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Let’s start with the obvious: the pack. Built in back protection, organized pockets for every possible piece of gear you could want, and a well-thought-out ski carry system make this a super smart choice. Ortovox Freerider $160; http://www.ortovox.com/

What's in Your Pack?

Bottom line, there are some things you must take with you into the backcountry. Here are ten things that you definitely need, plus a few extras that'll make your day much better.

The Element has all the “basic” functions available on the more advanced, dual-platform Pulse (see sidebar), including a handy group test and a mark function that blocks located beacons. The large LCD display is easy to read and understand, and the software is upgradable, which means you don’t have to buy a new unit every few years to keep up with improving technology. [$350; mammut.ch]

Find a Beacon

A breakdown of new transceivers. Just be sure your rescue skills are as up-to-date.

2014 Adventure Gear Tout

Top Adventure Gear of 2013

Our favorite backcountry skis, boots, bindings, and accessories this season.

Avalanche Airbag Pack, Backcountry Access | Winter Lab | Backcountry Ski Gear, Safety

Winter Lab: Avalanche Airbag - Backcountry Access

Skiing Bro-tologist Ryan Dionne talks about the Backcountry Access Float avalanche airbag system, which is one of the least expensive on the market.

Setting up camp for a few nights (or longer), but need a pack for a summit push? The Arc’teryx Cierzo 25 is a great choice. Super lightweight—one ounce shy of a pound—and minimalist, the unisex Cierzo can easily haul a down puffy, outer shell, lunch, a camera, sunscreen, climbing harness, extra pair of shoes and more. It has plenty of lashing options including ice-axe loops and a compression cord that wraps the entire bag and pulls the load close to your body. Plus, the entire pack stuffs into its top lid, compressing down to the size of a football. The thin foam frame sheet is removable to make it even lighter and less bulky—though you sacrifice back comfort—or, as the company touts, it can be used as an emergency sleeping pad. But it is a minimalist pack. That means neither an internal bladder hanger nor hose port, and no external water bottle pockets like you’d find on more full-featured packs. www.arcteryx.com; $99

Summer Gear List: Packs

Here are five packs—from multi-day schleppers to light and fast daytrippers— that’ll get you through the summer.