Gearing up for the Season: Backcountry Gear!

29 Nov, 2011

My first taste of the backcountry was years ago when a friend took me out on a borrowed splitboard and backcountry gear to “earn my turns.” It was tough with lots of sweat but it was also a blast and it felt amazing to ride terrain I hadn’t dreamed of. Since then I’ve slowly been acquiring the gear needed to make the full backcountry collection. The first year, I bought the collaspible ski poles, then the next year the shovel and probe and finally got the beacon as a Christmas present (thanks family). The splitboard and bindings were harder to come by so I borrowed them and this year, I am happy to finally round out the collection with my own gear.

Of course being in the backcountry requires education and I’m already reaching out to get my hands on the books and the classes so I can be safer in the outdoors this winter. I’m looking forward to skipping the Christmas lines and making my own lines out of the resort, especially the sidecountry at June and exploring some more scenic areas around the area.

K2 Panoramic Splitboard

What can I say, I’m a fan of bambooyah so definitely looking forward to owning this splitboard and trying it out in the backcountry. Thanks to the fine folks at usoutdoor, it’s all mine! The best part is it came ready to go with the voile split kit and custom made skins. I ended up with the 158cm which is my all mountain/freeride size.

Spark R&D Burner Bindings

It wasn’t a question of what bindings I’d go with. After trying last year’s Blaze, I wanted to try out the Burners this season. As for color, Jeff’s taking care of me but we’re gonna make it match.

BCA Tracker Beacon

My most important purchase and what I need to practice with the most is my beacon. I’ve used it a handful of times but I definitely want to play around with it more this season, be able to search better and be more comfortable with it. Thanks family.

Black Diamond Collapsable Ski Poles

I’ve used them before, they do the job and they fit in my backpack for the ride down. Can’t beat that!

K2 Pilchuk Backside Kit

The sweet part about this pack is it comes with the probe and shovel for easy hiking trips. I’ll definitely be using it for the short trips when I don’t need as much space in a pack.

Black Diamond Shovel/Probe

My original shovel and probe I’ve got on standby for trips. They can fit in any of my other backpacks for backcountry riding.

Are you in the backcountry this season? What gear do you have and what gear do you think it a necessity?

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. Fes
    November 29, 2011

    Got the same board (K2 Panoramic kit in 158) and the poles. Opted for the K2 kit since it’s preinstalled with Voile hardware and it comes with the climbing skins.

    Have the Blazes instead since they’re lighter than the Burners. Need to get the Mr. Chomps crampons.

    BCA Tracker 2 and BCA SR3 probe. Have a Dakine pack. Used these

    Signed up for my AIARE level 1 in January.

    Have a BCA shovel as well.

    I think all of those are basic necessity in a backcountry rider’s pack. Some room for water and some snacks is also a good thing.

  2. Gary
    November 29, 2011

    Congrats Shannon.

    The Burner is a solid choice and is a better binding than the Blaze imo. The highback is stiffer and more suited for bc riding unless you are a freestyle nut.

    Beacon, shovel, probe of course are necessities.

    A pack that has a hydration reservoir with in insulated sleeve is nice. You need water out there and some food. Especially if you are touring for the day. For day tours I generally get a pack that is around 35 liters. Big enough for long day tours, but small enough you can also use them for resort assisted sidecountry riding. The Stash BC is the pack I am using this season.

    Other handy items. I always pack an extra pair of gloves and goggles. I won’t go without that. Wet gloves or foggy goggles can ruin your day.

    First Aid kit and I also have a CPR mask. Taking a basic life support class could help save someone’s life out there too if you encounter the worst. If you have to recover someone from an avalanche, there is a good chance you are going to have to do some sort of BLS measures to save them.

    Extra layer. I pack one of those lightweight down super compressible down jackets in my pack. If you get stuck somewhere and have to stand around, it can make a huge difference in comfort.

    Avalungs are not a bad addition to your arsenal either. Lightweight and the sling is relatively inexpensive. The integarted avalung with the packs are nice too.

    Finally, avalanche airbags though pricey work great. I might be rocking one later this season. They cost a lot, but then again if you are getting buried in an avalanche, at that moment, you’d probably be willing to take out a small mortgage to get out of that situation. Not saying run out and buy one, but keep it on the wish list.

  3. Brek Leines
    November 30, 2011

    karakorum bindings all the way!

  4. December 01, 2011

    Splitboarding is not a new concept but is surely taking off in the mainstream these days which is very exciting to see. If you’re just starting out it’s likely most of the experienced riders in the backcountry are your skier friends. You can definitely learn a lot from them but splitboarders are a bit of a different breed!

    Check out for a wealth of information, discussions and resources about splitboarding, touring in the backcountry and if you’re lucky, meeting some splitboarders in your area to ride with!