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Skis and boots rightfully take center stage when it comes to gearing up for ski tours, but don’t forget about the supporting characters: skins, packs, and poles designed specifically for uphilling and the backcountry. These innovative backcountry skiing accessories feature technology to keep you safe, enhance performance, and shave weight so you enjoy the ups as much as the downs of ski touring.
Note: Backcountry skiing is an inherently dangerous activity. Make sure you have a plan, a partner, a beacon, a shovel, a probe, knowledge on how to make informed decisions in the backcountry, and common sense. If you don’t know, don’t go!
Osprey Soelden & Sopris Pro Pack
Osprey officially enters the airbag arena with packs that come equipped with the Alpride E1 electronic avalanche system. The new Soelden/Sopris Pro are gender-specific packs designed for backcountry travel thanks to thoughtful and lightweight design elements. The men’s Soelden Pro features a 32-liter volume, while the female-specific Sopris Pro comes in a slightly smaller 30-liter volume. Both the men’s and women’s Pro models include Alpride E1’s supercapacitor technology cleared for air travel, a front panel for your avalanche safety kit, a large main compartment for extra gear items, as well as A-frame and diagonal ski carry compatibility.
Osprey Soelden & Sopris Pro Pack MSRP: $1,200, [BUY NOW]
Pomoca Free Pro 2.0
The Swiss brand trusted by backcountry pros for making some of the best skins on the market introduces a new professional-level skin with the perfect balance of glide and grip for big mountain skiers. Offering 123mm and 140mm width options and a universal Free Ride attachment, the Free Pro 2.0 accommodates fat pow boards, yet thanks to a new ultrafine and light membrane, is still incredibly lightweight and can be packed down to fit into interior jacket pockets.
Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 MSRP: $200 [BUY NOW]
Leki Spitfire Vario 3D Pole
This telescoping aluminum pole makes the ideal backcountry companion thanks to Leki’s new 3D Trigger system, which promises an increased release range when paired with a Leki Trigger S glove or mitten. If you’re afraid of any type of pole attachment while skiing the backcountry, simply remove Leki’s Trigger pole strap and enjoy the Spitfire Vario 3D’s ProG Grip, ideal swing weight, tour-specific tip, and powder baskets.
Leki Spitfire Vario 3D Pole MRSP: $150 [BUY NOW]
Backcountry Access didn’t have to do much to improve upon its Tracker3 beacon, already considered one of the lightest and most intuitive beacons on the market. But in an effort to provide an even better user experience, BCA gave the new Tracker4 a larger LED display that’s easier to read in bright light conditions, a faster internal processor, and a rubberized over-molded shell for added protection and durability.
BCA Tracker4 MSRP: $390 [BUY NOW]
Skida Nordic Hat
Skida’s OG product is still a favorite amongst backcountry skiers, and for good reason. Originally designed for Nordic skiing, these minimalist beanies are made from a poly-spandex blend that’s lightweight, breathable, and thanks to Skida’s MAX-Dri moisture management system, moisture-wicking. Just choose your pattern, then choose your adventure.
Dragon Excursion X
Investing in avalanche safety equipment should be your number one priority if you’ll be venturing into the backcountry. But investing in quality sunglasses should be your second priority, especially if you’ll be spending time above treeline. Featuring removable side shields, a lightweight frame, ventilated rubber nose pads, and Dragon’s signature Lumalens technology offering 100-percent UV protection, the Excursion X is a smart choice for high-alpine explorers.
Dragon Excursion X MSRP: $239 [BUY NOW]
G3 Minimist Skins
G3 continues to reinvent its products by shaving weight without sacrificing performance. The new Minimist skins available in G3’s classic Universal, Glide, and Speed options are up to 30 percent lighter than other performance skins on the market and pack down small enough to fit into your jacket pocket. The fully nylon Universal is for those looking for a durable and versatile option.
G3 Minimist Skins MSRP: $174-$204, [BUY NOW]
POC Obex Backcountry SPIN Helmet
The new Obex Backcountry SPIN has an integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) chip which can store all your personal details and medical profile. Should you get yourself in trouble out and about, anyone with a smartphone can retrieve your info from the chip to help inform an emergency response. This tech would also make sense in a resort lid, but it’s more relevant to backcountry skiing scenarios.
POC Obex Backcountry SPIN MSRP: $250 [BUY NOW]
More backcountry goods: The best backcountry boots of 2020.
ORTOVOX Tour Series Trace 25 Pack
For those who like to get up to get down—but particularly enjoy the up—the Trace 25 is just the ticket. A ski touring-oriented pack, the Trace 25 is compact and lightweight, with thoughtfully designed pockets to stash your safety equipment, extra layer, hydration system, and a few snacks. Ortovox even thought to include reflective elements on the pack so you’re visible during dawn and dusk patrols.
Ortovox Trace Lightweight Ski Backpack Video
Ortovox Trace 25 MSRP: $120 [BUY NOW]
MAMMUT Pro X Removable Airbag 3.0
This 35L pack comes fully loaded with Mammut’s ultralight Removable Airbag System (RAS) 3.0, and it features a convenient rear zipper to give you access to the main compartment while skis can remain attached to the front for easy access if you’re mid-bootpack. But possibly the best part of this pack is the fact that its main material is completely recycled.
Mammut Pro X Backpack MSRP: $770 without cartridge [BUY NOW]
POC Nivalis Sunglasses
POC beefed up its sunglasses to protect your eyeballs from the dangerous light reflection you encounter on the slopes. The Nivalis glacier glasses feature extra dark lenses and detachable leather side shields that attach magnetically at the temples. Safety is the first priority, but comfort comes next, and the Nivalis covers those bases with hydrophilic rubber nose pads and adjustable temples.
POC Nivalis Glacier Glasses MSRP: $200
LEKI Tour Vision V Plus Glove + Guide Lite V Pole
Spring weather can be fickle in the backcountry. Enter the Tour Vision V Plus glove, featuring water-resistant neoprene and an integrated over glove to slip on when the wind suddenly picks up. Pair the Trigger S-ready glove with Leki’s Guide Lite V aluminum pole with Leki’s Speedlock 2 system and baskets designed to help with quick binding riser adjustments.
Tour Vision V Plus Gloves MSRP: $120
Leki Guide Lite V Poles MSRP: $170
Mammut Barryvox S Beacon
The updated Barryvox S makes an emergency search quicker, easier, and more reliable thanks to its new Smart Search function. It provides clear instruction for search and recovery, allowing for intuitive operation in an emergency. But don’t think of this as a dumbed-down device—with an effective search strip width of 70 meters, it’s still one of the most powerful beacons on the market.
Mammut Barryvox S Beacon MSRP: $490 [BUY NOW]
Stanley Classic One-Hand Vacuum Mug
Trust us, this piece belongs in your backcountry pack almost as much as your beacon, shovel, and probe. Tea and coffee can help warm you up when it suddenly turns frosty on the summit, and keep hypothermia at bay if things really head south. This Stanley mug is a no-brainer: It’s light, small, and guaranteed to be leakproof, keeping the other lifesavers in your pack dry and functional.
Stanley Classic One-Hand Vaccum Mug MSRP: $28 [BUY NOW]
Leatherman Wave+ Multitool
If your gear malfunctions while you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you’ll need to rely on your wits to get you out of a mess—unless you’re carrying a handy pocket-sized gadget like the Leatherman Wave+. Creative problem-solving becomes a whole lot easier with 18 tools at your disposal. One legendary device plus a new and improved design equals lots of MacGyver moments.
Leatherman Wave+ Tool MSRP: $100 [BUY NOW]
BCA Slope Meter
When you’re headed into the backcountry, it’s essential to do your slope and snow recon before starting on a tour—but it’s equally important to assess conditions in real time. Get yourself a lightweight, pocket-friendly slope meter like this one with a built-in compass so you can ensure you’re skiing the right angle and the right aspect for the day’s avalanche conditions.
BCA Slope Meter MSRP: $25 [BUY NOW]
Arva Axe Shovel
A shovel is a shovel, unless it’s also a hoe. That’s what makes the Arva Axe Shovel more than just your average avy rescue tool: it quickly and easily converts into a Y-handled hoe for extra versatility and efficient snow-clearing. Weighing in at 680 grams, it’s not the lightest shovel out there, but the durability of the 2mm anodized aluminum blade is worth the extra weight.
Arva Axe Shovel MSRP: $70 [BUY NOW]
G3 Alpinist+ Universal Skins
Not all skins are created equal—even skins made by the same brand. G3’s new Alpinist+ series features five distinct skins made for unique purposes: Universal, Grip, Glide, Speed, and Pow. Choose the right one for you depending on your mission. We’re partial to the Universal, a 100-percent nylon skin that blends grip, glide, and durability, equipping us for whatever crazy conditions the mountains throw at us.
G3 Alpinist+ Skins MSRP: $174 – $204 [BUY NOW]
ARVA Neo+ Beacon
An industry-leading 70-meter search range coupled with multiple burial recognition, group check, and auto-switch to transmit mode, make the Neo+ a powerhouse. Yet, for all the features, it remains easy to use, keeping it an ideal candidate for both backcountry professionals and beginners alike.
Arva Neo+ Beacon MSRP: $360 [BUY NOW]
BCA Link Two-Way Radio 1.0
Communication is paramount in the backcountry. The lightweight, water-resistant BCA Link radio provides up to 2.5 miles of line-of-sight communications for up to four days. The smart mic clips to your backpack, offering glove-friendly controls to toggle between 22 primary channels.
BCA Link Radio 1.0 MSRP: $150 [BUY NOW]