Marmot Diva technical pack

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Women's gear has been a hot category in the winter outdoor market with apparel leading the way, and hardgoods close behind. While phenomenal progress has been made from outerwear to skis, ski-specific women's daypacks seem to have missed the last chair. Thankfully, Marmot realized that women take winter activities seriously and gave SNEWS one of the first women's winter daypacks to make it to market, the Diva.

The 2,000-cubic-inch Diva is a technical daypack for women who take on serious winter adventures. It skips the frills that manufacturers seem to think necessary in gear for gals, focusing on functionality and fit.

The Diva's main compartment is a large, user-friendly pocket with an elasticized hydration pouch sewn to the back. An inside zipper gives access to the suspension system -- a removable aluminium stay and stiffener sheet. The removable lid is divided into three storage compartments, one accessed from underneath and two accessible without opening the pack -- perfect for stashing skins, snacks or a water bottle.

A single beefy strap sewn into daisy chains cinches down the lid, while its big buckle is operable even with warm winter mitts. The Diva has traditional ice tool loops, and gives backcountry Bettys two ways to attach their skis: diagonally across the pack or tucked in side pockets and tented. While a shovel handle can be stored under side cinching straps, a pocket for the ever-awkward shovel blade is an unfortunate omission from the Diva's design -- as is a snowboard carry system.

And the fit? The Diva is so comfortable, it's easy to forget about fit. Often women's backcountry gear can feel like lower-tech unisex, and despite the fact that Marmot does make a similar pack for men, the Diva fits women of many shapes and sizes. The back panel and yoke shoulder straps are slim and contoured to fit a variety of women's bodies from narrow to broad shoulders, slim to wide hips. Marmot's removable low-bulk biospan waist strap cinches comfortably on most waists, hugging instead of crushing the hips. It moves smoothly as you stride or carve, keeping your load balanced and your pack weight evenly distributed. It's even comfortable when worn with a climbing or alpine harness. Marmot's compression-molded air channel back panel is a functional design feature that keeps sweaty Bettys drier and better ventilated.

Instead of worrying about women-specific colorways and the tiny, useless "tampon" pockets that pepper women's outdoor apparel, Marmot has given women a high-tech pack that will take them deep into the powder or high on frozen cliffs...unless they are snowboarders. As a side note, a different name might have helped consumers differentiate this Diva from competitor Ultimate Direction's Diva pack, which is half the size and can't carry skis.

The Marmot Diva is available in S (2 pounds, 13 ounces, 2,000 cubic inches) and M (3 pounds, 2,200 cubic inches).

SNEWS Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested retail: $99

For more information:www.marmot.com

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