With this funny winter weather in the West, you never know if you are going to be hiking in 70 degree sunshine one weekend or skiing the next. Over the course of the early season, I was fortunate enough to find hidden snow stashes across Utah, Colorado, and Canada, while still hitting the trail both on bike and on foot here in the Bay Area. Whether skiing groomers or hiking amongst the redwoods, the Silver Ridge pack from Columbia has always been on my back.
This lightweight pack uses Omni-Shield Water Repellency to keep your extra layers, gloves, and snacks dry for the day. This came in handy on a recent trip to Whistler, where I skied through three days of heavy wet snow and fog that only British Columbia can serve up.
The shaped and padded straps are generously cut, slide easily over top of a shell, and make the pack quick to get on and off as you hit the chairlift or gondola. A waist and sternum strap (along with a safety whistle) mean the pack sticks to you like glue on the bumps, while a foam padded backpanel ensures comfort regardless the cargo.
The 20L capacity Silver Ridge offers up more than enough storage room for an extra layer, food, and sunglasses, with isolated pockets for a phone and wallet. The pack sports front gear loops for stashing your trekking poles and a generous 3L hydration capacity for long dry days at altitude.
I am a water hog when I ski, so appreciate the hydration sleeve for my CamelBak reservoir. While the right shoulder hydration hose exit is a nice feature, the lack of any type of hose clip on the shoulder strap left me struggling to find the mouthpiece at times, particularly when my peripheral vision was limited by goggles and a ski helmet.
A lightweight, low profile yet roomy pack suited for resort skiing or hiking, the Columbia Silver Ridge Backpack retails for $85 (20L) – $149 (35L), but you can currently find over half price sales on them now.