There are certain pieces of gear which should be found in every outdoor enthusiast’s backpack: a knife, a compass, etc. One piece of gear that I think is highly valuable, and holds a place within my backpack regardless of my activity, a Voile ski strap. Ultimately, these straps are made from tough, stretchy plastic and an aluminum buckle. They are primarily designed for holding skis together, to keep you from looking like a gaper when you are at the ski hill. In regards to this job, they perform exceptionally. However, this is not why they always hold a spot in my backpack, especially because the amount of skiing I do is sadly minimal compared to the normal Bozemanite. The high-versatility of these straps is what leads to their high-value in cost and weight.
Whenever gear malfunctions in the mountains, these straps can almost always be used to fix the problem. I’ve been able to utilize the gear in various settings. To begin, skins can be a pain when they break, and the stickiness becomes similar to used tape, making them deadweight in your pack. When a skin starts to lose its stickiness, and flops behind your ski pathetically, whip out a ski strap and fasten it back to your plank. Suppose your binding breaks, leaving your toe piece hooked in, but the rear buckle unable to hold your boot into your ski. Using some ingenious problem solving and a few ski straps, you can strap your boot to your ski. It is not graceful, and does little more than help you get back to the car, but trust me, it does work. Or, perhaps you forgot your skins. If you have enough ski straps, roughly four to six per ski, you can get a decent alternative to skinning.
Perhaps you are thinking, ‘but wait Parker, all these have to deal with skiing problems.’ Here are some non-skiing related uses for these ski straps. Regarding climbing, if your partner breaks their leg and you need to create a splint, these can help to hold the splinting material in place. Tourniquets made from ski straps will work in a pinch. Broken crampons can be made “usable” (though very difficult) with ski straps. “MacGyver” a whippet when you’re too broke to buy one; you can use it as a temporary backpack chest strap. Dog collars have also been made from these when needed (don’t scrunch it too tight though). No doubt the fashionable headband, bracelet or ponytail accessory are also in the list of uses for this ski strap. For a price of roughly $5 to $10, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have one of these in your pack, first aid kit and your hair.