Ortovox Haute Route Backpack Gear Review


All in all, the 35L Ortovox Haute Route pack, with its versatile equipment carry options and great detailed features, is a solid choice for the day touring backcountry skier or splitboarder.

This review is from a splitboarders perspective – which means that this pack has been put through its paces.  We splitboarders use the heck out of our packs.  Every lap we are taking it on and off, taking things in and out, strapping on and off poles, placing our board in ride mode and/or ski mode, so it has to hold up and it has to be versatile.

My main first impression of this pack was not good… I told Jess: “this thing just looks too small for even a day pack.”  Other than that, this pack is well put together with rugged reinforced nylon throughout.  The pack is clean looking too, with waterproof zippers and sturdy zipper pulls.  Overall, it’s a nice looking pack but just does not LOOK like it would fit everything I would need for a day of backcountry splitboard touring.


The Haute Route line from Ortovox comes in 3 sizes including a women’s pack, a 35L and 45L option.  I have the 35L version and it really has everything you could ask for in a ski/ride pack*

  • Dedicated – easy to access avalanche rescue gear compartment
  • Board and ski carry modes
  • Gear and ice axe loops
  • Handy hip belt pockets
  • Hydration Bladder sleeve and hose routing
  • Rear Access to the main compartment
  • Helmet attachment system


Overall, the Haute Route has impressed me in use.  It looks small and it feels small on your back but it has held everything I have needed for a day tour.  The helmet attachment and ski and board carry options are pretty sweet too.  The only negative so far is that there is ONLY rear access to the main compartment which makes it hard to get to gear when you just want to sling it off one shoulder.  Also the rear access zipper has a tendency to catch and can be a pain to open up- especially with gloves on.

All in all, the 35L Haute Route pack, with its versatile equipment carry options and great detailed features, is a solid choice for the day touring skiier or splitboarder.

*Detailed specs can be found at ortovox’s website.


Never Go Alone: Sidecountry is Backcountry

It was shocking to me when a couple weeks ago Jess and I were sitting in a hotel while at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail and we heard a news story about a mother and son who decided to “Take a detour” out of bounds and got lost.  They were rescued by a snowmobiler who happened to be at the right place at the right time (and happened to be some contestant on “The Bachelor”)

Watching the report, I couldn’t help but shake my head and grumble when she told the cameras “We were just going to go out of bounds for a little bit and then jump back in.”  The story went on to blame the resort, the forest service and whoever else they could for THEIR mistake.

Unfortunately, not all stories end up with a handsome prince riding to your rescue, last March, a 24-year-old was killed while skiing sidecountry at Big Sky, Montana and Big Sky Search and Rescue has launched a campaign to educate side- and backcountry skiers.

Backcountry Avalanche Awareness from Backcountry Magazine on Vimeo.

Moral of the story, sidecountry is backcountry and should be treated with respect.  If you’re a resort skiier just stick to the resort and save the backcountry for the splitboarders.