Review: Ski touring Salomon X ALP 30 pack
I tested the Salomon X ALP 30 pack during a 12-day ski touring trip to Norway. There is a lot to like about the pack, and also a few things I’d change or add.
Features of Salomon X ALP 30 pack
- Unisex fit
- 30 litre volume
- Light yet durable ripstop fabric
- Pull together adjustable hip belt
- Adjustable sternum strap
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Quick access at rear with top-to-bottom zip
- Second access via a zipped lid
- Large lid/hood pocket
- Large protective “Extrem Box” crampon and rope pocket with zip
- Hip belt pocket
- Internal secure zipped pocket
- Attachments externally for helmet, skis, poles and ice axe
- Weight 854g
- See Salomon.
My review: Salomon X ALP 30 pack
The pack is useful for all kinds of fast-moving mountain activities, such as hiking, climbing and ski touring. I used it every day on a 12-day ski touring trip to Norway.
I like the size of the pack and it is suitable as a day touring rucksack. I found there was plenty of space for essential kit such as snow shovel, avalanche probe, spare layers and gloves etc in the main larger compartment. Access to this compartment is via a zip at the top of the pack, which opens three-quarters of the way around the top of the pack.
There is another zip located a the rear of the pack and this zips top to bottom. You can open this while the pack is still strapped around your waist and pulled around to the front. This is a great idea. I was worried hat the zip would annoy my back but I didn’t feel it at all. It is kept away from the back by the padding of the pack rear.
Another Extrem Box compartment is located at the base of the pack. This is padded for storage of items such as boot crampons and ski crampons. It means the spikes do not penetrate the pack fabric, or knock/rub against the wearer.
This compartment can also double as a place to stow a rope. There is a rope exit point, which allows you to feed out rope for use while wearing the pack.
Another useful pocket is found on the top lid. It’s quite big with room enough for ski goggles, a spare goggle lens and sunglasses, as well as a few snacks.
I also like the size of he hipbelt pocket. Usually these pockets are not big enough for stowing my iPhone 6 Plus. Brilliantly, this zipped pocket was easily large enough.
Another internal zipped pocket is useful for items such as money, car key, credit card, insurance card, EHIC card etc.
It is great having different areas of the pack for different items. However, it would be good if the designers had included a couple of internal sleeves for items such as a snow shovel and avalanche probe. I found these moved about in my pack unless I added a few items of clothing to pad out the pack.
The shoulder straps, hipbelt and sternum strap are easily adjusted and help to make the pack feel balanced and snug on the wearer. Because it is a unisex back I found I was almost at the tightest point on the hipbelt. If I was to lose weight or for smaller females this could be an issue because it’s important to have a hipbelt that is snugly tightened for good support.
The hipbelt adjusts by tugging the two straps inwards. It’s an excellent system.
At first, I liked the clip system on the sternum strap. It seemed like an easy one-click set up. But when I was wearing gloves or trying to work quickly, I found this clip fiddly. You need to be too precise to make it click together. I’d prefer a more traditional clip that is larger an easier to use with gloves.
The outside of pack as loops and clips to carry an ice axe and for skis. Both were well designed and easy to use. There is an elasticated loop and clip system for holding the skits in place over one shoulder when carrying them. My only quibble was that the clip was a little tricky to undo after it had been in place for a while. I am sure there is a knack to it but I didn’t quite get the hang of it.
I would have liked to see a helmet carrying system, too. Many ski touring and climbing packs now have an extra section of fabric or mesh that allows you to carry the helmet neatly and securely. The Salomon X Alp has lots of loops on the outside and you can thread the straps of your helmet through this was carrying but it’s a bit of a fiddle and the helmet can end up hanging loose.
Conclusion: Overall the Salomon X Alp 30 is a superb rucksack for ski touring. It’s the perfect size for day touring and had lots of useful pockets, compartments and loops etc for all the equipment. The pack is lightweight yet feels robust and durable. I recommend this pack.