Code: WINTER20


Throw out that bulky backcountry backpack.

The North Face designed its Men's Powder Guide Vest so ski patrollers and backcountry riders can carry all the essentials without having to shoulder a pack. Its incredibly durable Cordura shell is water-resistant to protect you against wet weather as well as tree branches and rocks. Mesh side panels offer a surprising amount of breathability and the mobility you need to tuck, twist, and torque off those bomber jumps you love to build out there. Polyurethane foam covers your shoulders and back to protect you from water and harsh impacts when you dive off mountains, accidentally of course. And this vest lets you carry your snowboard either horizontally or vertically, and your skis diagonally for a full range of versatility.

The Powder Guide also features more pockets than regular ski packs do. One pocket lets you easily access your probe, and a pocket and holder gives you an excellent way to carry a shovel. There is a stash pocket for your goggles in one of the dual vertical pockets. A zippered game pocket in the back stores an extra layer when the weather falls below your comfort zone. And five more pockets lets you accessorize the rest of your avy gear along with some water and food to keep you in the backcountry for a full day. A Recco avalanche rescue system may help Recco-equipped ski patrols find you.

  • Water-resistant Cordura shell
  • Mesh side panels, polyurethane foam over shoulders and back
  • External snowboard- and ski-carry straps
  • Probe pocket
  • Shovel-handle pocket
  • Exterior shovel-head holder
  • Vertical zip pocket with internal goggles and stash pocket
  • Zip game pocket
  • Zip chest pockets
  • Four horizontal zip pockets, dual vertical zip pockets
  • Recco reflector
  • The North Face Steep Series

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The North Face Powder Guide Vest - Men's

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Here's what others have to say...

5 5

Guide/Patroller's Best Friend

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small

TNF has knocked it out of the park with the versatility of this vest. It has pockets on pockets and plenty of stash spots for everything from first aid supplies, rescue ropes, to cameras and snacks. I'm 5'5" and 120 lbs. and I use a medium, which is good because you can easily overfill it. Be ware that this also acts an insulator, so layer accordingly. The bomber construction allows it to stand up to years of abuse. I have two, one for ski patrolling and one for resort guiding. I've found that in both, I can keep 100ft of 6mm rescue rope stashed in the back pocket behind the shovel compartment. The front vertical zippered pockets have small mesh inner pockets for small items, while larger things like first aid supplies and cameras fit no problem. The ski/board carry on the back works ok when skis/boards are placed bases down, but it takes some clever rigging to make it ride just right. I utilize a ski strap on the tips for extra security. Bottom line is this vest kills it for many activities. I've even used it mountain biking.

Guide/Patroller's Best Friend
Powderguide Vest Ski Carry

Powderguide Vest Ski Carry

Jackson, WY

Responded on

Awesome picture Josh!!!

I selected this image to feature on the homepage of in our Activity Feed! Congrats on being GOATWORTHY !!!

The snow in JH looksssssss finnnneeee!

5 5

Perfect for sidecountry resorts

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I wear this vest as my daily pack at Jackson Hole. I normally ski about 6 days a week. This is PERFECT for a resort with sidecountry access like Jackson. You can spread your weight distribution across the vest keeping everything close. Shovel and probe sit comfortably on your back, I use the upper back pocket for spare goggles/buffs, the lower back pocket carries a small med kit, platypus water bottle in one front vertical pocket (do not use anything but a platypus style waterbag unless you want broken ribs), extra gloves in other vertical pocket, granola bars, GU, GoPro, and anything else in small front horizontal pockets. You can really pack everything you need for a resort sidecountry day in the vest and if you decide not to go out the gates its still perfectly comfortable getting on and off lifts and sticking inbounds all day if that's what conditions dictate. I'm 6'3 and skinny, about 175-180 and the medium is perfect. I wear a POC spine protector vest underneath which fits very comfortably (maybe even more comfortably than normal, I worry without it you might get a little jabbing from the shovel). The ski carry is easy and comfortable, I feel it actually does a better job of spreading the weight across my shoulders more than any pack I've used before.

Now, as much as I love it, I'm not sure if I would be using this vest at many other resorts than Jackson. I think it's perfect for sidecountry, when I go touring and I want space for my skins and some extra layers I always use my BCA Float 32 pack. If your looking for your first backcountry pack I'd recommend getting a full pack first that can cover all your basis, and get the vest after as a more minimalistic option. My only other minor complaint is the zipper can be frustrating when snow gets in it. I've never not been able to zip it up but when its storming and nasty and you just want to get to your stash it can take a minute or two to clear the snow out and zip up, which can be annoying.

Responded on

Thanks Lexi!

Also I should clarify that I when say Fit True to Size I mean it fit according to the size advisor from North Face that you can find here..

I never wear medium, always large or XL but the size advisor gave my body size and type a medium and it fits perfect. It's a vest, your height won't be as relevant for sizing as skinniness.

1 5

This is not for Skiers on the East Coast

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
  • Fit: Runs large

The vest was obviously not well thought out for all consumers. It tries to do too many things a misses the mark on most of them.

It's way to heavy to serve as a practical replacement for a day pack. It doesn't compare to wearing kevlar, but you definitely get that feel.

What were they thinking making the ski straps for mounting horizontally? This would be a nightmare in the trees, hiking with friends, or in high winds. I bought this for day trips up Mount Washington and it will be getting immediately returned. I regularly hike with my skis just on a strap so I don't have to bother with a pack and this appeared to be a convenient alternative.

There's no provision for a camel pack. You could make a small one work, but seriously North Face? At that price?

The only practical use for this vest might be on an overweight snowboarder who doesn't notice that its cut for abnormally out of shape people, or that it seems to weigh more and is less supportive than an old school aluminum frame pack.

I am 5'10 and I bought a Medium. I am swimming in this vest. Maybe it was designed for those punk park rats wearing XXX jackets down to their knees? I don't know who was paid to write these other reviews?

Responded on

Sounds like you got it in the wrong size, I'm 6'3" and use medium, and your using the ski carry incorrectly mine is secure as a diagonal carry and I've never seen anyone using it horizontally.

Is there an easy way to get a camelbak...

Is there an easy way to get a camelbak bladder into this vest? Instead of having a waterbottle with me would be great...

Best Answer Responded on

Yes but only 1 liter fits. Route tube through front radio slot. But no insulated sleeve. Dakine and wary have true bladder

Do any of the front pockets fit skins?

Do any of the front pockets fit skins?

Responded on

Yes skins could fit in lower back pocket

Responded on

Thanks. I meant to post an update when I got this. I was able to fit my splitboard skins in but it almost definitely needs to happen with the vest off, especially if it's loaded up. You can do it with the vest on if you don't care about shoving them in and not having them be even & flat. Otherwise it's very uncomfortable.

Another thing to note for potential buyers, it gets toasty wearing it in the CO spring with the sun blasting. Even in a tshirt your core can get very hot very quickly due to all the padding & nylon. It could use some venting improvements but overall is fine once you know how to adjust your clothing & layers when touring

Love the look and concept of these new...

Love the look and concept of these new vests...

What is the carrying capabilities of skis on this? A frame, diagonal or not at all? Is it easy to slip your tips in, hike up and ski down? Would you have to take the vest off to put skis on? Or is a backpack the way to go?

Best Answer Responded on

The North Face Powder Guide Vest is capable of diagonal ski carry and is way easy to use for short tours when you aren't venturing too far from the resort.

Deciding whether to use this vest or a backpack really comes down to how much you need to carry, and what level of comfort you are looking for. The Powder Guide Vest is going to be more comfortable and light than most freeride packs, but it likely will not hold as much. So gauge your needs and act accordingly. The whole idea with this vest is that you don't need to bring your whole gear closet if you will be back in time for lunch though you can fit an amazing amount in these pockets).

5 5

Great for backcountry touring

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I have used this vest around 15-20 times this season so far and its great. There are tons of pockets on this vest so you can pack up pretty much anything you would need for a day of backcountry skiing or even in-bounds skiing. In the front of the vest there are 2 big vertical zipper pockets that provide you with enough room to put spare gloves, food, goggles, or anything else you would need. There is also a nice zipper pocket on the back of the vest behind where you put your avy shovel which is perfect sized to fit my G3 climbing skins or an extra down layer. There is also a bigger pocket right above where you put your avy shovel that is perfect sized to fit a 1L Platypus softbottle CAS0602 and keep it out of the way so you do not even know it is there. These vests run pretty true to size and they have mesh side paneling and adjustable straps so you can cinch the vest down to get the best fit. I am about 5' 10" and I have the Large version and it fits great. If your looking for a compact day pack/vest for in-bound or out of bounds skiing/snowboarding I would recommend this vest for sure.

Would I be able to attach snowshoes to the...

Would I be able to attach snowshoes to the back of the vest?

Best Answer Responded on

Hey Danimal the vest is not specifically designed to carry snowshoes but the way the ski/snowboard straps are set up you should be able to attach the snowshoes to the back and cinch them down tight enough where they would not fall off. There are also a few clip straps on the sides where you hold your shovel and probe that you could clip the snowshoes to for extra security. If you have any future questions on the pack just give me a call at 1800-409-4502 Ext 4318 and I can go into more detail.

5 5

Practicality meets comfort

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

Great for everyday skiers. Can load pack and wear over any outer ware without having to move stuff around. Lots of well placed pockets for weight distribution. Can wear in a helicopter with shovel and probe eliminating need to stow a pack in the ski basket. Lots of strap adjustments for sizing and comfort.

5 5

runs small

  • Fit: Runs small

they run small.
i am a solid medium, and the vest with the pockets empty fit snug over the top of a soft shell.
i think i will buy the large.

5 5

stash vest

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I really like the versatility of this vest. If you want to keep it simple, it will hold basic avy gear, and a few odds and ends without feeling like you have anything more than your jacket on. If you want to really load it up you can fit an entire guide packs worth of gear in the multiple pockets and storage areas. While it gets heavier with more stuff, the weight is distributed so well that keep your center of gravity balanced so you can handle any type of terrain or riding. super comfortable and adds a extra layer of warmth too.

Responded on

Hey Sage, I'm wondering about sizing. Do you size up ? I'm tall and skinny and like longer fitting jackets.

Responded on

Hey Reid, this vest does not really come in a tall or longer size. The vest usually will go to the top of your waist where your belt would sit. They do not really make them in longer sizes because it could fit weird if you have a lot of items in the lower pockets. If you usually ski with thicker jackets or have a lot of layers you might want to size up so you do not feel constricted when you zip it up.

Does the sizing of this vest assume it...

Does the sizing of this vest assume it will be worn over a ski jacket? ie. if I wear a Large-size jacket, should I order in L or XL? Thanks.

Responded on

Hey there, thanks for the question.

Yes this product is sized accordingly to be worn over your outer shell. When ordering simply stick with the size you would typically order from North Face and double check the sizing chart above.

Responded on

I wear a medium for North Face jackets. And I have the medium version of this vest. It fits fine, even with some room. So as Lexi said, just get the size you usually do and that should work great!

Responded on

i tried one on and it fit tight for my medium size.

So Free to Ski

So Free to Ski

Young Freeskier Andrew Pollard near the Radio Tower opposite Alta Ski resort with the Powder Guide Vest.
I admit I felt some envy when he could easily tuck his Avy gear inside the back of this vest. I really hate skiing with the bulk and heft of a backpack because it interferes with my balance. A setup like this really does give you much better control and balance for short tours or exploring backcountry terrain near the resort.

It's also a REALLY great option for easily carrying your avy gear in bounds.