Life-Link Backcountry Survival Kit

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What first attracted us to this skier's first-aid kit was a single unique accessory: the pole repair kit. Indeed, we were skeptical that the rest of the Backcountry Survival Kit ($65) was worth the price since there are many mediocre first-aid kits on the market and it's often better to build your own. But as we unpacked the Silnylon case, it became apparent this is a very well thought out package.

Because water destroys first-aid supplies, it is essential that a kit carried in ski packs be absolutely waterproof. Life-Link achieves this by packing the important items in two heavy-duty resealable clear plastic sacks that are rated to 200 feet. Inside are high-quality first-aid supplies (not the cheap stuff often found in commercial kits) that can handle significant trauma as well as cuts and blisters. Our former EMT/weight-weenie was surprised that there was little he would add (prescription drugs) or delete.

The emergency supplies included are a good start as well. The pole repair kit is simply some aluminum splints and hose clamps that will get you home after snapping an aluminum or carbon-fiber ski pole; it's an essential item that is surprisingly difficult to find anywhere. Also included are necessities such as duct tape, zip ties, a spare pole basket and survival items.

The complete Backcountry Survival Kit weighs 14.6 ounces (416 g); an optional Mylar bivy sack adds 6 ounces and $21 but we recommend an Integral Designs Guides Silsack instead. The kit is missing a good multi-tool with a posidrive-compatible screwdriver, spare binding screws, 2-part epoxy, needle and thread, and bailing wire. But these are easily added and will, hopefully, never be needed.

If you ask the average backcountry skier, snowboarder or snowshoer who is wearing an avalanche beacon what first-aid and survival supplies are in their pack, most will make up excuses and grudgingly admit they carry next to nothing. Often the reason is it's a hassle to put a decent kit together. The Backcountry Survival Kit isn't cheap but it makes any group safer, which is certainly a small price to pay.

SNEWS Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $65

For more information:www.life-link.com

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