Well-designed, functional, and efficient, MSR’s Snowshoe Carry Pack works seamlessly to carry snowshoes — and a lot of the other essentials — on days in the snow.
Snowshoeing is a great activity. Sure, it’s slower than skiing, but as a winter sport, it’s generally easier to get into financially. And it’s more accessible to a broader range of people. Finally, it’s a great option for people who want to explore trails in winter in new ways.
When on trail, different areas have varying levels of snow. Sometimes, snowshoes won’t be needed. And when that happens, whether you are exploring a multiuse trail or snowshoeing up to a mountain hut, you’ll need somewhere to stash your ‘shoes.
In short: For me, regular day packs have never seemed to fit the bill for snowshoeing. Some packs have great main and outside compartments, but no way to carry snowshoes.
Some have a big enough compartment or side straps for carrying shoes — but don’t deliver on waterproofing or durability. Usually, I just have to carry a bigger backpacking pack.
Enter MSR’s Snowshoe Carry Pack — which is designed for exactly what it sounds like.
MSR Snowshoe Carry Pack Review
Over a few weeks of testing and different length trips, I put nearly every aspect of this pack to the test.
The rolltop design isn’t fully waterproof like a dry bag, but it does the job well. The back hydration compartment works great. The adjustability of the pack (at the snowshoe carry straps and back/hip straps) is good. And the design is nearly perfect.
I would say most of the mileage I put down with this pack I was using my snowshoes, not carrying them. But there were definitely times when the carry feature came in handy.
What if you aren’t using your snowshoes or poles? Well, MSR thought of that. There’s the option of strapping trekking poles to the pack with the integrated toggle straps on the sides. Though, I always hiked with mine.
Snowshoe Carry Pack Specs
- Volume: 20L
- Size: 21 in. in length
- Materials: coated nylon, foam insert, nylon straps
- Waterproofing: yes, DWR coating and waterproof backing
- Features: hip belt, hydration compartment, rolltop closure, interior zip pocket
- Weight: 15.2 oz./432 g
Field Tested: 40+ Miles With the Snowshoe Carry Pack
I was pleasantly surprised by how the pack actually carried.
The weight was well distributed, the pack felt comfortable, the snowshoes sat on my back at a good height, and all the straps adjusted well and stayed secure. They aren’t too long, or short, and don’t flap around.
In essence, this pack doesn’t just offer a place to strap on snowshoes; it’s designed to support and carry them along with the rest of your gear.
A note: the pack does have a volume of 20L. For my preferences, it’s on the smaller end for a daypack. So, depending on the size of your snowshoes and the rest of your gear, expect a bit less carry room inside.
From short jaunts to longer (10-mile) day trips, I had no problem fitting essentials like a puffy/layer, gloves, spare BUFF, first-aid kit, water bottle, and snacks into the pack, in addition to my shoes.
The pros of MSR’s snowshoe pack are clear: It offers lots of functionality and much-needed carry options in a simple package. For day trips, it’s great. It could also be a good supplemental pack for longer snowshoe adventures (think hut trips).
One con for me was the shoulder straps. The shoulder straps are a thin, simple woven nylon with no padding, and also don’t incorporate a sternum strap. In terms of construction, MSR is really saving on weight here and prioritizing simplicity.
If you are wondering about comfort and support on trail, the pack is comfortable, and thankfully, does have a hip belt for extra support if you find yourself with a heavier load. But yes, the straps are … basic. Really, this was my only con with the pack.
Everything else — its durability, waterproof/weatherproofness, and winter-friendly design — outweighed this con. If comfort or padding is your top priority in a pack, know this pack may not be for you. But if you don’t mind a more minimalist pack design with tons of snowshoe-specific features, I suggest checking it out.
Oh, and did I mention the price? With all that, this pack is under 50 bucks. A steal, if I do say so myself.