Review: K2 Pilchuck Backside Kit

31 Jul, 2011

Intended Purpose: The Pilchuck backpack keeps it short and sweet and is designed for short hikes or sidecountry adventures.  It is ready for backcountry and comes with a aluminum probe and rescue shovel.  All you need is your beacon.

Size: The Pilchuck kit is 11L, definitely a smaller backpack for only the essentials.  When I took the backpack splitboarding, I could fit in a shovel, probe, beacon, water, skins, light foldable jacket and have my ski poles attached to the outside of the pack.  It isn’t much but it keeps it light for those short hikes.

Appearance: I received the Pilchuk kit in the black colorway, which I believe is the only option it comes in.  It’s pretty simple in design but with all the necessities you want.

Ease of Travel: You would only take this pack on quick hiking trips, in the summer or winter.  It’s so lightweight and compact that it’s really easy to travel with but you can’t pack too much.

Features: The Pilchuck Backpack may be small but comes with a bunch of features for the backcountry rider.  The pack comes with the K2 rescue shovel, a multi-purpose shovel that operates as normal and as in hoe mode for digging in tight conditions.  The shovel can be easily stored on the pack with the handle in the pack and the shovel blade goes right on the front outside compartment.  The pack also comes with a carbon and aluminum avalanche probe that is 300cm and features 1cm ruler markings.  It has a trigger pull handle and non-slip textured shaft to make it quick and easy to use.  Other features are a shoulder strap load lifter, tuck and roll straps, lined goggle pocket, insulated hydration sleeve, shovel/probe pocket, 2-way board mounting, duraflex stealth buckles.  On the outside, you can store your poles for the ride down and there’s a bunch of tiny pockets for your keys/cell phone/ID’s so they are safe.

Durability: I received this pack this spring and ended up taking it out for late season hiking trips.  I didn’t get a ton of time on it, so can’t really discuss the durability over a long period of time.  It still looks brand new after using it on the short hiking trips I took so far.

Thoughts: I was excited when I saw this pack at SIA, because it combined everything you need to start your backcountry excursions if you don’t already have them.  It’s a great pack for those short hikes out of the resorts or just an afternoon splitboarding.  The probe and shovel are good quality, definitely great to get the pack if you don’t already have the gear.

I would only use the pack for short hikes, there’s not enough room for anything other than the essentials.  But it’s also lightweight and very compact so it’s quick to store everything and easy to get everything out.

For me, I liked that everything had a place in the pack.  The shovel, probe, beacon, and enough room for my extra gear.  On the ride down, I could fit skins into the pack and carry my ski poles on the outside easily.  It is a very minimal pack so just the essentials.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo to shop their full line of 2011 Backpacks because 2012 is around the corner

On-Snow Photos

Wearing the backpack with my skins and ski poles on it

K2 Pilchuck Backside Kit Description

Review Disclosure: K2 Snowboarding sent me this pack to test and review.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

Related Posts