Chamonix freeskier Sam Favret helped create the Fjäll, and you can tell that it has been designed by an expert. Everything is in the right place and works nicely, yet it isn’t overloaded with unnecessary compartments and features.
Easy access via zipped rear panel
Roll-top lid can be a faff
Shorter skiers may find it too big
High-spec features are beyond most people
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Db Fjäll 34L Backpack: first impressions
The Db Fjäll 34L Backpack (available direct from Db (opens in new tab)) comes from a company that has been producing some of the best snowsports luggage for almost a decade and a half. Founded in Norway – one of Europe’s coldest and snowiest places – by freeski legend Jon Olsson and engineer Truls Brataas, Db knows more than a little bit about how to make the best ski backpacks.
• List price: $269 (US) / £269 (UK)
• Fabric: 100% recycled nylon ripstop
• Dimensions: 59cm x 44cm x 16cm
• Volume: 34L
• Weight: 1.78kg / 3lb 15oz
• Airbag compatible: No
• Colors: Black / Midnight Sun
Launched at the end of last year, and designed in collaboration with Chamonix freeskier and mountain guide Sam Favret, the Fjäll 34L Backpack is intended as a one-quiver bag for skiers and boarders alike.
A ski bag, snowboard bag and travel bag all in one, its sleek appearance also makes it smart enough for commuting to the office with. Only the telltale roll-top closing system gives a clue that this is a pack created for technical adventures.
First impressions are of a cleverly thought-through bag that’s made from premium materials. With the exception of the roll-top buckle, which is plastic, all of the buckles are made of metal. Straps are reinforced and should stand up to years of abuse. Unlike many backpacks, which need to be full to hold their shape, the Fjäll keeps its structure even when it’s completely empty.
With 34 liters to play with it should be able to hold as much gear as you would need for a full day in the mountains. In fact, there’s probably enough space for an overnight adventure.
Db Fjäll 34L Backpack: on the slopes
The roll-top closure is slightly more of a faff to use than a zip, and it does add extra bulk to the pack. But zips are an area where moisture can sneak in so the roll-top system gives the Fjäll extra weather protection.
The main compartment is wide enough to slide a ski helmet into. It really is a cavernous space and I was amazed how much I could cram in there. On a warm bluebird day in Val Thorens, when I started sweating I was able to fit my ski jacket, ski gloves and helmet in there with plenty of room to spare.
Although it’s billed as a 34L backpack, if you roll the top over only once you can free up 38 liters of space. This lets you fill it up to the brim in situations where you don’t need bombproof weather protection, such as travel days.
One of the Fjäll’s best features is the zipped rear panel, which fully opens up to give easy access to the pack. You can find items that have migrated to the bottom without having to unfasten the roll-top closure and delve in elbows deep. The panel also has three internal zippered mesh compartments that are perfect for keeping small items organized.
A front compartment is designed to carry a snow shovel and probe, giving easy access to those vital pieces of safety kit in case of an avalanche. On the piste, this compartment can just as easily be used to carry a waterbottle and some snacks.
The Fjäll has dedicated attachments for skis and snowboards. Skis go on the side while snowboards strap to the back face of the pack. Meanwhile Velcro loops can hold ski poles or ice axes. There’s a detachable goggle pouch that can be carried internally or externally.
The large waist strap has a small zipped pouch. I’m not certain what purpose Db had in mind for it but I found it was the ideal size for a bar of chocolate.
Loaded up, I found the pack to be comfortable all day long. Attaching skis to it is the work of moments and unclipping them ready for a run takes even less time.
At almost 60cm in height, this is not a small backpack. I’m 6’5” and found it fitted me perfectly but shorter people might find it feels a bit too bulky. It would be no bad thing if Db were to add a 20L or 25L model to the Fjäll lineup.
Indeed, while the Fjäll is perfectly fine for on-piste use its size and technical features are probably overkill for average resort skiers. At £269 it’s also on the expensive side.
However, anyone seeking a ski mountaineering pack that’s extremely well designed with bulletproof build quality should check it out.
Jack McKeown is a Scottish journalist, hiker, skier, runner and beach volleyball player. Having walked many of Scotland’s long distance trails, last year saw him tackle his first ultramarathon. He lives in Dundee and in his spare time Jack and his golden retriever Bracken are often to be found exploring the mountains, forests, lochs and rivers of Highland Perthshire.
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