Alpenglow Expeditions Ski Guide Peter Terwilliger shares what he carries in his backcountry repair kit.
A repair kit is an often overlooked piece of equipment that we should always carry on backcountry skiing and riding adventures. Imagine you are several miles out into the backcountry and your splitboard binding rattles a screw loose, or a toe piece rips off on your tech binding. A simple and specific ski touring repair kit can help you get back to the car before nightfall and, if you’re lucky, continue having fun on the way.
Having a multi-tool with a knife, pliers, Phillips, and flathead driver is critical. The multi-tool I carry also has the ability to take an adapter that will allow a hex drive, which is critical on multi-day trips.
A small amount of baling wire can be used in myriad ways. Primarily, I’ve used wire to piece together splitboard bindings.
AAA batteries fit into most headlamps as well as beacons. I usually carry 3 or 4 spare alkaline batteries in my kit all season long.
Spare Ski Pole Basket
If you have ever lost a pole basket and tried to then plant your ski pole, this should be obvious. Especially on long days spent chasing powder snow, losing a pole basket can make a great day quite frustrating, and nothing works quite like the real thing.
Two small pipe clamps are very lightweight and can repair a ski pole in the event that it snaps in the backcountry. These little clamps are cheap and can be found at any hardware store. The 1/2 – 1-1/4 inch size works great for ski pole repair.
Some might argue that this is not a piece of the Ski Repair Kit, but I love to keep an ultralight headlamp in my Repair kit for emergencies. A headlamp that can lock is paramount so that you do not drain the battery. Keeping the headlamp in my kit also makes it rare that I would ever forget a headlamp, as my repair kit comes with me almost everywhere.
Voile Ski Straps
Maybe the most versatile item in the repair kit is the illustrious Voile ski strap or ‘Heli Strap’. These stretchy straps can be used for many applications, including binding malfunction, boot malfunction, first aid, etc. I will often keep one wrapped around my ski pole and 2 more stashed in my repair kit for backup.
A zip tie can be a very useful piece of repair equipment, particularly for the splitboarding crowd, as they are easy to cinch uptight and can be pieced together to create a longer tie. They are also very lightweight. The zip tie is in a similar category to the wire, and can be used to hold some piece of equipment back together to make it back to the car.
Ski Scraper with Glob Stopper Wax
A Plexiglass ski scraper is likely the most used tool I carry, especially for Sierra ski missions. Whether scraping off iced-up ski bases, snowy top sheets, or squeezing the water out of my skins this little piece lives usually in a pocket in my ski pants all season. Additionally, I carry skin wax, often kept very accessible, as this is super valuable on those bluebird days when we still have cold snow. Scrape the snow, water, and ice off the skin and rub some of this wax into the hairs of the skin and you should stay glob free for a bit.
A small amount of tape, folded flat can be super helpful. Tenacious Tape is a great alternative to generic duct tape and repairs can last a long time.
In the event of an unplanned night out, having the ability to light a stove or fire is huge.
Skin Tip Clip
Having a spare skin tip clip to keep the skin on will be a lifesaver, you can also easily carry a spare tail clip to keep your skins nicely affixed.
Pouch to Hold Repair Kit
A compact storage bag to hold all the items listed above is nice, this can be any old stuff sack, some small glacier harnesses come in a nice-sized pouch that makes a great pocket for storing your repair kit. I am using a medium-sized pouch from our friends at Sew Alpine in Colorado.
Longer Trip Specifics
For longer, potentially overnight trips I like to have the ability to reaffix a binding to the ski. This could either be a thru-bolt or an actual binding mounting screw. You will also need a 9/64 drill bit that can fit into a multi-tool, and the appropriate driver bits to put screws back into the ski.
Binding Repair Kit
– 9/64 hex drill bit
– Thru bolts with wing nuts
– Binding screws
– Hex Adapter for multi-tool
– Super glue
-Appropriate bits (Torx 20, Phillips #2, #3, Flat #7)
Carrying other repair items for multi-day trips can be important, a repair kit tailored to your stove of choice. The ability to fix zippers on the tent or integral layer or part of your backpack can mean the difference between staying and playing or leaving early. I carry an additional headlamp for overnight trips as well as a spare lighter.