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Avalanche Safety Gear

Guide: Stay Safe in the Backcountry

Avoiding potentially hazardous situations in the backcountry is key, but should you get caught in an avalanche, an airbag backpack may increase your odds of survival. The pack features an air bladder that inflates with the pull of a handle to keep you closer to the surface of the snow and to help protect your head and neck from collisions with immovable objects.

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Avalanche beacons, also known as transceivers, are essential for both transmitting your own location as well as finding others buried in the snow. Today's digital avalanche beacons are easier and faster to use than ever before. Get one, practice like your life depends on it, and then do everything in your power to keep from having to use it.

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A lightweight folding pole between nine and ten feet long, a probe is an essential piece of backcountry gear. Once you've used your beacon to determine the approximate location of a buried victim, a probe lets you zero in with accuracy that a beacon can't provide. This leads to less digging time and a faster recovery, which can save lives.

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It doesn't do you any good to locate avalanche victims if you can't dig them out. An avy shovel is purpose-built to get through concrete-hard avalanche debris. Get yourself a sturdy, collapsible avalanche shovel with a pointed or serrated aluminum blade.

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How to Choose Avalanche Safety Gear