Packs for the Backcountry, Skiing or Otherwise – Wind Rivers Backpack

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Our recent backpack in the Wind Rivers was a terrific laboratory for lightweight equipment, much of which applies to backcountry skiing as well as hiking.

Wind River Mountains, Wyoming, trail to Shadow Lake
On the trail to Shadow Lake, Wind River Mountains. Bollinger Peak and Wolf’s Head to right. Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone pack on back!

Consider packs. You get your load down to reasonable heft by trimming nearly everything, then weigh your pack and find out it’s the third heaviest thing you have (next to food and sleeping bag). Does it need to be that way? Not if Granite Gear (GG) can help it. Louie and I both used the GG Nimbus Ozone, a sack that only weighs 3 pounds, yet provides plenty of volume and a truly comfortable suspension system.

I’ve looked far and wide and have simply not found anything on the market that comes close to these Granite Gear packs. Sure, the less durable silnyl fabric requires thought about how you place your gear in the pack, and the lack of zippered pockets is a bit disconcerting at first. But what’s a pack for, first and foremost? It’s to mule your junk from camp to camp as easily as possible. This one does the job, and saves up to 2 pounds over many packs of comparable comfort and size. We’re inspired by this gear — excited to try some multi-day winter backcountry skiing trips with loads that resemble our day-pack weight.


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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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