Fall is in the air and many of us are dusting off our ski gear in preparation for the first big storm. Now is a great time to go through your backcountry ski pack, assess your gear, and add or subtract from your kit.
Whether you're a veteran or a newbie, you probably have the same basics in your backpack - shovel, probe, food, water, and some spare clothing. What else should you bring?
No one wants to lug around a ton of extra gear, but here are 8 items you should have in your pack for the upcoming season.
1. First aid kit - This takes up a significant portion of my pack, and for good reason - even a small injury can be a big deal when you're hours from help. At a minimum, you should have supplies and knowledge to stop bleeding, perform CPR, make a basic splint, and deal with a patient who is getting cold.
2. Emergency Shelter - Always be prepared to spend the night. That's a rule. There are a variety of lightweight, inexpensive emergency shelters available online that don't take up a ton of space. Personally, I carry a small emergency bivy and a RAB Superlight Shelter in my pack at all times.
3. Satellite Messenger - Like the first two items on this list, it may not get much use, but could save your life or help you navigate if lost. I have a Garmin InReach Mini, which is extremely compact and user friendly.
4. Ski Straps (3 or 4) - Ski straps are the backcountry skier's fix-it-all. Gram for gram they're the most useful thing you'll carry. Broke a boot buckle? Need to make a splint? Lose a tail clip on your skins? Ski straps to the rescue!
5. Multi-tool - A basic multi-tool with a knife, screw drivers, and some pliers will save your ski day more often than you'd expect. I like the Leatherman Skeletool.
6. Pole Basket - A pole without a basket in deep snow is useless and can ruin an otherwise perfect day. I've had trees steal my baskets a few too many times and now I always carry a spare.
7. Leukotape - As someone who often deals with blisters on my feet, this stuff is a miracle. It sticks to even the sweatiest of skin and still peals off like nothing. It's also a great option for adhering bandages and constructing splints.
8. Headlamp - See #2. Always be ready to be out in the dark, even if it seems like a slim possibility. I like these Foxelli LED headlamps, which are extremely bright, inexpensive, and rechargeable.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything I have in my ski pack, but a great starting point for others to work from. All of this stuff easily fits into a 30L pack with room to spare.
What do you think I need to add to my pack this season?