With ice-ax retention you can release with the pack on, gear loops for ’biners and belay devices, and an integrated crampon pocket, the Matrix is purpose-built for ski mountaineering. But you don’t have to rope up to appreciate how light, roomy, and useful the Matrix is. The diagonal ski-carry system—a quick buckle and cinch of a strap and you’re off—leaves the top pocket and pack body ac- cessible with the skis in place. Plus, it integrates with the pack’s side compression straps, so you can keep the skis close to your torso and center the bulk of the weight on your hips. The exterior crampon pocket works great as a water- bottle holder, and the swivel joint on the hipbelt and cush padding never rubbed us wrong, even on all-day tours. 2.6 lbs.
Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson
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