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10 Greatest Winter Backpacking Packs


Winter backpacking packs are extra specialised than common three-season backpacks, with a stronger emphasis on heavier weight hundreds, exterior attachment factors, and sturdiness for carrying cumbersome gear with sharp factors like snowshoes, skis, ice axes, and crampons. Additionally they favor extra pockets and the power to entry and put away gear shortly, so you possibly can keep away from standing round between gear transitions and getting chilly. Pack volumes can differ wherever from a minimal of 50L to 100L, with 65L often being the candy spot for a weekend journey.

Listed here are our picks for the highest 10 greatest winter backpacking packs:

1. Granite Gear Blaze 60 Backpack

Granite Gear Blaze 60 w top lid
The Granite Gear Blaze 60 is a superb roll-top backpack with an elective prime lid and entrance zippered entry to the principle compartment. Weighing simply 48 oz, it has an adjustable torso size and an adjustable dimension hip belt, with a inflexible body carrying 50+ lb hundreds with ease. Quite a few compression straps make it straightforward to connect snowshoes or a foam pad to the surface of the pack or to haul ice instruments, ropes, and avalanche rescue gear. A girls’s Blaze 60 with gender-specific shoulder straps and a hip belt can also be accessible. Learn our Overview.

Obtainable from:
REI | Backcountry

2. Osprey Mutant 52L Backpack

Osprey Mutant 52

The Osprey Mutant 52 (newly up to date in 2022) packs a wealth of nice options right into a decrease quantity winter and climbing backpack. It has a floating lid, wand, a ski carry system, a hipbelt with gear loops, daisy chains, ice software and shaft holders, and a helmet attachment choice. The highest lid and hip belt are additionally utterly detachable to avoid wasting weight or to be used with a climbing harness. Priced at $225 (a steal), the 52 oz Osprey Mutant 52 is a superb winter backpack for fast-and-light or hut-to-hut journeys the place you possibly can streamline your gear listing. We additionally advocate the smaller quantity Osprey Mutant 38 for winter day mountaineering or mountaineering.

Obtainable from:
Osprey | Backcountry

3. Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Ice Pack (70 L)

HMG 4400 Ice Pack

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Ice Pack is a winter backpacking and mountaineering pack made with ultralight Dyneema DCF cloth, which doesn’t take up water and may be very sturdy. It gracefully combines a minimalist sensibility with a roll-top and has an built-in crampon pocket, hip belt gear loops, quite a few exterior attachment factors,  and daisy chains. A bolstered again panel is supplied to haul heavier hundreds. HMG additionally sells this pack in 3400 (55L) and 2400 (40L) volumes.

Obtainable from:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 

4. Black Diamond Mission 75L Backpack

Black Diamond Mission 75 Backpack

The Black Diamond Mission 75 (newly up to date in ’22) is a top-loading, four-season backpack with a floating lid, entrance crampon pocket, hip belt loops, and a full-length facet zipper for straightforward gear entry. It includes a reactive suspension system with shoulder straps and a hip belt that transfer together with your torso to maintain your load steady. The Mission 75 can also be totally strippable with a detachable waist belt, lid, and framesheet. A lower-volume Mission 55 Backpack can also be accessible.

Obtainable from:
Backcountry | Black Diamond 

5. Mountain Hardwear AMG 55L

Mountain Hardwear AMG 55

The Mountain Hardwear AMG 55  is a bomber backpack with an adjustable size torso that’s loaded with options together with a crampon pocket, wand, and shovel pocket, ice software holders, hip belt loops, and ski loops for an A-frame or diagonal ski carry. Bolstered exterior materials make it extremely immune to abrasion whereas strategically positioned haul loops and zipper pulls make it doable to make use of whereas carrying gloves. A big extension collar, along with the floating lid makes it doable to overload the pack whereas the closely padded hip belt makes carrying heavy hundreds moderately comfy. The next quantity AMG 75 can also be accessible.

Obtainable from:
REI | Mountain Hardwear 

6. Gregory Denali 75L

Denali 75

The Gregory Denali 75 has a top-loading design with facet zipper entry. Daisy chains and expandable facet pockets make it straightforward to hold cumbersome gear, whereas the hip belt has tubular gear loops, ice clipper slots, and sled pull loops. Strippable aluminum stays, a bivy pad, a floating lid, and hip belt padding can all be eliminated. The match is great and extremely adjustable with an auto-cant hip belt. Weighing 6 lbs, the Denali 75 is a beefy winter pack however supplies much more consolation and adjustability than most lighter-weight packs. You is likely to be shocked on the distinction. A 100L mannequin can also be accessible for expedition journeys.

Obtainable from:
Gregory |Amazon

7. Thriller Ranch Sceptre 50 Backpack

Mystery Ranch Sceptre 50

The Thriller Ranch Scepter 50 is extremely optimized for winter backpacking and mountaineering journeys that require carrying further climbing gear, ski mountaineering gear, and traction aids. It’s a top-loader with zippered entry to the principle bag and again pocket together with an adjustable size torso to dial in an ideal match. There’s a strap on the highest of the pack for a rope carry, two ice software attachment factors, and two sled tie-in loops on the belt for sled towing. An inside pocket behind the shoulder straps is supplied to accommodate an avalanche rescue package or maintain crampons and different necessities.  Weighing 56 oz, the pack will be stripped to deliver the load down for shorter journeys or summit makes an attempt and to be used with a climbing harness.

Obtainable from:
Thriller Ranch | Campsaver

8. Cilogear 60L Worksack

Cilogear 60l-worksack

The Cilogear 60L Worksack is a flexible climbing and mountaineering backpack favored by guides worldwide as a result of it’s so versatile to make use of and totally featured. It has a detachable framesheet with an aluminum keep, a bivy pad, a detachable lid, a sternum belt, and a hip belt. The strap set consists of 4 brief easy straps, 2 lengthy easy straps, 2 twin regulate facet launch straps that go all the best way across the pack, and a pair of lengthy facet launch straps providing you with the power to strap all types of awkwardly sized winter gear to the surface.

Obtainable from:

9. Chilly Chilly World Chaos 66L Backpack

Cold Cold World Chaos 60L

Likelihood is you’ve by no means heard of Chilly Chilly World Backpacks earlier than, however their packs are well-known within the mountaineering and search and rescue communities. The Chaos 60 is a frameless, top-loading backpack with a floating prime lid, entrance crampon pocket, ski loops, gear loops on the hip belt, twin ice ax loops w/ shaft holders, and a number of daisy chains so you possibly can lash gear to the surface of the pack.  It has an inside sleeping pad pocket so you should utilize a foam pad as a body. Customized materials and colours are additionally accessible on request. A inventory Chaos weighs in at simply 3 lbs 12 oz, which is sort of respectable for a pack that’s this technical and sturdy. Learn our Chaos Overview

Obtainable from:
Chilly Chilly World

10. Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 60-75L

Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 60-75L Backpack
The Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 60-75L is a light-weight 42 oz backpack with a singular body system that may haul heavy winter hundreds when that you must carry much more gear, water, meals, and range gasoline, and a singular prime hatch lid which makes it straightforward to entry gear shortly. The Flex Capacitor additionally has an exterior compression system that makes it straightforward to regulate the pack quantity and doubles as an exterior attachment system for carrying cumbersome gear on the outside of the backpack. For instance, it’s straightforward to strap a cumbersome giant tent physique, snowshoes, or a sleeping pad to the outside of the pack. The pack’s burly materials are sturdy and the massive hip belt pockets are perfect for carrying spare gloves, hats, and snacks. Learn our Flex Capacitor Overview.

Obtainable from:
Sierra Designs


Backpacks tailor-made for winter use have a distinct function set than most 3 season packs. What follows are the options that I’ve discovered most helpful for in a single day and multi-day winter journeys in mountainous terrain. Whereas I believe these translate pretty broadly throughout winter locales, that you must be the decide on the options you consider are most related in your wants.

Quantity and Weight

When you largely plan on doing in a single day or weekend-length winter backpacking journeys, you’ll in all probability desire a pack that has 65-85 liters of inside capability. The candy spot is about 70 liters, however you would possibly have the ability to shave that down as little as 60 liters should you carry much less gear or want much less insulation. Attempt to get a pack that has sufficient compression so you possibly can shrink its quantity if not wanted whereas preserving the load of an empty pack below 5 kilos. Pack and equipment weight is much more essential in winter than the remainder of the 12 months since you’ll be carrying and carrying much more of it.

Exterior Attachment Factors

Winter packs must have a large number of exterior attachment factors to hold sharp, pointy, or cumbersome gear that gained’t match inside the principle storage areas of a backpack. Essentially the most helpful exterior attachment factors embody compression straps, daisy chains, hip belt webbing or gear loops, and ice ax loops with shaft holders.

Compression Straps

Compression straps serve two functions: to assist compress a puffy load and produce the load nearer to your core muscle mass the place it may be carried extra simply; and to connect sleeping pads, snowshoes, avalanche shovels, or skis to the edges of your pack as an alternative of the entrance, in order that the load doesn’t pull you backward and off-balance.

When selecting a backpack, attempt to discover ones which have two or three tiers of compression straps that run horizontally throughout the edges of the packs. The compression straps ought to be adjustable and straightforward to undo whereas carrying gloves so you possibly can slide snowshoes below them. Keep away from packs which have compression straps that zig zag backwards and forwards on the backpack utilizing one strap to avoid wasting weight. These are very tough to make use of.

Daisy Chains

Daisy chains are sometimes sewn onto winter packs and can be utilized to lash further gear to the again or sides of the pack utilizing canvas or velcro straps. They often have many loops sewn into them that run the size of your pack from prime to backside.

Ice Ax Loops

There are two sorts of ice axes on this world – straight strolling axes and curved climbing axes. If that you must carry a strolling ax, search for a pack that has not less than one ice ax loop on the base of the pack and a shaft holder, each off-center alongside the again of the pack. The shaft holder generally is a easy wire lock like these discovered on many Osprey packs, or a extra strong buckle. When you plan on carrying two climbing axes, search for packs with two ice ax loops and shaft keepers.

Hip Belt Webbing and Gear Loops

Some climbing-oriented packs have canvas or plastic gear loops on the surface of the hip belt to clip climbing carabiners to. Whereas not an alternative to a correct sit-harness, these loops will be fairly handy to rack gear. Alternatively,  you possibly can clip insulated water bottle holders to them so you possibly can drink when you find yourself on the transfer and don’t wish to cease.  Additional hip belt webbing serves the identical goal and is usually higher than having belt pockets which can be too small for winter use.

Crampon Pockets

Crampon pockets are a really handy and secure place to retailer crampons if you’re not carrying them. Situated on the facet of the pack farthest away from you, they hold the crampon factors away out of your legs and arms, your head, and your gear the place they will do actual injury.

Floating Lids

It may be very useful in winter to have a backpack that may develop in quantity to hold extra gear. A method to do that is to purchase a pack with a floating lid, often a prime pocket that may detach from the principle physique of the pack however remains to be held down by 4 straps. Additional gear, say a coil of rope, will be sandwiched between the pocket and the highest of your pack on this method.

Backpack Pockets

Backpack pockets generally is a two-way avenue in winter. Whereas they are often helpful for group, they will additionally add a number of pointless weight to a backpack. For instance, having a backpack with a separate sleeping bag pocket is fairly ineffective, as a result of your sleeping bag can simply as simply be saved in a single giant foremost compartment while not having the additional cloth weight and zipper required for the extra pocket.

Accent Pockets

A lot of the hip belt pockets supplied by producers are just too small to be of a lot use in winter, and there aren’t sufficient of them to hold every part you would possibly want for a winter hike, reminiscent of a digital camera, suntan lotion, lip balm, headlamp, compass, map, altimeter, and a pencil or pen. Many hikers add accent pockets to their packs to offer extra exterior storage or they put on a further fanny pack backward to offer one other pocket that may retailer spare gloves, hats, and meals.

See Additionally:

Examine Out All of SectionHiker’s Winter Gear Guides!

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