accessibility mode: off
My Cart Close

You are $ 0.00 away from free shipping

YOU HAVE NO ITEMS IN YOUR SHOPPING CART.

Your cart is currently empty.

Continue shopping

Essential Gear You Need For The Backcountry

Don’t leave the gates without avalanche education, a friend, and these critical must-haves.

This winter, everyone is predicting a pandemic-fueled surge in backcountry skiing. With people wanting to avoid crowds at ski resorts, there’s a good chance we’ll see more people strap skins to their skis and head uphill on their own power. Whether you’re new to the backcountry or you’ve been ski touring for decades, we all need to approach this winter responsibly. That means making sure new and returning backcountry users have all the information and tools they need to get out there safely.

Always good to be schooled in Avalanche Safety before heading into the backcountry.

Always good to be schooled in Avalanche Safety before heading into the backcountry.

Here at Flylow, we make outerwear designed specifically for backcountry skiing. Our gear is durable and waterproof enough for heavy use in the mountains but also light and breathable enough to climb those mountains on your own two feet. But a stormproof jacket and insulating layers aren’t the only things you need to climb and ski snow-covered peaks. We have a responsibility to make sure we’re not sending our loyal customers into the mountains unprepared. 

The American Avalanche Institute has a great equipment list that you can print out and stick on the wall every time you leave your house to go backcountry skiing. Do a visual scan of the list before you go. (Skins? Beacon? Gloves? Check. Check. Check. ) To add to that, we put together our own list of some of the must-haves we love in the backcountry. Visit your local retailer for personalized service and to stock up on supplies.

Get Educated For Backcountry Skiing.

Whether you’re new to backcountry skiing or it’s been a while since you’ve taken a class, you’ll want to sign up for an avalanche safety course—some are taking place virtually now. And get used to checking the forecast from your local avalanche center. The Avalanche Forecast app is a good one to download and check daily in the winter while sipping your morning coffee.

Earning your turns comes in many forms.

Safety Gear For Backcountry Skiing.

The three items you absolutely need in the backcountry: beacon, shovel, probe (and the knowledge of how to use them.) No getting around those. You’ll need a backpack that can carry everything and is designed for ski touring. Avalanche airbag packs are popular these days as well, so that’s worth considering, too. Other emergency items like a personal locator device and a well-stocked first-aid kit are good to have along as well.

Skis, Boots, Bindings, Skins For Backcountry Skiing.

Finding the right ski touring setup is a personal thing. So, your best bet is to head into your local ski shop and ask for guidance. You can certainly do your research ahead of time—check out magazine reviews or scan roundups of the best AT bindings or tested coverage of touring boots. Don’t forget skins.

Backcountry Skiing is a rewarding way to make great turns in beautiful places.

Backcountry Skiing is a rewarding way to make great turns in beautiful places.

Dressing Appropriately For Backcountry Skiing. Our Favorite Layers.

You’ll definitely want a waterproof jacket and hardy ski pants, as well as a warming midlayer—we have you covered there (shop our men’s gear or our women’s gear). One other thing you shouldn’t leave home without? A packable down jacket, stuffed into your pack. “Every time I head into the backcountry, I grab my Flylow Betty Down Jacket,” says Washington-based pro skier and Flylow ambassador Sophia Rouches. “It’s light, packable, and easy to throw on in the transition times when you want extra warmth. Plus, it’s an important component of my safety kit. If an injury were to happen while deep in the mountains, you have to stay warm and dry while waiting for an evac.”

Other Stuff You Need

A lightweight helmet and a pair (or two!) of gloves are also critical. This winter, you’ll be wanting a face covering or neck tube in your pack. Other important things to remember: sunscreen, plenty of water (we like the compressible soft reservoirs from Hydrapak), sunglasses, a hat, and a couple of Voile straps for those random skintrack fixes. A thermos full of tea for the summit is also nice.

And, Of Course, Snacks

“I always bring along something sweet,” adds Rouches. “Lifesavers, sour candy, or muffins leftover from breakfast are some of my favorite sugar boosts that give me the energy needed to take another lap.”

Our Favorite Pieces of Gear For Backcountry Skiing - Men

Kane Jacket

Our lightest touring jacket yet, the Kane Jacket offers absurd amounts of stretch and air permeability.

split
Made with our customized The Perm fabric, by Intuitive, the Kane Jacket prioritizes air permeability for high-motion activities like backcountry skiing, so heat can escape your body before you sweat, regulating your temperature. This supremely lightweight jacket is stretchy and supple, which is critical when you’re trying to kickturn in tight trees or stuff the jacket into your already-jammed backcountry pack. It takes the durability and packability of a 3-layer ski jacket but without any unnecessary extras (powder skirt … why bother?). It’s got underarm vents, a helmet-compatible hood, no shoulder seams to reduce friction while wearing a pack, and ample pockets.

Features

split
Material(s):
• Intuitive™ Perm fabric: stretch, waterproofness, ultra-breathable
• 20k waterproof with 0.02 cfm air permeability
• 100% nylon face, 100% poly backing

split
Features:
• Articulated shoulders and sleeves
• Fully seam taped
• 2 hand pockets, 1 chest pocket, 1 waist pocket, 1 interior pocket w/media port
• No direct shoulder seams reduce wear with backpack
• 12-inch pit zippers
• Backpack friendly pockets
• Helmet-compatible hood
• No Bulk Cuffs
• No powder skirt
• YKK waterproof zippers
• High performance DWR (Durable Water Repellent)
• Average weight: 540 grams
Buy Now
Smythe Bib

Our lightest weight bib pant, the Smythe is built for bagging peaks without overheating.

split
With the Smythe Bib, we set out to make a light and supremely breathable bib tough enough to withstand the abuse of the backcountry. The Smythe Bib is built from our customized The Perm fabric, by Intuitive, for stretch, waterproofness, and air permeability, making these light, streamlined pants the go-to choice for backcountry riders. A stretch woven softshell top on the bib is ultra breathable. Outer thigh pockets can be accessed while wearing a harness and chest pocket was built to fit around backpack straps. Like classic Flylow pants, they come with reinforced cuffs, articulated knees, and cross flow venting to help you stay out longer.

Features

split
Material(s):
• Intuitive™ Perm fabric: stretch, waterproofness, ultra-breathable
• 20k waterproof with 0.02 cfm air permeability
• 100% nylon face, 100% poly backing

split
Features:
• Reinforced cuffs
• Stretch softshell bib top
• Inner and outer thigh vents
• Articulated knees
• Fully seam taped
• 1 chest pocket, 2 thigh pockets, 1 thigh pocket, 1 rear butt pocket
• Beacon attachment system in chest pocket
• Long exterior zip for easy entry
• YKK waterproof zippers
• High performance DWR (Durable Water Repellent)
• Powder gaiters
• Average weight: 700 grams
Buy Now

Our Favorite Pieces of Gear For Backcountry Skiing - Women

Domino Jacket

Our lightest women’s ski jacket yet, the backcountry-oriented Domino Jacket has top-notch air permeability and durability.

split
We’ve always made our women’s gear as tough and durable as the men’s gear, but the Domino Jacket is next level. This simplified, super-lightweight shell, made with eVent DV Expedition fabric, was built for the backcountry. It’s got heaps of air permeability that’ll let you go as far as your legs will take you. With 20K waterproofing and a zip-out powder skirt, it’ll weather the storm. Underarm vents cool you down on a climb and ample pockets store snacks for the summit and can be accessed even while wearing a backpack.

Features

split

Material(s):
• eVent fabric with Direct Venting™ Expedition Technology
• 30k waterproof with 0.06 cfm air permeability
• 100% nylon

split
Features:
• Articulated shoulders and sleeves
• Fully seam taped
• 2 chest pockets, 2 hand pockets, 2 inner pocket
• 12-inch pit zippers
• Backpack friendly pockets
• Helmet-compatible hood
• Removable powder skirt
• No Bulk Cuffs
• YKK waterproof zippers
Buy Now
Siren Bib

A lightweight women’s bib pant made with eVent DV Expedition fabric for alpine ascents and descents.

split
The Siren Bib is for those who prefer less fabric up top. You won’t sacrifice durability. But you will get a lighter weight, more breathable bib for backcountry touring and, thanks to eVent DV Expedition fabric, it’ll keep you cool by releasing heat before you sweat. The Siren is streamlined and durable with simple design, so you can focus on the day’s objective. A kangaroo front pouch stores your essentials, outer thigh vents release steam, and reinforced cuffs keep you feeling tough.

Features

split
Material(s):
• eVent fabric with Direct Venting™ Expedition Technology
• 30k waterproof with 0.06 cfm air permeability
• 100% nylon

split
Features:
• Reinforced cuffs
• Outer thigh vents
• Articulated knees
• Fully seam taped
• 2 thigh pockets, kangaroo pocket w/ beacon attachment and 1 seat pocket
• YKK waterproof zippers
• High performance DWR (Durable Water Repellent)
• Average weight: 602 grams
Buy Now

Read Next

Flylow Bib Finder

We make a ton of excellent ski bibs. We decided to make a handy resource to help you figure what will work best for you.

The Jacket That Never Quits

Andrew Branaugh bought his Flylow Lab Coat on the sale rack in 2005. By his count, this ski jacket has seen over 900 days of...