April 2, 2017
By Mike Duffy, BCA Sled Ambassador
If it were my choice, I’d be using my BCA MtnPro gear year-round after a two-week summer break. I’d be off to the southern hemisphere to enjoy winter sledding in the Andes. In reality, that’s not quite happening yet.
I do use the following BCA gear in the summer and fall: BC Link radios, Stash packs, MtnPro protective vest and MtnPro shin guards. Here’s where I use them.
BC Link Radios: Last year I rode the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route (COBDR) by motorcycle. To keep in touch with members of our group, we used BC Links with earbuds. Worked great and the earbuds blocked wind noise from the helmet. We rode for days without having to recharge. The COBDR is a mostly off-road route from the Four Corners of Colorado to the Wyoming border.
More year round uses for BC Link radios:
- Mountain biking. Keep track of all members of your group. My son races and I don’t have a chance of keeping up, so we use them to know where each other are. Sometimes he’ll go for a solo ride and I can keep in touch with him by radio from the house (one of the benefits of the great trails in Eagle, CO).
- Ranch/farm work. Day after day without charging has its benefits when you work long hours.
- Fishing/hunting. Once again, keep track of your group and relay information. With an earbud, you will not make any unnecessary noise.
- Communication between vehicles in areas with no cell service. Long stretches in the middle of nowhere with zero cell service? No problem with a BC Link in each vehicle.
BCA Stash pack: I’m so familiar and have my routine down with Stash backpacks, that I use them year round. Stash packs are light, have plenty of pockets, and the shoulder strap is optimized for carrying the BC Link. I use them for hiking, going to the beach, motorcycling and missions with the Vail Mountain Rescue team.
BCA MtnPro protective vest: I wear a Float MtnPro Vest avalanche airbag all winter and it’s hard to go without that protection in the summer doing motorsports. Instead I wear the MtnPro protective vest (a dedicated vest without Float airbag and cylinder). When dirt biking, I wear it for full front, side and back protection. The front pocket is great for a camera. The vest also distributes the weight of a pack more evenly. It’s light, has plenty of ventilation, and offers more protection than a motocross chest protector. Wear it over or under a jacket or jersey. Also great for ATV’s.
BCA MtnPro knee/shin guards: These fit perfectly into my motocross boots. I ride with some maniacs who are always pushing my limits. Crashes are part of the game and the knee/shin guards are mandatory on our rides. These are light and breathable: I don’t even know they’re on, even on the longest 200+ mile days.
Keep life exciting, but without getting injured: use your BCA protective gear year-round. Hope to see you on the snow in the southern hemisphere someday. I think BCA should fly me down there to write my next blog.
Mike Duffy is a BCA Sled Ambassador and Avalanche1 educator, who provides professional avalanche education for mountain riders. He has developed snowmobile-specific avalanche safety coursework and avalanche avoidance sleducation videos for the North American snowmobile community. Know before you go: visit Avalanche1 to enroll a avalanche education course before heading out this season.