Salomon has for years been my top pick for gear and equipment so I expected that I wouldn’t be disappointed with last year’s purchase of the Quest 23 backpack. After a year of use, the pack has exceeded my expectations.
Named as one of Outside magazine’s 2012 “best backcountry backpacks,” the Quest 23 has lived up to its reputation as a light winter backpack fully designed to provide easy access to skis, as well as gear and safety equipment. It has proven to have the perfect stability and comfort for ski touring or any active winter activities.
The pack, which is the smaller sibling to the Quest 30, has many of the same features as its larger counterpart. The best feature, I have found, has been how accessible everything is no matter how unorganized I pack the bag.
That’s partly because of the massive space accessed by the main pocket zipper and the convenient front compartment that allows you to grab what you need in a matter of seconds. There is no incessant digging in this bag, particularly because of the discreet sleeves on both sides of the main compartment.
Another cool feature that I have come to rely on is the padded and zipped goggle pocket located on the top of the pack for easy access. Because of its soft, fleece-like lining, it doesn’t matter whether my goggles are encased or not — no scratching occurs if they are thrown in the compartment.
The pack also has an internal bladder compartment and is compatible with all 2-liter bladders.
I’ve found that whether it’s hiking Highland Bowl or lugging equipment and supplies on a hut trip, the pack has the perfect load balance while carrying skis. One ski fits on each side of the pack.
No matter how much I have crammed into the pack, it has remained comfortable, thanks to soft contour shoulder straps that are meshed and padded, as well as an adjustable belt and sternum strap.
The thermo-molded back panel provides great comfort and absorbs hits. Thanks to this slick design, snow will not remain in your back, which also will improve your comfort. In its large channels, air will circulate to bring you fresh air.
The oversized grab handle on the top of the pack makes it easy to carry around, even traveling in airports as a carry-on. This is an all-around, versatile backpack that is just as solid for alpine ski touring and as it is for everyday use.