Recommended Backcountry Gear for Snowmobilers

Whats in your pack?


Let’s start a debate. What backcountry gear and emergency supplies do you carry and where do you carry them? Ultimately we are responsible for our safe return each night. Our skills, preparation and gear have a huge impact on a situation gone wrong.

Recommended Backcountry Gear for Mountain SnowmobilersCould you successfully overnight? Comfortably?
If someone was injured? 
If someone was wet? 
If the weather was terrible, cold and windy? 
If you were by yourself?
Hmm…what if all the situations listed above happened at once?!


CLICK HERE TO READ NELSON’S STORY 30km from the trucks, 4pm in January and one sledder with a femur fracture with internal bleeding. What worked…what didn’t…what could have been done differently?


It improves the safety FOR ALL OF US if snowmobilers in our community are fully prepared. Check out our list. Add to it and Improve it by commenting brands and models that you prefer. Include a web address if possible.

Always remember…you get what you pay for. Look for top of the line products for your emergency gear. It usually means that it is lighter, more durable, performs better and lasts longer. Overnight on purpose one night. See if you have what it takes…literally! I’ll guarantee you that you will pack differently!

The vital backcountry gear should be in your pack. Heavy or less important items to survival can be stored on the sled.

For example your lunch, camera, water and tools should be on the sled and your emergency food, emergency communication, method to make water and first aid supplies should be in your pack.

NOTE: Some of the ‘Example’ links below tie into manufacturer’s websites other tie directly into Zac’s online sales system which includes a description of the gear. Perhaps you see items that you are missing in your pack?

〈 Missing a few things? CLICK HERE to browse through Zac’s Online Store 

Wearing

  • Helmet
  • Goggles with various colored spare lenses
  • Balaclava
  • Backpack or avalanche floatation pack – recommend 30 litres or more of storage
    – Example/Features1
  • Windproof, waterproof, breathable outer shell (Jacket & Pants)
  • Quick dry insulating layers
  • Wicking underlayers (keep skin dry)
    – Example/Features1
    – Example/Features2
    – Features
  • High performance socks – i.e. Smart Wool – mid to heavy weight
    – Example/Features1
    – Example/Features2
  • Boots – solid construction to support toes & ankles – waterproof with excellent traction
  • Gloves – Windproof, waterproof
    – Example/Features
    – Example/Features – with removable liners for quicker drying time
  • Two-way radio with waterproof mic
    – Example/Features
  • Transceiver – 3 antennae, marking digital beacon, with update capability.
    – Example/Features

Do you want a list that is easy to print? CLICK HERE

Jacket and/or belt pockets on pack straps

  • Small penlight/flashlight
  • Small pocket knife
  • Light gloves
  • Lighter
  • Kleenex in plastic bag
  • Silk cloth (to clean goggles/glasses)
  • Cash/ credit card
  • Whistle (Fox 40)

Backpack / Avalanche Air Bag

  • High Quality Spare Clothing
    – Wicking, medium insulating underlayers (top and bottom)
    – High performance socks – i.e. Smart Wool – heavyweight
    – Example/Features
    – Light windproof gloves
    – Down jacket – low packing volume
    – Heavy Mitts
    – Toque & Balaclava
  • Whistle (Fox 40) – tied on packstrap or zipper closure…EASY access
    – Example/Features
  • Shovel (long handle, heat treated)
    – Example/Features
  • Probe (minimum 300cm long)
    – Example/Features
  • Saw – folding, pruning saw or ‘chainsaw-in-a-can’
    – Example/Features
    – Example/Features
  • Cord (~100’), Light rope & webbing (15’)
  • Duct tape
  • Map, compass, inclinometer (with signal mirror)
    – Example/Features
  • GPS with/or Altimeter
  • Spare Batteries (for GPS, beacon, headlamp)
  • Toilet Paper
  • Headlamp
  • Multi-tool / Leatherman / Swiss Army knife
  • Waterproof lighting source – flint
  • Lighter
  • Firestarter
  • Mini-stove with pot, utensil & fuel
    – Example/Features
  • 30 hr candle
  • Highenergy food/bars/jerky
  • Dehydrated meal in large foil bag (foil bag acts as a bowl for eating)
  • Ground insulation (closed cell foam, Thermarest TM )
  • Bivy sack (windproof, waterproof) or Light tarp (reflective one side)
    – Example/Features
  • Glo-Sticks
  • Hunting knife
  • Pencil flares
    – Example/Features
  • Florescent tape/flagging
  • Tin-foil
  • Cell Phone &/or Satellite phone
  • Emergency phone numbers for area (STARS 1-888-888-4567)
  • Credit card numbers, cash
  • Emergency locator beacon (SPOT, inREACH…)
  • Carabiner
  • Duct Tape
  • Plastic bags – ziplock, shopping bags, garbage bags
  • First Aid Kit – see contents list below

HandleBar Bag and/or Windshield Bag

Do you want a list that is easy to print? CLICK HERE

Main Sled Storage

  • Lunch
  • Water/Thermos
  • Extra Gloves
  • Tow Rope
  • Carabiners
  • Clevis
  • Hose Clamps
  • Ratchet, bungee straps
  • Tools specific to your sled (add to the stock tool kit)
    NOTE: when completing repairs at home use your sled’s tool kit to highlight specialty tools that you need to add!
  • Needle Nose pliers
  • Magnet
  • Spare spark plugs and belts
  • Emergency starter rope
  • Electrical tape, duct tape
  • Plastic zip-ties
  • Wire
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Gas
  • Papertowel/rag
  • Snowstudy kit
    – Example/Features
    – Crystal screen
    – Ruler
    – Inclinometer
    – Loupe
    – Thermometers (2)
    – Pencils (2)
    – Field book – waterproof paper
    – Example/Features

First Aid Kit

  • Sunscreen
  • Prescription medication with directions
    – Notes re: personal health status, common warning signs and treatment required
  • Extra prescription glasses
  • Lighter
  • Triangular bandages
  • Pressure bandage
  • Gauze pads (small & large)
  • Adhesive bandages (small & large)
  • Roll gauze (small & large)
  • Feminine products (for the obvious uses. Also…pads are a sterile dressing for a cut. Tampons dipped in gas can be a firestarter.)
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Anti-inflammatory, pain, fever i.e. Ibuprofen/Advil
  • Painkiller i.e. Codeine/Tylenol 3
  • Aspirin
  • Mini Pocket Mask (Mouth-to-mouth barrier)
    Example/Features
  • 4 pair latex gloves
  • Micropore tape
  • Razor/knife
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Tweezers
  • Versatile splinting material
  • Space blanket
  • Small plastic bags
  • Plastic garbage bag (orange)
  • Waterproof Note Paper
    – Example/Features
  • Pencil
  • Medical assessment check lists.

Miscellaneous Gear distributed among group

  • Hatchet
  • Stove/fuel
  • Tarp (with some or all of these properties, durable, light, grommets, reflective)
  • Pulley
  • Snobunje
    – Example/Features
  • Emergency insulated sleeping pad
  • Versatile splint material (ex. 4 thin woven aluminum mesh sheets, 4“x24”)
  • Adjustable neck splint (very light plastic)
  • Barrier device (CPR mouth guard)
    – Example
    – Features
  • Binoculars

In the Truck

  • Spare Transceiver
  • Spare Shovel
  • Spare Probe
  • Spare Gear
  • Emergency keys stashed in known location
  • Tire Chains
  • Big Shovel
  • Truck Tow Rope
  • Ratchet straps, bungee straps
  • Big First Aid Kit
  • Blankets
  • Extra batteries

Do you want a list that is easy to print? CLICK HERE

Could you comfortably overnight in the backcountry?

If someone was injured? 
If someone was wet? 
If the weather was terrible, cold and windy? 
If you were by yourself?
Hmm…what if all the situations listed above happened at once?!

It improves the safety FOR ALL OF US if snowmobilers in our community are fully prepared. Check out our list. Add to it and Improve it by commenting brands and models that you prefer. Include a web address if possible.

TAG…you’re it! We look forward to the discussion!

Add in your Comments!!


“That’s an extensive list that fits in a pack and on a sled. It brings to mind something I read a while back “a snowmobile can travel farther in an hour than you can walk in a day”. That really puts the world in perspective. Before leaving the parking lot, sledders should anticipate having to spend 24 hours on the mountainside. You covered the essentials: fire, shelter, first aid, companion rescue, food & water and signals. Everyone that sleds in the mountains should be prepared to bivouac for a night, care for others, and to take appropriate steps to attract others to their location. Your list of supplies knocks it out of the park.

– Dale Mason, Robson Valley Search and Rescue, Sep 2016