observations on gear, adventure, and the world

Backcountry Kit and Training

In spite of everyone’s complaining about the snowpack – the season is ON, and in the wasatch I’d say it’s worth a trip out, if you know your way around a p-tex candle.

I’m not new to snowsports but I’m new to backcountry skiing and skiing… sort of. But this blog is about gear. So on to that.

In the Backcountry, as some experianced folks have learned this year, knowledge and self control, are your most important piece of gear. I recommend the taking the Utah Avalanche Center’s Backcountry 101 course, or some avalanche course EVERY SEASON, and I’d take the 101 course repeatedly… I’ll post my notes on that separately.


Temps in the low teens to mid twenties in the sun.


Varied – mostly zone 2 but running around in knee deep powder looking for buried beacons turns out to be pretty taxing.

Here’s what I brought:

Osprey FlapJack 25l (871g / 1lb 14oz) – I’ve talked about this pack before. It’s impressive. The corrugated back panel is light while providing enough padding that I don’t have to worry about getting my shovel and probe digging into my back.

Travel Setup: (9.14 kg / 20.14 lbs)
Skis: Vokl Polar Bear (177cm) – Floated fine in the knee deep facets and held up to all of the rocks. The big surprise from the whole setup was skiing into the top of brighton and feeling them stick the hard stuff no problem.
Bindings: Dynafit FT 12 (4760 g / 10lb 8oz weighed together) – simple to use, plenty of power transfer for the conditions.
Boots: Dynafit TLT5 Mountain (2761g / 6lb 1oz) Downhill booster: (162g) – I didn’t need the booster even when skiing the hard stuff inbounds at Brighton, but the boots were wonderful. Skinning and walking were easy and comfortable, and I didn’t notice any weakness on the down. Several reviews of this boot shed more light than I can at this point (one day on the snow):
Poles: Leki Khumbu Makalu (604 g) – No wrist straps, solid.
Socks: Smart Wool pHd Ski Race Socks (87 g) – Beautiful circulation, minimal insulation

Hands: (.450kg / .99lb)
Light Gloves: Pearl Izumi Cyclone (118g / 8oz)
Mittens: Swamy Triplex (332g/ 11.75oz)

Bottom Half: 1.268kg / 2.79lb
Arc’tyrex Gore-Tex Bibs (752g / 1lb 10oz)
Marker Polartec Tights (191g / 6.75oz)
Random Shorts (251g / 8.6 oz)
Champion Active Drawers (74g / 2.5oz)

Top Half: 1.559kg / 3.436lbs
Under Armor Base (89g / 3oz)
Patagonia Capilene New (228g / 8 oz)
Patagonia Capilene Old (238g / 8.25 oz)
Smartwool Mid/Light Pullover (418g / 14.75oz)
Patagonia Nanopuff Pullover (299g / 10.5 oz)
Patagonia Torrentshell Pullover (287g / 10.13oz)

Head: .254kg / .56lb
Artisania Bolivian Alpaca “tele-elf” hat (78g / 2.75oz)
Smith Goggles (130g / 4.75oz)
Pearl Izumi Balaclava (46g / 1.55 oz)

Food & Water: .385kg / .848 lb
Camelback Podium Big Chill (122g / 4.25oz)
MSR Dromedary 20l (263g / 9.25oz)
Assorted Bars, gels, nuts

Avalanche/Snow Safety/Miscelanious but related gear: (1.079kg / 2.378lb
Beacon: BCA Tracker and Harness (350g / 12.25oz)
Probe: BD Super Tour 265 (313g / 11oz)
Compass: Silva Polaris (31g / 1.12 oz)
Clinometer/Notebook/Camera/phone: iPhone (170g / 6 oz)
FirstAid Kit: (72g / 2.5oz)
CrankBrothers Multitool: (143g / 5oz)

15.01kg / 33.07lb

Missing Items:
Snow Saw
Repair Kit
Sun Glasses

Superflous Items:
Downhill Boosters
Smartwool Layer

Items to Change/Improve:

I’ll try to get back with some analysis of how the gear performed ASAP, but weighing everything took up all my writing time for the day!


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