Buyer’s Guide: Winter Backpacks

Winter may be the coldest time of year, but that doesn’t mean your backpack contents have to be. Safeguard your valuable items during your snowy adventure into the wilderness with these top-of-the-line winter backpacks.


This features $1,279.75 worth of gear for the price of $1,105.75. If you’re a serious backpacker, this should be your pack of choice.
This features $1,279.75 worth of gear for the price of $1,105.75. If you’re a serious backpacker, this should be your pack of choice.

Key features: High-capacity, lightweight, prefilled with two weeks of survival gear

MSRP: $1,105.75

Description: Don’t let its hefty price scare you—the Silver Bug-Out bag is worth every penny! This creamof-the-crop backpack is perfect if you’re out on your own for two weeks without the opportunity for resupply—it comes pre-filled with all the survival gear you’ll ever need. Its contents include stormproof matches, saw, whistle, fire paste, poncho and more! This pack is a bargain—you save $170 in gear alone. If you’re involved in a Survival in Hostile Terrain Following (SHTF) catastrophic event, don’t leave home without this pack—it could very well save your life!

Cool Features: • SOTech Mission Pack XP Coyote • Gerber Profile Series • Starflash Survival Mirror 2×3 • Leatherman Wave • Blastmatch Firestarter • U Dig It Shovel • Basic Survival Fishing Kit

CABELA’S XPG Ridgeline 25-Liter Pack

Key Features: Adjustable sternum straps, lumbar support, adjustable shove-it-style pocket

MSRP: $60

Description: If you’re looking for an all-in-one backpack and hydration system look no further than the XPG Ridgeline 25-Liter Pack. Not only is it hydrationsystem compatible, it can withstand the cold of winter thanks to its 210-denier polyester protective lining. Don’t let its lack of size fool you—this high-capacity pack can hold up to 1,598 cubic inches of winter gear. Best of all you won’t even feel the weight thanks to its built-in side compression straps that distribute the weight evenly and deliver load stability. There’s plenty of space to store all your gear— there are two immense storage compartments, plus two stow side pockets for anything you might have left over.



Key Features: Insulated hydration sleeve, easy access via front and pack, diagonal and A-frame ski carrying options

MSRP: $260

Description: Serious adventurers looking to scale treacherous mountain peaks should make the Outlaw AvaLung their backpack of choice. This handy pack isn’t just useful for storage, it can be a lifesaver as well. The integrated AvaLung improves your chances of survival by gathering oxygen from nearby snow. This pack is versatile—whether you’re hiking or travelling by skis, you’ll be able to easily move around thanks to the ergoACTIV suspension. Backpack contents are always within grasp—the avy-tool organizer pocket and back panel are easily accessible if you feel a chill and want to grab extra layers.



Key Features: High-capacity, fully-padded suspension, hydration pocket & port

MSRP: $130

Description: Orizaba 3300 isn’t just a name. This heavy-duty pack can actually fit 3,300 cubic feet of winter gear. If that isn’t impressive, you can fill this high-capacity pack until it’s bursting at the seams. The top has a built-in extension with a spindrift collar so you can fit every last winter item. Never have a sore back again with its aluminum frame stay and HDPE frame sheet, which provide great support. The shoulders come with padding load lifters for added support. There’s even an internal hydration pocket to carry plenty of water along your long trek.


DEUTER SPORT Aircontact PRO 65 + 15 SL

Model: Aircontact PRO 65 + 15 SL

Key Features: Large capacity for carrying heavy loads, durable, suspension system for back support

MSRP: $350

Description: Aircontact PRO 65 + 15 SL is the perfect heavy-duty all season backpack. Not only is it durable enough to withstand the icy cold of winter, the Vari Flex system makes carrying heavy loads seem light as a feather. You no longer need to compromise durability for mobility—the pack’s mobile hip fins follow your direction, allowing you to traverse the toughest of paths. No need to worry about soggy gear, as the pack comes intact with a handy rain cover. The suspension system is so comfortable you’ll feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. Your back and shoulders will feel totally at ease.




CRAGHOPPERS Kiwi Pro Backpack 30L

Key Features: Spacious, durable, cooling aerator panel, water-repellent finish

MSRP: $65

Description: Kiwi Pro is one versatile pack. It comes in three fantastic sizes—15L, 22L and 30L—for backpackers of all skill levels. Serious backpackers will want to pick up the 30-liter version, as it’s roomy enough to hold everything you’ll ever need on a week-long backpacking expedition, including your trusty sleeping bag, and comes with a handy on-board storage system for superior organization. Don’t let this pack’s colorful name fool you. It’s durable enough to bear the toughest of winter backpacking expeditions. It comes with a host of fantastic features, including a hydration bladder pocket, elasticated expandable side pockets for extra gear, chest straps for added stability and an internal zipped organizer.


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the Winter 2013 print issue of American Survival Guide.

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