ProView – BCA Stash 30L
The best outdoor gear is designed by people who use it, and when it comes to the Backcountry Access Stash 30 backpack, it’s clear that the BCA designers knew exactly what backcountry skiers wanted most in a ski pack. This fully-featured pack is designed with functionality in mind, and because it has so many features, it’s 30-liter capacity seems to hold much more than packs of comparable size.
BCA Stash 30L
Product Description: The 2016/17 Stash packs are fully redesigned to be more technical and rugged. The Stash 30™ has more features, fit adjustment, and equipment carrying options than ever before. With 30 liters of packable space, the Stash 30™ is ready to take on any objective and adventure you throw at it. All BCA Stash packs come with our freezeproof stash hydration sleeve, “mud room” for snow safety tools, and integration with our BC Link™ radios.
Offer price: MSRP: $179.95
Highly featured! It’s clear that the BCA Stash 30 was designed with function in mind, and to that end, it excels.
- Nice, big tool pocket
- Hip belt pockets for quick-access to essentials
- It holds a lot for a 30-liter pack.
- It’s a little boxy and not my most comfortable pack (though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it uncomfortable).
For backcountry skiers, having a dedicated tool pocket that’s separate from the rest of the pack is probably the most essential feature in a pack. That’s because if we get into an avalanche scenario, we need immediate access to our shovel and probe and can’t afford to spend time digging through a disorganized pile of gear in our pack. One of my favorite qualities of the BCA Stash 30 is the size of the tool pocket itself. I like to carry a professional-level, 300 cm probe that’s durable and dependable and a metal shovel that can perform just as well digging a full-profile snowpit as a buried ski partner (which hopefully will never happen). I have a 40-liter pack from another brand, which I like, except that my probe and shovel barely fit in the tool pocket — and this drives me absolutely bonkers. When I’m teaching companion rescue, I need to be able to get my tools in and out of my back quickly, and the BCA Stash 30 allows me to do that. Having a slightly smaller capacity is worth it to avoid the headache and inefficiency of wrestling my tools in and out of their pockets. (And, it’s worth noting that BCA makes the Stash backpack in a 40-liter capacity as well!)
Other Stash 30 features that I especially love are the back panel access, internal mesh pocket, hip belt pockets, having multiple options for ski and snowboard carry, and the fleece-lined goggle pocket. Back panel access is really a no-brainer with most types of packs, but since not all packs have this feature, it’s worth calling it out on the Stash pack. Being able to unzip the back panel and see all of my gear instead of digging into a dark abyss is a wonderful boost to user experience.
Similarly, pockets are almost always a great addition to any piece of gear. I like the size of the Stash pack’s internal mesh pocket because I can fit a small repair kit, some sunscreen, a multi-tool, and other small items that I like to keep together. For the hip pockets, I usually keep my chapstick, my slope meter, and an extra ski strap in there. They are probably big enough for some smartphones or a small camera. Having a fleece-lined google pocket is definitely a nice-to-have, so I know where my goggles are and can protect them from getting scratched up or smashed by other gear. And finally, having multiple ski and snowboard carry options is great, because sometimes I want to carry my skis diagonally, and sometimes A-frame ski carry works better. For ski mountaineering and spring skiing, it’s worth noting that the Stash 30 also has dual ice axe carry – another added bonus!
Room for Improvement
My only critique of the BCA Stash 30 is that the fit feels a bit boxy on me, and the body of the pack, when it’s filled with standard day-touring gear, sits a little lower on my back than other packs I use. As a result, my upper back gets a bit more stiff and sore using the BCA Stash 30 on an all-day mission. I will point out, however, that the Stash is highly adjustable. My upper body is rather petite and others (and other body types) may have a different experience.
The Final Word
Overall, the Stash 30 backpack is designed to the high level of performance, function, quality, and durability that I’ve come to know and expect from Backcountry Access. It’s a great touring pack with all of the features skiers and riders could want.
About the Gear Tester
Alli Hartz works as an AIARE avalanche instructor and AMGA apprentice ski guide in Bend, Oregon. She skis almost every day from December until June, and spends the summer trail running with her dogs, Riggins and Firnspiegel. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @allimmmiles.