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Gear Review: Mammut Spindrift Guide 40L Ski Pack

Mammut Spindrift Guide 40L

Backcountry Skiing Pack
Mammut Spindrift Guide 40L
$190, 3 lbs. 3 oz.
One size, adjustable
mammut.ch

For all the backcountry skiing packs on the market, it’s hard to find one that’s comfortable, well organized without being over-engineered and too heavy—and that’s large enough for multi-day yurt trips and gear-intensive users like guides, yet with the versatility to shrink for smaller loads. I know this, because I’ve spent literally three years trying out packs for my good friend Chago Rodriguez, a ski guide and avalanche-safety instructor. Mammut’s Spindrift Guide 40L is the first backcountry skiing pack that we both really like, simply because it met all of our admittedly picky criteria.

With a load of up to 35 pounds (including four days of food) on a recent backcountry yurt trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, it carried very comfortably, thanks to a removable plastic framesheet that flexes with your upper body while lending the pack good stability. The shoulder straps and removable hipbelt find a nice balance between support and unobtrusiveness when telemark or AT skiing. The side compression straps squeeze a small load down, so the pack remained stable when skiing on day trips with less stuff inside.

Its design delivers the kind of organization a backcountry ski pack should have. A top-loader that opens with one buckle instead of two, it has a long side zipper that provides instant access to the main compartment for pulling out a jacket, climbing skins, or a camera. A deep front pocket holds all snow-safety gear, with space for a large shovel blade and zipper tabs you can grab wearing warm gloves. It has a reasonably roomy lid pocket, a separate goggle pocket, one hipbelt pocket big enough for a GPS unit or a couple of energy bars, and a helmet carrier. It will carry skis (on the sides), poles, and ice tools, and has a rope strap under the lid. Plus, the pack is made with a mix of really tough 420-denier and 1680-denier nylon, so it crosses over as a climbing or ski-mountaineering pack.

The adjustable harness has four settings, small to XL. I found the small setting just slightly long for my 18-inch torso; and although it still carried remarkably well and comfortably, this is not a pack for a very small person. The load-lifter straps (over the shoulders) have a tendency to slip when the pack’s full. Otherwise, the Spindrift Guide is just about perfect. The 30-liter version of the pack sells for $180.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gear Review: Exped Glissade 35 Snow Pack | The Big Outside - […] also my reviews of other backcountry skiing packs I like, the comparably lightweight Mammut Spindrift Guide 40L, the Gregory…
  2. Gear Review: Osprey Reverb 18 Snow Pack | The Big Outside - […] all-day or yurt-trip backcountry skiing and riding pack, see my reviews of the Exped Glissade 35, Mammut Spindrift Guide…

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photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I'm Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Sign up for my free email newsletter in the blue box above. Click on Subscribe Now! in the main menu (top right) to get full access to all of my stories on America's best backpacking, hiking, and outdoor adventures. And click on Ask Me in the main menu to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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