I am getting back country skis and was thinking of doing some trips where the hike up is too steep to do on skis. I was wondering what are some good ways of attaching skis to a backpack. I came across this article but most of their suggested methods assume going through clear (unwooded) terrain, hence the dominance of the horizontal approach. But it for hiking through woods, vertical might be more convenient as long as it doesn't obstruct leg motion. I also found the below backpack that seems like the ties are positioned to support a vertical carry:

enter image description here

I am looking for suggestions on what some of the options for carrying skis conveniently are, especially uphill and through thickly wooded areas.

  • 4
    I'm confused because you said that the article emphasized horizontal carry methods when the first two methods are clearly vertical, and one of the photos (in snowboard section) in the article even shows the A-Frame method (first technique mentioned) in the woods. Did you not like any of the techniques written in the article and are looking for more alternatives? I think the article you referenced did a good job with the classic options so I'm not sure what you want us to add.
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:18
  • the A frame still spreads widthwise.
    – amphibient
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:46
  • True and you can walk sideways to go through intermittent narrow gaps. The diagonal carry wouldn't extend much beyond your body width if setup properly. Plus the pictures in your article showed snowboards straight vertical. Maybe if you could explain why the vertical carry methods shown in the article don't address your use case we could formulate a better answer.
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:50
  • An A frame is no wider than pole plants skiing. It is barely wider than hiking width.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 22:13
  • If the backpack has an avalanche balloon safety system then be very careful to NOT obstruct the balloons with the skis or the strapping. Also make sure that the sharp ski edges will not rub against an inflated balloon. Avalanches can happen on or over slopes being climbed.
    – AdrianHHH
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 14:00

2 Answers 2


This article covers the 2 commonly used methods for vertically carrying skis, and their relative advantages and disadvantages.

The diaganol:

enter image description here

The A Frame:

enter image description here

Shoulder Carry:

One additional method of carry which I'm a fan of but is not strictly a "pack carry" is on your shoulder. This method has some clear disadvantages but it maximizes your ability to balance the skis weight over your feet, it allows alternate positions without taking a pack off and it allows you to proactively move the heaviest weight rather than reactively adjust to the shifting weight on your pack.

  • 2
    The diagonal are for randonnee, they're used by racers because you can mount your skis to your back without having to take off your backpack. You'll notice the hook on the top. You just slip the tails of your skis through the large loop then hook them on over your shoulder to do technical climbing, then slip them of quick and put them back on your feet at the top of the step/ladder/cliff you climbed. Like so: youtu.be/nTNc4Y9Ay7w?t=11m51s
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 16:24
  • 1
    The linked article covers the racing application. Nevertheless the diagonal carry for better or worse is regularly used. I provided the 3 most commonly used carrying styles that I see.
    – Glenn
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 16:52
  • 2
    Merely linking to articles isn't sufficient for answers like these. You should provide a summary of the content, or even quote the content then cite it. Links can break, if the link to that article were to break it would reduce your answer to little more than a couple pictures.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 18:21

I don't actually ski or crosscountry but I spend lot of time mountaineering with friends that do.

Packs with ski straps are for sure the way to go. Once I got asked to help someone with strap skis to her pack as she didn't have a pack with straps. I used a pair of those. I used them to strap my crossbow to my pack when hunting and a few other things. They come in various widths and lengths.

I own a few myself and have used to strap my crossbow as said, ropes, tents, flyes and ground sheets and I'm sure more creative people could come up with other ideas. :)

SeaToSummit Straps with hooks

  • I think the OP wants to use the straps that come with the sample pack in their picture, not add additional straps. I'm pretty confused though about what kind of feedback they want so maybe your suggestion to buy external straps is what they want...
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:22
  • Yeah. I read a few times to make sure I understood and was a bit reluctant in answering actually. If he's concerned about hiking in the woods with a pair of skis, he better harden up because it's not a easy task. He/she will either entangle everywhere or carry by hand. I have seen people towing skis when there is enough snow for that :)
    – Desorder
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:32
  • I agree in real thick trees sometimes the only option is to carry by hand. I've never seen anyone towing skis before. I'd think if you can tow the skis you can ski with the skis, unless of course you're towing alpine skis instead of some kind of touring setup. In any case I posted a comment on their question to try to get them to clarify and voted to close the question as unclear since their prose seems to conflict with their link.
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:37
  • I'm looking for a backpack that comes with an integrated system for carrying skis as well as general suggestions about carrying skis uphill
    – amphibient
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:47
  • @amphibient There is range of packs for this far and wide. Again, I don't do the ski business and in a ski touring trip I will be walking behind the pack. I'm pretty good keeping up and I'm never walking alone. There are always others walking with me as mixed group. That said, as I'm always around the group I learn a lot about it and one of the things I heard over and over again is if you can ski up and/or down hill you should be skiing instead of carrying them. If you can't ski, you strap on your pack however you can (either using pack straps or options like the one above.
    – Desorder
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 22:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.