Ski station preparedness in a winter pack.
You wouldn't take just any old plank of wood skiing. So why would you take just any old bag on the mountain? Dynafit's Cho Oyu Backpack is the workhorse of backcountry ski packs; with this winter backpack in tote, you'll never be unprepared. A PTFE-coated nylon shell covers the bag from top to bottom, completely isolating your gear from wintry damage and moisture. A 2135 cubic inch main compartment fully unzips to store large items while the side pockets and bottle holder are perfect for smaller items you need to access quickly. Attach a shovel or ice axe, store safety equipment, fix rope to its eyelets, and lastly (but not least-ly) securely strap your skis in the side attachment when finding your perfect line. Make sure to take advantage of the hydration compatibility to stay fulled fueled during tough ascents. The harness and waist belt adjust to keep your pack, whether stuffed to the brim or not so much, from jostling about behind you when hiking.
- PTFE-coated nylon
- Side ski attachment
- Large top compartment
- Shovel or ice axe holder
- Adjustable harness and waist belt
- Hydration compatible
- Eyelets for rope
- Water bottle holder
- Side pockets
- Item #DNF001R
- Q & A
Great Streamlined Pack
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
If you're used to a top-loading rucksack, or, on the either end of the spectrum, a mulit-pocketed ski-specific pack, this will take some getting used to. But fiddling with it will be worthwhile. It's very light, tough enough, and super clean.
I had never carried skis diagonally before, but now I can't go back to A-frame. This pack will keep the tails of your skis from hitting your calves while booting up.
Also, the water bottle carrier was a revelation. I'm done with camel backs. If it's really cold, I just slip my water bottle inb/w my baselayer and midlayer. Five minutes of skinning, and the water is ready for the holder again. This system is fast and cuts weight. (90% of my use of this pack has been in sub-20 F.)
It's much sturdier than others have mentioned. I pack my shovel against the back of the pack and clothing against the front, to reduce trapping the pack fabric between the skis/bindings and the shovel. I am clumsy and tough on gear, and the pack has held up well.
I have a large G3 shovel and it fits fine. I slip the D--handle and probe in the dedicated (but tiny and initially hard to find) slot and, although snug, it fits fine. If you had a T-handle, you'd never worry.
The waist belt pocket is small, but I can cram a lot of gels in there, no problem. I don't ski with a camera so it's not an issue for me.
I understand the desire for a larger mesh pouch on the side, but, on one-lap days, I put the skins on the inside of the pack (safer, cleaner), and on multi-lap days, the skins are on my chest somewhere to help dry them out.
It takes an ice axe cleanly. If you're short, you're stoked. I'm not and the spike does stick over the top, but it's well away from my head and neck. I've fallen with it and been fine.
The box compartment on the bottom has never come open on me, but you do have to pay attention in packing and closing it. If you're nervous, sling the waist strap through the handle. I haven't needed to.
The top compartment plays a zero-sum game with the main one--the more you stuff in there, the less room in the main, and vice-versa. It holds an upside helmet really well.
A note on philosophy. This is not the pack to hang a sleeping pad, a mug, a helmet, a pair of running shoes, and your boots off of. This is a streamlined, Euro inspired pack for moving lightly and quickly through the mountains. If you want to take the kitchen sink and look like the jackass who borrowed too much gear from the outing club, get another pack. This will accommodate everything you need for a very long, leave before sunrise, get back after sunset day in the mountains. I can get crampons, helmet, vest, hooded parka, hooded shell, shell pants, two spares of gloves, 2 liters of water, liter thermos, shovel, probe, food, map, avy journal, straps, small med kit, sun screen, binding tool, and goggles in this, and it will carry great with skis strapped on, and one axe and one water bottle on the outside. It'll ski great too.
Once you're used to the Euro, skimo diagonal carry arm and hook (takes a while, don;t be discouraged, you will figure it out), you can rig it so the skis feel weightless. I had this happen at the bottom of an icy-ish couloir and it helped me concentrate.
This is a great, but idiosyncratic pack at a very fair price.
Seldom Need to Remove It
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
The Cho Oyu carries comfortably and is sufficiently large for a lavish hut trip. It's light, but not super-light at 2 lb 7 oz. My favorite thing about this pack is that it stays on my back. Skins, goggles, and lunch fit easily in the bottom compartment, which is accessed through a velcro'd door on the lower right side while wearing the pack. Skis can be attached to and removed from the pack readily while wearing it. Most backcountry ski days it's taken off only once, at day's end.
It accommodates an insulated water bag with drinking tube well in the main compartment. The small back pocket is large enough to hold my small LifeLink shovel, and its handle goes into the dedicated shovel handle/probe pocket.
This review is written after using the Cho Oyu pack for seven ski days or so.
Really nice ski pack
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I've used the Cho Oyu four times so far and it is working well for me so far. It fits comfortably and carries well. My shovel, probe, googles, spare gloves and a couple sandwiches fit easily into the top compartment. My only suggestions for improvement at this time would be to make the snack pocket on the hipbelt a little larger and to make the mesh pocket on right side (above the crampon pocket) a little deeper to more securely hold skins.