MSRP: $119 to $199 (depending on size)
That backcountry hit just off the road is great for dawn patrols before work. But sometimes the best, and least crowded backcountry lines, take some work. If you're gonna' be huffing it a couple miles to get freshies this winter, we suggest you pay close attention when selecting a pack. If your back hurts before you even start skiing down, you're likely using the wrong pack.
One pack we're particularly looking forward to using when the snow starts falling is the re-designed Gregory Targhee. Seven years ago the original became the go-to for many backcountry skiers, but there are several new features we've played around with and we're already impressed.
Most importantly, the pack has a new suspension system called Vertflex, which is stiff enough to make a heavy load feel stable and evenly distributed but also has enough torsional flexibility that it moves with your body when you're climbing up or ripping down couloirs.
The other standout feature is a dedicated avalanche safety gear pocket that can always be accessed no matter how your skis are strapped onto the bag. That's a big deal because each minute you spend scrambling to pull out your shovel or probe is another minute your buddy, or buddies, might spend buried in the snow.
The main compartment on the 32-liter pack (which we tested) is accessed through a full zip rear panel, which is convenient because when it's open everything is right in front of you. No more plowing though the top of the bag to get at whatever's at the bottom. Photographers will like this feature as well because is means quick access to camera gear.
The pack allows you to carry your skis in a diagonal or A-Frame set-up, and the A-frame feature can accommodate skis up to 130mm in the tails. Up top there's an oversized pocket for your goggles, and on the shoulder there's an insulated hydration sleeve. The pack hits stores this fall and in addition to the 32-liter, Gregory is offering an 18, 26, and 45-liter version so day-trippers and over-nighters will have options to choose from.
Oh, and since it's named after the cliff-hucking playground of Grand Targhee, Wyoming, we're going to assume it's equally suited for dropping big airs.