The ski touring gear you carry inside your backcountry can vary quite dramatically throughout the year depending on the weather and the day’s objective but there are several things I rarely leave the house without. Below I will detail some of the best ski touring gear I like to use and what’s in my pack for skiing with temps down to around 10 deg. F
Best Backcountry Ski Gear
This Patagonia Ascensionist 35L Pack is my go-to workhorse. The Ascensionist carries skis well, is super light and minimal. At 35L I love how well this pack compresses, no matter if I stuff it to its gills with a rope and enough food for a long tour or if it’s completely empty when I am cranking up Snow King for a quick morning lap it still feels good to carry. That being said it’s a shoulder carry pack and if you like to carry weight predominately on your hips the Patagonia Ascensionist 35L Backpack may not be the ideal pack for you.
Simple and reliable. The Mammut Element Barrynox Beacon has proved to me to be the easiest beacon for multiple burials. Featuring a reliable one-click marking feature and an easy to follow digital screen I feel confident in using this beacon for any avalanche rescue scenario. This is the best piece of backcountry ski gear you can ever use. If you’re not wearing a beacon, you shouldn’t be skiing in the backcountry, period.
The best part of the BCA Stealth 240 Probe is the Quick-Lock locking mechanism. This allows for a simple and fast deployment that is reliable. Other probes pale in comparison. Gram conscious? Get it in carbon to drop that unwanted weight when you’re going super light. A backcountry ski gear list can’t be complete without a probe, it’s the first tool used after your beacon in an emergency. We like this one a lot, the BCA Stealth 240 Probe is great for skiing in the middle of the Rockies.
The Black Diamond Evac Shovel gets it done! It is definitely on the heavier side of things but it makes up for the weight in how fast it moves snow. I have often used this shovel to dig out my stuck car on those icy mountain roads. The best features of this shovel are the burly handle and the hoe mode. This alternate shovel mode allows for easy and fast snow pit excavation.
B.C.-based G3 answered backcountry skiers gripes by launching the Via and G3 Via Carbon Pole adjustable ski poles. Two big complaints around telescoping poles are that they slip and they’re impossible to adjust AT binding heel lifts with. Thanks to its offset clam lock and QuickFlick Utility Tab, which makes binding and boot buckle adjustments a breeze, these are non-issues.
Other features like the removable strap and dual-density and side-hill grips plus Via’s aluminum upper and lower make for an unusually lightweight, durable, backcountry friendly ski touring pole.
The Black Diamond Spark Gloves are my daily workhorse. I wear this glove for shoveling the driveway, slapping the shovel and of course skiing. They are warm enough for sub-zero days and dexterous enough to write in. The only downfall may be how quickly they pack out but at a competitive price of $80 who can really be upset? Rated on our favorite gloves for backcountry skiing. Learn more in the best mens ski gloves article we put together.
Designed with the descent in mind. This insulated jacket from Dynafit utilizes Primaloft Gold inner and a Gore Thermium outer making it waterproof, warm and breathable. Equipped with a removable snow skirt, helmet-compatible hood and glove warmer inner pockets this is a do-everything kind of piece. The Dynafit Meteorite performs just as well on-piste as it does off making it quite possibly the perfect ski touring jacket. I often tour in this coat when it’s really cold (sub-zero). I also use it as my parka in an avy pit and of course always for the descent.
These Oakley glasses have gone with me everywhere. The large lens blocks wind and the frame breathes well on the ascent. I often descend in the Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses as well when the run is short or I am trying to be fast.
And of course 3-5 Voile straps
Backcountry Ski Gear List
- Patagonia Ascensionist 35L Ski Touring Backpack – ($149)
- Mammut Element Barryvox Avalanche Beacon – ($349.95)
- BCA Stealth 240 Avalanche Probe – ($49.95)
- Black Diamond Evac Avalanche Shovel – ($79.95)
- G3 Via Carbon Ski Touring Poles – ($124.00)
- Black Diamond Spark Gloves – ($79.95)
- Dynafit Meteorite Insulated Jacket – ($269.99)
- Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses – ($219)
- Voile Ski Straps – ($9.95)
**not included: First-Aid Kit, Repair Kit, and snow science kit