Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace, so get outside and live it.
It’s not easy to resist the allure of fresh powder and pristine slopes — after all, some of the finest runs you’ll likely ever encounter rest within the backcountry. However, unlike the controlled terrain of your local park or ski slope, the distant areas outside the confides of the park often hold their own peril. Avalanches, the unpredictable force of nature known to obliterate everything from trees to buildings, always pose a risk. Fortunately, the Osprey’s Kode ABS 42 ($1,150) is designed for such occasions.
Specifically crafted with ABS compatibility in mind, the 42-liter is more than just a mere organizer. The thermoformed back panel unzips, allowing you to attach an ABS base unit and providing you with additional protection in case of an avalanche. With the quick pull of the explosive handle, nitrogen canisters help deploy the dual balloons housed within the ABS unit, thus increasing your odds of staying afloat when caught in an onslaught of snow and debris. Moreover, the jet-black pack touts an enormous front panel for quickly accessing other avalanche safety equipment — i.e. a probe, shovel, beacon — and other gear stored in the dedicated sleeves.
ABS compatibility is only one hallmark of the versatile pack, though. It utilizes webbing, loops, and reinforced straps to secure your skis or snowboard to the front, and furthermore, sports a sewn-in hydration sleeve and dedicated compartment for stowing your helmet and other vital gear with little hassle. An anti-scratch pouch for your goggles also adds to the pack’s appeal, as does the convenient compression strap lined beneath the top pocket for securing ropes for any mountaineering venture you may have on the docket. Let’s just hope you never need to use the inflatable balloons.
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