I need a backpack that I can forget I am wearing, otherwise, I may choose to forget to wear it.  K2′s Pilchuck Kit keeps my rescue shovel and aluminum avy probe close enough to my body that it does not affect balance or require removal on a chairlift.  This is the pack that I use for in-bounds pow skiing and sidecountry skiing, often at times when I’d contemplate going with out.  I now have no excuse for preparedness–and I don’t wish that I did.  The included Rescue Shovel can lock the shovel blade at 90 degrees, which I use for digging out my car in the morning and testing snow in a pit, and the handle is long enough that my back thanks me after I finish building a jump take-off. It also has features that I hope to never use, like ability to build a rescue sled and a metal blade burly enough to hack through hard avalanche debris to save a buried friend.  The avalanche probe is stiff, strong, and as light as anything on the market, and I hope to never use it.  It all comes in a minimalist backpack that is strong and simple.  I strap my skis to it for hiking, and stash an energy bar or two inside for when the powder warrants skipping lunch.
-JT Holmes

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