Spoiler alert: everything I have to say about the individual features of the Targhee 32 is quite positive, so I’m just going to quickly run through them:
- Stowable mesh helmet holder
Yep, it works great.
The only thing to say is that if you’re using the helmet holder then it’ll get in the way of the diagonal ski carry, but that doesn’t matter to me at all, because…
- A-frame and stowable diagonal ski carry straps
The Targhee 32’s A-frame ski carry is fantastic. I have typically been a diagonal-ski-carry type of guy, but the A-frame works so well on this pack—and given that I always do bring a helmet along when I’m touring and make use of the helmet holder (if you’ve got a helmet in the helmet holder, you can’t use the diagonal ski carry), I’ve found no reason to resort to the diagonal ski carry.
The widest skis I’ve had on this pack so far are 118 mm wide at the waist and 134 mm wide at the tail, and they’ve fit just fine. If anybody wants me to try some wider skis on this pack, let me know.
- Perimeter-wire-reinforced VertFlex suspension
It seems rather simple, but it works extremely well, and it’s one of the reasons that the A-frame works so well. If I’m in a hurry and I’m not doing any significant rock climbing / scrambling, I won’t even bother to lash my ski tips together, and will instead just “H” frame my skis. The pack holds its shape and the skis stay put; they aren’t banging into the back of my legs.
- Dual stowable aluminum toggle ice axe retainers
I haven’t carried ice axes on this pack, but the retainers are easily stowable and disappear, and they appear to be solid. If anyone has experience with these, please leave a comment below.
- Stowable vertical snowboard / snowshoe carry straps
No experience with these, but let us know if you’re wondering about the snowboard carry and we’ll report back.
- Full-length back panel main compartment access
Works beautifully. Great zippers that are indeed very glove-friendly, and it’s a roomy compartment that easily stores a size Large midlayer and size Large shell, plus, gloves, food, whatever.
About the only thing I can’t comment on is how well it would handle a big camera & camera bag, but I guess my answer would be, “probably as well as any ~32 liter pack would.”
I’ve also sometimes thrown my avy equipment in the main compartment, and the main compartment easily holds a Black Diamond Deploy 7 shovel blade and handle, and a BD probe. Lots of room here, yet the pack has never felt overly bulky to me.
This is an important point, actually. I keep describing this pack as “roomy,” which points to the fact that not all ~32 liter packs are created equal. Depending on the layout, some pack make it easy and some packs make it impossible to actually access all of the real estate. With the Targhee 32, I feel like I can fill every inch of the space. I.e., it’s all useable space. “Roomy.”
- Dedicated avalanche safety pocket
Yep, works great, and easily holds the equipment stated above.
One note: there is a fairly wide hole (a quarter easily fits through it) on the bottom right side of this pocket to allow snow / water to escape, so don’t get too lazy and start throwing your chapstick, change, spare batteries, etc. in this pocket.
- Oversized top accessory and goggle pocket
Yep, plenty of room for a pair of goggles, energy bars, gloves, a thin beanie, and a baseball hat (for the skin up), and whatever else.
- Internal security pocket
It’s in the “oversized top accessory & goggle pocket, and it’s where I put my keys and / or wallet and phone
- Tubular gear loop, ice clipper slots and zippered accessory pocket on hipbelt
I haven’t used these much, but they’re there, and they aren’t in your way when you’re not using them. The only thing I notice about the hipbelt is that it’s comfortable, easy to adjust, and it stays in place when you do adjust it. Once again, I’d give it an A.
- Hydration sleeve with insulated shoulder harness hose cover
Works great, it’s relatively easy to access and use, and it’s been relatively easy to run the bite valve & hose of my Platypus Big Zip LP 1.5 liter / 50 oz water bladder through the Targhee 32’s hydration sleeve. (And you could store a much larger water bladder in this pack, at least 3 liters.
- Winter- and glove-friendly materials and hardware
Totally glove friendly. All the zippers are great, and the straps layout is great—unlike some other packs where you have to undo certain straps just to access the zippers and compartments you’re trying to get to, well, you don’t have to do that with the Gregory.
The Targhee 32 is comfortable, stable, and basically invisible—exactly what you want out of a pack when it’s time to ski, right? I can cinch this pack down tight enough that things stay put and I don’t notice it on the descent. Nice.
If you’re looking for a comfortable, roomy daypack with well thought out features for ski touring, I can highly recommend the Targhee 32.