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Backpacks, Bags and Luggage

Patagonia Snow Drifter 20L Backpack 2016-2017

A pack designed with quick forages to the side- and backcountry in mind, Patagonia’s Snow Drifter 20L backpack is a low profile, close-fitting bag with a clamshell-style opening to allow quick access to your avalanche safety tools.

Though Patagonia make a larger, 40-litre-capacity version for venturing deeper and longer out of bounds, the 20-litre version shown here will comfortably serve the needs of the majority. There’s enough room to carry safety gear, extra layers, food, water and anything else you’d conceivably need for a short tour or lift-accessed pow lapping.

“The shoulder straps and back panel use a heat-venting, snow-sloughing mesh for improved comfort”

Keeping everything organised is a piece of cake, too. The main compartment features compartments for a probe and both parts of a shovel, preventing these notoriously awkward items from getting in the way of everything else (and making them easier to access should the worst happen). There’s also a separate pocket with a microfleece lining for keeping your goggles or sunglasses stashed safely away from any sharp edges.

Naturally there are multiple carry options for clipping your board to the outside of the Patagonia Snow Drifter 20L. When you’re not using the carry straps, they can be adjusted to decrease the bag’s bulk and prevent the items inside from rattling around. The shoulder straps and back panel use a heat-venting, snow-sloughing mesh for improved comfort, and if you use a hydration system the tube can be housed in an insulated pocket in the left strap to prevent freezing. To top it off, the reinforced grab handle on top is sized for use while wearing gloves or mitts.

The pack is made out of hard-wearing 420-denier Cordura® 100% nylon plain weave, with a tough 940-denier CORDURA® Ballistic 100% nylon base with polyurethane coating. Both also have a durable water repellent coating, so there’s no problem with placing it in the snow during a break from hiking.

Quality costs, but those who favour short-haul trips to the untracked should find that the Patagonia Snow Drifter 20L is a sound investment that – like all their gear – is built to last.

Trade Secrets

Ned Hobson – Product Line Manager (Packs & Equipment), Patagonia

We fully support and believe in airbag technology, but at the same time we felt that people had taken their eye off making simple, clean packs for backcountry riding. Most of the ones out there were a bit busy, with tons of straps, and we wanted to make something as light as we could get it without sacrificing durability.

The Snow Drifter was something we worked on for over two years. It supports our minimalist approach to backcountry riding – a reinforced, lightweight backpack. Not only is it built to last, but it’s also been designed to be easily repairable. It’s really durable, but if a buckle fails or a critical seam gets worn, we want it to be simple to fix.

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Selected for The 2016/17 Snowboard 100

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