HOW TO CHOOSE A BACKCOUNTRY BACKPACK
A backpack carries everything you need to stay alive in the backcountry. Choose yours wisely
Backcountry backpacks differ slightly from traditional hiking or day packs, so it’s important you find a comfortable, well-fitting pack for your adventures. Not only will backcountry packs have a separate compartment for your avalanche safety gear making it easy to access in the event of a slide, they’ll have specific straps to allow you to more easily carry your skis and snowboard when hiking uphill.
In this guide we’ll take you through the follow information to help you choose the right backpack for your backcountry skiing or snowboarding:
- Other Features
Our stores have a wide range of backcountry backpacks, so if in doubt, visit us in store and get expert advice from our knowledgeable staff.
The length of your trip and the amount of gear you need will determine the size of your rucksack. Pack size is measured in litres.
Any volume from 10-20 litres is ideal for lift-served backcountry, heli-riding, or days. 20-35 litres is a good size for longer day tours with more variable weather conditions. 30-55 litres should be considered if you’re touring huts or doing overnight trips. Finally, 60-70 litres is necessary if you’re planning longer trips requiring a tent and any cooking or glacier gear.
Your pack should be comfortable enough that you can wear it all day without worrying so always consider the length of the pack and how it will fit against your torso. Try and test your pack by loading up the compartments with weight and fitting it to your body with all the straps and waistbelt to ensure it is fit for purpose.
Avalanche airbags are designed to keep you close to the snow’s surface in the event of an avalanche. In the event of an avalanche, inflating an airbag increases your volume, helping to keep you as high as possible in the snowpack. Properly worn and deployed, airbag packs have been shown to be effective in increasing your chances of survival if you’re caught in an avalanche but always remember that wearing an avalanche airbag does not guarantee survival.
If you’re riding in the backcountry, finding a pack with Avalung® equipment could save your life. A piece of safety kit, an Avaung® helps you breath in the event of an avalanche by letting you pull oxygen from the surrounding snowpack while exhaling carbon dioxide away from your face to increase the duration before asphyxiation occurs.
If you tend to carry a hydration bladder check for a separate compartment and exit port for protection and easy use.
BACK AND SIDE ZIPPERS
Have a look at all the ways you can access your kit within your pack; being able to access items at the bottom of your pack of to the sides could save you time rummaging through your pack.
ICE AXE CARRY LOOPS
A pack with loops at the front and along the bottom that allow you to easily fasten and strap on ice tools is ideal for backcountry trips.
DAISY CHAIN GEAR LOOPS
You can use these loops to attach other climbing hardware or crampons to your pack.
A helmet carry flat or pouch can help keep your helmet secure while you’re not using it without the added bounce.
The idea of escaping into the wilderness, away from the crowds to enjoy untouched powder is becoming increasingly popular. People are branching out further and further off piste to find the hidden, untouched treasures of the mountains, but where do you start when beginning you first backcountry adventure?
Whether you are a seasoned backcountry skier, hiking to ski an untouched face or you are simply just starting to explore the backcountry in order to find a new adventure in mountains, one thing is for sure, your outerwear needs to stand up to the challenging conditions found in the backcountry. To help you be more prepared we've put together a little list of brands we think you should look at when choosing your next jacket or pants.
Your transceiver leads to the probe, your probe leads to the shovel, your shovel leads to your friend. These three items are the most vital part of any backcountry skiers’ equipment; you should never step into the backcountry without them. With so many options on the market, finding the right avalanche safety set up can be difficult. To help clear the confusion and aid you in the decision, we have assembled a guide to walk you through everything you will need to know when purchasing avalanche safety equipment that could save your life.
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