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Thursday
Nov052009

How to: Using the ski/board attachment points on the Targhee and Drift packs

It’s about that time, as those of us who live in more northern climes are well aware, for the blower to turn on. People are already hiking for turns in the Wasatch and elsewhere, albeit with caution mode on (hopefully). Those rocks aren’t too deep yet …Are you riding your tails or just happy to see me?

Which makes it good timing for a little Gregory gear school, heading into ski season.  One of the beauties of Gregory’saward-winning Targheeand Drift ski and snowboard packs is that they carry skis and boards in a few different ways for different situations. However, because there’s a few options for attaching your snow toys, it’s also useful to have primer on the finer details.

Read on for some beta on how all this works.

Perhaps most common these days is the diagonal ski carry on the outside (back) of the pack. In many situations, people prefer this method for carrying skis because it’s very quick to get your skis on and off the pack, so it’s great for a quick boot up a ridge or something like that - basically times when you’re not going to be carrying your skis for hours on end. Since the skis are farther away from your back on the outside of your back, it’s not as optimal in terms of transferring the weight to your body as the more classic A-frame carry (skis attached to the side of the pack, one on either side of the pack). But again, it’s very quick, and you’re not going to notice that much if you’re only carrying your skis for 20 or 30 minutes, or even an hour.

Both the Targhee, Gregory’s full-day touring pack, and the Drift, a smaller version built for riding chairs and shorter backcountry tours, have a quick system for attaching skis vertically. Drop the tails (when the skis are base to base) into the tail loop (shown at right).  Then affix the mix body of the ski to the pack by securing the strap higher up on the back of the pack with the buckle, then tightening as shown in the next shot (on left). You’ve then got a secure ski carry. But Gregory takes it one step further.

You’ll note that there’s an extra plastic slider with a tab on this upper strap (right image). Once the skis are securely tightened on the pack, slide this tab tight against the buckle that attaches the skis to the pack (next shot, on left). This locks of the buckle, so it won’t loosen as you walk. There’s nothing more annoying than having to stop and readjust your skis on your pack because the strap that holds them on has loosened, and your skis are flopping back and forth on the pack.

The end result is a super-secure vertical ski carry.

Yes, that is snow on the ground. OK, so maybe we’re a little early …

One thing that’s not visible in these photos, and unique to these ski/board packs, is that Gregory sews in two rods that link the lower loop of webbing for the ski tails (shown in the very first photo above) directly to the frame sheet of the pack. Why do they do that? Because, by linking that piece of webbing to the framesheet, the system more directly transfers the weight of the skis or board into the suspension system, which means the pack carries more comfortably. More on that in a minute …

Next question, how do you transition to carrying a board? If you look at the top strap on the outside of the pack, you’ll notice there are two points at which you can clip the male end of the buckle into the pack - one in the center of the pack, and one on the opposite side of the pack. The one in the center of the pack is located there to accommodate skis. Snowboards, obviously being wider, need a wider attachment point, so for carrying a snowboard, use the attachment point on the opposite side of the pack.

Similarly, there’s a strap at the bottom of the pack that spans the entire width of the back of the pack. Put the tail of a snowboard through the lower loop (photo at left), then attach the upper loop across the midbody of the board (photo at right). Then cinch and secure just as you would with skis, and you’re all set.

Yep, there’s that snow again …

Finally, on the upper strap, there’s one more cool detail. Since there are two points where you can attached that strap, the pack has a way to tuck away the buckleattachment point that’s not in use. Each point has a little sleeve for this purpose, so that the pack exterior remains clean.

In the photos shown here, the buckle at the center of the pack (ski attachment mode) is being tucked away.

Those designers, always thinking …

The final way to carry skis applies to the Targhee only. Since this is a larger pack, and made for longer endeavors, the designers wanted to also offer an A-frame carry option. As already referenced above, the A-frame carry works better when you’re going to have your pack on your back with skis or a board attached for longer periods of time - more than an hour or a few hours at a time. Again, that’s because whenever you can keep weight closer to your back, that weight is going to get transferred to your body more effectively. And then end result of effective load transfer is that you pack will carry more comfortably.

Carrying skis A-frame is perhaps the most straightforward way.

To do it, simply pass each ski tail through the tail loop (image on right), then secure the mid-body of the ski on each side with the loop higher on the side of the pack (left image).

To increase stability, it’s nice to use a ski strap to attach the tips of the skis together over your head.

That’s it. Start walking …

VIA: Gregory Goes There

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