(Last Updated On: December 19, 2012)
Yes, we know it’s a little late. We procrastinated. But if you’re reading this, you probably did too. You can support your local shop and find these items, but of course if you hurry you can still order on the internet and get something before Christmas. Still stumped? Check out our 1st and 2nd gift guides.
Perpetuem Solids On one of my last rides of the year, I tried a friend’s Perpetuem Solid. They’re a little tablet, and as you chew it, it gets a somewhat gummy texture. Thing is, they work, and not only that, but the caffe latte was delicious. And of course, they won’t freeze.
Capilene Zip Long Sleeve shirt I have sensitive skin, so I’m under doctor’s orders to avoid wool products, even the really nice new stuff that is supposedly less itchy. But even so, after I got a Capilene shirt last spring, it quickly vaulted every other technical shirt I’ve ever owned into my favorite of all time. Sylish, dry, warm- yeah, it’s got it all.
CAMP XLC 390 Crampons These crampons have been our go-to for years. We’re not always fans of the lightweight stuff, but in this case we are. See our review.
Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe Like the crampons above, this is our go-to in the springtime. We recommend it over the slightly lighter Ultra, which has an angled pick that neither of us prefer.
BCA Float 32 Airbag Yes, this is an expensive one. But in the wake of some tragic events last season, we’ve talked to a number of people whose parents insisted they go out with an airbag from here on out. We feel the same way, going without our airbag packs just feels naked these days. We liked last years Float 36, and with this years’ model even lighter and cheaper, BCA is a strong contender in this category. Here’s our review of the 36, and reasons why you should consider skiing with an airbag.
BD Flicklock Poles A perfect combination of weight and durability, I love my Flicklock poles. I’ve used them for years, and they have never failed me. The locking system doesn’t slide and is also not susceptible to freezing like some other brands. This year’s model has an improved locking system that makes it even easier to adjust on the fly, and the uppor portion of the pole is now wrapped with an anti-slip grip which is great for sidehill touring. I love my Razor Carbon’s, a combination of aluminum and carbon. But many pole options are available, from full carbon to probe.
Suunto A-10 Compass In backcountry skiing, multi-purpose tools are important. Though this is advertised as just a compass, this particular device has an angled edge which makes it perfect for those in need of a scraper. I found this out by accident, but I have never been happier to have a scraper in my backcountry bag of tools. I cannot say how many times I’ve found my Suunto compass useful for scraping bits of ice that have frozen on to my ski. I’d suggest, in fact, that this is actually a scraper with the dual-action of a compass. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer and should be in every backcountry skier’s repertoire.
Black Diamond Spy Glove I like leather – well, leather as part of gloves and mittens, anyway. These gloves are light, yet fairly warm. They are durable, and water proof, but not clammy, with the BDry instert. The Spy Gloves stretch and conform to your every move. They are a perfect approach glove or spring glove, great for the snowmobile, and wonderful for ice climbing too… And they have different colors for both men and women.
Nikwax Tech Wash Let’s face it. Backcountry clothing gets dirty. Sometimes it even gets stinky after a long spring day. Washing all that waterproof gear has to happen sometimes and when that time comes, Nikwax Tech Wash should be your product of choice. Harsh detergents can damage waterproof fabrics. But Tech Wash will help your clothes get clean and still keep all their waterproof capabilities.
Books, Books, and More Books Have you perused your local backcountry shop for books? From guidebooks to snow safety, from mountaineering handbooks to wilderness first aid – there’s a lot of books for the avid backcountry skier. A few that I feel are essential include, but are not limited to: Freedom of the Hills, Snow Sense, and Wild Snow. A more expensive one could include Fifty Classic Descents in North America. Also, check out our recent review on Mountaineering Library or Patagonia Books.
Check out the Motorola Radios we reviewed a few weeks back. They are handy, a great tool for improving safety in the backcountry, and aren’t too expensive. Still at a loss? Well, there’s always that gift certificate. Get one to your local shop or to backcountry.com.