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Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Gear: Inside Forrest Burki's bag of tricks


When packing for a backcountry mission, the poncho, of course, is mandatory.

Living on Washington's Olympic Peninsula means you've got snow in your backyard year-round, so Forrest Burki's backcountry pack is never too far from the front door. He usually travels light, though you can expect his crew to pack in everything from Cornish game hens to hot dogs wrapped in bacon, as I witnessed during a spring splitboard mission in Olympic National Park. Turns out it's just as important to know what's in your friends' packs as your own. Burki broke down his bag of tricks for us.

Tell us about your pack first. My new Levitation Project 15L pack just came to my door today! It looks like the perfect day pack for splitboarding. The straps are long enough to get a good double wrap around the poles. There are little spots for the shovel and probe, goggle pocket, sunglass pocket -- it has stowable straps, too. Seems perfect so far -- I'll probably have more feedback once I get it out for a day.

What are you packing for avalanche equipment? Dakine metal shovel, plastic won't cut it for crusty layers. BCA Tracker Beacon and a Voilé Tourlight probe.

List everything else we'd find if you were packing for a full day of backcountry shredding -- ayers, snacks, brass knuckles, camera ... whatever. All the above, plus goggles, shades, Thermos with coffee, whatever kind of snack I can pull together in the morning, poncho, maybe even Tucker, my "Lil Budge." That seems like enough stuff ... maybe some water. You can always eat snow. I'm usually slightly underprepared.

Best substitute for TP in the backcountry? Snow, always snow.

Favorite on-snow snacks? The ones my friends bring.

What's the strangest thing you've ever hauled into the backcountry? A woman. Matt Gadsby brought out a whole roasted chicken once, and a Sherlock Homes pipe. Pete Saari [Mervin Manufacturing guru] loved it.