How to pack your backpack for a ski-touring trip?
What the hell is in the backpack?! I often ask myself this when sweating under a weighty backpack on a ski tour. Over time I’ve come to pack lightly, i.e. cutting out the extras, but some things are essential items on your "What to pack in your backpack for a ski tour" list. Let’s check them out.
Emergency equipment (for off-piste ski tours in mountains)
Essentials not to leave home without. The following are absolute musts for off-piste mountain ski tours:
Avalanche gear: shovel, probe, finder
First aid kit, including insulating foil
Other equipment depends on the conditions. How long is the hike? Just going up a hill above a village, or across a glacier? Weather conditions? Snow and avalanche reports? Don’t overestimate your strengths, and carefully evaluate your abilities. Regular ski tourers know which items to pack for what conditions. But here’s a list of essentials for newbies.
Both worn and packed. At the summit you’ll need dry clothes, or extra layers if the weather worsens.
Mid layer and top layer for ascent
Top layer for summit and descent
Hardshell or waterproof jacket: CHABENEC
Multifunctional neck scarf
Thinner climbing gloves
Thicker, warm, windproof downhill gloves
Other key accessories
UV protection is essential in the mountains. So pack UV filter sunglasses, sunscreen, and SPF factor lip balm. And you’ll appreciate:
Thermos/insulated hydro bag
Food, energy bars, etc.
Mini repair tools
Swiss army knife
Map (paper), GPS, compass
Documents (in small, ideally waterproof bag) + mountain insurance
Fully-charged cell phone. Be sure to bring - you may need help at any time.
Additional equipment for difficult terrain
Crampons for ski boots
Rope - to secure yourself or for abseiling during the hike
Ski tours are in open terrain. So respect safety, don’t overestimate your strength, take an avalanche course, and monitor the weather and local avalanche situation before each hike.