More on CCW and my own packs here:
The first is a series I wrote earlier:
and my personal climbing pack here:
While you can easily ski in a good climbing pack, it is all the other nonsense you need while touring that demands a real, ski specific, pack.
I have several really good small ski packs which is why I know what I want for a really good big ski pack. (suitable for short multi day trips or better yet, longer hut supported trips)
At some point I have no interest in a larger pack. 40 L is all I will ever carry these days. Past that I go to plan B...which is, a shorter trip or I'll go a lot lighter, faster or shorter. Something will give but a heavier pack won't be an option. I do this for the fun!
Quick run through on my favorite ski packs. Priorities for me in a ski pack means 3 things. 1st is a diagonal ski carry that is quick and easy to use. 2nd a hydration system. And third is the right size for the planned adventure .
these are not the packs I use today
One I do use almost every outing is an older Dynafit Broad Peak. Less than 20 liter I suspect. But it takes a 1liter water bladder with ease, dry gloves, extra hat and a lwt insulation layer. Most importantly, it will carry any ski I am willing to put on a pack. Virtually every selfie on Cold Thistle with skis on my back I'm using the old Broad Peak pack. I still use it almost every outing, lift served or BC. If not on my back, it is on Tracy's.
Bottom line? The little pack is awesome. Everything I need, nothing I don't. Dynafit no longer makes it how ever.
Spring in a Grubstake gully
But Dynafit does make a current Broad Peak pack. I just don't own one. More on Dynafit ski packs here:
The Camp 260 is my choice for skiing on Rainier with lwt gear.
Interest in other ski packs generally stops with my 2 Camp USA.
They will do everything else I need on skis 95% of the time.
Camp USA is also some of the few pieces of gear I don;lt need to modify.
I have friends who do...btu I haven't found the need. The are good to go for me, "as is".
Gear/packs I really don't notice in use...is the best kind.
The Rapid 260
My choice if I need to bring the entire BC kit and some real insulation. (down jacket as an example) Only down side is its a little small for me size wise. So the fit could be better. If you are thin or the typical ski-mo person I'd bet it will fit you perfectly. Awesome pack. Price is silly....cheap. $100 retail. Buy them early as they generally are hard to find by Spring time.
And the X3 600
I'd use this pack a bunch if it fit me better. But I still own it. Which says something. Again, price is right. $120. You need look no further for ski packs IMO if either of the these two Camp USA versions fit you. I could write more about them but no need. Both take hydration systems if required. Both do a diagonal ski carry very easily. Both are the perfect size for my own needs....small and medium/small volume wise. For 99% of my own skiing in the PNW these two packs cover it.
A couple of additional comments on the 260 here:
The Arcteryx Khamski 38
This is a bigger pack than I would prefer to ski with. But for the size it is a pack I really like. Just takes some effort to make it a better pack IMO. Caveat Emptor here as always.
I paid retail for this one. Even on sale at REI I didn't fancy taking a pair of scissors and a razor knife to what is normally $300 pack @ retail. But the foundation I was looking for could been seen easy enough in the bare bones of the Khamski. So, in short order out came the snips. But I did think about what I was about to do for a minute or two prior.
The Khamski has a outside zippered pouch pocket for skins, glacier and avi gear. Even my ski and boot crampons can go in there easy enough. Two out of the way (like really out of the way) inside zipper pockets in the main compartment as well. Pack volume is good. Side zippers seem workable and closure with or with out lid is good. Not the best mind you, but good enough for my needs with out major modifications needed. Even have room for my Thermos ;-)
This is the kind of use and load I am thinking of for this pack.
When I got done removing, pulling and cutting off things I didn't require on my Khamski, weight is down to 37oz ( 2# 5 oz) or 1050g total. Really decent I think for a incredibly useful and good sized ski pack.
The modified Khamski is a very clean ski pack with excellent support, plenty of room inside, with a hydration system, a water proof "drop bag" and an easy to use diagonal ski carry. All in a pack I find easy to live out of and live with. Nothing on the outside of the pack on the tram, hut, cafe or the back of the car going to Rainier.
That said packed with everything and a bit more than John Race has packed in his video above.
Pictured above is everything I either unclipped, pulled or simply chopped off the current Khamski pack. An 11.7oz drop in weight. With no ill effect on function that I can see .
The Khamski below is loaded with 19 Kilos for a week's worth of hut touring on glaciated, alpine terrain.
side view with the diagonal ski carry loop visible bottom right
front panel of a loaded Khamski
My insulated hydration hose is visible on the right shoulder strap and of course my rubber tie wraps in two colors ;-) I really like this one for its size as a ski pack once I dropped/chopped the extra 11.7oz. Being able to purchase a "tall" size makes a huge difference on what pack I use a lot and what I'll use on occasion.
Just like boots, you really want to buy what actually fits.
The older Dynafit (really) and the new Arcteryx will carry the lightweights easy enough and both do well with something heavy in the 115mm range like the RPC, Hang5, Huascaran or GPO. Hauled all those skis around on the Broad Peak for a boot pack at some point The Camp USA packs are best used for the lwt ski-mo rigs IMO.