Venturing off into the backcountry – or even the lift-accessed sidecountry – means that you should be prepared, and this means bringing along a load more gear that you ordinarily would for a day in-bounds.
Asides from the essentials – transceiver, probe, shovel, and a decent backpack to carry the latter two items in – there’s a whole host of additional accessories and gadgets that will not only enhance your enjoyment of the day but help to ensure your safety. Inflatable airbag systems drastically increase your odds of staying above the snow in the event of an avalanche, and GPS watches could be your lifeline if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
As these items tend to be less trend-driven, many of them are effectively the same as last year’s models. Nevertheless, there are new developments and products released each season. As such we’ve presented you with some key models from both camps that should help you on you muddle through the jargon and equip yourself to the safest possible standards.
“Selecting “the best” backcountry safety gear is arguably the most subjective of all the categories in this year’s Buyer’s Guide. Ultimately, for the individual, “the best” is whatever you are most effective at using”
The last few seasons have seen a huge uptake in splitboarding, too. More brands than ever are producing quality gear to help you make the most of your foot-powered ascents and allow you to cover more ground with less hassle. Of course, you’ll need to equip yourself with the obvious necessities – skins, poles, a splitboard and split specific bindings – but additional add-ons, such as crampons, can make a huge difference to more challenging ascents.
Selecting “the best” backcountry safety gear is arguably the most subjective of all the categories in this year’s Buyer’s Guide. Ultimately, for the individual, “the best” is whatever you are most effective at using.
Above all else, educating yourself before going into the backcountry is paramount. Having the latest technology or the most expensive gear won’t prevent the worst-case scenarios from occurring. Never travel alone in the backcountry. If your group is still relatively inexperienced or exploring a new location, hire a guide. Lastly, make a plan, move safely through the mountains and, if in doubt, be prepared to turn back or cut your mission short.
With that said, take a look at the categories below, and see what takes your fancy before this winter’s adventures in the mountains. Have fun, stay safe, and get out there!
Scroll down to view all the best backcountry and splitboard equipment, or skip to a particular category using the links below