Patagonia Inner Limits and Outer Limits
Patagonia's first go at a ski-specific pack comes in four sizes and two models. We put them all through the paces in the New Mexico backcountry and they ware comfortable while both skinning and skiing. The Inner Limits (available in 1,050- and 1,250- cubic-inche models) is made with the knowledge that the best terrain on any mountain requires some hiking. Like the larger (1,500- and 1,800-cubic inches) backcountry-specific Outer Limits pack, it features two front-loading compartmentsone to carry shovel and probe internally, the other to carry layers and fooda hydration hose pocket on the shoulder strap, and webbing to carry skis (A-frame or cross-carry) or a board. The best features of the packs, though, are clean design ergonomics that fit both your back and a chairlift. The Outer Limits also has Hypalon A-frame holsters and a fold-out foam belay seat pad that can double as a sleeping pad (if you're Steve House).
Gripes: One tester thought that downsizing a full-sized waist buckle to one inch on the Outer Limits pack wasn't worth the weight loss. And on both packs, the cross-carryof late, the preferred method of carrying skis in any un-roped settingseems like an afterthought.