Appendix A: Required Personal Equipment

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Required Equipment for Patrollers, Candidates and Guests

Patrollers and guests (visiting patrollers and ski-along recruits) are required to have the following personal equipment when on patrol.

Downhill Travel

A typical Tahoe Backcountry patrol day includes 6-10 miles of over-snow travel, with 1500-2000' of elevation gain and loss. Sturdy downhill ski equipment is required. Properly fitted climbing skins are required.

  • Recommended Bindings
    • Telemark binding with "free pivot" touring mode (recommended)
    • AT or Dynafit binding (recommended)
    • Touring Compatible Freeride Binding (recommended)
    • Sturdy and Reliable Splitboard
    • Telemark Binding without tour mode

The following equipment is not recommended but may be used in some circumstances:

* Snowshoes - efficient backcountry travel requires working as a team to break trail. Snowshoers often have a hard time using a skin track broken by skiers and will have to break their own trail.

The following equipment is not permitted on patrol:

  • NNN bindings
  • Alpine Trekker or similar "Free heel Adapter"
  • Waxless Cross-Country Skis


The backpack itself should be large enough to accommodate the items mentioned below and approximately one-third of the Modular Equipment carried by patrollers. Packs must have a volume of at least 25 liters; appropriate size will depend on your size and how you accommodate cold weather. Enough capacity to carry the equipment on this list, your personal gear (lunch, water, etc.) and a few items of patrol gear. A Dana Designs Bomb Pack is a good example of the size and type of pack many patrollers use. Packs should have attachment points for carrying skis or snowboards.

Avalanche Equipment

Patrollers, candidates and guests are required to have this equipment even if they lack specific training in its use. Patrol can supply loaner equipment of avalanche gear.

  1. Avalanche Transciever: Each member must have a transceiver by the beginning of the second year on patrol. Patrol can supply loaners.
  2. Avalanche Probe: 250-300cm breakdown avalanche probe. Convertible ski pole/probes are not an appropriate substitute.
  3. Snow Shovel: Snow shovel with a metal blade. Lexan shovels are highly discouraged.

Navigation and Survival Equipment

  1. Map: Maps of the area being patrolled. At minimum, a USGS 7.5 quad of Norden.
  2. Compass: preferably one which automatically adjusts for declination such as the Silva Ranger Type 15CL or Suunto MC 1D Professional. An integrated clinometer is also helpful for slope angle measurements.
  3. Water: At least one liter of water for personal use and to assist patients or dehydrated skiers. If sharing your bottle with others is distasteful, carry two smaller bottles, or a cup.
  4. Food: Your lunch, power bars, etc. Emergency food for patients is found in the Stove Module. See Appendix B: Patrol Equipment Modules
  5. Ensolite Pad: For sitting on during breaks. Should be 3/4 length or full length.
  6. Headlamp
  7. Knife, whistle, waterproof matches/fire starter
  8. P-cord (length of parachute cord)
  9. plastic bags or WAG bag for human waste disposal


Use jacket, bibs, poncho, etc. for layering and weatherproofing yourself. These features are recommended:

  1. Armpit zips for comfort and excess heat removal
  2. Pants permitting maximum range of leg motion
  3. Sufficient number of layers to permit comfort in all environmental conditions

Required Equipment for Patrollers and Candidates

This section describes required equipment for Patrollers and Candidates. Guests and Ski Alongs do not need to carry this equipment.

Individual First Aid Kit

Because much of the first-aid equipment we carry is contained in the Trauma Module described in Modular Equipment, the individual patroller's first aid kit is limited to the following, which should be contained in a small organized kit such as those obtainable from Outdoor Research or Adventure Medical:

  • 1 CPR mask
  • 1 space blanket
  • 6 4in x 4in non-stick sterile dressings
  • 2 4" Kling bandages
  • 2 2" Kling bandages
  • 2 Kotex pads
  • several pair of latex examination gloves in your size
  • 4 cravats
  • assorted band-aids
  • betadine swabs
  • handi-wipes
  • penlight
  • 2-3 large safety pins
  • several small plastic bags
  • 1 zippered case for contents. The patrol offers both the OR zippered case and the contents for sale at wholesale cost.

Survival: Tarp

A small tarp with grommets for keeping patients warm and dry. REI sells one for about $10.

Personal Sled Hauling and Rope Rescue Kit

Equipment for pulling the portable sled and running the rope kit. The patrol offers this item at wholesale cost.

  • 16-18 feet of 1" tubular webbing (for a swami belt harness)
  • 20' of 6 or 7mm perlon (for haul or tail rope)
  • 2 locking carabiners (to attach rope to sled and swami belt)
  • Prusik cord for personal belay
  • small stuff sack for above items

Required Equipment for Candidate Training and Patrol Refreshers


One SAM splint for OEC training. SAM splints for patient use are found in the Trauma Module (part of Modular Equipment). Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol Manual

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