Drive By :: Quechua BNY All Mountain 32L
The Quechua BNY All Mountain 32L is a very affordable mountain pack for side-country jaunts. It puts your shovel and probe up front in a quick-access section, and deals with several ways to carry your skis or board.
Oh, and it’s kinda bright…
Who It Suits
Side-country jaunts for someone new to the game, who carries avalanche safety kit but generally doesn’t use it. They should like color over blacks.
Who It Doesn’t
Someone who uses their shovel and probe a lot. Someone who plays where rain sometimes happens. Someone who has been doing this for a while.
The pack provides really good access to the main section, running with an opening similar to the Arc’teryx Khard, which is great for getting to a camera or something low down. There’s also some personality to the pack – it’s neat having avy search reminders printed inside.
The goggle pocket works fairly well. While there is no single epic helmet location, there are enough attachment points to find something that works well.
“…it’s neat having avy search reminders printed inside.”
The hypalon reinforcement on the ski cradles is a nice touch, and the waist strap stretch pocket is handy for storing a snack or wool hat.
In terms of hardware the clips work well with gloves, as do the zip pulls which are nice and light.
The pack accommodates a hydration bladder inside and includes a hydration port. In addition, you can bring a top stabilizer strap out from the hydration port which means front snowboard carry can be stabilized nicely. Lots of packs don’t have this, and your board flops about like a cork on water.
The fabric is a nylon dobby that seemed fairly durable without a weight penalty. It was also nice not having any airmesh.
“…you can bring a top stabilizer strap out from the hydration port which means front snowboard carry can be stabilized nicely.”
The Not So Good
Water resistance: There ain’t much. It often rains in the snow, and snow melts, so you get a wet pocket, which then works into the main section. Rain will run down into the front pocket, and then enter into the main section from there.
The load stabilizers work okay, but without a stiffening section between them and the straps, it’s only okay.
My fat boards only just fit the diagonal ski carry. This is hard for pack makers, as skis just keep getting wider and wider.
Velcro and snow suck. Snow fills the Velcro and it stops working. This is a particular problem with this pack since you pass directly over the Velcro to get your shovel in.
My avy kit struggled to fit. One of my pro shovels was too wide to fit at all. My skinnier shovel blade fit okay, but the shovel handles still only just fit lengthways.
I ended up having to shove my skins in the main section, which I never like doing (snow and wet follow).
“My avy kit struggled to fit.”
The non-adjustable suspension length means the ultra-padded hip belt might not bear load on your hips.
Others To Consider
For non-airbag packs, we love the Arc’teryx Quintic series, which offers one of the most sophisticated bits of patterning in the bag world.
For entry-level packs, the Dakine Heli Pro is a classic, and works well around town too.
For airbag packs, the Black Diamond Jetforce is our vision of the future made today.
The key feature of this pack is a front avy gear pocket that you can rip open in an emergency, with reminder steps printed to make sure you don’t then screw it up.
Does this deliver on that promise? Well, if you have your skis on side carry (rather than skis or a board on the front), and you haven’t already opened the pocket to check for snowpack conditions or build a booter (and clogged the Velcro with snow in the process), then yeah, it does.
“Snow fills the Velcro and it stops working. This is a particular problem with this pack since you pass directly over the Velcro to get your shovel in.”
For me personally though, there were too many things that I find frustrating in a pack. I like more water resistance in snow packs. I like avoiding Velcro, which often becomes clogged and ineffective with snow, and I like enough width for a good size shovel and wide skis.