Joe Pyle is an avid skier, climber, and Professional Outdoor Photographer based in Estes Park, Colorado.
The new Stash 40 from Backcountry Access is my new go-to pack for long days in the mountains on skis. I own the Stash 30 and use it every time I go out, but there are times when I just need a little more space.
The new 40 is what I need for all day adventures. If I’m planning to be out for a long time, I’ll need a few different jackets and layers, a lot of water, a few things to eat, some crampons, and maybe an ice axe to save my butt on a slide. It also comes with an integrated helmet sling.
One of the main differences, aside from the capacity, between the Stash 40 and the Stash 30 is the top opening. The pull cord closure adds a little comfort knowing that the gear and clothes inside will stay dry. This is covered by a top compartment similar to most all-day packs.
The back panel, as with the Stash 30, opens fully to expose the entire contents of the pack. This is accessed by a zipper that takes the back pad away from the rest of the pack. When packing it all up and checking things off the list, you just lay it out flat and throw your stuff in, zip it back together, and tighten the straps. This feature is also helpful when you carry your water bottle (or flask!) in the bottom of the pack. Instead of unloading everything and getting snow and rain on your clothes, you just unzip the side a bit and grab what you need.
The pack also boasts a place to keep your shovel and probe. While this may not seem like a major deal, it really is. When you’re out and about and things get close to avvy conditions, you want to know where your stuff is and be able to access it swiftly without digging around in your pack. Also, it’s in a different compartment than the rest of your gear so it won’t get your extra layers wet.
There are so many extra features in the Stash 40, you can tell it has been designed with extreme attention to detail by someone who has spent a LOT of time in the backcountry. Little touches like the fleece-lined google pocket, dual ice axe carry, helmet sling and radio integration add to the overall functionality of the pack by keeping everything organized and accessible.
I love this pack for many reasons. It’s simple, holds a ton of gear, and it’s comfortable. It is my new go-to, “take everything for a full day” pack.
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