Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Backcountry Ski Gear

14 Touring Essentials For the Skintrack Enthusiast and Backcountry Adventurer

You can't bring everything with you when you're earning your turns, so dial in your kit wisely with these touring essentials.

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and bundle up with Outside+.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

40% Off Holiday Sale, Ends Nov. 28
$4.99 $2.99 / month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+


*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

When it comes to backcountry ski gear, there’s no one-size-fits-all. The best skis, boots, pack, and accessories for you depends entirely on what you’re hoping to get out of your ski touring adventure.

You might belong in the fast-and-light camp, drawn more to ski touring as a form of exercise and the idea of hammering out hot laps on the uphill track within the resort boundaries. For you, there are skinnier, lighter touring skis with minimalist pin bindings, boots that only incorporate the essentials in favor of shaving extra grams, and low-volume packs just big enough to stash your extra layer and hydration.

Related: The best ski touring and backcountry ski backpacks of the year

Or, you might be in it for the long haul and the promise of untracked powder fields far away from chairlifts. You choose wider skis that will keep you afloat in powder and are sturdy and reliable enough to allow you to rip GS turns even through weather-beaten snow, beefier boots and bindings that have decent uphill mobility but are designed for the descent more than uphill performance, and a roomier pack that lets you bring along all the backcountry safety essentials.

Whichever camp you belong in, you’ll find something that fits your style and mission among this list of ski touring essentials for the skintrack lover and diehard backcountry adventurer.

Scarpa F1 LT Boots

Best for: Uphill performance/long, fast climbs

Scarpa F1 LT Ski Boots
(Photo: Courtesy of Scarpa)

Combining lightweight race features from Scarpa’s ski mountaineering race boot, the Alien RS, with their sturdier F1 touring boot, the F1 LT is built for long, fast climbs while holding up on the descent of any technical objectives. This thousand-gram boot with 72-degree range of motion punches up on the downhill. $800

Buy Now

Atomic Backland 107 Skis

Best for: Backcountry powder chasers

Atomic Backland 107 Skis
(Photo: Courtesy of Atomic)

This lightweight freeride touring ski has a horizontal rocker in the nose, which increases the surface area for exceptional float in untracked powder, as well as a carbon “backbone” stringer for crud-busting stability at higher speeds. Charge uphill then open up big, confident turns on the way down. $850

Buy Now

Discover more: The best backcountry skis of the year

Arva Reactor Tour 25 Ultralight Pack

Best for: Weight- and safety-conscious backcountry adventurers

Arva Reactor Tour 25 Airbag
(Photo: Courtesy of Arva)

The steel canister in Arva’s Reactor Airbag System is the smallest on the market, preserving the entirety of this pack’s 25-liter capacity and weighing in at just three pounds, eight ounces. With the highest psi (and power) of any available system, though, it doesn’t compromise on performance and inflates up to twice as fast as other packs (between 2 and 2.5 seconds). $875 with canister

Buy Now

Dynafit ST Rotation 12 Binding

Best for: Uphill purists

Dynafit ST Rotation 12 Binding
(Photo: Courtesy of Dynafit)

For backcountry purists who spend more time going up than down but want the safety of a TÜV-certification, this binding can get by inbounds but is made for the skintrack. Its rotation toe makes it one of the few tech bindings to meet DIN release standards and the 10mm of forward pressure in the burly heel piece reduces chances of pre-release. $650

Buy Now

Black Diamond Recon LT Beacon

Best for: Weight-conscious backcountry travelers 

Black Diamond Recon LT Beacon

As the lightest, most compact beacon on the market at 4.8 ounces, the LT is made for fast alpine missions and skimo races with its simple interface and marking function. But with a smaller, 50-meter range, it’s less ideal for big, complex terrain. Bonus: You can update the settings via Bluetooth. $349

Buy Now

Learn more: Make sure you understand the difference between these rescue devices

Ortovox 3L Deep Shell Bibs

Best for: Backcountry skiers who value freedom of movement

Ortovox 3L Deep Shell Bibs

These highly waterproof bibs still provide ease of movement thanks to elastane stretch material and a loose cut, as well as Merino wool fabric placed in cold-sensitive areas of the body. The roomy thigh pockets keep touring gloves and snacks accessible next to the avalanche transceiver pocket. Dyneema and Cordura fabrics on the lower cuff protect against sharp edges and abrasion. Available in men’s and women’s. $654

Buy Now

Black Crows Duos Freebird Poles

Best for: Backcountry powder chasers

Black Crows Duos Freebird Poles
(Photo: Courtesy of Black Crows)

With 38cm foam grips and a telescoping shaft that adjusts the height anywhere from 110cm to 140cm, these no-frill aluminum alloy touring poles with pivoting powder baskets are sturdy tools for navigating backcountry terrain while charging uphill and down. $150

Buy Now

Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer

Best for: Uphillers who run cold 

Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer
(Photo: Courtesy of Smartwool)

There are plenty of Merino wool base layers in the world, but not enough of them have a warm hood like this one, which keeps snow and wind from blowing down your neck. Shoulder panels and flatlock seams prevent chafing under a backpack and the logo is imprinted with a plant-based dye. $140

Buy Now

Pomoca Free Pro 2.0

Best for: Backcountry freeriders and powder chasers

Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 Skins

The 70/30 mohair/nylon blend provides an optimal grip-to-glide ratio on an ultra-thin, packable backing material that rolls up small inside your pack or chest pockets. Hydrophobic waterproof coating keeps the plush from glopping up and the 123mm or 140mm width options will fit the fattest of powder skis. $200

Buy Now

Garmin inReach Mini

Best for: Backcountry adventurers on a mission 

Garmin inReach Mini
(Photo: Courtesy of Garmin)

With two-way messaging via a bluetooth-connected smartphone, an emergency SOS button, location sharing features, and spot-specific weather forecasting, this compact device could save your life many times over when things go wrong far away from your car. You can even use it to navigate from point to point on the map. At 3.5 ounces, it’s worth carrying. $350

Buy Now

Mountain Hardwear Powabunga Pack

Best for: Backcountry freeriders who can’t afford an avy airbag

Mountain Hardwear Powabunga Pack
(Photo: Courtesy of Mountain Hardwear)

In addition to standard touring pack features such as an avy tool compartment, goggle storage pouch, helmet carrier, and zippered back-panel access, this pack has two vertical side pockets to store skins, full water bottles, and quick-access layers, maximizing the 32-liter storage capacity. The steel frame and pivoting hip belt help carry loads more evenly. $200

Buy Now

Folkrm Wyeast Poles

Best for: Seasoned backcountry skiers navigating technical terrain

Folkrm Wyeast Ski Poles
(Photo: Courtesy of Folkrm)

Unlike most adjustable poles, these have a long, ergonomic foam grip that allow you to hold the pole anywhere that feels good—higher for touring up and lower for the descent and bootpacking up steep couloirs. The EVA foam is biodegradable and the aluminum is recyclable. $110

Buy Now

Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool

Best for: All savvy uphill travelers

Leatherman Style PS Multi-tool
(Photo: Courtesy of Leatherman)

Every field repair kit should include a pair of pliers for fixing broken gear. The file, scissors, tweezers, bottle opener, and small screwdriver on this miniature tool are bonus features. $35

Buy Now

Hart Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit

Best for: All safety-conscious backcountry adventurers

Hart Outdoor Weekend First Aid Kit
(Photo: Courtesy of Hart)

With all the gauze, adhesive strips, and basic medication to treat a minor injury in the backcountry, this kit is one to have on hand during all of your travels. Don’t forget to keep the scissors and mole skin stocked for blister care. $25

Buy Now

More Reads for Backcountry Skiers

Everything they didn’t teach you in your Avy 1 course
Are new snow safety gadgets keeping us safer, or giving us false confidence?
Here’s how to pack your backcountry pack like a pro