Our backcountry expert Andy Malton from thegemsstock is back with another article, this time running through the essentials and more when it comes to backcountry equipment. Today he's giving his recommendations for the three essential bits of avalanche safety equipment you need to have (and know how to use) before you head into the backcountry.
Avalanche safety equipment
It’s been said a million times before, but the following 3 items are mega essential pieces of kit for anyone looking to head out of bounds. It’s not enough just to carry them though, practise with them as much as possible because if the shit does hit the fan, you want to be able to get searching as quickly and effectively as possible.
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Backcountry safety essential #1 is the avalanche transceiver. Don’t even think about venturing beyond the resort boundaries without one. It should be the first thing you check and turn on at the start of a day. Practise using it as often as possible.
BCA Tracker 2
The Tracker 2 has got a reputation for being a reliable beacon that is super easy to use. It’s relatively compact and light too.
BCA Tracker 3
The latest model in the tracker series from BCA, the Tracker 3 breaks ground be being so small and light. It’s still very simple to operate though which is the most important thing to consider when buying a transceiver.
Mammut Barryvox Pulse
The Barryvox is a tried and tested beacon offering reliable performance in a compact package and is perhaps the best selling beacon in Europe over the past few years.
Backcountry safety essential #2 is the shovel. Primarily used as a tool for digging your buddy out of a slide should the worst happen, a good shovel is also useful for digging an avalanche pit or a shelter in an emergency.
G3 Avitech Shovel
Designed with bigger than normal angle between the shaft and blade, the Avitech Shovel is built to move as much snow as possible.
Black Diamond Deploy Shovel
The Deploy Shovel engages simply by pulling the shaft out its housing within the back of the blade so you’re not going to waste any time messing around when it really matters.
Backcountry safety essential #3 is the probe. Hopefully you’ll never have to use one in a real deal situation but, just like the rest of your avalanche gear, it’s worth practising with every now and then. Most probes are super easy to use so you should be able to deploy the thing and start probing pretty quickly.
Black Diamond Quickdraw Probe
This is BD’s basic and best selling probe. It’s light, durable and very easy to use. Black Diamond have been making backcountry equipment for as long as anyone so their products can be trusted. Available in 240cm, 280cm and 320cm versions.
G3 Speed Tech Probe
This probe from G3 is designed to be the strongest and lightest available for riders spending a lot of time in the backcountry or those who just want the best available. The Carbon Speed Techs come in 190cm, 240cm and 300cm lengths.