SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: MountainSmith Off-Piste 20

Who would have thought such a snowshoe-friendly day pack existed? The size and features of MountainSmith’s Off-Piste 20 make it a versatile and user-friendly winter pack.

At 19.5 liters, or nearly 2,000 cubic inches, it offers enough room to carry extra layers and lunch. My first impression upon donning a fully-loaded Off-Piste was how comfortable it felt. The well-designed suspension system makes load distribution a breeze. The insulated hydration system ensures that your sold-separately water tube won’t freeze, and the tuck-away external strap system makes it easy to carry snowshoes, skis, or a snowboard.

The concealability of the straps when they are not in use adds to the pack’s aesthetic value. Another great addition is the drop-down seat – with the Off-Piste, you’ll never feel off-put for lack of something to sit down on and lean your back against. The snug, padded cargo space even makes me feel at ease stowing my laptop while I pedal to the coffee shop.

Too small for an extended trip, this pack is ideal for the sort of use its designers had in mind – day forays into the elements – a nd all of the options one could hope to find in such a pack have been thoughtfully integrated into this one. A digital camera pocket on the waist belt even makes documentation of your adventures easy.

Specifications:

* Volume: 1190 cu. in. / 19.5 L
* Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz. / 1.5 kg
* Dimensions: 21″ x 11.5″ x 4.75″ / 53 x 29 x 12.1 cm
* Available Colors: Red, Blue, Gray
* 600 Denier Rip-stop material on high wear areas and 600d Poly on the main body
* Large main compartment with internal mesh pockets
* A separate zippered pocket provides space for a shovel, blade and probe
* Multiple snowshoe, snowboard and ski carrying options including vertical and horizontal
* Fleece-lined pocket with headphone exit on top of pack can store an mp3 player or goggles
* Hydration sleeve with insulated hydro-stash keeps tubes from freezing
* Waist belt has a digital camera pocket and a zippered mesh pocket

For more information on MountainSmith products, visit http://www.mountainsmith.com.