Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40 ski backpack review: the ski mountaineer’s pack of choice

A large but light pack, the Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40 is built to carry lots of heavy equipment comfortably

Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40
(Image: © Mountain Hardwear)

Advnture Verdict

Made for big days in big mountains, the Snoskiwoski is a haul bag for ski mountaineers, made to carry heavy gear without a heavy pack.


  • +

    Spacious, light and tough

  • +

    Easy access to outside pockets

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  • -

    No lid

  • -

    Carries skis but not snowboards

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    More technical than most skiers need

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Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40: first impressions

One of the best ski backpacks around for winter adventures, the Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40 is designed for gear-hauling ski mountaineers. Lid-free and flexible, it enables skiers to get to their equipment without having to take the bag on and off, which saves a decent amount of energy across an all-day mission.


• List price: $220 (US) / Currently not officially available in the UK
• Fabric: Recycled 210D ripstop shell and 500D Cordura base
• Sizes: S/M, M/L
• Volume: 40L / 2,441 cu in; 42L / 2563 cu in
• Weight: 1,092g / 2lb 6.5oz; 1153g / 2lb 8.7oz
• Airbag Compatible: No
• Colors: White

Most of the pack's volume is in a single main compartment, accessible from the top and the side, which is capable of carrying ropes, technical climbing gear or a sleeping bag plus food for a hut trip.

A metal-buckle top strap is also long enough and strong enough for securing a climbing rope when needed. Ski carry is diagonal or A-Frame, with a movable tail strap that can be rigged up on either side of the pack. There’s an adjustable right shoulder strap to hold ski tips, which let me get my skis on and off the pack without taking it off.

A number of flexible features also help differentiate this pack. These include the cord lock loops used for securing axe handles and trekking poles, which attach to the front of the pack, and can be moved or removed .

The Snoskiwoski has a dedicated front pocket for snow safety gear, which I was able to access instantly. A zippered side pocket comfortably held skins, extra ski gloves, ski straps and a water bottle – all where I could get to them without taking off my pack.

Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40: on the slopes

Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40

Who needs a lid? Easy and quick access is what the Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40 is all about (Image credit: Mountain Hardwear)

I wore this pack sled touring in British Columbia, hut tripping in Colorado’s San Juans and exploring steep Idaho couloirs. An aluminum frame inside the pack kept heavy loads centered comfortably on my back, where I could carry them most efficiently.

Lash points everywhere let me carry the gear I needed where I wanted it. A side pocket and gear loop adorn the contoured hip belt, while burly Cordura on the front and bottom of the pack resisted cuts from ski edges and prevented a cut from a rock.

Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40

The Mountain Hardwear Snoskiwoski 40 is sensibly designed to make carrying heavy kit as comfortable as possible (Image credit: Mountain Hardwear)

I was able to remove the hip belt for technical ascents, and the foam frame sheet comes away too, so I could use it as a warm, dry seat at a lunch break, or take it out to save weight. The helmet sling could attach in multiple positions depending on how I was carrying skis. It was sized for ski and climbing helmets.

This is a superb technical pack that treads a little lighter on the planet. Mountain Hardwear uses undyed shell fabric in the pack and lining for maximum durability and minimum water pollution during production.

Berne Broudy

Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.