite carry system. Some will allow you to try different carry systems before deciding which one you like best.

These considerations collectively contribute to finding a ski pack that suits your specific needs and ensures a comfortable and functional experience on the slopes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ski Backpacks

Choosing your perfect ski pack requires careful consideration and can be a time-intensive process. There are plenty of options to guarantee your best day on the slopes. But it can be daunting to know where to start. Before making a backpack purchase take into consideration the answer to these popular and frequently asked questions.

Do ski backpacks fit all body types?

Backpacks made for skiing can accommodate different body types. Get your backpack sized according to your torso length and hip circumference. Select a backpack with adjustable straps for increased personalization.

If you are a woman or have narrow shoulders or wider hips, you may want to consider getting a women’s fit backpack like the Deuter Freerider SL 28L. Many companies also feature unisex backpacks, try each style to find the fit you like best.

Are ski backpacks worth it?

The short answer is yes.

Backpacks for skiing are valuable for carrying essential gear including extra layers, food, and water whether you’re at a resort or in the backcountry. They are designed with skiers in mind and provide easier access than your hiking backpack or old backpack from high school will.

If you’re backcountry skiing or snowboarding, ski packs are essential for safety and for carrying your gear. Avalanche safety compartments can also prevent getting trapped or even save your life when not skiing on the slopes.

Are backpacks allowed at ski resorts?

Yes. While having a large backpack may not be the best idea, a smaller compact backpack like the Osprey Glade 12L is a great option for resort days due to its sleek appearance and comfort while riding the lifts.

Though you don’t necessarily need a skiing backpack at the resort, if you’re going to carry one, we would recommend choosing a small, lightweight pack.

What is a ski-touring backcountry backpack?

A specialized backpack designed for backcountry skiing and ski touring. It has straps and attachments used to carry skis or a snowboard. They often have compartments for avalanche safety gear, hydration, and storage.

A ski-touring backcountry backpack is preferable to a regular backpack because they are made to protect you against the elements and for maximum durability. They are often lighter than regular backpacks and will be more comfortable for long touring days.

Do I need a ski-touring backpack as part of my gear kit?

A ski-touring backpack is essential! Designed to meet the specific needs of backcountry skiing, a dedicated ski touring backpack enhances your overall experience by providing convenience and safety.

Especially if you plan to be out for a long day or somewhere remote, a ski touring backpack will help you stay nourished and hydrated and can also help you carry safety equipment like avalanche gear like a transceiver, probe, shovel, airbag pack, and helmet.

Can I carry my skis or snowboard on a ski backpack?

Absolutely. If the backpack has designated carry systems and attachments, like the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 15L Backpack and Patagonia Descensionist 40L Backpack. Some ski backpacks offer carry systems to secure your skis for hands-free convenient ski or snowboard transportation.

Options include attachments for the diagonal ski carry, A-frame ski carry, and vertical ski carry systems. You’ll want to try them all out and decide what type of carry system you prefer.

Check out our article on the best cross country skis.

Can I use a ski backpack for other winter activities?

Using a ski backpack for other winter activities is the best way to maximize your investment. They can be used for a variety of winter activities like cross-country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, and even can be cross-functional year found for any outdoor activity.

The Best Ski Backpacks

Selecting the perfect ski pack can be challenging. How do you make sure you get the best pack that you’re going to love and use for years? If you’ve never purchased a skiing backpack before, this can be a daunting decision.

Consider the type of features you want while skiing:

  • easy access to gear
  • tons of pockets
  • attachments for skis
  • avalanche protection
  • comfort

Whether you prefer a sleek design or a more spacious, backcountry or snowboarding backpack, these are critical factors to consider when you are looking into purchasing a backpack for skiing.

You’ll also want to remember to keep in mind what kind of skiing you’ll be doing, as skiing in the backcountry will leave you needing more gear and safety precautions than when you go skiing at a resort.

Our recommended choice for a versatile ski pack is the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 15L Backpack, with a standout zippered back panel for super easy access to gear. It combines thoughtful features, comfort, and versatility for both resort and backcountry use.

Whether you’re tackling backcountry slopes or enjoying the lodge between downhill runs, our selection of the best packs ensures you’re ready to have your best ski season yet, no matter which pack you choose.

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