Osprey SnowKit Duffel: Part travel organizer, part backpack, this portable gear-locker gets you packed and ready to go.
story and photos by Brandon Mathis
Helmet. Check. Boots. Check. Goggles. Check. Gloves… Gloves?
Winter. It’s a tough season. If you’re like us you’re in a constant state of flux between stuffing gear in bags and rushing out the door to the mountains, then pulling it all apart to hang it all over your house so it can dry in time for the next rendezvous.
And somewhere in the middle, a glove goes missing, you forget your goggles, again, or your wallet or even your boots. We love our duffels but tend to pack them with reckless abandon. That’s where the SnowKit comes in: A gear organizer, so you’re ready to rip, not bail.
In the 45-liter size, there’s a colossal compartment for boots, and even some clever mesh ventilation. No more tossing them in the bed of your buddy’s 1996 pickup. A couple of stacked weather-protected, easy- access double-zippered 3D bucket pockets are good for water bottles, gloves, transceivers, PB&Js and those dry socks you’ll love later. Under the lid of the main compartment is a wide and flat zippered mesh netting for wallets, keys, sunscreen and such. Another mesh pocket lines an interior wall. There’s also a soft-lined exterior access goggle pocket.
If you forget where everything goes, the nice folks at Osprey were thoughtful enough to throw a little paint-by-numbers illustration on the included stuff sack. They love including these with some of their new bags and we find all kinds of uses for them (This one seems perfect for a climbing harness.)
What we super dig is the contoured backpack harness and yoke – this isn’t a couple of webbing straps, this is a backpack harness “you’ll actually want to use,” according to Osprey. Each strap even has a nice little stash pocket. Zip up the harness and stash it away when you don’t need it, a few giant suitcase handles remain, good for gloved hands. Also refreshing is a Velcro stowaway helmet carrier. Dangling helmets make us cringe, and this keeps ours snug.
For rides to rip laps at the local hill, the SnowKit is ideal. While we love other Osprey open layout duffels (like the Osprey Transporter 40, one of our favorite all time bags) with the SnowKit you have a place for your boots, goggles, water bottle and another layer or two and everything else that could use its own stash spot wrapped up in a organized package. Two compression straps emerge from one side pocket to cinch things down even more. For you grubby backcountry types, think an attaché case of what you’ll need to bust out when you get to where you’re going. With your backcountry pack at the ready, use the SnowKit for everything else. If you packed right, it’s all there.