What’s in my pack: Deuter Ambassador Jeremy Benson on Backcountry Skiing

Over the past 13 years of backcountry skiing I’ve developed a bit of a routine with my packing for days of ski touring. While the contents of my pack vary slightly based on the weather, snowpack, or the day’s objectives, the primary contents remain relatively the same day after day. Generally speaking, everything that I bring with me for a day in the mountains is stuff that I deem absolutely necessary, there is very little fluff or extra weight.

 OnTOpDeuter OnTop 30


Depending on the length of the tour, I choose the appropriate size Deuter pack. Typically, I’m using a 30-liter pack, and the Freerider Pro 30 is my favorite for long days when snow stability is less of a concern. If there has been more recent snowfall or avalanche danger is higher than “low”, I’m likely to ski with my OnTop 30.


Freerider-Pro-30 Deuter Freerider Pro 30


Both packs provide plenty of room for a full day of ski touring, with separate compartments for avalanche gear and an outstanding back system that ensures the pack and load will sit comfortably on my back. The following is a list of items that come with me on virtually every trip into the backcountry.


In and on my pack:

-Shell Jacket: Flylow Quantum PRO or Higgins

-Insulated Jacket: Flylow Jim Jack-et, or General’s Down if it’s colder

-Gloves: Flylow Tough Guy (heavier), John Henry (hiking/spring)

-Warm Hat, used as a liner under my helmet

-Trucker Hat: Flylow Ski Bum (Trucker Hats are great because they are lightweight, breathe well, and keep the sun out of your eyes)

-Helmet: Pret Cynic: Rubber Grey (I always wear a helmet, always)

-Goggles: Smith IO-7 (easy to change lenses, fit great)

-Sunglasses: Smith Mastermind

-Camera (for still photos)

-GoPro Hero 3 (completely unnecessary, but I enjoy it)

-IO Merino Neck Tube (keeps your face warm when its nasty out, or keeps the sun off your face when its really sunny)

-Sunblock and chapstick (protect your skin!)

-Adventure Medical Kits: Ultralight .9 or .5 (depending on length of tour or size of group), Quick Clotting Gauze, SOL Survival Poncho or Bivy

-Leatherman (Good for everything)

-Water: bottle when it’s cold, Streamer water bladder when it’s warm

-Clif Bars, Clif Shot Blocks (concentrated energy food that is also delicious)

-Cell phone (Might work in case of emergency, and you’ve got to be able to document how rad your day was)

-2 Voile Straps (unlimited usefulness)

-Shovel: Ortovox Kodiak


-Skins: Volkl Vaccum Skins

-A small piece of Black Diamond skin wax

-headlamp (starting early or finishing late, you never know)

Not in my pack but always with me:

-Ortovox 3+ beacon (on my body)

-Skis: Volkl V-Werks Carbon Katana 184 cm

-Bindings: Marker Tour 12 EPF

-Poles: Leki Vario Tour Carbon

-Dalbello Lupo ski boots (not pictured)

-Flylow Baker Bibs or Magnum Pants (not pictured)

-Avalanche education

-Common Sense

-Tolerance for adversity

-Knowing that sometimes the journey is the reward…


For big days in the High Sierra with steep climbing or hard snow I carry:

-Crampons: Camp Nanotech XLC, aluminum with steel toe points

-Axe: BD Raven Ultra-55 cm

Seems like a lot to carry when you see it written down, but it all fits quite nicely into a 30-liter pack when the space is used efficiently. Stay tuned to the Deuter blog for a Tips and Tricks post on how to best pack all your essential backcountry gear into your favorite Deuter pack for a comfortable and functional load.

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