The Patagonia Snowdrifter 30L follows the typical Patagonia mantra of everything you need and nothing you don’t. Granted, that does means it’s missing a a few features that some might find valuable in a pack. There’s no hip belt pocket, no exterior helmet carrier and no insulated hydration sleeve. But, it does exactly what a backcountry pack should do—offers quick access to snow safety tools and provides multiple easy ways to carry your skis or snowboard.
This pack is available in three sizes 20 liters, 30 liters and 40 liters. The 30L is built for a full day in the backcountry where you might need a few more layers and snacks than you would for a quick skin or day in the sidecountry.
This pack has a dedicated compartment for snow safety tools, with sleeves to keep your tools organized. The U-Shaped lid is easy to access and the zippers are quick, even with gloves on. Inside this compartment is a small zippered pocket, which provides easy access to snacks, keys, or most phones. I often found myself shoving my phone and snacks in the soft micro fleece lined pocket at the top of the bag, which is ideal for goggles, but also allows for quick access to the small stuff. The third compartment is one big compartment with only a hydration sleeve. There are two ways to access this compartment, both from the top and the back of the pack. The back panel entry is nice because it keeps the back of pack dry when you have to set it down to access your things. This goggle compartment nests on top of this main compartment, and only slightly gets in the way when you fill the main compartment full, otherwise it wasn’t an issue.
The exterior of the pack is durable. Patagonia choose a Cordura nylon with a DWR coating to prevent your pack from getting soaked on those long powder days or wet spring conditions. The pack comes in two sizes: small/medium and large/extra large. The pack sat well on my back and the air flow mesh around the shoulder straps, back panel and waist belt a nice job of staying breathable when skinning. The hip belt buckles are easy to clip, even with gloves on. When ski straps and lower compression buckles are not in use they slip nicely into a little stash pocket on the exterior of the pack, which is always a nice feature for travel or ski lifts when you don’t want every strap dangling.
As for the minor details, I never once missed the hip belt pocket, I strapped my helmet to the exterior straps, and while I usually bring a hydration system that has a insulated tube, it would be nice to have that zippered pocket, mainly just to keep the hydration tube nicely in place on the shoulder strap. Still, these seem like minor complaints considering that this pack fits well and performs well.
Price: $169 *currently $118*
Weight: 39 oz.
Best used for: A full day in the backcountry (ski, snowboarding)