Macpac Powder snowboard/ski backpack

By Marc Connors April 9, 2014
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This pack’s size and fit will make you forget you’re even wearing it.

I’m more likely to spend my leisure time in the snow than the bush, and I tend to have more alpine-style packs. So a pack has to be very good to get my attention, which is what the Macpac Powder pack did.

Rather than bowl me over immediately, the Powder pack’s many features revealed themselves slowly. I recently spent 10 days in NZ on a skiing trip, adding in extra days as a buffer against bad weather.

Amazingly, although I flew in amid cyclonic winds and biblical rain, the weather remained sunny for more than a week and only turned bad again the day I flew out. So I had a lot of time to test the pack, rather than just play with it.

I took it heli-skiing in the Arrowsmith and Malte Brun ranges, and backcountry skiing out of the South Island club fields. It excelled as a perfectly sized daypack. On the heli-skiing trip, I was immediately impressed as it was compact enough that I didn’t have to take it off to get into the chopper.

The Powder pack’s size – and its fit – ensured it was easy to forget I was wearing it. It held all my essential gear, such as camera, sun cream, spare goggles, jacket and drink bottle, secured via a convenient internal bottle holder. Critically, the pack also has a water-resistant zip on the main compartment, handy when you take a big tumble. 

The backcountry trip was always going to be a sterner test. But carrying skis and a snowboard – along with ice tools, ski pole attachments and snow shovel – for a summit hike was a cinch. I was able to squeeze in all my essentials and compartmentalise them, making them easy to find when I was out in the hills.

The fabric looks and feels very durable and the buckles appear bombproof. It will easily take being thrown around in the back of the car with all the other gear and the colour looks fantastic in the sun.

The Powder pack may look relatively basic, but it is feature-packed for its size.

RRP $179.95