Backcountry Gear 2020 – Gear & Gadgets

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Backcountry Gear 2020 – Gear & Gadgets

Helly Hansen Odin Mountain 3L

Helly Hansen’s Odin Mountain 3L Shell Jacket ($600) and Bib Pant ($475) offer minimum build and maximum features from a helmet-, backpack- and harness-compatible design to ergonomically correct pockets, all in Helly Tech Professional 3-layer, water/windproof breathable fabric. The durable pant’s three thigh-high pockets put everything in its place, plus the low bib design allows a transceiver pocket. Removable suspenders and a drop-seat zipper opening are complemented by double-pull ventilation zippers that are well placed on the back thighs. Both pieces have Recco reflectors.

Bridgedale Ski Lightweight

A good day on the slopes doesn’t start with coffee, it starts with good socks! Even more so if your ski day involves going uphill. Knit in Britain for more than a century, Bridgedale has a plethora of choice, including the backcountry appropriate micro-cushion foot and shin pad Ski Lightweight ($32) and full-cushion Ski Midweight ($33), all knitted with just the right amount of merino wool, nylon, polypro, Tactel and Lycra to insulate, manage moisture and allow your boots to give you the best performance.

Grayl Geopress Purifier

If your ski-touring terrain has open water, a Geopress Purifer by Grayl ($120) should be your water bottle. One 8-second press leaves you with 700 ml of clean drinking water free of all sorts of lurking nasties like giardia, bacteria, viruses, cysts, heavy metals, SARS…even microplastics. Well designed to avoid cross contamination, the sturdy 450g Geopress can be manhandled and filters are replaceable after about 250 litres.

Patagonia Recycled Black Hole

From airport ground-handling crews to your buddy and his F150, luggage demons are lurking everywhere. Patagonia’s Recycled Black Hole Bags, like the 100-litre Wheeled Duffel ($435), will take years of abuse and help make you feel a little less guilty about your airline seat’s carbon footprint, too. The Black Hole line of 25 bags and styles with 100 per cent recycled webbing and body fabric used 10-million plastic bottles to build. Tough, with an iron-clad guarantee.

BCA Tracker S

Even when it comes to safety, price can unfortunately influence a yes or no buying decision. BCA has taken notice and presents the new Tracker S, which at $319 is one of the lowest price tags on avalanche transceivers that we could find. What’s missing from its sister Tracker 3 ($369) can be considered “luxury,” says BCA: upgradable software, motion sensing and electronics performance testing. But what remains is all the important stuff, qualifying the S model as an integral part of equipment for anyone who skis beyond the ropes.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer

How do you make a solid favourite better? Use 100 per cent recycled fabric! Mountain Hardwear’s winner in the ultralight puffy category is now the Ghost Whisperer/2 ($325), and it still leaves us wondering how a puffy that weighs only 249g can provide so much warmth. No batteries, just 800-fill RDS-certified 90/10 goose down/feathers insulation that comes in a no-hood jacket version, multiple colours, male and female versions, and packs into a tiny stuff-pocket. mountainhardwear.c

Arc’teryx Sentinal AR

Arc’teryx’s new women’s Sentinel AR Jacket ($750) is full Gore-Tex big-mountain and backcountry wear but with a warm flannel liner, low-loft shell construction and relaxed hip-length fit for a little coziness. Add in the helmet-compatible StormHood, watertight pit-zips, pocket placement, integrated powder skirt and Slide’n Loc attachments that link the Sentinel AR Pant and it all makes perfect sense.

Dynafit Hoji PX

After three years of design and testing, Dynafit’s new Hoji PX ($799, women’s model shown here) is impressing fans with its unique construction and integrated ski-walk mode. Just chopping off the toe-lip (not necessary with a pin binding) drops the weight 15 per cent to 1.4 kg and creates a more efficient pivot point for a more natural walk. Excellent downhill performance kicks in quickly (and literally) with the one-move Hoji Lock System, and an 11-degree angle helps with more memorable descents.

K2 Mindbender 115C

The super-light Wayback and Talkback dedicated touring skis have their well-deserved following, but the backcountry welcomes plenty of other K2s, including the women’s Mindbender 115C ($749), widest in the new six-ski Alliance collection. This women-designed, true big-mountain crusher (140/115/129, 20.4@172) uses lightweight and patented Aspen Veneer Core and Carbon Spectral Braid construction, and a 172 length weighs in at only 1,770g.

from Fall 2019 issue

Ski Canada Staff
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