Guest Author - Carol Viau
What is just as fun as our winter sports? Getting new gear for our winter sports!Although I do my best to wear things out until they need replacing, sometimes the gear being used is simply no longer suited to the task. This revelation is what prompted me to throw down my credit card and purchase the Cilao 44, a backpack I reviewed on this site.
How does one decide when itís time to get rid of old gear and purchase new gear?
1-It fits poorly (if this is something you can wear).
2-It is more of a hindrance than it is helpful.
3-You wish it had features that it doesnít.
4-Part of it is broken or doesnít work well.
5-It is a safety risk.
6-You are ready to toss it as far as you are physically able.
The criteria listed above can apply to any type of gear. As winter sports equipment is typically expensive to start with, many of us use our gear far past its expected shelf life. Here are some examples of gear that might need to be replaced:
A winter jacket, ski pants, or gloves that is no longer waterproof.
Ski bindings that are more than 10 years old (at least get them checked at a ski shop).
An avalanche transceiver that is not adequately receiving or sending a signal. A cracked ski or snowmobile helmet.
A broken ski brake.
My old backpack qualified for five out of the six points mentioned above. Surprisingly the only category that didnít apply is that it wasnít broken. You may be wondering how a backpack could be a safety risk. I found that when skiing steep terrain requiring hop turns, the weight in my pack would shift towards the downhill side with each turn, no matter how much I tightened it down. It would nearly throw my off balance, and once it actually caused me to fall in a dangerous place. The top lid of the pack would also hinder me from looking up when I was wearing a helmet and hiking up steep slopes with an ice axe and crampons.
By not keeping your gear up to certain standards, you could potentially injure yourself with old equipment, experience hypothermia with old outdoor clothing, or at the least, have a miserable day in the outdoors. Take a good long look at your winter sports gear and replace items that fit these descriptions. Then youíll be able to enjoy the winter season that much more!