Snowboarding has this incredible ability of making you forget that you’re thirsty, hungry, or that you need to shed a layer on days inbound. It also has an alluring way of making each rider want more- more powder, more exploration, more time doing what they love on their board in the out of bounds, backcountry terrain. Ultimately, snowboarding begs you to find the perfect backpack. A backpack that is light, yet roomy enough to carry avalanche gear, food, extra layers, crampons, and even your board (or skis!).
Here at Mountain Weekly News, we want you to spend more time outside instead of stressing over which backpack is the best, and did the testing for you. If you have been searching online wondering what the best snowboard backpacks are for resort riding and splitboarding, we got you covered in our annual roundup of best snowboard backpacks.
Top 10 Snowboard Backpacks
Burton brought forth a stellar essentialist design with the [ak] Dispatcher 25L backpack. Perfect for one day adventures snow or shine, you’ll never want to leave home without it.
This is the first backpack we present with a back panel zipper that gives you complete access to your gear for easy transitions. If you haven’t owned a back panel access pack before, make sure you consider if taking the bag fully off to access extra layers will bother you or not. There is a small side zipper for access to the main compartment, as well as a hydration sleeve.
There is a second smaller compartment to carry your snow safety tools, a fleece lined pocket to hold your goggles, and a stowable helmet sling and gear loops. Simple, seamless, and eager to shred, the Burton [ak] Dispatcher is a smaller companion for those days you want to get out and go.
The Mystery Ranch Scree 33 is a daypack built for riders who have a love for exploring in rugged, unforgivable terrain. The many perks of this pack are its ability to withstand collisions with sharp tools or terrain, easy access to gear, and its ergonomic fit no matter the body type or how heavy you pack it.
Ultimately, Mystery Ranch created a 2-for-1 deal with this pack, for it has the wherewithal to uphold in Summer and Winter backcountry pursuits including but not limited to snowboarding, skiing, rock climbing, hunting, etc. You can rest assured that this pack will withstand intimate moments with rocks and sharp tools, while seeming to disappear from your back altogether. A great feature built into this pack is how you can remove the aluminum frame and tailor its structure to your specific adventure. Grocery haul or technical splitboarding? No sweat. The overall design is a tri-zip, giving you the option to access however much of the single internal compartment of the pack as needed, whether that’s to grab a water bottle by accessing one zipper, or the entire compartment by pulling back all three zippers.
The only other pocket inside the internal compartment is a hydration sleeve. The outside of the pack is suited with a tool attachment to hold ice axes, crampons, gloves, and other accessories you may need quick access to. Overall, this larger 33L pack is best for those going out for day-long adventures who may need the compatibility of strapping the splitboard or skis to their bag with the side compression straps in the “A-frame” formation, and rely on the durability of their gear.
For a more detailed review, check out our Mystery Ranch Scree 33 Review by Chris Morelli.
There’s no doubt that whenever I come across Patagonia gear, I have an extra sense of assurance when it comes to the longevity of that item. This is a huge win, considering I’m hard on gear and squeeze every ounce of life I can from each tool. My personal trust was further confirmed when Patagonia was ranked the most respectable brand in 2023 by the Axios and Harris Poll”. If you’re a fan of this sustainable company, consider the Patagonia Descensionist 40L backpack.
This pack is made with a rugged, recycled nylon material that will shed perspiration and withstand encounters with sharp tools or surroundings. Whether you utilize the bag for single day use or a multi-day trip, the roll top helps adjust the size of this bag on the go, with a securing strap at the top to keep everything in place. A side zipper opening to the main internal zipper grants swift entry to retrieving skins, an extra layer, or your camera.
Being prepared in the mountains is essential, and the ability to either secure your ice ax on the outside of the bag for quick use or in the internal snow safety compartment on travel days are the details that make a difference. This backpack comes equipped with removable straps that wrap around the top and bottom of the bag in order to mount your board or skis in a sturdy A-frame, vertical, or cross position.
For a more detailed review, check out our Patagonia Descensionist Pack Review by Founder, Mike Hardaker.
As the weather surges carry in new snow, you buzz with the desire to move as fast as possible on those early mornings, suited up with the absolute necessities. That’s where the sportive running-vest design of Burton’s [ak] Surgence Tour 18L backpack comes into play. This technical and small pack will allow you to soar up the skin track in search of that sweet, fresh, fluffy snow.
I was immediately swooned by the look of this athletic snowboarding backpack that is a small replica of the Burton [ak] Dispatch. The differences in these packs are mainly in how much more minimalistic the Surgence Tour is vs the Dispatcher. Better fit for quick jaunts up the mountain on your favorite tour, or at the resort accomplishing multiple laps, where there will still be time to whip out your phone or camera from the front of the shoulder strap to capture nature’s beauty.
Although small, this pack is mighty with the capacity to strap external tools and accessories, a helmet, and your board vertically. Internally, you’ll still have enough room to stow away your avalanche gear, water, snacks, and extra gloves. Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
The Dakine Heli Pro 24L pack holds a special spot in my heart, as it was my first snowboarding specific backpack. At 24L, I found this pack to be the perfect size for resort days when working, and playing, at the resort. I used it on a handful of backcountry tours, yet found it more appropriate then for jump session days and purely skinning required type of tours.
Key perks of this pack are the back panel zippered compartment for access to everything, the ability to strap your board horizontally, vertically, or in the A-frame formation, and the insulated hydration sleeve doubling as reliable laptop storage when off the mountain. Since owning my older version of this bag, Dakine has done an excellent job with upgrading the outer material to perform better against abrasions and repel water with 600D polyester. They also made their snow tool pocket larger to hold your shovel and probe.
Be mindful that this is a smaller pack at 24L, and carrying extra tools such as crampons or ice axes may make this bag feel cramped. The hip strap is padded, yet lacks in having an additional pocket to carry a small tool for your bindings or snacks. Longer, more intense trips in the backcountry may be better suited for a pack with sterdier straps for harnessing your board or skis to your backpack. Before heading out, make sure the size of your snowboard, splitboard, or skis fit in the designated strap areas with all of your gear. All in all, the Dakine Heli Pro is a decent backcountry pack, and excels as an everyday resort backpack whether you work, play, or do both on the mountain.
Highly technical, seasoned riders know the importance of a pack that does it all, and some. Mammut has created that all-in-one pack with the Nirvana 35L for freeride and touring enthusiasts alike. Can we also appreciate that this pack fits petite women like a glove?
Every great adventure starts with being able to neatly organize your bag, and the back panel access of this bag makes that tremendously satisfying. Unlike other bags on our list so far that only have back panel access, Mammut included a zipper that opens the top of this bag so your belongings don’t go for a ride of their own while searching for your granola bar. Outside of the main compartment, there is a smaller additional front pocket for snow safety gear and stitched in SOS plan, a large lined goggle pocket, a slim pocket on the front of the pack perfect for storing skins, and an additional zippered pocket on the hip belt.
Although a slightly heftier pack, there are no complaints in the durability of each component; from the 2-layer EVA back padding and straps, U-frame structure system that improves the comfort of carrying a fully loaded pack, and thick webbing with a robust locking mechanism help alleviate concerns of snowboards or skis loosening over the course of any boot-pack. Consider upgrading to the Mammut Nirvana 35L backpack if you’re eager for full day and multi-day trips, with the comfort of knowing your board or skis will strap vertically, horizontally, and in an a-frame position without ever interfering with your legs.
Deuter’s Freeride backpack line is extensive, with sizes ranging from 18L to 34L, give or take a couple liters of space due to the women’s specific SL fit or Men’s regular pack fit. These small details are greatly appreciated, as the center of mass being slightly different in males and females due to males typically having longer backs. They guarantee control, balance, and comfort in every step with their Alpine system, where two softstripe pads flex with your back to support the weight with each glide of your foot.
Fixating skis and snowboards is easy with the removable and sturdy straps that attach to various loopy points on the bag. Boards or snowshoes can be attached vertically, while skis can be attached in an A-frame or diagonal position. There are attachment loops for a helmet holder, but that holder is sold separately, as well as the hydration reservoir. Yet another backpack with a back panel access option for ultimate gear access, a secondary elasticated compartment to store sweaty or wet layers, and a separate reinforced safety compartment for your avy gear.
This pack is made of water-resistant ripstop material, keeping your gear dry when you lay down your pack, even with all equipment still attached to the outside. One last cool feature on this bag that separates it from the rest is the sunglasses loop on the shoulder strap, so your sunnies can safely hangout while you check on your route or adjust your snowboard or splitboard.
When thinking of the size of a 30L bag such as the Ortovox Tour Rider, imagine the size of a carry-on bag for air travel. With 7 various compartments to keep all of your necessary gear organized, this pack is right in line for one of the best day packs out there for flying on the skin track.
Say hello to color on the inside of this pack to help you see what’s going on inside in the early or late hours of the day. Front and back panel entry points to the main compartment create seamless transitions when you need to make them, and safety gear resides in its own compartment. Ortovox also constructed a “female” version of this same pack in a 28L size, assisting in the ideal ergonomic outcome for the hip and shoulder straps. Keep in mind this pack has a ski strap size of 150mm max to accommodate your widest ride, and can diagonally carry skis or a splitboard.
The largest pack on our 10 top introduces the Headwall 55L pack, ready to take you further, deeper, and more remote with its lightweight and stuff sack like construction. Hyperlite Mountain Gear has an extremely detailed website to help you determine which size pack will fit you best, from small at 15” torso to tall 21+” torso. Being 5’2” it is a blessing to discover a pack of this size that actually fits. A win for humanity! May I also mention Cody Townsend had constructive feedback that was well received to deliver this athletic, multi-day pack?
As I mentioned previously, this bag has one large main compartment that works like a stuff sack with a roll top and has no additional structural forces internally. There is an additional small zippered pocket in the main compartment. What is packed will need to be done in a mindful manner, as you may feel an annoying bulge of some accessory tool digging into your back. An easy fix with a simple relocation of that item. With its additional 7L of external carrying capacity, it’s fairly easy to utilize any of the 6+ adjustable compression straps and 4 daisy chains on the front, sides, and shoulder straps of the bag for securing all gear. Those same 6 compression straps can be used to carry splitboard or skis in an A-frame configuration.
There is a separate, external pocket to hold your shovel and probe, and two traditional ice ax loops to keep you prepared wherever you are, secured by two straps. There is no external helmet carry, however you could get creative and utilize the daisy chains, or configure your own preferred attachment, although it fits in the bag easily with the rest of your gear.
Try not to let this lightweight pack fool you when it comes to its ability to withstand the elements and keep gear dry; the Dyneema Composite fabrics used throughout this pack curates an extremely rugged bag that is also stretchy and versatile. Whether you utilize the entire 55 internal liters + 7 external L or you use the extra compression straps to condense this bag on light days, this investment may be the best one of 2024.
Splitboarders and ski mountaineer fanatics, I’m pleased to introduce you to the love of your life: the Evoc Patrol Backpack. With its sleek design that is equally durable, has ample space to accommodate you on multi-day adventures, and organization that makes your mom proud, Evoc has gone above and beyond with this expedition ready design.
When deciding upon the proper snowboarding pack, specifically for touring, you want to search for the following: ski or snowboard mounting capability, avalanche gear storage, snack pockets, hydration sleeve, comfortable fit on shoulders and hips. In the Evoc Patrol, count all of the above found. Expect to appreciate Evoc’s neutralite system, which helps evenly distribute the weight of the pack along your shoulders and back so you can go farther each day. In addition to this, they made the hip belt adjustable, removable, and ergonomic with an integrative pocket that is snack size friendly. To top it all off, the organization system is essential.
At the top of the bag is a pocket for goggles and small accessories, a strap to secure your helmet, an avalanche gear outer compartment, and a large main compartment that can be opened from the side for speedy access. Easy vertical and horizontal mounting attachment points for your snowboard (or skis) help boot-pack sections feel like a stroll in the park, even with this 32L pack coming in at 3.4lbs. The Evoc Patrol offers each rider an opportunity to expand their current level of riding with fun and safety in mind.