FIRST IMPRESSIONS: This is a legitimate contender for skiers seeking both style and versatility. We believe you should be able to own one pack that can carry light gear without being clumsy on a ski lift, while also offering the ability to haul skis during a quick hike when desired. In addition to carrying skis, there’s also enough room for a backcountry shovel and probe, plus the usual gear you’d need while in-bounds. Some skiers might desire more padding on the shoulder straps, but we expect them to be sufficient under most conditions.

FAVORITE FEATURES: Skiers hauling helmets will welcome the helmet storage net, which will carry up that ever-important piece of safety gear without it dangling off a random hook on your pack. We also appreciate its simple attachment for carrying skis, plus a shoulder strap to keep them securely aimed in a safe direction while hiking. Everything about this pack feels solid without being overwhelming. The black/red color scheme we reviewed is attractive; it’s also available in lime green.

MANUFACTURER DESCRIPTION: Istinden 26 L is a lightweight backcountry ski pack with several innovative gear storage options and ways to access it. Two large zippered compartments on each side are perfect for a shovel blade and handle, probe, goggles, skins, etc. A large main compartment for clothing and lunch is accessed from either the top or the back panel, so skiers can access the main compartment without removing their skis and without exposing the back panel to snow. Skis are carried diagonally, and a strap attached from one shoulder strap to the skis keeps the tails up and out of the way while climbing. Other features include a zippered front pocket with another zippered pocket inside for storing small items, a fixed pocket on the hip belt with zipper entry, attachment points for an ice axe and poles, and a detachable elastic helmet storage net. The Istinden is also hydration system compatible.