Provisions 057: Essential Backcountry Safety Equipment

Last week winter finally arrived in North America. After a particularly slow start to the 2017/18 season that left the majority of the country without snow, Mother Nature decided to turn on winter and deliver the goods. While many areas are still hurting for more, this first major cycle marks the start of the backcountry and touring season for many. As such, we thought we would use this opportunity to again stress the importance of not only having the right equipment when venturing out-of-bounds, but also being educated and well versed in using said equipment. While the best education and classes can only be found in person and on a mountain, you can begin to learn about backcountry safety and the equipment you will need here.

As always, stay safe, have fun, and if you don’t know, don’t go.

See more Provisions.

Featured image by Erik Hoffman

BCA Tracker3


The Tracker3 from BCA is not only the thinnest multiple-antenna avalanche transceiver on the market, but “Signal Suppression” and “Big Picture” modes designed for multiple-victim searching make the Tracker3 the most technically advanced beacon out there as well. Don’t skimp on your gear, and if you don’t know, don’t go.

Buy now: $335

Arva Pro 2.240 Avalanche Probe


Avalanche professionals often recommend aluminum over carbon, and slightly beefier probes over flyweight ones. Why? When avy debris sets up after a slide, it becomes extremely concentrated and hard to penetrate, and a burlier probe simply works way better. Why carry a probe all season if it won’t even help you find your buddy? The Arva Pro 2.40 Avalanche Probe is a quality 7075 Aluminum that deploys in seconds and will last for years – don’t leave the resort without it.

Buy now: $55

The North Face Powder Guide Vest


If you are going to venture into the backcountry, it is important to be well supplied. The North Face Powder Guide Vest was originally designed for ski patrollers to cut down on bulk by eliminating the need for a traditional pack. The vest is constructed of basically bombproof, ballistic nylon and fits over the a jacket. Features included on the vest include a collection of purpose-built carrying systems and pockets that provide secure and balanced weight distribution for all necessary avalanche gear.

Buy now: $249

686 GLCR Ether Down Thermagraph™ Jacket


The 686 GLCR Ether Down Thermagraph™ Jacket is one of the most versatile backcountry jackets out there. An ultralight 20k waterproof shell outfitted with down insulation panels keeps your body warm while minimizing bulk. Unlike many down jackets, the Ether insulates you, and then allows premium breathability once your core is warmed up. Being warm is good, but sweating because your too warm isn’t, no jacket on the market regulates temperature like the Ether.

Buy now: $300

686 Men’s GLCR GORE-TEX® SMARTY® 3-In-1 Weapon Pant


686’s GLCR line is the real deal when it comes to outerwear that specializes in the backcountry. The 686 Men’s GLCR GORE-TEX® SMARTY® 3-In-1 Weapon Pant features a removable SMARTY® Primaloft® added layer and 2 Layer GORE-TEX® Nylon Fabric + DWR to keep moisture and precipitation out.

Buy now

Leatherman Signal


Introducing the all-new Leatherman Signal. Leatherman has given new life to its tried-and-true multi-tool by outfitting this year’s edition with new features and a sleek black presentation. You can venture into the backcountry in comfort this season with the 16 tools you know and love along with the addition of the new shaped diamond coated sharpener for maintaining your blades, a fire-starting ferro rod, and emergency whistle. That’s 19 tools for $100. Make the smart choice this season and do it all without breaking the bank.

Buy now: $99.95

Verts Snowshoes


Verts are an ultimate snow climbing tool. A new take on the classic snowshoe, they have been designed for ease in ascending steep pitches and chutes in the alpine. An upside-down cup design traps snow under the foot and keeps the wearer from sinking/postholing in deep snow. Save your energy for the descent.

Buy now: $89

Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe


This modern take on Yvon Chouinard’s original curved-pick mountain axe, the Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe is tried and true for a mountaineer’s piolet and has been used on legendary ascents all over the world for decades. The Raven features a durable aircraft-aluminum shaft and an investment-cast stainless steel pick for secure self-arresting.

Buy now: $79.95

BCA B-1 EXT Avalanche Shovel


The BCA B-1 Shovel is exactly what you want in your pack when disaster strikes and you need to move fast. No need to fumble around assembling the shaft and blade; it’s already attached. The BCA-B-1’S compact dimensions make it ideal for small pits and tight digging conditions as well as stowing away easily in your pack.

Buy now: $69.95

BCA Stash 30

The Stash 30™ pack is the choice for those going deep in the backountry, skiing with clients, or doing overnights where leaving emergency and group gear behind is not an option. With adjustable fit options as well as carry systems for both skiers and snowboarders, the Stash 30™ backpack carries 30 liters for the big days with ease.

Buy now: $69.95

See also: Provisions 056: Best Park Snowboards of 2018


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