Storing Your Beacon, Shovel, Probe, and Airbag For The Summer
Are you over it? Are you about to hang up the ski gear for the summer? Be sure to take care of it. Proper summer gear storage is important. It prolongs the life of your gear and helps you safely get back in the skin track when the snow starts to fall again.
We recently stumbled upon an article about summer storage for avalanche gear on Backcountry Magazine. It offered some great tips on how to store your life saving tools – beacons, shovels, probes, and airbags. Do it right to ensure your safety next backcountry ski season.
After you give everything a good clean, check each piece of your avalanche gear to make sure it still functions as designed. Here are a few specific things to do:
:: BEACON ::
The number one rule of avalanche beacon storage is to remove the batteries. Batteries can leak and corrode inside of your beacon. It may be a fixable issue, but it can also destroy your beacon. Any beacon with the batteries left inside for the summer should be tested by a professional before use.
Next, make sure your beacon is updated with the latest firmware. You can do this on the manufacturer’s website or at your local outdoor store. You can also info about the latest firmware for your beacon from beacon manufacturers like:
Check to see when you purchased your beacon. Five years is the expected lifespan of an avalanche beacon. If your beacon is over 5 years old, it’s time to shop the off season sales for a new one.
:: SHOVEL ::
Inspect your shovel for any rusting, dings, cracks, breaks, or other issues. A shovel that is well taken care of can last a long time. It’s probably a good idea to spray the handle with a quick shot of WD-40 at the handle attachment too.
:: PROBE ::
Toss out your probe to make sure it assembles properly. Check the locking pins and cords/cables to ensure they are fully intact.
:: AIRBAG ::
Airbags are growing in popularity amongst backcountry skiers. Since your airbag is one more life saving tool, give it a thorough inspection. Inspect the pack, the straps, and the zippers. Some airbags require an annual test.
It’s always fun to pull the trigger on an airbag to make sure the trigger functions properly, deploys, and inflates the airbag as designed. Consult with the manufacturer of your airbag for specific maintenance. You may need a new canister or you may want to store your canister unattached. The manufacturer of your specific airbag knows best.
It only takes about half an hour to inspect your beacon, shovel, probe, and airbag. If any of your avalanche gear looks unsafe or needs to be replaced prior to next season, visit some of our favorite online retailers and take advantage of their summer sales.
Before you start sorting through climbing, biking, and fishing gear, store your avalanche safety gear in a cool, dry place for the summer. Reassess everything again once the flakes start falling from the sky in six months. Do it right and it can save your life.