What's in YOUR Backcountry Repair Kit: The 3 R's

We’ve partnered with the founder of BC Adventure Guides, Matt Schonwald, a certified Ski-Mountaineering Guide with the American Mountain Guides Association, Avalanche Instructor and member of Northwest Avalanche Center’s Forecasting Team who has dedicated his time in the mountains to perfecting his craft. Matt has combined his passion for travel and skiing to guide big mountain tours all around the world. Check out this video along with a detailed list below for his recommendations to building your own gear repair kit for the backcountry. Expect the unexpected. 

 

 

Accidents happen despite your best intentions. There are so many moving parts, dynamic movement and weather changes that makes the expression, ‘perfection is the enemy of the good’ an important concept to operate with in the backcountry. Another idea for preparation that helps create your Repair and First Aid Kits is to ‘Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best’, meaning balance optimism in your daily plan while being ready for random chance throwing a curveball at you.

When going out consider what could fail: skis, boots, bindings, poles, clothes or your pack. Next, what kind of problems or failures do you need to prepare for in order to get back to the trailhead? The length of your trip matters. A day tour, overnight or a 3-day trip versus an expedition all go into the types of needs to ensure you can continue on your trip or make it back to the car.

A few tools that make field repair work possible include a small multi-tool and binding buddy. Make sure these tools include pliers, a sharp knife, an awl for starting holes, drill bits for making holes and all the different screws in your bindings and boots. 

The 3 R’s for Gear Repair Kits:

Repair: The repair kit should include small tools and any parts specific to your own skis boots and bindings such as a buckle or cord. A big Leatherman multi tool is usually overkill and adds to much dead weight.I prefer The Leatherman Skel with pliers, that doesn’t have the scissors, because it is handy and light.


Replace: Carry parts that will impact your ability to use your equipment that can be replaced on the fly such as extra pole tips, baskets, and skin tail clips. Look at the spare parts that your equipment needs, many companies list these under spare parts.

Redesign aka MacGyver: I carry a ski pole splint made from cut or halved ski poles. My preference is two cut pieces of a corrugated rain gutter and small zip ties. The pliable rain gutter steel can be wrapped around any diameter pole and even those adjustable breakable poles many folks like to use. I also make sure to always carry at least 2 voile straps and large zip ties or an 11” hose clamp to fix a boot to a ski in the likely event of a broken binding (it happens more than you think!). It’s always good to have a half roll of athletic tape and some duct tape.

 

Gear Repair List:

QTY

Description

Weight

Brand

Link/where

1

Center Punch

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BK_948?cid=paidsearch_shopping_dcoe_google

1

¼” hex shank ¼” stubby twist drill

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B001JEOIHW/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_6z8GEbV1FVH0P

1

Chapman MFG Co Midget Ratchet 1/4" drive #3 Posi drive, torx bits for dynafit, allen bit for boots

Chapman MFG

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00FVYLJ8W/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_i_lu8GEbZ5JBX4P

1

Leatherman Skel Tool

Leatherman

https://www.amazon.com/Gerber-Curve-Multi-Tool-Gray-31-000206/dp/B001UAMCL4/ref=asc_df_B001UAMCL4/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309832851244&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11813348320366747884&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033311&hvtargid=pla-437698224372&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=64417494871&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=309832851244&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11813348320366747884&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033311&hvtargid=pla-437698224372

1

10m 3-4mm cord

https://ascentoutdoors.com/products/perlon-cord?_pos=6&_sid=d5e8312fe&_ss=r

Bronze Wool (or SS, won’t rust in kit)

Local Hardware store

1

Quick set 2 part epoxy (Recommended: premixed putty sticks)

https://www.amazon.com/PC-Products-25567-PC-Marine-Moldable/dp/B000H5ORDO/ref=sr_1_25?keywords=epoxy+putty+stick&qid=1573577801&sr=8-25

2

Extra Tip and Tail clips appropriate for skins in group (G3 clips fit all tails)

G3/BD

https://skimo.co/g3-skin-parts

1

Extra Pole tip

Leki/BD

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Diamond-Flex-Tech-Tips/dp/B005FNCN98/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=andrskur-20&linkId=4380eec8d82f77534d13486ba261690a

2

Extra powder basket(s)

BD/BCA

https://www.amazon.com/Aramox-Trekking-Removable-Replacement-Accessory/dp/B07DYGBHT7/ref=pd_sbs_468_5/147-3354602-5019517?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07DYGBHT7&pd_rd_r=dfb8743f-cb67-4e8d-960f-f53b425b9f8e&pd_rd_w=n9yhS&pd_rd_wg=eEXG6&pf_rd_p=52b7592c-2dc9-4ac6-84d4-4bda6360045e&pf_rd_r=KG96JFEZKVQVESC4SPPG&psc=1&refRID=KG96JFEZKVQVESC4SPPG

2-3

Hose clamps (pole repair - tent and ski)

Local Hardware store

1

Pole repair sleeve(aluminum from coke can)

Tent companies carry this or you can make your own!

3-10'

Bailing wire (stainless wire from marine/aircraft applications recommended, normal baling wire will rust sitting in your ski pack)

Wire / Lockwire, Canister, .041 Dia,, 221 ft. Model: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B013P2YFU0/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_apa_i_gLTpEb2D5V9YJ

3-4

Extra Batteries

Think about Beacon, headlamp, phone, & GPS

3-5

Extra binding screws

Ask local ski shop

Tear-Aid gear repair tape

https://www.amazon.com/Tear-Aid-Fabric-Repair-Gold-Type/dp/B000K6WKNE/ref=asc_df_B000K6WKNE/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312097317052&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10444780147394859258&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033311&hvtargid=pla-384560722701&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=57631863970&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=312097317052&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10444780147394859258&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033311&hvtargid=pla-384560722701

4

24" Voile Straps

https://ascentoutdoors.com/products/voile-20-voile-strap-custom-logo?_pos=1&_sid=4ffa69c3e&_ss=r

1-2

Screw Rivets for buckles and boot cuff

local ski shop or boot brand website

1

Speedy Stitcher**Expeditions for pack repair

http://www.speedystitcher.com/wheretobuy or http://www.macphersonleather.com/speedystitcher.htm

  

 

Special thanks to Matt Schonwald for his contribution to this video and article. BCAG offers guided trips and seasonal educational AIARE courses. Learn more about BC Adventure Guides at https://www.bcadventureguides.com/