Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guide Gear Review - BCA Stash BC Pack

CMS Guide Rick Gaukel with the Stash BC in RMNP

On a recent trip to the Valhallas in Canada, I was exclusively using BCA's Stash BC Pack. As the assistant guide for this week-long, lodge-based touring trip, I wasn't just carrying my own personal kit each day but had my guide's gear as well. In addition to my own food, water, gloves, extra layers, goggles, helmet, shovel, probe and saw, I was also carrying a soft rescue sled, a snow survey kit, a 5'x8' tarp for emergency shelter, a first aid kit, repair kit, radio and more gloves/layers as backups for clients. This sounds like a lot and it is, but I was able to pack everything neatly in its place in the Stash BC. I have no problems packing for long day-trips in the backcountry with the Stash BC and thus it is my go-to day-touring pack.
I really like the shovel, probe and saw-specific sleeves in the designated rescue pocket. It makes it easy to store and retrieve these items when the bag is packed full. The goggle-pocket is a new feature for me. I like being able to shove my sunglasses or goggles into this cozy pocket rather than dealing with a goggle bag or worrying about scratching up the lenses.

BCA Stash BC looking good below Flattop in RMNP
Other features I really like are the back-panel zipper access and the ski-carry systems. When guiding, and having such a full pack, it's a real pain to pull everything out of the top to get to something at the bottom. The back-panel zipper lets me grab the blister kit or shell jacket stuffed at the bottom of the pack. The ski-carry systems enable a cross-carry or A-frame carry style. Cross carries are best for short distances or sprints up a boot-pack to the next traverse and are great because they are fast to set up. BCA has made the Stash BC's cross-carry system easy to use, quick, clean and workable with fat skis. The A-frame carry works better for longer distances or if I'm pulling out a rope for me and my clients. Another plus of the Stash BC is that it compresses well, making it suitable for my personal backcountry or lift-accessed sidecountry trips as well. Thanks for making such a well designed pack BCA!

Rick ready to shred with his BCA Stash BC

Have fun and be safe out there.
Andrew Councell
CMS Senior Guide
AMGA Certified Alpine Guide
AMGA Certified Rock Guide