A Duel Threat pack for Splitboarders & Ski Tour Folks- FreeRider Pro 30

 Photo: Baker Mountain Guides

Photo: Baker Mountain Guides

Filling a hole in my pack quiver for a backcountry day or riding lifts kind of pack.

 Photo : Cori Bucheri

Photo : Cori Bucheri

The key features that made it attractive apart from my go to style of "fast and light" and ski mountaineering pack are: Dedicated "wet" pocket with sleeve for avalanche tools. Full back access. Snowboard and ski carry. Zippered access to the main compartment. Hip pockets. A slim profile for riding lifts.

I'd used the pack every day of the week after I got it. 2 big days backcountry skiing, 3 big days splitboarding and 2 riding resort snowboarding on a "high" avalanche danger day.

 

The good: The fit! Its "one size fits" rarely ever fits me. Its every comfortable even with 8 cans of La Croix and skis on it. The multiple pockets are great for keeping gear organized which expedited many transitions. The volume was great, I was able to fit my BD Z-folding poles, and skins inside with zero trouble. The back-access zipper is awesome, making those items buried in the bottom super-fast to access. The layout of zippers and access is spot on. The padding under the hip pads was nice for bulky items to not jab into my hips which has for years stopped me from keeping anything in hip pockets. The removable pad is awesome for sitting in the snow!!! The helmet carry was easier to use than I was thinking it would be. I love that straps and ice axe loops are stashable, keeping the pack nice and sleek. The location of the water bladder pocket and hydration sleeve are perfect for using BCA radios.

 Photo : Cori Bucheri

Photo : Cori Bucheri

 

The bad: The fixed loops for the A-frame carry are too narrow to fit a splitboard or fatter ski (120mm max). The frame of the pack is stiff and rather tall, for myself it’s not a problem, my touring partner noted it hit her in the back of the head when looking up, could be annoying for some people. The straps that stash away meant to fix a snowboard on could be vastly improved by swapping buckles, so they can be used in more combinations.

 

 Photo : Cori Bucheri

Photo : Cori Bucheri

All in all, I love this pack. The layout is very optimized, and I feel it makes backcountry travel more efficient. I added a length of shock cord to the daisy chains for a fast option of stowing a layer or climbing skins. Being able to carry a heavy load so comfortably is important. With its size various attachment options, I can see this is a great quiver of one style pack for a lot of people. Anyone that does some gear intensive backcountry days or has long days in the ski area.

 

 

With a few minor improvements this pack would be perfect. The things that could be improved: The lower ski loop could be bigger to accommodate a wider ski\splitboard. By re configuring the straps that stash away would make the carrying options much more versatile, I found it silly that dedicated loop was right next to a strap that hides away, adding one buckle could do away with the loop entirely. The helmet carry system could be perhaps stashed away (attached but removable?) like the loops and straps, as it is I know I'm going to lose it on a windy ridge. A single loop to add a carabiner onto the hip belt would help with quick stashing gloves or climbing gear.