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Ski touring backpack Haute Route 40 by Ortovox in the test

Robust and spacious: 40 liters volume make the Ortovox Haute Route 40 perfect for multi-day ski tours. Markus Fischer tested whether the equipment, handling and carrying comfort of the ski touring backpack were also convincing.

As soon as I unpack it, I realize that this is a solid piece of touring backpack. You can rely on a partner when the days are long and the conditions are far from the sun terrace and postcard photos. Because I expect nothing less from every partner with whom I set off on a transalp.

It is also clear that the Ortovox Haute Route is probably not the first choice for superlight and speed freaks, but a robust work tool made of double-layer nylon. Anyone who carries 40 liters of packing volume with an empty weight of 1,500 grams through the mountains wants to be prepared for everything. I don't know whether I'll be putting on all layers in three days because of a drop in temperature or, on the contrary, I'll be fighting against the sweat with short sleeves and a sun hat. Then not only does everything need to be neatly stowed away, but also quickly to hand. Technical ski touring equipment, personal material and - in my case - some photo equipment. You just won't be happy with something smaller.

What features does the Ortovox Haute Route 40 offer?

The Haute Route 40 offers a lot of sophisticated details. At first I was concerned about whether I would miss the practical lid of my previous model. A jacket could be clamped underneath it quickly and easily. But then I remember what drove me crazy about him: I had to attach the ski helmet to my carabiners due to the lack of a suitable device. In the event of snowfall or strong winds, it was then regularly snowed in due to the lack of protection. And how often did I desperately look for something at the bottom of the backpack through the only access from above. No problem with the Ortovox Haute Route.

  • Main compartment access: back and from above
  • Integrated helmet net (a jacket can also be stowed in it)

The main compartment access on the back is my absolute favorite feature. I am happy about that every time I stop. Quickly get out the crampons, a little something. I found the rope fixation with a specially provided strap on the top to be particularly innovative.

Of course, all essential ski touring features are available:

  • Separate compartment for avalanche transceiver safety equipment
  • Ski attachment either on the side or diagonally (also snowboard or snowshoes)
  • Pick ax / stick attachment
  • Crampon mount

The shovel, probe and my emergency pharmacy are neatly stowed away. The outer compartment has specially designed inner pockets for this purpose. Access is very convenient as the zippers have extra large loops in signal color. Operation is no problem even with mittens.

All other closures also have cords, are water-repellent and very stable. They still seem a bit sluggish when opening and closing. I think this will get better over time with use.

An outside holder for the ice ax has to be standard for a ski and mountaineering backpack. It's nice that the tip can be hidden under the cover here, it's just safer. The helmet can still be attached without any problems despite the pimple. If the crampons should also be attached, then it will be too much. I personally use the Petzl Hybrid on tours, which can be easily stowed in the inner compartment.

Further practical details:

  • Hydration system preparation
  • Card compartment outside
  • additional inner compartment on the back
  • upper compartment with key hook
  • Gear loops

I myself am not a fan of drinking tubes. Too many times I've had freezing issues. Access to the thermos bottle via the back has become even easier here anyway.

How does the Haute Route 40 pack?

On multi-day trips, you can't avoid a set of spare clothes, even if merino clothing is nowadays much easier to control odors. In addition, a minimal toiletry bag.

My advice: Short bike pants are space-saving and can be worn over the baselayer in the hut or used as swimming trunks for a different purpose. A hut sleeping bag, of course, and the first aid kit and a minimal bivy bag for emergencies. Then of course thermos and food (lots of Swiss chocolate !!!). Small items from sunscreen to headlamps and and and. You know that: the space you have is being used. This quickly adds up to ten kilograms and more, especially if you pack a rope on it.

Wearing comfort: How is the Haute Route 40 wearing?

Given the size and weight, it is important that the backpack fits well and is comfortable to carry. After all, he accompanies me all day on ascents, climbing and abseiling passages as well as descents. The O-Flex-Frame back system feels good and thanks to the chest, hip, position adjustment and compression straps, the backpack can be optimally adjusted.

It is important to me that the backpack fits so that I can almost forget it when I leave. I'm not a short swinger, I like fast, long turns with speed. The weight can be tied compactly to the back on the Haute Route and does not reduce my driving pleasure in any way. I am glad that I can tighten the chest and hip belt again while wearing the gloves while driving.

Disadvantages: Does the Ortovox Haute Route 40 have any weaknesses?

If you wear the helmet in the holder, you will have access to the map compartment and the possibility of attaching crampons to the intended location. Everything just doesn't work together. In my opinion, the upper material compartment should also have two sliders. With skis or rope tied up, it is difficult to open the compartment and then close it completely. Until now, I have often only been able to close the chest strap by looking and not blindly.

My test result on the Ortovox Haute Route 40

My first impression is confirmed: a robust work tool that has all the important features for the mountain and also inspires with well thought-out details. The Haute Route packs the whole thing in a modern look in two color variants. Anyone who is on tour for several days is sure to have everything they need here. My favorite features are the access on the back and the helmet holder, which made my life noticeably easier on my test tour. This took me one day through the area in central Switzerland. A first summit, skinning for the descent and then skinning again for the actual summit ascent, on which I carried my skis tied up at the end. Then a descent into the valley, which offered all kinds of terrain from deep snow slopes over hollows to through the forest. I never wanted my previous backpack back.

My old model was replaced by the Ortovox Haute Route. And not just on tour. It was already used for weekly shopping, as well as for a day of skiing with the whole family.

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