Welcome to a special Backcountry Issue installment of Gear Spotlight from FREESKIER. Here, we provide a close-up look at the equipment and accessories that everyone should know about when heading off-piste. Can’t get enough gear? Click here to see our entire 2019 Buyer’s Guide.
The VE 25 tent from The North Face is a four-season, three-person tent built to withstand the most extreme weather conditions. A fully taped, cut-in nylon bucket floor, welded reinforcements on the lightweight fly and canopy and a polyurethane port window keep you protected from the elements whether you’re lounging or gearing up for the day ahead. Dual doors on each side make for easy entrance and exit, while eight interior pockets allow for ample storage.
The Flash stove remains as efficient as previous iterations, but with an increased output of 9,000 BTUs from 4,500 BTUs. It provides a liter of capacity and can boil two cups of water in 100 seconds, which will help reduce the amount of fuel you need for each meal. A thermo-chromatic, color-change heat indicator helps communicate the temperature of your water while the system’s bottom can also be used as a measuring cup or bowl.
The Army Leather Extreme Mitt utilizes a Fiberfill insulation and soft Bemberg lining that’ll make your fingers think they’re on a beach vacation, not sitting in the middle of the snow-covered backcountry. The Flextron shell provides ultimate breathability and water
resistance while the four-way stretch and leather palm grip gives you the freedom to fuss around your campsite without ever having to remove your mitts.
When you’re in the backcountry, it’s important to fuel your body with healthy, nutritious food. Boulder, Colorado-based Backpacker’s Pantry has been providing outdoor enthusiasts with trail-ready freeze-dried meals since the ‘70s. With feasts like fettuccine alfredo with chicken, chiang mai coconut curry with beef (pictured) or pesto pasta with salmon, the backcountry has never been tastier.
The BC Evertherm is a do-it-all jacket that provides the combined benefits of a lightweight shell and a cozy midlayer. It uses uniformly cut, thin sheets of down that are streamlined and won’t migrate within the garment, ensuring you’re kept warm no matter how violently you stuffed this jacket into your pack last night. The lack of baffling also ups the jacket’s durability, as there’s no stitching for twigs and branches to catch on. Keep this puppy in your arsenal for years to come.
The Insulated AXL Air Sleeping Pad from Big Agnes packs a serious insulation punch in the lightest-weight package for you to carry. A patent-pending nylon rip-stop shell combined with a Primaloft Silver insulation and heat reflective barrier will keep you toasty all night while the minimalist internal shell accounts for it’s incredibly small packing size. Gram counters, through-hikers and backpacking minimalists, this sleeping pad is made with you in mind.
Sleeping in the silent, snowy wilderness is a unique experience but if you don’t have proper winter camping gear, it can be a sleepless night of shivering. The Kara Koram 0º Stormdown sleeping bag will keep you comfortable down to zero degrees thanks to its 850 fill Stormdown insulation and a Pertex nylon shell with a StormRepel DWR finish that sheds snow to keep you dry. The bag also features an internal pocket to keep your phone and other electronics from freezing in case you need them along the way.
The Haute Route 40 features 40 liters of storage space, which should be enough to pack your overnight essentials. The pack has a place for everything, including crampon fasteners, ice axe and hiking pole attachments (which can also help carry your tent), a fixed helmet net, a practical map compartment and a separate safety compartment. The Haute Route is constructed with Cordura and 420D Manstar nylon making it ultra-durable and waterproof, so it can go wherever your winter excursions lead you.
When an avalanche occurs, you need your equipment to function properly and be simple to operate. The Barryvox S transceiver from Mammut provides powerful performance without a high-percentage of confusion from the user. The Barryvox S features a real-time graphic that directs users through the search process and even notifies them when it’s time to “probe here,” via a nifty icon.
Boulder, Colorado-based coffee company, Alpine Start, was born out of the need for an instant coffee that could be made on the go but tastes like it came from the corner coffee shop. Alpine Start uses the finest, high-altitude-grown, 100-percent arabica beans sourced directly from Colombia and the instant coffee can be mixed with hot or cold liquids whether it’s water, almond milk or whiskey, if you so choose–we won’t judge.