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ProView – Ortovox Haute Route 32

Ski touring is a gear-intensive sport. It can be tough to find a pack that holds gear specifically how you like it. I’ve often found that many companies developing packs to hold gear in innovative ways can forget one of the most basic concepts: accessibility to avalanche safety gear. Ortovox is not one of those companies. The Haute Route 32/30S is the perfect pack for ski touring day trips.

Ortovox Haute Route 32

Product Description: The HAUTE ROUTE backpack line has been around almost since the birth of ski touring. Following a new makeover, we are now sending the HAUTE ROUTE 32 out ski touring. This backpack is now much lighter and, thanks to the use of Cordura® and double-layered 420D Manstar nylon, even more resistant to abrasion. We have also revamped the O-Flex back system: more technical and slender in appearance, it distributes the weight in a tried and tested way between the hips and shoulders to ensure outstanding wear comfort. Typical in this tour backpack are its many features and the access to the main compartment from the back. This new version also comes with crampon fastening, a fixed helmet net, a map compartment and an external rope fastening.

Price: $170.00 MSRP

  • Quality
    (4.5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Durability
    (4.5)

Summary

Ski touring is a gear-intensive sport. It can be tough to find a pack that holds gear specifically how you like it. I’ve often found that many companies developing packs to hold gear in innovative ways can forget one of the most basic concepts: accessibility to avalanche safety gear. Ortovox is not one of those companies. The Haute Route 32/30S is the perfect pack for ski touring day trips.

Overall
4.7

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Safety prioritized design
  • Easy gear attachment

Cons

  • Not the lightest pack you’ll ever own
  • Space can be maxed out
  • Needs more snack pockets
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Features

The Haute Route 32/30S comes loaded with features to drool over. The most noticeable feature to me was the access to the main compartment. It is accessed from the back instead of the top like most packs. This allows you to easily access your gear in the main compartment when you have skis or a rope attached to the top of your pack. After a full season of use, the zipper did start to occasionally get stuck for a moment in the same place and had to be finessed closed. This could be wear and tear after a season of heavy use but maybe a spot of improvement for Ortovox to look into.

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There are numerous ways to attach gear to the outside of this pack.  For your ice axe or tool, there is a sheath to prevent the pick from catching, as well as straps to hold it well in place. You can attach skis in an A-frame position or diagonally across the back, both ways never leave you feeling unbalanced. There is a helmet net attachment that opens up space on the inside of your pack without it dangling loosely on the outside off the pack. A rope can be draped over the top of the pack and secured with compression straps on the side to prevent a rope from snagging on bushy approaches. It claims to be hydration system compatible, however, I did not test this because hydration bladders are so finicky in the winter. This may be a nice option for spring tours.

For me, the most important feature on this pack it no matter what is attached to the pack, you always have access to your avalanche safety gear without removing anything. This increases response time to buried victims which leads to a greater chance of recovering someone alive. Another small detail with the avalanche safety compartment is the zipper is a different color than all the other zippers ensuring it is easily visible in emergency scenarios.

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Room for Improvement

I would replace the gear loop on the waist with a second waist pocket for increased snackability. I like a lot of space for food in easy to reach places where the pack doesn’t have to be taken off. This means less time wasted at snack breaks and not having to take the pack off on precarious faces when booting up steep faces. As well as one can snack on the go without stopping. But maybe I just think about food too much.

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Fit

This pack has more padding on the back, shoulder straps, and waist belt of the pack which increases comfort, but does make it heavier. If you’re trying to shave every ounce in order to go light, then this pack might not be the best option, however, if you are okay with a tad more weight the comfort cannot be missed. The Haute Route comes in a 32 liter and a 30S for those of you that have a shorter back. This allows you to customize the fit to your body slightly more depending on the size of your torso.

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On the coldest day trips, when having to pack a lot of big layers and extra gear, the space in this pack can be maxed out. This can lead to the pack bulging into your back and being a little uncomfortable. This is definitely not an overnight pack.

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Paul Fotter is a Park Ranger in Glacier National park in the summer and Search and Rescue in the park all year long. During winters he is a backcountry ranger in Glacier National Park. Connect with him on instagram @paulfotter!

2 comments

  1. Brad Hagen

    Could you please post where the photos are taken at? Looks like glacier national park and/or near Kalispell?

    Reply

    1. Jess Villaire

      Hey Brad! I believe this is Glacier National Park, Paul works there as a park ranger, search and rescue and backcountry ranger 🙂

      Reply

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