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Cross country backpacks

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all!


I'm new to EpicSki, but have been doing cross country skiing on and off my whole life (originally from the northeast). I'm putting together a hydration pack for the upcoming winter so I can do some longer day treks in the Washington/Idaho area, and am looking for some general advice on what to bring with me in my backpack (I searched, but most results were related to downhill, or were from years ago, so I'm putting it out again for new opinions).


I'm basing it out of a 2L hydration backpack, and already have the typical tools and safety gear (flashlight, first aid kit/sunscreen/lip balm, multi-tool, thermal blankets, glowstick, fire starters, paracord, compass, signal mirror).


My question for you all then is - what item or items would you not go into the woods without? Any stories to prove a point are welcome :)

post #2 of 9

binding repair kit

post #3 of 9
  • Wax, scraper, cork; for glide and grip
  • Spare basket(s) for poles
  • Map
  • Some duct tape
  • Gauze and bandages


If you are going beyond monitored/supervised areas, you are going into the backcountry and must view yourself like any other backcountry skier. You need to know what terrain is avy prone and address your avy skills and gear accordingly.

post #4 of 9

Sardines, beer

post #5 of 9
Friends, or a Spot.
post #6 of 9

I get really hot when I XC, so I don't wear a lot to begin with.   A down puffy would make life a lot warmer if I had a breakdown or spent the night out in a snow cave.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys, I'll definitely add in the duct tape and repair supplies. I don't think there's too much danger of avalanches where I'm thinking, but definitely a good reminder to someone coming from the relatively flat woods of New England.

post #8 of 9

You don't have to be skiing the steeps to get caught in an avalanche, if you're skiing on the flats just below the steeps, you can propagate a crack up slope and get caught in the avy run out. May not be an issue where you're traveling, but something to be aware of. Also, tree wells can be an issue in the PNW. A friend and shovel can really help here !  Other than that, I carry a light weight down jacket, hat and extra gloves along with my avy gear and 10 essentials. If usually have enough warm clothes to spend the night in case I ever get stuck out overnight.

post #9 of 9
Whistle. Headlamp that doubles as a strobe with a fresh set of rechargeable batteries from the drawer if there's any doubt. I've been benighted too many times to go anywhere without a headlamp. Oh, and about 25% more water than I think I need.

My micro personal patch kit consists of a few bandaids, some sealed gauze pads & sponges & butterfly closures, a roll of cloth first aid tape (wrap some around a pencil if you only have a fresh roll; this works for duct tape too), small folding scissors, and a few little pouches of Neosporin. I always throw in a bandana or two for slings and splints and spills and whatnot. It all fits into a very small ditty bag and weighs almost nothing.

Some would consider this a luxury item, but consider a light closed cell foam pad rolled up and strapped vertically to the outside of the pack. Many friends have been grateful for my readiness at all times to take a nap in the sun.

Whether you're going by yourself or with a group, it's a good idea to have some basic first aid training, or better yet first responder training, if you're going out for full day excursions. There are lots of good wilderness travel books out there with simple, sensible advice on how to behave.

Oh, and an acquaintance had a funny story of stopping to talk to some people next to a hill on a groomed XC trail around a golf course somewhere in the northeast, when a teeny tiny wet slide flowed down the hill and covered his skis in a few inches of goop which set up right away and took a little bit to work his way out of. So even though you might not be crossing any multi-thousand-foot runout paths, it's worth acquainting yourself with the principles, because even a small slide can make things more interesting than you might like.
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