follow us:
Shoulders of Giants is closed. Click here for more information
Gear Reviews / December 11, 2016

This week in gear: 4 backcountry essentials

Written by: Stewart Moore

It’s in to ski out of bounds. With lift ticket prices at an all time high, more skiers and snowboarders are hitting the backcountry than ever before. And as they do, the essential backcountry gear list is expanding.

That’s a mixed bag for us. Sure, our favorite powder stashes are getting crowded… but all that new market has inspired companies to churn out some pretty cool gear. Take the four items, which are new this season.

OR’s Capstone Heated Gloves

Outdoor Research’s ALTIHeat glove line already leads the the industry. And this season, it looks like the company will extend that lead. OR’s Capstone Heated Gloves run two batteries per glove, giving them twice the heating power of last season’s model.

That heat output can be adjusted to three different levels or turned off entirely. The gloves can maintain warmth for up to eight hours on their lowest setting, and two and a half hours on their highest. PrimaLoft insulation, Gore-Tex inserts, and touchscreen compatible leather ensure waterproof warmth and exceptional flexibility when the batteries die. 

OR’s Capstone Heated Gloves sell online for $500. This video shows them in action.

The Procline SkiMo Boot

Fresh from North Vancouver for this winter, the newest addition to Arc’teryx’s footwear collection is a game changer for ski mountaineers The boot’s two-piece 360-degree rotating cuff system allows for more movement when skinning, but can lock to provide the rigidity needed to kick steps or ski steeps.

Fully waterproof with a no-pressure-point closure system, these backcountry essentials can seamlessly handle all winter activities with unrivaled performance. The Procline is available in three different constructions, with a carbon fiber version weighing in at just 2lbs 10oz.

The Procline Ski Mountaineering Boot is available in men’s and women’s sizes. The boots are available online starting at $750 per pair. This video shows them in action.


Osprey’s Kamber 22+10 ABS Pack

The best backcounntry gear is flexible gear, and Osprey’s ABS Compatible Kamber 22+10 pack fits the bill.

The pack is designed for use both in and out of avalanche terrain. The pack is built to carry the ABS Vario airbag system, which features two 85-liter airbags for maximum lift and visibility in case of the worst. Unlike many ABS packs, the Kamber allows users to remove those bags for frontcountry days.

The pack’s 22 liters of capacity (plus an additional 10 liters in a dry compartment) is perfect for backcountry day trips, and its zippers and buckles are designed with glvoed hands in mind.

The pack sells online for $210.


The Zone MIPS Helmet

Giro’s new Zone MIPS helmet is constructed of two separate shells, which makes it better suited to handle multi-directional impacts. The light-weight molded lower shell stays put on the skull, but the ventilated exterior hard shell can rotate slightly. This rotation disperses the force of a collision over a greater surface area, reducing the impact on the skull.

The helmet’s vertical tuning makes it easy to find the perfect fit, and it’s designed to fit seamlessly with Giro brand goggles. A POV camera mount makes it easy to capture all the pre-impact action.

The Zone MIPS sells online for $200. This video breaks it down.

Did you add something to your backcountry essential gear list this season? Email us at

about the author

Stewart Moore

Stewart Moore is a writer and endurance athlete based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Originally from Alabama, Stewart has hiked over 1,000 solo miles, completing the Colorado Trail in 2015 and a 500+ mile trip linking the Tahoe Rim Trail and the John Muir Trail together via the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. Outside of hiking, Stewart enjoys trail running, snowboarding, ice climbing, fly fishing, and yoga (subjects which he also finds himself writing about).

read more
hit the outdoors

Sign up for the inside scoop on new products, member discounts and inspiration from our giants.