Headlamps

Best Headlamps for 2019-2020

 Below you will find our staff’s current Top 10 Best Headlamps for 2019-2020.  2018-2019 was an amazing season for snowboarding and 2019-2020 is going to be even better.  Our team has gotten a look on some of the Best Headlamps out there for Snowboarding (or Hiking and Running!) so far.  And getting hands-on time with some of the coolest headlamps out there has been a real pleasure!

Choosing the perfect Headlamp whether you are Snowboarding at night or camping on vacation can make all the difference between frustration and a fantastic experience. No one likes a dim or ineffective Headlamp and relying on a flashlight or smartphone light to guide you through the night is never ideal.  In order to make this Top 10 Best Headlamps List, all headlamps had to satisfy certain requirements.  Comfort, durability, construction quality and design were all factors.

Ranked from Skier’s, Snowboarders, Campers, and Hikers scattered across the globe, These headlamps have been tested in various conditions and environments.  From the Mountains of the Pacific Northwest to the Alps in Europe and the Andes in South America, these headlamps have seen a variety of things. These are some of the best Headlamps out there, and any time something better comes along, we will update this list with the latest and greatest headlamps.  Choosing your first headlamp as a beginner can be a little overwhelming, but this Top 10 Best Headlamps list is here to help you find the best headlamp for your needs.  Enjoy, and of course. . .safe riding!

Best Headlamps | Powderheadz.com

Best Headlamps | Powderheadz.com

Our Top Rated Headlamps

Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp 2019

The Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp is one of the best headlamps and overall a stellar product. It’s above average in nearly every major category: emits up to 300 Lumens in max mode, Red night vision mode, and a dimming feature. But it’s major selling point is its battery performance by using rechargeable batteries and integrating a charger in the housing that is supported by a USB adapter.  

It’s a great option for long trips as you don’t need to carry additional batteries with you. Just top up the battery after every use by plugging it into a car adapter, laptop, external, battery, etc. and you’ll start your next adventure not having to second guess your battery life. This is an excellent option for someone to buy a Snowboarding Headlamp once and never having to buy another one again.

Powderheadz Rating

4.5/5

Spark Headlamp

A monster of a headlamp, the Vont Spark Headlamp is the epitome of prime versatility! 

Whether you’re into a range of outdoor sports like snowboarding, spelunking, or hunting; or you’re into staying fit and keeping healthy by running, biking, or rock climbing; or you’re simply the worry wart who wants to be ready for any emergency at home or outside, like a car breakdown, a storm, a power outage, and even a zombie apocalypse, then this beast of a headlamp is a must-have for you!

Power-packed with 200 lumens of LED lights, the robust Vont Spark Headlamp boasts of its waterproof, drop-resistant, and military-grade construction that has been rigorously tested to prove its indestructibility in extreme conditions. 

With all that said plus its comfortability, reasonable price, and the lifetime quality guarantee that it carries from Vont, the Spark Headlamp may just be the best bang for your buck you can get without a doubt!

Powderheadz Rating

5/5

 

Black Diamond Storm 2016

Compared to the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp, the Black Diamond Storm Headlamp would be considered the bigger, stronger, older brother. This robust headlamp packs 250 lumens using 1 QuadPower LED along with 1 DoublePower white LED.  However such a powerful Headlamp requires four AAA batteries instead of three.

While it shares many of the same attributes as the Spot Headlamp such as PowerTap Technology it also includes Red and Green SinglePower LEDs for better Night Vision. Also, the Storm comes with a customized housing that is completely sealed from dust and water.

This is the premier Headlamp for outdoor usage, whether that is climbing in wet caves, hiking up tropical forests, and snowboarding in deep powder. The Black Diamond Storm Headlamp is a must buy for any outdoor enthusiast who doesn’t let a lack of sunlight get in the way. We believe it to be one of the best headlamps available.

Powderheadz Rating

5/5

 

Ultra Blue Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp

The Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp is a perfect multi-discipline headlamp that can provide stellar light riding down a mountain or running on a dark, but busy road. This Headlamp is designed with the runner in mind because of the three red strobe taillights that can give fair warning to bikers or drivers coming up behind you. Or it can give your snowboarding partner another point of reference to find you when riding through the trees. The versatile Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp is a perfect option for those who are into multiple sports and would rather buy one headlamp instead of more.

Powderheadz Rating

4.5/5

Petzl NAO Headlamp

The Petzl NAO is in a league of its own. Considered one of the more luxurious headlamps out there, the Petzl NAO Headlamp has an amazing feature: the ability to adjust light output based on the situation. The integrated front sensor responds to reflected light and adjusts accordingly, giving you the perfect amount of light you would need in any given situation. When you’re stopped reading a map or your phone, the light will become soft and diffuse. When you’re moving, the headlamp will use a wide medium setting to show obstacles within your field of view. And when you’re looking ahead, it brightens and narrows to help you pick out your next target/path.

Best of all, it’s extremely customize-able using Petzl software to add up to 4 profiles/preference types to suit your needs.

Powderheadz Rating

5/5

 

Black Petzl TIKKA Headlamp

Considered the generic, baseline model of the group, the Petzl TIKKA + Headlamp is a perfect purchase for the casual user. It’s one step up from the Petzl Tikkina and a few models down from the overpowering Petzl NAO. With 180 Lumens, The LED is brighter and has more control than the Tikkina model.

It also features a red LED for better night vision and a boost mode that allows temporary access to maximum brightness with a single press of a button. Other great features include consistent light output over the life of the batteries and a reserve mode when the batteries are running low. This is an ideal value-based headlamp that has great all-around uses. It doesn’t excel in any given category like the other headlamps on this list, but it isn’t inferior in any category either. 

Best of all, it’s extremely customize-able using Petzl software to add up to 4 profiles/preference types to suit your needs.

Powderheadz Rating

3.5/5

 

Princeton Tec Remix Headlamp

With a combination of a single Maxbright LED that throws a 150-lumen spot beam and 3 Ultrabright LEDs, the Princeton Tec Remix Headlamp has the ability to perform in any environment, whether you need it for a close range area headlight or long distance spotting. The simple lightweight design is equipped with an asymmetrical bracket, an easily accessible battery door enclosure, and a large easy-to-use push button switch to go between modes. The end result is a headlamp with true versatility in a compact, water-resistant package.

Powderheadz Rating

3/5

 

Black Diamond Spot

One of the most popular headlamps out there, the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp is an all around headlamp capable of just about everything. This waterproof headlamp (up to 1.1 meters submersion for 30 minutes) comes equipped with the stellar brightness of 200 lumens. Also included is the PowerTap Technology that allows the user to make quick beam adjustments on the fly with small taps to the side button, allowing simple transition between full and dimmed power to increase or decrease illumination in distance or proximity modes. This feature’s ease of use is a step up from normal button presses but a step down to the adaptive adjustment of Petzl’s Reactive Lighting Technology found in the Petzl NAO Headlamp.

Powderheadz Rating

5/5

Fenix HP25 Headlamp

The Fenix HP25 Headlamp is by far, the strongest, brightest headlamp on the list, and sometimes that’s all you need. It beats all the competitors by being able to project a beam of 180 lumens at over 160 meters! The trade-off for the Fenix HP25 Headlamp is it is heavier than the rest and drains batteries the fastest. However, the superior strength of this Headlamp more than compensates what it lacks in the other statistical categories of the other Headlamps such as the Black Diamond ReVolt or the Coast HL7.

Sometimes all you need is a super bright light when you’re running around at night or doing some quick turns in the trees. With the Fenix HP25 Headlamp, you’ll have the knowledge of knowing that nothing is brighter.

Powderheadz Rating

3.5/5

Black Petzl Tikkina Headlamp (80 lumens)

The Petzl TIKKINA Headlamp is an excellent Budget Headlamp that works great as an entry-level Headlamp. Considering the price, it gets the most bang for the buck in terms of battery life and performance. When compared to other headlamps in it’s price range, it drastically out-performs its competition. Any other Headlamp that you find that costs less than the Petzl TIKKINA Headlamp will have a significant drop-off in brightness and battery life. Anything less, and you get what you pay for.

Sometimes all you need is a super bright light when you’re running around at night or doing some quick turns in the trees. With the Fenix HP25 Headlamp, you’ll have the knowledge of knowing that nothing is brighter.

Powderheadz Rating

3.5/5

Best Snowboarding Headlamps | Powderheadz.com

And there you have it!  Our current Top 10 Best Headlamps of the 2019-2020 Season.  There are literally hundreds of headlamps out there and finding the right one can be a challenge, so hopefully you agree with out choices.  Do you think a certain headlamp deserves a spot on our Top Rated Headlamps list?  Let us know?  Email us at info (at) powderheadz.com and we will do our best to give it a thorough testing!  Need more tips?  Look below for a thorough guide on how to determine which headlamp is right for you.  Happy riding!

Best Ski Headlamps | Powderheadz.com

How-to: Buy Headlamps

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Snowboarding Out of Bounds with and without a Headlamp.

Headlamps today use LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) which are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and extremely durable.  But how can you tell the difference between headlamps?  There are several ways to determine which Snowboarding Headlamp is right for you:

Light Output (Lumens):

Lumens are a unit of measurement that indicates the total amount of light that is emitted in all directions from a light source. Generally, a headlamp with a high amount of lumens will consume energy at a higher rate than a light with a lower amount of lumens. However a higher lumen count doesn’t always mean a brighter headlamp. The brightness of a headlamp is usually determined with how well the Headlamp Manufacturer focuses and directs the light.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
A comparison between snowboarding with and without a headlamp.

Beam Distance:

A headlamp’s main purpose is to channel light to a targeted area. The manufacturer will usually determine how far (in meters) a headlamp’s light will project useable light. While lumens determines how bright a headlamp will be, beam distance will tell you how far the beam will travel.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Snowboarding Out of Bounds with and without a Headlamp

Beam Type:

Spot – This beam type is usually tighter and enables long-distance viewing.  This version is usually best when going really fast down a mountain.

Flood – This is usually suitable for slower, more technical snowboarding in the trees.  It’s best to ride with this type of beam to see a large surrounding area.

Spot/Flood (Adjustable) – The best of both worlds and the most versatile.  It’s recommended to find a Headlamp that has this option.

Headlamp Modes:

Low – This is usually the standard setting that most Headlamps will use and is perfect when you have some moonlight to also guide you through the mountain.

Mid – Some Headlamps will have settings between Low and High to give the user more options.

High – This is usually the max setting that offers the most light available given on the model.  It’s best to use this when its almost pitch black due to cloud coverage or Moon-less nights.  However this setting will drain the battery the fastest.

Strobe – This mode usually comes with two rates:  fast and slow.  It’s often used as an emergency signal.

Red Light – Some headlamps will offer this mode which can help prevent the pupil to shrink as compared to the standard white light.  It’s good for nighttime navigation (when you’re walking around), but not necessarily when you are snowboarding.

Headlamp Modes:

Low – This is usually the standard setting that most Headlamps will use and is perfect when you have some moonlight to also guide you through the mountain.

Mid – Some Headlamps will have settings between Low and High to give the user more options.

High – This is usually the max setting that offers the most light available given on the model.  It’s best to use this when its almost pitch black due to cloud coverage or Moon-less nights.  However this setting will drain the battery the fastest.

Strobe – This mode usually comes with two rates:  fast and slow.  It’s often used as an emergency signal.

Red Light – Some headlamps will offer this mode which can help prevent the pupil to shrink as compared to the standard white light.  It’s good for nighttime navigation (when you’re walking around), but not necessarily when you are snowboarding.

Battery Life:

Headlamp Manufacturers usually determine the Headlamps effectiveness or run time based on how long the headlamp can produce usuable light (think light from a full moon) at two meters. Most Headlamps are designed to work with lithium batteries because they normally outperform alkaline batteries in cold-weather conditions. Rechargeable batteries work as well, but they tend to lose power when they are sitting idle. However, it’s always smart to carry backup batteries just in case. Never get stranded on a mountain because of carelessness.

Also, some high-powered headlamps offer battery packs in the rear of the headband with a small cable running to the front of the headlamp. It spreads the weight of the entire headlamp across your head, but it often feels clunky. It’s best to stick with regular headlamps.

Weight:

Usually, most Headlamps weigh less than 8 ounces (including batteries).  You won’t notice a difference in weight between Headlamps unless you go for some of the high-powered models that have external battery packs or have top straps for balance.

Other Features:

Regulated Output – Instead of the headlamp’s light gradually dimming, a regulated headlamp will offer a steady amount of brightness throughout a battery’s life.  This is a very popular feature but the downside is once it goes dark, it goes dark.  You won’t get the gradual warning that your headlamp is about to go like you would if your headlamp was unregulated.  That is why it is always important to carry spare batteries.

Water Resistance – Most headlamps will be able to withstand some degree of moisture from water and snow and can handle be immersed in water depending on length of time and depth.  Usually, this is a non-issue.

Tilt – The ability adjust the headlamp up and down while you are wearing it is a great option to consider.  It lets you position the beam exactly the way you like it and lets you ride more comfortably.

Top Straps – This option helps with the stability of the headlamp.  You usually won’t need this option since the headlamp is usually wrapped around your helmet.  You may want a top strap if you are planning to use this headlamp for other activities besides Snowboarding.

Best Ski Headlamps | Powderheadz.com

And there you have it!  Our current Top 10 Best Headlamps of the 2019-2020 Season.  There are literally hundreds of headlamps out there and finding the right one can be a challenge, so hopefully you agree with out choices.  Do you think a certain headlamp deserves a spot on our Top Rated Headlamps list?  Let us know?  Email us at info (at) powderheadz.com and we will do our best to give it a thorough testing!  Need more tips?  Look below for a thorough guide on how to determine which headlamp is right for you.  Happy riding!

Best Outdoor Headlamps | Powderheadz.com

Snowboard Gloves

Best Ski Gloves and Snowboard Gloves for 2019-2020

Best Snowboarding Gloves

Purchasing gloves can be surprising complicated. There are many features you need to consider and the debate usually starts on whether you want Gloves or Mittens. And throughout the years new features for ski gloves keep cropping up, such as heated gloves and touch-screen compatibility. Even the Powderheadz.com team is almost evenly split between mittens or gloves. Regardless, we know that the most important features to consider is warmth, fit, and waterproofing. You can find what we reviewed and what we think are the Best Ski Gloves for 2018-2019 down below.

“They call them fingers, but I’ve never seen them fing.” – Otto Mann

Safe riding!

Best Ski Gloves | Powderheadz.com

Our Top Rated Ski Gloves

Best Ski Gloves for Warmth:  

Black Diamond Guide Ski Gloves

Waterproofing Gore-Tex XCR
Insulation 100g Fleece | Primaloft 1 | Wool
Palm Material Goat-skin Leather
Single or Double Glove Double
Cuff or Gauntlet Cuff
Weight 11 0unces

The Black Diamond Guide Ski Gloves is the one of the warmest gloves out there that isn’t a ski mitt. They feature a pair of removable PrimaLoft One and boiled wool liners which helps keep you dry in wet weather as well as GORE-TEX XCR inserts. The four-way stretch nylon shell and goat leather palms provide the durability needed to survive harsh winter conditions. And the foam-padded knuckles help protect your hands during any impacts.

Powderheadz Rating

4.5/5

Best Ski Gloves for Water Resistance:  

Black Diamond Legend Gloves

Waterproofing Gore-Tex insert
Insulation Primaloft Gold
Palm Material Goat leather with Neoprene Cuff
Single or Double Glove Single
Cuff or Gauntlet Cuff
Weight 12 0unces

Black Diamond Legend Gloves use the most durable materials for prolonged use in the harshest weather conditions. These gloves are made with water-resistant goatskin leather and compression-molded padding to repel any water from getting in. The durable reinforced goatskin leather palm patch has Kevlar stitching that helps keep a tight seal around the seams.

Powderheadz Rating

3.5/5

Best Ski Gloves for Touch Screens:  

Outdoor Research Mute Sensor Ski Gloves

Waterproofing Ventia
Insulation Enduraloft 266g
Palm Material Goat-skin Leather
Single or Double Glove Single
Cuff or Gauntlet Cuff
Weight 8.6 ounces

For those who can’t seem to put away their phone, the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor Ski Gloves provides touch-screen capabilities on the thumb and fingers. It can really help on cold winter days when you need to use your phone to text a friend, change your music, or take a picture without having to take your gloves off. The ski gloves also performs well in all other categories such as warmth, water-resistance, and durability. That’s why we think the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor Ski Gloves are considered the one of the best ski gloves around.

 

Powderheadz Rating

5/5

Best Ski Gloves Hybrid:  

 

 

Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger Snowboard Gloves

Waterproofing Triton Polyamid
Insulation Polyester Fleece
Palm Material Goatskin Leather
Single or Double Glove Double
Cuff or Gauntlet Gauntlet
Weight 11 ounces

The Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski 3-Finger Gloves combines the best of both worlds. It offers the warmth that mitts provide but gloves don’t and the dexterity that gloves provide that mitts don’t. You’ll be able to stay warm in more frigid environments without feeling too clumsy with these on. The only drawback is that although these gloves are very durable, they aren’t the best for water-resistance and will need waterproofing treatments from time to time.

Powderheadz Rating

4/5

Best Ski Gloves Mittens:   

The North Face Montana Mitt

Waterproofing Hyvent
Insulation Heatseeker 150g | Polyester
Palm Material Synthetic
Single or Double Glove Single
Cuff or Gauntlet Gauntlet
Weight 9 ounces

The North Face Montana Mitt is one of the better all-around mittens out there that scores well in durability, warmth, and water resistance. Though its not the warmest mitten in the market, it is warmer than most ski gloves.  It is also pretty durable and is extremely water resistant.  Consider the North Face Montana Mitt a mid-range purchase for those who ski or snowboard in moderate but wet snow climates like the North American West Coast (Sierra and Cascade Mountain Ranges).

Powderheadz Rating

4/5

Best Ski Gloves for Durability: 

Hestra Morrison Pro Model Snowboarding Gloves

Waterproofing CZone insert
Insulation Thermolite | Polyester Fleece
Palm Material Cowhide | Goatskin Leather
Single or Double Glove Single
Cuff or Gauntlet Cuff
Weight 9.9 ounces

Hestra’s Morrison Pro Model Ski Gloves are made with Army Leather-Goat Leather palms and proofed cowhide for the upper section. Inspired by professional free-skier Seth Morrison, these gloves are extremely durable and are designed to last through all the jumps, bumps, and bruises you may face season after season. The gloves fit extremely well and give you a fair amount of dexterity and is one of the warmest gloves on the market.

Powderheadz Rating

4.7/5

Best Ski Gloves | Powderheadz.com

And there you have it! Our current list for the Best Ski Gloves of the 2019-2020 Season. There are literally hundreds of ski and snowboard gloves out there and finding the right one can be a challenge, so hopefully you agree with out choices. Do you think a certain pair of ski gloves deserves a spot on our Top Rated Ski Gloves list? Let us know? Email us at info (at) powderheadz.com and we will do our best to give it a thorough testing! Need more tips?  Look below for a thorough guide on how to determine which pair of ski gloves is right for you. 

As always, happy riding!

Best Snowboarding Gloves | Powderheadz.com

How-To: Buy the Best Ski Gloves

Any good skier and snowboarder will know that a good pair of ski gloves or mittens can be the difference between a great time and a miserable time with frozen fingers. When shopping for a pair of gloves, you need to determine the activity you plan on using these for. Not all gloves are created equal.  Depending on the situation, sometimes a thick, well insulated mitten is perfect for sub-zero temperature but not for a spring day of skiing. Below you’ll find some categories to consider when shopping for snowboard gloves.

Glove Types: 

Determining the type of ski glove you want will always be the first question that needs to be answered.

Gloves – Gloves with individual fingers offer the most dexterity and are the standard that most people go by.  They allow you to frequently handle gear without having to take them off.

Mittens – Mittens are usually the warmest type of glove because your fingers generate more heat when they are together instead of separately.  However you trade warmth for dexterity.

Hybrid – A combination of a glove and a mitten that offers a little more warmth than a glove and a more dexterity from a mitten.

3-in-1 – 3-in-1 gloves consist of shell glove/mitten and a removable liner glove/mitten.  These versatile gloves give you the flexibility to wear both for maximum warmth or just the shell or liner during warmer weather.  Liner gloves offer the most amount of dexterity without exposing your hands to cold weather.  You can either purchase 3-in-1 gloves as a unit or mix and match separate shells and liners.

Fit:

It’s important that your gloves fit you properly.  Here are a few tips to help you figure out the right fit for your hands:

  1. There should be about a 1/4 inch of material between the glove and end of your fingers.
  2. The glove shouldn’t be tight or restrictive when you ball your fist.
  3. Make sure the palm is completely inside the glove and past the cuff.

Insulation:

The conditions you ski or snowboard in will usually determine what type of insulation you should look for when choosing a pair of ski gloves.  The best type of gloves will offer you warmth and breathability without compromising fit.  You may want to consider more than one pair if you travel to different parts of the world to go riding.  Here are some types of insulation that can be found in ski gloves:

Down – Down insulation is perfect for very cold and dry conditions.  The material is often made with down feathers and plumules that traps air which keeps your hands insulated.  However, it loses its ability once it becomes wet and is very slow to dry.

Fleece – Fleece isn’t quite as warm as most synthetics but it is the most comfortable.  It is often used in conjunction with other insulation like Primaloft®.

Primaloft® – This material handles wet conditions the best. It is not as warm as Down material but it is more breathable and water-resistant.  It also still provides some insulation when it does get wet.

Thinsulate™ – This material is made of microfibers that provides amazing insulation with less bulk.  It is often found in gloves and mittens that advertise dexterity as their main feature.

Waterproof Material:

Getting your hands wet on the mountain will eventually cause you to have cold hands.  Most gloves will offer some level of waterproofing, if not 100% waterproofing.  And usually your hands get wet from snow getting inside your gloves through your wrist or just by sweating. But sometimes it really is just the exterior glove not having any of the following materials:

Gore-Tex® – Gore-Tex® is the gold-standard for waterproofing and breathability. It also means it is the most expensive.

Hipora® – This material is more stretchable than other polyurethane coatings and will have microscope pores throughout the fabric to prevent water from entering but allow moisture to wick out.

Polyurethane – Most waterproof fabrics have a laminated coating made of polyurethane such as the North Face HyVent® or the Marmot MemBrain®.  They are usually much cheaper than Gore-Tex® and offer decent enough water protection.

Other Features:

Heated Gloves – There are some battery-operated gloves that provide heat.  These are often heavier, bulkier, and definitely more expensive than regular gloves.

Leashes  – Made for the clumsy people who will lose their gloves on the chairlift.  You know who you are.

Long gauntlets – These gloves extend over the sleeve and cinch close to keep snow and air from getting in.

Palm Materials – Leather palms offer superior grip and durability over synthetic materials.

Thumb wipes – Some gloves will have a soft material on the thumb specifically to wipe your drippy nose.

Touch-Screen Compatibility – Some manufacturers will offer touch-screen compatibility for those who plan on using their smartphones frequently on the mountain. The feature is often found on lightweight gloves or liners.

Zippered Pockets – Pockets on the back of the hand are designed to fit disposable hand warmer packets or RFID cards.  They can double as air vents during warmer days.

Best Ski and Snowboarding Gloves | Powderheadz.com

This is our current list of Best Snowboarding and Ski Gloves for the 2019-2020 Season.  However, there are tons more Snowboarding Gloves out there and we will be updating this list often with the most current information. Think we missed a pair of Snowboarding or Ski Gloves and that there’s one that deserves a spot on the Best Snowboarding Gloves List? Let us know!  E-mail us at info (at) powderheadz.com.

As always, happy riding!

Best Snowboard Gloves | Powderheadz.com

Best Avalanche Gear

Best Avalanche Safety Gear for 2018-2019

Best Snowboarding Gear | Powderheadz.com

When you’re heading out to the backcountry, gear becomes paramount to Avalanche Safety.  It’s also recommended that you never, ever go by yourself and that everyone in your group has at least three things: an Avalanche Beacon, a Shovel, and an Avalanche Probe. The backcountry can be a life and death situation, so never let a lack of gear be the reason why something catastrophic like an avalanche be made worse. Here at Powderheadz.com, we review some of the best Avalanche Safety Gear available online so you are prepared for the worst case scenario.

Also, purchasing the gear is just half the battle. The other half requires you to at least take a training course and for you to read up your equipment and practice. If and when an avalanche occurs, minutes can make the difference between life and death. Make sure you’re not ill-equipped nor ill-prepared.

Top Avalanche Safety Gear

Best Snowboarding Gear | Powderheadz.com

air bags

Best Snowboarding Gear | Powderheadz.com

Avalanche Airbags

Best Snowboarding Gear | Powderheadz.com

Avalanche Airbags help increase your survival rate if you ever end up in an Avalanche. The Avalanche Airbag packs contain CO² or compressed air that inflate a large bag (or sometimes two) that is manually deployed by the user by a ripcord. The Airbag’s large volume helps you float to the top during an avalanche and remains inflated for several minutes for maximum visibility and reduce rescue time.  They can often be reused and the compressed-air cartridges can be refilled with an adapter.

Avalanche Airbags are relatively expensive, but they is a life saving measure and worth every penny. 

Black Diamond Halo 20 JetForce Airbag Pack

Material Cordura | Nylon
Bag Volume 26L
Weight 3300g
Ski Carry Yes
Snowboard Carry No
Air Bag Included Yes
Cylinder Included Yes (Rechargeable)

The Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Backpack is a perfect bag for day trips into the backcountry. It rides really well with an easy ski carrying system and zippered pockets and it’s one of first bags in the market to come with a battery powered fan to inflate the airbag. However, it is on the heavy side and doesn’t have enough room (26 Litres) for you to pack extra gear for colder temperatures.

Powderheadz Rating

5/5

Mammut Pro Protection 35L Airbag Backpack

Material Nylon
Bag Volume 35L
Weight 2690g
Ski Carry Yes
Snowboard Carry Yes
Air Bag Included Yes
Cartridge Included  No

The Mammut Pro Protection Airbag 3.0 is a light, durable, 35L backpack that is great for those who need more space for longer trips into the backcountry or mountain guides who need to carry more equipment. The Mammut’s PAS (Protection Airbag System) is stitched right into the bag and not only helps you float above the snow but also helps protect your head and neck from further trauma.

Powderheadz Rating

4.5/5

Backcountry Access Float 32 Airbag Pack

Material Nylon
Bag Volume 32L
Weight 3090g
Ski Carry Yes
Snowboard Carry No
Air Bag Included Yes
Cylinder Included No

The BCA Float 32 Airbag Pack Backpack is a well-designed, super lightweight, all-around backpack that won’t destroy your wallet. It comes with dual zippered waist belt pockets, adjustable around the torso, and it gives you the option to wear the trigger on either shoulder.  The U-shaped air bag deploys from the top and inflates above your head and helps you keep afloat.

Powderheadz Rating

5/5

avalanche beacons

Best Snowboarding Gear | Powderheadz.com

Avalanche Airbags

Best Snowboarding Gear | Powderheadz.com

Avalanche Transceivers become a necessary and life-saving purchase if you plan on stepping into the world of back-country skiing or back-country snowboarding. These Avalanche Beacons operate at 457 kHz and help find people or equipment that gets buried under snow.  When the user goes on descent, the beacon is activated with a low-powered signal during the trip. If an avalanche were to occur and the owner is safe, they can switch the transceiver from transmit to receive mode, allowing it to search signals coming from other skiers or snowboarders who may be trapped.

These things are no joke. If you plan on doing any sort of backcountry riding, purchasing a solid Avalanche Transceiver is paramount to safety. It can save your life one day. 

Arva Neo Avalanche Transceiver

Range 60 meters
Battery Life 250 hours
Digital | Analog Digital
Number of Antennae 3
Flagging Feature Yes
Weight 230 grams

The Arva Neo Avalanche Beacon is a straight-foward, performance driven transceiver that has excellent range, is user-friendly, and has a bevy of features. Its IosTech technology lengthens the beacon’s search bandwidth by making the second of three antennaes (two for searching, one for receiving) as strong as the first one.

Powderheadz Rating

4/5

Mammut Pulse Barryvox Avalanche Beacon

Range 60 meters
Battery Life 200 hours
Digital | Analog Both
Number of Antennae 3
Flagging Feature Yes
Weight 210 grams

The Mammut PULSE Barryvox Beacon is a three-antenna transceiver with excellent range that has a 360 degree display that directs you back towards a beacon if you begin moving away. It can also manage up to seven target beacons that can be marked as “found” or “active” in case there are multiple burials.

Powderheadz Rating

3.5/5

Pieps DSP Pro Avalanche Beacon

Range 60 meters
Battery Life 400 hours
Digital | Analog Digital
Number of Antennae 3
Flagging Feature Yes
Weight 200 grams

The Pieps DSP Pro Beacon is digital 3 antenna transceiver that has a broad search width that can keep track of up to 4 signals. In transmit mode, the beacon automatically switches to another antenna if one of them experiences interference from another device. It also adjusts its signal if 2 devices are buried close together, allowing you to tell them apart.

Powderheadz Rating

4.5/5

probes

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Avalanche Probes

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Avalanche Probes are usually an afterthought when purchasing Avalanche Safety Equipment. However, Avalanche Probes are mandatory equipment (along with Transceivers and Shovels) and help you pinpoint the exact location of an avalanche victim and his/her burial depth. Without any one of these three pieces of equipment, recovery time during an avalanche rescue goes up exponentially.

There are three things you should consider when picking up an Avalanche probe:

  • Length – The ideal length is around 2 t0 3 meters, with shorter probes being easier to pack.
  • Material – The choice is usually between aluminum and carbon fiber. Aluminum Avalanche Probes are generally heavier and cheaper, but penetrates snow better than carbon fiber ones. Carbon Fiber Avalanche Probes are lighter and more expensive, but much easier to pack.
  • Functionality – An Avalanche Probe is should be fast and easy to deploy. Most probes can be deployed by pulling on the string that holds the sections together or by snapping them out like a fishing rod.

Below are some of the Best Avalanche Probes in the market today.

Quickdraw Avalanche Probe

Length 320cm
Weight 278g
Material Carbon

The Black Diamond Quickdraw Probe Carbon 320 deploys extremely fast with quick draw speed and a rapid deployment stuff sack. The non-slip grip provides enough friction, regardless of wet gloves. And the alloy tip creates a larger hole for the 320cm shaft’s probing sensitivity.

Powderheadz Rating

4/5

Mammut Carbon Avalanche Probe 240

Length 240cm
Weight 185g
Material Carbon

The Mammut Carbon Probe 240 Fast Lock Light Avalanche Probe is for those who are concerned about extraneous weight in their backcountry gear and measure everything by the gram. The Telescopic Locking Probe offers optimum functionality in a durable, high-quality, carbon-fiber package.

Powderheadz Rating

4/5

PIEPS iProbe Avalanche Probe

Length 260cm
Weight 390g
Material Carbon

The Pieps iProbe II 260 Avalanche Probe pulls out all the stops, and it’s best if you don’t cut corners when it comes to yours or your friend’s life. Unlike most avalanche probes, the Pipes iProbe II comes with an integrated receiver with a range of 2 meters that will pick up any transmitting avalanche beacon.

Powderheadz Rating

4/5

shovels

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Avalanche Shovels


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Avalanche Shovels are necessary pieces of equipment for digging out avalanche victims from under the snow. You’ll need a good shovel and good shoveling technique (chop and remove instead of typical shoveling) to execute a quick rescue. Avalanche Shovels also help in testing snow stability.

There a few things you should consider when choosing a shovel:

Material – 6000 and 7000 Series Aluminum provides the best strength-to-weight ration for avalanche shovels. Plastic Shovels may weigh less than aluminum shovels, but they are also less durable and therefore unreliable.

Blade Size – Smaller blades are easier to handle but less efficient at moving large amounts of snow. Larger blades can move more snow but take more strength to use and can tire you out quicker. Sometimes it’s easier to be be quicker with your rate of shoveling with a smaller shovel than be slower with a larger shovel that isn’t being used at full capacity.

Blade Shape – Many Avalanche Shovels come in multiple shapes: Flat, Curved, or Serrated. Flat Shovels will help you create smoother walls in your snow pits while Serrated Shovels can help you cut through ice.

Handles – If it feels good in your hand, you’re going in the right direction.

Grip – Choose a shovel grip that works best for you. T-Shaped and L-Shaped grips are lighter and more compact, while D-Shaped grips are sometimes more comfortable to hold when you are using mittens.

Shaft – Most shovels have telescoping shafts so they can fit in your backpack. They also give you leverage options, where longer shafts give you more leverage for digging while shorter shafts help you maneuver in tighter spaces. Oblong or Triangular shafts are usually more rigid and stronger than Cylindrical shafts.

Weight/Size – Generally speaking, you want your back-country gear to be as light as possible. However, you shouldn’t try and lighten your backpack by getting a lighter shovel. You’ll need your shovel to be extremely dependable, and that usually means it needs to be heavier. Your Avalanche Shovel should also fit inside your backpack instead of outside your backpack, where there’s a risk it can rip off if you fall.

Below is what we think are the Best Avalanche Shovels on the market today.


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Black Diamond Evac Shovel

Black Diamond Evac Avalanche Shovel

MaterialAluminum
Blade Size and ShapeLarge and Flat
ShaftTelescoping
HandleD-Shape
Weight794g
  

The Black Diamond Evac Avalanche Shovel has a compact telescoping shaft and a durable anodized blade. It also converts easily into a hoe from the same attachment point to assist with excavation. And the flat-bottom profile helps you get a clean face on pit walls.


Powderheadz Rating

[usr 5]

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Backcountry Access B52 Shovel

Backcountry Access B52 Avalanche Shovel

MaterialAluminum
Blade Size and ShapeLarge and Flat
ShaftCollapsible
HandleD-Shape
Weight960g

The Backcountry Access B52 Avalanche Shovel has one of the largest blades for avalanche shovels and has a comfortable D-Shape Grip so you won’t have to take your mittens off when you’re shoveling. The collapsible shovel packs nicely in your backpack.


Powderheadz Rating

[usr 4]

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Black Diamond Deploy Shovel

Black Diamond Deploy Avalanche Shovel

MaterialAluminum
Blade Size and ShapeLarge and Curved
ShaftTelescoping
HandleT-Shape
Weight885g
  

The Black Diamond Deploy Avalanche Shovel comes with a curved, trapezoidal shaft that nests nicely into the blade that compacts well to fit into your backpack. It’s rapid deployment design can shave seconds off your response time during any rescue attempt.


Powderheadz Rating

[usr 4.5]

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radios

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Two-Way Radios


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Staying in communication is important in the Backcountry. When you and your friends are spread out, you’ll need some form of communication to keep in contact or to warn others. Hand signals won’t work in Blizzard like conditions or during stressful situations. And cellphone reception isn’t always a given when you go further away from a ski resort. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick up a few two-way radios before you head off to the backcountry.


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Backcountry Access BC Link Radio

Backcountry Access BC Link

TypeFRS/GMRS
Range20 miles
Weight12oz
  

  • Radio includes option for pre-set channel selections
  • Glove-friendly controls, optimized for easy handling
  • Smart Mic Unit provides push-to-talk button, volume control, and battery indicator
  • Base unit is waterproof to IP56 standards
  • 22 FRS GMRS channels + 121 sub-channels, ensuring minimal interference

Powderheadz Rating

[usr 4.5]

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 Midland GXT1050VP4 Two-Way Radio

Midland GXT1050VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio

TypeFRS/GMRS
Range36miles
Weight8oz
  

  • 50-Channel Mossy Oak Break Out Camo with Up to 36-Mile Range
  • NOAA/All Hazard Weather Channels with Alert and Weather Scan
  • 142 Privacy Codes
  • Vibrate Alert
  • 9 Levels of VOX for Hands Free Operation

Powderheadz Rating

[usr 4]

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Best Snowboarding Radio | Powderheadz.com


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This is our current list for the Best Avalanche Safety Gear of the 2018-2019 Season.  However, there are tons more Avalanche Safety Gear out there and we will be updating this list often with the most current information. Think we missed a piece of Avalanche Safety Equipment and that there’s something that deserves a spot on the Best Avalanche Safety Gear List? Let us know!  E-mail us at info (at) powderheadz.com.  

As always, happy riding!

>>Need a Ski Helmet?  Click HERE for the Best Ski and Snowboarding Helmets of 2018-2019<<

>>Need a some Ski and Snowboarding Gear and Tech?  Click HERE for the Best Ski and Snowboarding Gear of 2018-2019<<

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