Well here is what I was sort of thinking. Generally speaking on hut trips, the skin in doesn't have a ton of avalanche danger. Well at least in the states. I know in Canada, there are times when you are exposed for an hour or more. Which I fine terrifying. Anyway, it looks like the largest airbag pack you can get is a 45 liter pack from Mammut. I don't know about you, but that is rather small. My hut pack is a 55 liter pack with an additional 20 liter removable pack. Even then, I find that stuff can be crammed for just a two night hut trip. Though you could probably get away with riding with a 45 liter pack all cinched up when your overnight gear is stashed in the hut.
I find a 30 liter pack to be about perfect for your typical day trip use. Lets you carry what you need but also not so large. That is your everyday pack in the Mammut line up. Then maybe instead of going with the 45 liter pack, you might want to get the 22 liter sidecountry pack as your second. Then use a regular large pack to hump your stuff in and just clip or strap down that pack on the outside. If you are clever enough, you can probably use it to hump some extra items in while it's attached to you pack. Maybe stash the cartridge and bag in you main pack, that sort of thing. Then once there use that pack as your tour pack.
Again, this depends on where you are going. The Canadian hut trip can be a hell of a lot different than the Colorado experience. In my region, once you get to the hut, most of the stuff you ride is fairly close. At a hut like Janet's Cabin some of the best stuff lets you lap right by the hut. So it's do a run, skin back to the hut, eat some soup, warm up, then skin back up to the ridge, lather, rinse, repeat. Most of them offer this in some way or the other. You are not out on all day tours, so not as much extra gear needs to be carried. It could be totally different where you are going. I would check with your experienced buddies and see what they think.
Last edited by killclimbz; 10-05-2012 at 12:36 PM.