Last spring and so far this winter I have had the opportunity to ski with one of L.L. Beans new line of ski and snow inspired backcountry backpacks, The Snowfield Day Pack.
L.L. Bean Makes Backpacks?
First off I would like to say I had no idea L.L. Bean even made backpacks so I was very surprised while test this well performing piece of backcountry gear. The Snowfield backpack is super lightweight, fits me great and is very durable making it perfect for short day tours, or ski resort access backcountry laps.
The Snowfield size may be a bit small for a true ski mountaineering pack, however it is set up with two ice tool carry loops that seem to work well. This pack uses and straight up and down ski carry on the back of the pack rather than a diagonal or a-frame configuration.
The fabric underneath where the skis sit is burly similar to hall bag material that big wall climbers use, which is also great because it keeps your shovel from tearing the bottom of the pack as well.
Snowfield Avalanche Safety
L.L. Bean set this pack up with its own avalanche safety equipment pocket, which is awesome because it gets your shovel probe and saw out of the main compartment of your pack to utilize space while keeping your avalanche safety gear all in one spot for quick access. You can also put the shovel handle on the side like the Dakine Heli pro packs.
The Snowfield backpack comes with a soft goggle pouch and two waist band pockets that work great for a little extra storage. Now as far as fitting all your extra gear, gloves, hats, water, tools, skins and such, the Snowfield is a compact and tight fitting 25L backpack.
To get to your gear the Snowfield is equipped with top and back zipper access. I suggest using the back zipper as it makes accessibility super easy especially for storing skins while doing quick yoyo laps. The only thing L.L. Bean could improve on this pack would be to add a burlier ski carry system, as when its windy you can feel your skis moving with the pack against the wind.
So now that you have heard about all of the Snowfields great features let me tell you what I really think about this pack!! First off in my back yard of the Tetons I like to go for quick laps on Teton Pass and this pack is great for short fast tours!! Also If I’m out at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and leaving the gates its the perfect size for resort accessed backcountry laps and best of all I can even get a decent sized first aid kit in there as well.
For longer days in the backcountry (6+ hours) I do prefer a large volume pack and recommend you do the same to carry all the proper safety, first aid and rescue equipment with you into the field.
Overall I like this pack a lot and odds are you will too. I use the Snowfield a ton throughout the year and for the price you can’t beat it ($149.99 L.L. Bean). Cheers to L.L. Bean, you guys hit a home run with the Snowfield backpack, great job!!