The Bergans of Norway Istinden 34L ski touring pack will take you from the mountain base and back with awesome load-carrying capabilities and comfort. The Bergans Istinden is loaded with features for the aspiring backcountry skier to the professional mountaineer. Available in a wide variety of capacities, I have found the 34L (the largest of the series) to be the perfect mix between single-day and overnight use in the backcountry.
Available sizes: 18, 26, and 34L (shown)
Colors: Black/Br Red (Shown), Lime/Lt SeaBlue, Black/Plum (women’s only), Lt SeaBlue/Hot Pink (women’s only)
Weight: ~ 3.0 lbs.
Material: Nylon 420D Velocity / Nylon 840D Ballistic. This stuff is tough: Ice, snow, rocks, and even the occasional tree branch haven’t made this pack look anything less than brand new.
Suspension system and gear-carrying ability:
Back panel and shoulder straps: The Bergans Istinden has a padded back with height-adjustable shoulder straps that allow any size user to be comfortable while skinning, bootpacking, or bushwhacking toward their favorite ski lines. Adjusting the pack takes only seconds due to the Velcro, but it remains very secure. This feature makes the Bergans Istinden very useable when wearing extra layers, body armor, or when you loan it out to your XS- or XL-size friends. Trust me, your ski buddies are going to want to borrow this thing after they see it. Keep a close eye on it, because it might walk away for good.
Helmet storage: When you have a long approach below the snow line or you are miles away from rocks or fall hazards, wearing a helmet becomes an unnecessary burden. Even worse is strapping your helmet to your pack only for it to swing around and smack into your skis every step you take. The Bergans Istinden comes with a detachable helmet net to keep your head gear secured to the top of your pack, yet easily accessible when the transition is needed. The net stores away in its own zipper compartment.
Access: The Bergans Istinden can be either top load, or the top and both sides of the back panel can be zipped open for full access to all items inside. Due to the dual zippers, you can easily access items from the bottom without having to play the ‘Is that my sleeping bag or belay jacket‘ game.
- An outer pocket that is large enough to store avalanche gear such as a shovel and probe.
- A top-zip pocket to accommodate items such as goggles or similarly sized items.
- An internal mesh pocket with key-retaining clip to hold valuables such as a wallet, phone, and car keys.
- A hydration bladder compartment on the back panel, along with a zippered mesh compartment.
- A small, zippered hip-belt pocket that I like to keep my compass and lip balm in.
Ski and tool attachment: The Bergans Istinden will carry skis both side (A-frame) or front attachment. While carrying the skis in front-attachment mode, the transition from taking skis off and putting them on takes only seconds due to the two integrated buckled straps on the top left and bottom right of the pack. There is also an optional stabilization strap that can attach to the left shoulder strap. When secured and tightened down, the skis are unnoticeable besides the weight increase of the pack. Even then, the ultra-comfortable and padded-suspension system is built for the extra weight.
The Bergans Istinden also comes with modern ice-tool attachments that make adding or removing your tools from the back trouble-free. The small metal piece works with modern ice tools as well as the older-style piolet. With all the straps and accessories, it’s easy to attach just about anything, including a set of snowshoes.
MSRP: $188.95 (for the 34L model)
Application: Designed for the backcountry skier or ski mountaineer, this bag is capable of so much more. I have put in about 15,000 feet of vertical and 50 miles of bushwhacking, kick-stepping, and skinning in the Cascades while wearing this pack, and not once did I end up with sore shoulders, back, or hips.
All items are easily accessible, and the ski transition takes only a few short moments. As we hit spring and prime season for backcountry skiing, this pack will serve you well on day trips or overnight excursions.
- Strap adjustment
- Ski and tool attachment points are very well thought out and foolproof
- Helmet attachment
- Climbing-gear loop on each side of waist belt
- Wide variety of pockets for avalanche gear and accessories
- Super-durable material and stitching
- It would be nice to see a 45L version of this pack. For overnight trips, there is just barely enough room to get all of the required gear including avy gear, bivy, and safety gear all in the 34L version.
- When the temperature rises into the 40’s and above the back panel will cause your back to sweat. Although, the material does dry very quickly.
Bottom line: The Bergans Istinden pack is the perfect bag for anyone looking for a top-of-the-line backcountry ski pack. Not everyone can afford to purchase a bag for every occasion, and the Bergans Istinden works well as a do-it-all daypack as well. The variety of options are astounding, but not overwhelming. Each pocket, strap, and zipper has it place and purpose for making the Bergans Istinden one of the top options for the outdoor fanatic.
For more information or to purchase the Bergans of Norway Istinden Pack go here.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to join SOFREP now for just $0.50/week.