I've used this pack for 2 winters back country skiing.
Height of Owner: 5'11"
I've used this pack for 2 winters back country skiing. Overall it has been a good pack, I really like the back pocket for easy access to my probe and shovel, the hip belt pockets for holding lip balm and snacks, and it was just the right size for a day trips worth of gear and food. The ski large straps were great, I could easily hook in my Solomon Guns across my back.
The thing I didn't like about the pack was that it didn't have much support in the panel between my back and the gear, so I had to be very careful how I packed or I'd get pressure points, and it was uncomfortable with heavier loads (>20 lb), like when I carry skis. The tube with nalgene lid hook up was also pretty cheesy, if my water bottle wasn't perfectly positioned I couldn't get any water.
After two winters this pack is already coming apart at the seems, so I need buy a new pack this winter. I am going to buy something with a heavier comfort rating and more adjustable shoulder straps. And something with beefier stitching.
This has been a great pack for snowshoeing and the…
Design: top loading internal frame
Size: 2600 cu in / 37 liters
Number of Pockets: 3
Max. Load Carried: 15
Height of Owner: 6' 0"
Price Paid: $80
This has been a great pack for snowshoeing and the winter-specific features that BCA built in have been greatly appreciated. Storing the hydration tube in the left shoulder strap really does help to keep it from freezing up. Shovels fit nicely into a purpose-built pocket with well-placed straps and holes. The little pouches on the waist belt are thinly insulated so your snack won't freeze solid quite so fast.
Carrying skis or snowshoes is easy enough. And the hydration tube uses 1-liter Nalgene bottles as a reservoir. (That last one isn't winter-specific, but Nalgenes are easier to clean than a bladder and I already have a pile of them, so it's kinda slick. There is a pouch to hold a regular bladder if you prefer those.)
Aside from the winter-specific stuff, the Valhalla is typical of any decent pack. It's plenty comfortable and very adjustable (it has to be, since it's a one-size-fits-all deal). It's narrow enough that you aren't rubbing elbows against it all day. It has plenty of room for two or three Nalgene bottles, an extra layer of clothes, a day's worth of food, and the miscellaneous accessories you might need (compass, map, wallet, cell phone, whatever else). Check one out of you get the chance.