We have just returned from our yearly ski trip to Taos, New Mexico and I was able to bring along some new gear to try out. I have two new favorites that are permanent to my gear bag after the trip, the Nirvana Pro S by Mammut and Backcountry Matilda Baselayer.
Nirvana Pro S
I was skeptical that I could get clothes in this bag for a 7-day ski vacation and I was wrong. The Nirvana Pro S is a 30 L bag that can really do it all. In fact, there is so much it can do, I wasn’t able to test out all the carrying features on the trip. However, let’s get started with my favorite features.
The Nirvana Pro S bag’s main compartment is easily accessed through a full zipper. This is awesome for packing. I could get a week’s worth of clothes and hand warmers into the main compartment using two packing cubes. The main compartment includes the pocket for a hydration system. A bladder and tube is not included with the Nirvana Pro S. If you have ever had a hydration tube freeze up on you, you will be pleased to know the drink tube is insulated through the shoulder strap in this bag. The Nirvana Pro S also sports a radio pocket in the main compartment.
The next compartment moving out is a generous goggle pocket. The goggle pocket is lined with the softest material so you do not have to worry about starching your lens. I have also stored sunglasses and my kindle in this compartment. Like I said, it is a generous pocket.
The foremost compartment of the Nirvana Pro S is well organized for tools in case of an avalanche. The top flap also contains great safety information.
Two ski carrying options are available on the Nirvana Pro S, diagonally or A- Ski carrying systems. I prefer the A-ski carrying system so that I can attach my poles to the bag at the same time and I feel more balanced than I do with the diagonal carry system. One on side of the front you can attached your poles and an ice pick on the other. I am not that hard core… yet. So, I only carry my poles on the front. You can easily store additional gear in the loops. I really like the lock out feature of the compression straps so they won’t loosen on you when in transit or hiking the ridge.
The whole Nirvana Pro S bag is supported by Mammut’s Contact U Frame. The frame itself is sturdy and fits across my back perfectly. The S model of the Nirvana Pro is specifically molded to fit a slighter build. Even with the bag fully loaded I didn’t have any discomfort in the shoulder or hip belt.
The hip belt is also adequately padded for a comfortable fit. The Nirvana Pro S is designed with gear loops and zipper pouches. Personally, I love to store my lip balm, goggle wipe or GU Energy Chews. This is the first year I have used the GU Energy Chews and they have been a life saver on those harder days.
I have discussed the amazing uses for skies but haven’t touched on the snowboard capabilities. This is because I don’t ride a snowboard. But! I can tell you what the good people at Mammut tell me about the relationship between the Nirvana Pro S and a snowboard.
A snowboard can easily be attached to the front of the bag using the straps. These straps are adjustable allowing you to decide how to carry your board and still have full range of motion for your legs when hiking the back country. It also says skiing is better… just kidding!
What Would I Change?
Honestly, the Nirvana Pro S is so well thought out that I can’t think of a real significant change I would make. Even the zipper pulls are large enough to use with gloves on! The ability to grow into the bag and its technical aspects while being able to personalize how you carry it is huge.
Nirvana Pro S is available on Mammut.com and Amazon.com for $199.95. It is available in the bright and beautiful teal as well as a bold black.
Backcountry Matilda Baselayer
Available only on Backcountry.com is the Matilda Baselayers. The Matilda Baselayer top and bottoms are both comprised of Merino wool and nylon blends. This innovative blend is called Nuyarn. Nuyarn weaves merino wool around a nylon core for added strength and comfort.
I trialed the Artic Fair Isle for both the top and bottom. The teal is fun and bright, especially on those extremely cold and snowy days while the pattern on the ankles of the bottoms and the whole of the top leads to a timeless look. If you are looking for a matching top to the Matilda Baselayer bottoms with a mock turtle neck, check out the Matilda Baselayer ¼-Zip Top. Both tops are generous in length to cover your ‘assets’ and allow for total range of motion without having to adjust the top mid run.
The cut is close to the skin for added warmth and moisture wicking. I can attest that after a 7-day ski week in Taos, NM these babies do not harbor any bad smells. We were blessed with every ski condition in one week so we used the powder days to our advantage and the groomer run days for cruising and obtaining the max vertical we could get thanks to the new high speed quad.
What do I Love?
The waistband on the bottoms is a mom’s dream! The higher rise of the bottoms allows for the waist band to sit just above the waist of my ski pants and, dare I say, a little tummy control. During the long day of skiing, hiking, hauling children and gear the waist band on the Matilda Baselayer does not roll. If I could insert trumpets playing as you read that statement, I would have.
The Matilda Baselayer top has thumbholes to keep your sleeves where they belong and aid in hand warmth. Thumbholes sell me on just about any item. I would buy the Matilda Baselayers in the most hideous color for the wide waistband and thumbholes.
The Matilda Baselayer is available in the pictured Artic Fair Isle and a deep red called Tawny Port. The Tawny Port comes with a grey accent color on the wrists and waist bands. The fit is true to size. I couldn’t find laundry instructions but I have been washing the pair on cold in our washing machine and then lay flat to dry. I have not had any peeling or shape changing after washing and wear.
The Matilda Baselayer is only available on Backcountry.com and at the time of this article you can get free shipping on orders over $50. The top retails for $99.95 and the bottoms retail for $99.95. As of today’s publication date, the Matilda Baselayers are both 20% off and you would qualify for the free shipping. Get it.