Best Ski Backpacks for This Winter (2021)

by Simon Naylor | Updated On: January 23rd, 2021
skiers backpack

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Is it your first time skiing? Or perhaps you’ve had a bad experience before with a ski backpack.

Either way, there are some things you need to look out for before you pick the best ski backpack. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite ski backpacks, along with a guide to help you choose.

Ski Backpack

Product

Price

My Top Pick

Sukoa Ski Boot Bag

  • Spacious room for gear

  • Reinforced posture support

  • Water-resistant exterior and interior

  • Three separate compartments 

  • Two carrying handles

  • Lightweight design

Best Bag Capacity

Athalon Everything Boot Bag

  • Plenty of storage space

  • Waterproof PVC bottom

  • Allows for drainage from the bottom

  • Padded shoulder straps

  • Several compartments

  • Various colors

Best for Comfort

Athletico Ski Boot Bag

  • Waterproof

  • Padded back

  • Reflective piping for enhanced visibility

  • Spacious storage space

  • Pockets outside and inside the bag

Best for Carrying Skis

DAKINE Heli Backpack

  • Compact design

  • Range of colors

  • Water-resistant

  • Diagonal carry option for skis

  • Hydration pack

Best for Women

The North Face Women’s Jester Backpack

  • PE foam shoulder straps

  • Padded air mesh back

  • Large main compartment

  • A wide array of colors

Best for Easily Accessing Gear

OutdoorMaster Lynx Ski Boot Bag

  • Waterproof exterior

  • Separate helmet compartment

  • Spacious space to fit all the gear

  • Three quick-access pockets

Best Water-resistant

OutdoorMaster Polar Bear Ski Boot Bag

  • Waterproof, non-slip bottom

  • Grommets on the bottom for drainage

  • Spacious storage space

  • Padded shoulder straps

  • Two carrying handles

Best for Storing Boots

Unigear Ski Boot Bag

  • Waterproof exterior

  • Spacious room

  • External webbing allows for attaching skis

  • Three separate compartments

  • Padded mesh back panel and shoulder straps

Best Padded Bag

Element Equipment Boot Bag

  • Fits up to 14 size men ski boots

  • Waterproof material

  • Goggle pocket is fleece-lined

  • Padded

  • Drainage and ventilation holes

Most Versatile

Wildhorn Brimhall Ski Boot Bag

  • Made from water-resistant Nylon

  • 5 internal pockets

  • Removable boot separator

  • Several options for carrying

  • Drainage and ventilation holes

Top 10 Best Ski Backpacks for This Winter

  1. Sukoa Ski Boot Bag (My Top Pick)
  2. Athalon Everything Boot Bag (Best Bag Capacity)
  3. Athletico Ski Boot Bag (Best for Comfort)
  4. DAKINE Heli Backpack (Best for Carrying Skis)
  5. The North Face Women’s Jester Backpack (Best for Women)
  6. OutdoorMaster Lynx Ski Boot Bag (Best for Easily Accessing Gear)
  7. OutdoorMaster Polar Bear Ski Boot Bag (Best Water-resistant)
  8. Unigear Ski Boot Bag (Best for Storing Boots)
  9. Element Equipment Boot Bag (Best Padded Bag)
  10. Wildhorn Brimhall Ski Boot Bag (Most Versatile)

Our Top 10 Picks

In this section, we’ll explore the ups and downs of each of our favorite picks.

1. Sukoa Ski Boot Bag

My Top Pick

The more compartments, the merrier. The idea behind compartments is to provide ease when trying to fetch something from the backpack. When the gear is neatly distributed in different compartments, it makes it much less of a hassle to get what you need.

There are three main compartments to store your things. You won’t have to worry about the gear getting damp because the bag is fully water-resistant. There are also side straps that can hold other belongings, like your jacket for example. It can really hold anything you can strap down, even your skis.

Although the pack is light, its back is reinforced, especially the boot area. This prevents the boots from protruding out and poking your back. Because it’s lightweight, it makes climbing up hills much easier.

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2. Athalon Everything Boot Bag

Best Bag Capacity

Athalon Everything has ‘everything’ you need. It’s designed to hold up to 58.5 liters, meaning it would fit most of your belongings and still have room.

You don’t have to worry about the gear in your pack getting wet. That’s because it has a waterproof bottom. It also allows for drainage in case snow melts inside the backpack somehow.

There are two boot pockets on each side of the pack, which are well-ventilated. Thus, it keeps your backpack free from smelly shoe odors all day. As for the middle compartment, you could store clothes, a helmet, goggles, and other gear you might need on your trip.

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3. Athletico Ski Boot Bag

Best for Comfort

Made from water-resistant polyester, this pack will hold up through the heavy snow and keep the interior dry. This ensures that all the gear in the main compartment would be totally dry.

Its padded shoulder straps and lumbar support will make your rides down the slopes more comfortable. You can use the padded carrying handles to carry your bag through the airport, for example.

You could hide the shoulder straps in a back pocket to complete this pack’s already stylish look.

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4. DAKINE Heli Backpack

Best for Carrying Skis

Walking back up the slope again could be a hassle if you’re carrying skis. Give your hands a rest and let this backpack do the job for you.

It could carry your skis or snowboard in a pouch on the front of the bag. It’s really easy to use and doesn’t require buckling and wrapping straps around your gear.

This will work especially well if you’re using lift chairs. You’ll keep going up the slopes over and over again. However, for the backcountry, this backpack may not fit all your gear for the trip.

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5. The North Face Women’s Jester Backpack

Best for Women

Women naturally tend to go for aesthetically pleasing so that they can ski in style.

What better way to do that than with a simple but cute backpack design? This is probably the backpack with the widest color range on this list. It comes in various colors to satisfy every woman’s taste.

The North Face jester backpack has padded shoulder straps and a padded air-mesh back panel for maximum comfort.

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6. OutdoorMaster Lynx Ski Boot Bag

Best for Easily Accessing Gear

This is a nylon waterproof backpack with three compartments. The larger compartment is where you’d store your gear like clothes, goggles, and other essentials. There are separate compartments for your helmet and boots.

Your helmet goes into another compartment on top. That way, you can easily access it anytime. As always, the boots go into the sides separately, one on each side.

There are three quick-access pockets. The bag features two pockets on the boot compartments and one zipper pocket on the front of the pack. These are where things you use frequently like your phone, for example, are placed.

Also, don’t worry about the water getting into your devices and gears. The water-resistant nylon has you covered.

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7. OutdoorMaster Polar Bear Ski Boot Bag

Best Water-resistant

This is another OutdoorMaster product made out of Nylon. Tuck the shoulder straps away and this bag becomes your perfect travel companion. There are two carrying handles, one on top of the bag and the other is protruding from the middle compartment. You could use the handles to carry the bag for short distances.

The bottom side of this boot bag has three holes on each of the boot compartments for drainage in case any of the snow melts inside it. In the middle of its underside, there are 4 ventilation units. All the underside is made from 900D waterproof Nylon that makes it non-slip and water-resistant.

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8. Unigear Ski Boot Bag

Best for Storing Boots

There are straps literally everywhere on this boot bag. With a capacity of 55 liters and a compact design, this bag could be one of your top choices.

It’s very easy to attach your skis or snowboard using the straps on the front of the bag. You just have to make sure they’re securely attached. The boots go into a compartment in the back.

When it opens, you can use it as a standing mat to change your shoes anywhere and keep your feet dry.

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9. Element Equipment Boot Bag

Best Padded Bag

Backpacks can become a burden sometimes, especially if they’re not padded. The back, bottom, shoulder straps, and carrying handles are all padded in this bag. As for the inside, the goggle pocket is fleece-lined to keep your goggles scratch-free.

Its massive size enables it to fit all your gear and hold your skis. For instructions on how to attach the skis to the bag, keep reading below.

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10. Wildhorn Brimhall Ski Boot Bag

Most Versatile

You won’t go skiing all year round, would you? This bag is also great for traveling. That’s because unlike most boot bags, this one doesn’t have boot compartments on the side.

This is a small-sized travel bag in disguise. The only difference is that there are separators, which could be removed, to make compartments.

There are five compartments on the inside and one pocket on the outside for easy access for smaller objects. One of the 5 is the boot compartment. This is ventilated and drained through holes on the bottom that prevent any smell and water from skiing.

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What Should You Look for in a Ski Backpack?

When buying a ski backpack, there are many factors to consider, which could make the process a little overwhelming.

In this section, we’ll explore what you need to look out for to buy the best ski backpack for you.

1. Space

During your skiing trips, it’s essential to be ready with all that you need.

Along with your gear, you’ll need food and water. It’s a good idea to bring about more food that you’ll need. That’s just in case you’re lost, or god forbid, trapped because of an avalanche.

Consider the length of your trips. The longer you’ll be out there, the more food and water you’ll need.

Staying hydrated is also crucial, so a backpack with an insulated water bladder is important, especially if you tend to become light-headed on high altitudes.

So how much space do you need? It all really depends on where you’re going.

For example, if you’re planning to spend some time out in the backcountry, you should aim for a pack with a 50-liter capacity or more. Many of the backpacks on the list are around this capacity.

If you’ll be going to a ski resort where everything you need is already available, a 20-liter capacity backpack or even less would do

Most people go for backpacks with 25 to 35 liters capacity because it can fit your essentials without throwing off your balance.

2. Weight

A heavy burden on your back is most likely going to throw you off balance. I did mention that your pack should be spacious, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be heavy.

Go for a lightweight design like that of the Sukoa Ski Boot Bag.

3. Fit

backpack

We’ve all probably experienced running with a backpack on our backs that kept bouncing around everywhere making it really difficult to move. That’s definitely not a feeling you’re looking forward to experiencing when you’re going 60 mph down a steep hill.

Make sure your backpack fits your torso. Most packs offer adjustable chest and waist straps that cause the pack to fit firmly onto your body, like The North Face Women’s Jester Backpack. This is a great way to adjust the fit if the backpack is used by several people, other family members, for example.

4. Hydration

Many backpacks offer external mesh pockets on either side that’ll hold your large water bottles in place for the duration of your trip. Other packs have water bladders inside attached to a mouthpiece for you to drink from. We’ve mentioned a couple of backpacks with this system.

This isn’t only great for skiing, but also for hiking, cycling, and other activities. Easy access to water will prevent dehydration during these strenuous activities.

5. Water-resistance

You’re surrounded by heaps upon heaps of water after all. At some point, some snow will melt and sneak its way up to your gear or your backpack. A pack like OutdoorMaster Ski Boot Bag will protect your gear from the water.

Getting your gear and pack a little moist might not sound like a big deal, but it really is. What happens when the food you tucked away safely in your pack gets soggy and inedible?

ski backpack

Some packs are designed with draining systems that’ll keep the inside of the pack dry. So in case you place something slightly damp inside your backpack, the water doesn’t get to the neighboring gear.

6. Safety

Now I have some good and bad news for you. The good news is that almost 93% of people could survive an avalanche. The bad news is that’s only possible if they’re found within 15 minutes.

In only two hours, almost no one survives, either because of asphyxiation or hypothermia. 

‘Okay, but what does that have to do with my bag?’ you may be wondering. Enough space in the pack allows you to take two effective tools that’ll help in surviving an avalanche if one is to occur.

An avalung will help you breathe in case you’re trapped under heaps of snow. Another tool that might help is an airbag. It works by propelling you all the way to the surface of the avalanche to increase your chances of surviving. These could be sold separately, but you just need to make sure you have enough space in your bag.

7. Carrying Skis

It’s really easy having the bag do the work for you when you’re too tired to carry your skis or snowboard. Backpacks like DAKINE Heli will have some features to make it easy for you to attach your skis to the bag. It doesn’t mean that you can’t attach the skis to other bags. You can, it just takes more time and effort to do so. 

8. Comfort

Honestly, a bag that doesn’t make you comfortable, is a waste of money. Backpack manufacturers are constantly improving padding on their products to make it as comfortable for the user as possible.

Backpacks like Element Equipment and Athletico Ski Boot Bag are excellent examples of that. Most backpacks on the list have their backs padded and reinforced. That’s because when the boots are in the back compartment, they could poke out and jab the person in the back.

9. Compartments

Being organized is a key factor in a successful ski trip. You should look for a backpack that has several compartments.

They shouldn’t take away from the bag’s actual capacity, though. Backpacks like Sukoa Ski Boot Bag, Athalon Everything Boot Pack, and OutdoorMaster Lynx Ski Boot Bag are spacious, organized, and will allow you to easily navigate through your stuff.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I attach the skis to my backpack?

Skier’s silhouette

Lay down your backpack and unfasten the top left and right adjustable buckle straps. Then, you should slide the tail of one ski into the lower mount on one side of the pack.

Tighten the lower strap around the ski once you get it in firmly.

Buckle the upper strap over the other end of the ski and fasten it securely so that the ski doesn’t have room to wiggle around. Repeat the procedure for the other side and you’re done.

Do I attach the skis to my pack horizontally or vertically?

Most of the time, you’ll be skiing with the skis. However, in those dreadful moments when you have to carry them back up the slope, things could get rough.

When you horizontally attach the skis to your backpack, it could add weight to your back. I doubt anyone would want that when climbing a hill.

skis-on-backpack

A vertical attachment makes the weight more evenly distributed than a horizontal one. So to avoid overwhelming your back, attach the skis vertically.

What should I pack in my ski backpack?

Pack everything you think you’ll need during the day. Here are some pointers that might help you decide what to bring.

Pack extra clothes in case the weather gets harsher. That’s especially important if you’re staying there till nightfall. Along with the clothes, pack hand warmers too.

The last thing anyone wants is for them to have no forms of communication with them. That’s why you should make sure that your phone’s case is waterproof as the snow could sneak up to your phone and utterly destroy it.

Pack a portable charger too so your phone has no excuse to die down on you through the day.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Ski Boot Bag

Of course, never forget to pack food and water. Also, I wouldn’t recommend using snow as makeshift drinkable water because you never know if it’s clean enough.

Best Ski Backpack Brands

Some of the backpacks listed above are made by prominent names in the ski gear industry. Here are some of them.

The North Face

Douglas Tompkins and Susie Tompkins founded The North Face in San Francisco, California, 52 years ago. The company specializes in outdoor gear, footwear, and clothing.

Its headquarters are currently in Alameda, California. However, it’ll be transferred this summer to Denver, Colorado.

DAKINE

DAKINE derived from the Hawaiian word ‘da kin’ is an outdoor clothing company. It specializes in sportswear and equipment.

Nowadays the company is headquartered at Hood River, Oregon and is a subsidiary of Marquee Brands 

The Final Verdict

green backpack

By now, you should already know what ski backpack suits your needs the best.

After reviewing our top picks, we couldn’t help but admire the Sukoa Ski Boot Bag. Its practical lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver trails while still being able to hold all your gear.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, I’d suggest the Wildhorn Brimhall Ski Boot Bag.

You could buy just this one backpack and use it for almost anything. It’s stylish for school or university and prepped for outdoor activities. It would also be of great use when traveling.

Simon Naylor, the founder of New To Ski, started skiing in 2005. He has continued to practice his skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other new skiers. He launched New To Ski in 2018 to help first-time skiers have more fun on the slopes and get out and explore the mountains safely.