Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Patagonia Snowdrifter 20L Pack

I love it when I get new gear in the mail!  I already have several packs, including the BCA Float 32 that I recently reviewed but I was looking for something a little smaller and low profile that I could use while resort skiing.  I've used other packs that made it difficult to sit on a chairlift because the bulk of the pack would push me to the edge of the seat.  Riding packed lifts also didn't allow me to take the bag off and place it on the chair next to me.

Usually if I am boarding inbounds I prefer not to carry a bag at all but with the new Ski Patrol job I need a rig to carry my medical supplies.  As an Alpine Ski Patrol Candidate in Europe I need to go incognito so I can't go around with the flashy red bags and white cross (Berg Watch runs the slopes in Europe).

So here is my latest bag in my quest for the perfect bag: the Patagonia Snowdrifter 20L pack.  Its a relatively small bag with a 20L carrying capacity and a single large central compartment.  The exterior features a stowable second strap for carrying snowboards and a stowable ski loop for diagonal ski carry.

 The outermost pocket, and probably the first zipepr you will open is for a fleece lined goggle / sunglasses compartment that looks like it could actually carry a set of large goggles.

In the main compartment there are two sleeves for your shovel handle and your probe.  I like the idea of sleeves for the shovel handle and probe to keep them secure and bouncing around in your pack but the sleeves in this pack were very narrow.  I had to remove the probe from its carrier pouch and twist and shove it into the sleeve.  Both sleeves had the same challenge with the probe (Black Diamond model) but eventually I managed to make the probe slide in far enough to zip the bag shut.  I am concerned that with frequent removal of the probe the sleeve will tear or wear out quickly.

With the avy gear inside there was still plenty of room for additional layers, lunch, and the oversized first aid kit I need to carry.

 Also inside the main compartment is a sleeve for a hydration bladder, a small zippered pouch, and a tunnel for your hydration hose down the shoulder strap.  The hose has its own zippered port in the shoulder strap (featured only on one shoulder strap) so you can put it away when not in use and not have the hose whipping around and getting caught on stuff.

I am looking forward to taking this pack out into the snow this weekend!

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