Chicks Gear Review: Osprey Kresta Ski Pack

Nancy Emerick and Mary White happily testing out the Kode 32 and Kresta 30 on their way to ski 25 Short, a classic Teton summit ski tour of almost 4,000 vertical feet

Nancy Emerick and Mary White happily testing out the Kode 32 and Kresta 30 on their way to ski 25 Short, a classic Teton summit ski tour of almost 4,000 vertical feet

Autumn is here. The days are getting short, and a chill is in the air when you step outdoors in the mornings.  The mountaintops sport a dusting of snow.  At Chicks, this is when we start to dream of winter.  And not only are we dreaming, we are in fact getting prepared and ready, anticipating our next favorite season.  For me, that means getting my ski gear in order and adding any new pieces of equipment I might need.  On this year’s list is a new Osprey Kresta 30L ski pack.

Last winter, during our women’s ski clinics, we were able to offer this pack in our demo gear line, and it was a favorite.  This women’s ski pack has all the same proven bells and whistles as the Kode 32, but is sized just slightly smaller and more comfortable to fit on a woman’s back.

Here are the details:

The Kresta 30 has a separate compartment to store your snow safety gear, easily accessible with a full-length zipper and quick-grab loop.  Not only as a guide, but a skitouring partner, this is an important feature when things don’t go as planned and you have to get your shovel and probe out quickly.The main compartment is accessed via a long zipper below your shoulder straps, allowing you to reach anything in the bottom of your pack such as that pair of mitts you’ll desperately need when your hands get cold.  At the top of the Kresta you’ll find a nice little fleece-lined zippered pouch for your goggles and other breakable things like your phone.

img_4986True to Osprey’s tradition of excellence in technical features, this pack has a number of well-placed attachment options:  Skis can be carried diagonally across the back of the pack, which is really convenient for quick boot packs in the side country.  Skis can also be carried vertically on the sides in the traditional way, which comes in handy when the going gets more technical.  With the same ease and security, a snowboard can be attached vertically on the backside, and the same goes for showshoes.   Additionally, you can attach an ice axe, but be warned that if you are heading on a bigger ski mountaineering adventure, this pack might not be quite big enough to carry all your tools and layers.For overnights and more technical routes, I choose a larger pack.  One feature that helps to save space is the stowable helmet carry.

Now let’s talk about comfort and carrying a loaded pack – another category where Osprey packs shine.  The hipbelt on the Kresta 30 is lightweight but padded and comfortable, and provides good support for heavy loads, in combination with the LightWire suspension system and the contoured shoulder straps.  This pack can definitely go the distance.A few more fine features on this pack are the thermoformed backpanel, which sheds snows and keeps you dry, and the glove friendly buckles and zippers.

Overall, the Kresta is a very well designed pack.   I like having multiple options for carrying my equipment.  This pack is great for day tours in non-technical terrain.  I am looking forward to having mine packed and ready in a few shorts months!  Yay for winter, I am stoked already!

2 replies
  1. Dani
    Dani says:

    I’d love to know what you use for a larger pack, too. I have a BCA 40L pack–thinking of replacing it with a Kresta 40 because the fit on me is really poor–but I’d like a 50-55L pack for skiing/SAR and can’t find many that have decent ski/rope attachments but work well for a women’s fit (it doesn’t have to be women specific, but i’m finding men’s packs don’t work that well for me in general). I’d love to hear what works for you guys. I unfortunately live in mail-order only land. I tried a Deuter that was women’s specific but the torso was too short and not adjustable. So I need a women’s fit for hips and shoulders, but NOT a particularly short torso…? Thank you!!!

    • Elaina Arenz
      Elaina Arenz says:

      Good to hear your experience with bigger packs. I have not tried the Kresta 40L. In that size range, I used to depend on my Black Diamond Speed 40. It’s a sort minimalist unisex alpine pack, where skis can attach A-frame style and a rope can fit in butterfly coils under the lid. Recently I got an Arcteryx 38L Khamski backpack which is my new favorite for ski touring. This pack has lots of external attachments, carries really well, and is light. I also have a Mammut 35L ski pack with a removable airbag for heliski guiding… but don’t usually use anything in the 55L range. For big expeditions, I use a Mountain Hardware pack. They make really good packs in the 50-105L size range. Hope this helps!–Karen B


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