Thoughts on what to put in your pack, by Simon "Cookie" Cook
When skiing off-piste there’s an endless list of gadgets, tools and kits you can purchase and stuff into your packs. For me pack space is limited and we must cut down to things that have multi uses, pack up small and are light. Much like you may have a spare credit card, snow chains, or some loose change in car, in my pack I have a couple odd things that sit there dormant; they wait for ages not being used; but on the rare time you need the you’ll be thanking your stars you kept them there!
In rolls my essential packing savour - duct tape! The applications of strong waterproof adhesive can create a list as long as a good tour. You won’t ever need the full roll, but a decent amount wrapped round your pole or an old card, or best option is mini rolls that can be bought at most hardwear shops.
When out skiing unexpected things happen that we need to be ready for- we simply can’t pack for all occasions, but tape will fix a lot of them! I’m not saying that taping things back together are permenant or 100% fixes, but when things go wrong and your miles away from help, with potentially limited access back to roads/lifts you need to be able to bodge, patch and cowboy things back together to get you back to safety.
- Skins loose their rule/stickiness, tip or tail mounts snap off, in extreme cases they may even tear in half. Tape to the rescue! Of course it’s not a permanent fix, but will make the difference between making it back safely or a tiring one-skinned hike home!
- binding not holding/slipping, again not a perminate fix but to bodge things together and get you home- go to town with the tape!
- clothing tears, snagging on trees or big crashes- quick patch ups.
- poles snap, may end up with one smaller than the other, but i’d rather than than one pole!
- First Aid. How many bandages, wound dressing, pads, swabs should we carry? Most packs available over the counter have a huge selections of things- all very useful, but bulky to carry. I carry two sizeable wound dressings and my trusty roll of tape. First response for open wounds is apply pressure on the wound and elevate- use one of the bandage you have, then wrap in tape.
Other possible (non life-threatening or heli rescue) first aid situations you might find yourself in- broken arms or dislocations- all immobilised through tape then taken for further care. no faffing with triangle bandages or making slings, just tape up and get off the hill!
There are dozens of situations when tape could come in handy, this is just a few thoughts on some of them. In summary, get a small roll of strong waterproof tape and stick it in your pack and go have fun!