If you love playing in the backcountry every winter, it is important for safety and comfort to have a highly functioning backpack. A good snowmobiling backpack will be your best friend out in the wilderness, and I have done the research to help you find your perfect fit!
So what is the best snowmobile backpack? My favorite is the Klim Krew Pak. It is sleek and fits a snowmobiler well. It also has the technology and plenty of room to bring along all the things to make your day in the backcountry fun, safe, and comfortable.
When you are relying on a backpack to carry the necessary safety tools, picking one can seem overwhelming. There are different types of backpacks, depending on what type of rider you are. Below are some tips to help sift through the subtle yet impactful differences of snowmobiling backpacks.
Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reviews of the Best Snowmobile Backpacks
1. Klim Krew Pak
I like being able to be extremely organized in the backcountry. I might be a little neurotic about it, but when it comes to being able to access the things I need when the snow is blowing 50 mph, it is very important to stay warm and safe. This is why my favorite backpack is the Klim Krew Pak.
The fact that this pack is fully waterproof is the first feature that piqued my interest. Days in the backcountry can get very wet, especially if you are riding near a coast where the snow is full of moisture. This bag is made from durable material that will protect all your things from the soggiest powder day.
This pack comes with a 3-liter hydration reservoir and a 20-inch hose to carry a good amount of water with you at all times. Another subtle feature that makes a huge difference is the sleeve that the water hose fits into. This prevents the water from freezing inside the tube.
One more feature that sets this backpack apart from the others is all its compartments. The separate hydration pack compartment will ensure the inside of your pack will not get wet if your hydration pack leaks. There are outer pockets for easy access to your most important emergency rescue tools, your probe, and shovel.
There are also a ton of little pockets inside the front and main compartments. I like it because I can designate certain pockets for things like back up goggles and hand warmers, so that when caught in a storm, I know exactly where things are instead of rifling through one large compartment.
Some people think that this backpack is a little big but I am the type of rider that likes the space. It is also very lightweight, so the extra space does not bother me.
It has padded waistband, shoulders, and back with advanced airflow technology. I like the padding and the stiffness of the backpack because I like to carry weight in the form of extra layers and, just in case, stuff like an emergency blanket and flare.
The Klim Krew Pak is not cheap, but I think that it’s worth every penny.
- Waistband for more security
- Sleeve for hydration tube to prevent freezing
- Separate hydration reservoir compartment
- Might be too big for some
- Maybe too much padding around the shoulders
2. Klim Nac Pak
The Klim Nac Pak is a smaller version of the backpack reviewed above. This pack is great if you like to travel light in the backcountry. It is a lot cheaper than the Krew Pak, so if you are on a budget, this one might be the right one for you.
There are some significant differences in features. The waistband is very flimsy and does not give you as much stability, but some people like that it lacks all the extra padding.
Another main difference is the hydration pack compartment. It is just a pocket on the inside of your main compartment, so if your reservoir were to malfunction, it would leak on your belongings. Also, there is not a sleeve to contain the hose of the hydration reservoir. When it is really cold, the tube does not have any protection from freezing.
This pack does have outer pockets for a shovel and a probe, and several little compartments for organization. It also has the same fleece-lined goggle compartment and tool bag as the Klim Krew Pak.
The Klim Nak Pak would be a great fit for those looking for an economical, smaller backcountry pack. It also has a super sharp look as it is available in lime green!
- Smaller and more lightweight
- No padded waistband
- No separate hydration reservoir compartment
- No sleeve for the hydration tube
- No padded waistband (Depends on what you like!)
3. Dakine Heli Pro Backpack
The Dakine Heli Pro Backpack is my third choice for a snowmobiling backpack. This bag still comes with a hydration compartment but, like the Nak Pak, it is inside the main compartment, making your extra layers vulnerable to leaks. The actual hydration reservoir does not come with it. There are little individual compartments, but not quite as many as the Klim backpacks.
The material is good and it is pretty waterproof, as long as you are not completely soaked. It does come in an array of different colors, so that is cool. It is pretty light, but you are sacrificing back padding and support.
There is not an outer compartment for your shovel, but one would fit in the inside pocket pretty easily. There is an outer pocket and a strap for your probe. It still comes with a nice fleece-lined pocket for your extra goggles.
The best thing about this bag is that it comes with a ski and snowboard carry. I like to keep this bag for spring snowmo-sking (using snowmobiles to take you up a pitch to ski down). The carrying features are pretty simple, but ingenious, with straps that tuck under a flap at the top of the bag.
Even though this bag does not have intense airflow technology, it never made me very hot. I even used it as a hiking bag in the summer. The zippers do feel a little cheap, so I was always afraid to stuff too much stuff into it.
The waistband is a mix between the Klim Krew Pak and the Klim Nak Pak: not too big and not too thick.
I have ridden with this one a lot. I think it is more of a spring riding backpack, but it can definitely make it through deep powder days too.
This bag does not cost a fortune and would be a great fit for you if you are really into using your snowmobile to ski and snowboard.
- Vertical snowboard carry and diagonal ski carry
- Comes in a lot of bright colors
- Nice medium sized-waistband
- No outer tool pocket
- Cheaply made zippers
- No separate hydration compartment
How to Choose a Backpack for Snowmobiling – Buyer’s Guide
After reviewing these backpacks, I thought I would take a little more time to tell you the reasoning behind having a backpack made especially for snowmobiling. There is a lot more to them besides being able to bring a meal with you!
Whether you go with my recommendations or not, here are some helpful points to consider while shopping for your next backpack.
Probably the first thing you need to think about when buying a new snowmobiling backpack is what you want to bring, and how much space you need. Some riders like to err on the side of light as to not strain their shoulders during a full day of riding. I, however, like a little bit of a bigger bag because I like to be extra prepared for sticky situations.
I have had personal friends that are experienced riders spend the night in the backcountry because of simple mistakes. If I am going into the backcountry, I want to have enough emergency supplies with me to be able to spend the night without losing an extremity. My emergency supplies include a shovel, probe, water, high-protein food, an emergency one-time use blanket, hand warmers, wet fire starter, and warm layers.
The main difference between one of the above backpacks and a simple bag is how sturdy the back is. If you go flying off the back of a snowmobile and happen to have heavy tools in your bag, those tools have a great chance of hurting you.
A good snowmobiling backpack should have a thickly padded and sturdy back to protect you from the contents of your bag. This comes in handy when you don’t stick that big air landing.
Some bags have special technology that allows for air to flow through the padding in the back. This helps my back from getting too sweaty when I am really working hard. Some bags have this technology down the shoulder straps and waistband too.
Is there a Waistband
Speaking of flying through the air, a waistband is another thing to consider while shopping for a new backpack. If you do not plan on rough riding and only plan to use your snowmobile as transportation, then a waistband is not necessary.
If you are like me, you are a bit hardcore and are constantly pushing yourself to become a better rider. This could mean jumping off cornices or launching off pitches or going for the steepest hill climb of the day. The waistband makes a huge difference here.
When landing big tricks or complicated maneuvers, it is detrimental that your weight stays centered. A waistband makes it so the weight from your backpack stays centered with the weight of your body.
Hydration Reservoir and Compartment
Snowmobiling is one of the most physically demanding sports you can do. One of the most important things you will need to carry with you is water. Some bags come with a hydration reservoir, or at least a spot where you can put your own.
I like to bring at least 3 liters of water with me when I go into the backcountry. I also like to have a compartment that separates my water from the rest of my belongings.
Once when I first started snowmobiling, I got pretty far out in the backcountry and lost track of time. The sun started to set and temperatures started to drop. I reached in my backpack for my extra layers to find out my reservoir had leaked. All my warm layers were soaked. Let’s just say it was a very cold and miserable ride back to my truck. Although I was fine besides having to stand in a hot shower for about an hour, the lack of compartment separation could have led to frostbite and hypothermia.
Outer Pockets for Shovel and Probe
The two most important tools for snowmobiling are your shovel and your probe. It is of the utmost importance that these two objects are easily available in case of an emergency. In the case of an avalanche, how fast you can get to these two tools may be the difference between life and death.
When someone is buried by an avalanche, your beacon, a GPS strapped to your chest will be switched to search mode. This will lead you to the location where you will assemble your probe, or long stick, to poke holes in the snow to hopefully find your buried friend. Upon finding your friend, you will use your shovel to dig them out.
The shovel is used much more frequently than your probe. You will, hopefully, only be using your shovel to dig out your sled when you get stuck in deep snow. My old backpack didn’t have an outer pocket for my shovel, so every time I got stuck, which was a lot back in those days, all my belongings fell out into the snow. The snow was so deep I ended up losing a wallet (with a bunch of cash in it) somewhere in the mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado. If I had one of the above-mentioned backpacks, all my other belongings would have been safely stowed in the inner pockets.
Can it Carry Your Snowboard and Skis
I use my snowmobile for a number of things. My favorite thing to do is to “Sledneck” or rip around on my sled, jumping off anything I can find or tearing up a fresh powder field. I love to do this with my other “Slednecking” friends that all have their own snowmobiles too.
Sometimes I take my non-snowmobile owning friends to ski with me in the backcountry. My sled can only go most of the way up super steep pitches, and the rest we have to hike. For this purpose, it is nice for your backpack to have some function to carry your snowboard or skis. This way, your hands are free to help you hike or crawl up the pitch.
My Choice for the Best Snowmobile Backpack
While everyone has different riding styles, I think that the Klim Krew Pak is the best backpack for snowmobiling. It has features to help you find what you need quickly and efficiently. It separates your water from the rest of your belongings. It prevents your water hose from freezing. It is sturdy and big enough for an overnight. The waistband is comfortable and sturdy. It wins.
It might be a little more expensive, but I think it is worth the money. If it is too far out of your price range, the Klim Nak Pak makes for a great cheaper and smaller alternative.
If you are more into using your sled to get to pitches where you can ski and snowboard, the Dakine Heli Pro might be the better choice for you. Happy Trails!
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Last update on 2022-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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Last update on 2022-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API