What’s in your wallet, er, fanny pack? Supplies for the Trail
Susan Mulvihill, April 2010
I am embarrassed to admit this but I own six fanny packs. While I primarily use them for Nordic skiing, they also pull double duty in the summertime during day hikes.
Yet with as many as I own, I'm still in search of the perfect fanny pack. For some reason, I haven't been able to locate one that holds just the right amount of stuff but isn't too bulky or cumbersome. Despite my ongoing quest, what goes into my fanny packs is much more important. My decision on which pack to grab is based on whether I'm using my waxable or no-wax classic skis that day. If it's the waxable classics, I toss in a waxing cork, a scraper (just in case I was way off in my choice of the wax for the day), a snow thermometer, and a handful of kickwaxes that have the potential to work for the day's conditions.
If I'm going with waxless skis, however, that eliminates all of the above items but don’t forget this one: a small packet or tube of paste wax just in case snow conditions cause my skis to ice up really badly. This doesn't happen very often but, believe me, you will be glad you took the time to bring it along the one time you do need it. While you're at it, toss in a pa-per towel or rag to spread the paste.
The next item to go in is a snack just in case I get carried away and ski out so far that I don't have the energy to make it back to my car. Yes, this has occasionally happened on those days when I just can't get enough of the trails. I usually prefer granola bars although those Caribou Coffee bars are darned tasty.
Unless the weather conditions are particularly warm, I always take along a windbreaker jacket. So tell me if you have the same problem I do: when I get up to the Nordic parking lot, there's usually a light wind blowing. Having just driven 45 minutes in a toasty warm car, I completely chicken out as soon as I get out of the car and put on a jacket... knowing full well that I will be shedding that very same jacket as soon as I reach the first junction. Do you do that, too?
But seriously, the weather conditions on the mountain can vary quite a bit, depending on how far out you ski. It's smart to have an extra layer to throw on so you stay warm and comfy. Above all, be prepared for the weather conditions.
If you have cell phone service up on the mountain and are skiing solo, you might as well drop that into your pack while you’re at it.
One of the most important things I carry along on my ski outings actually goes around my neck, rather than in my fanny pack. That is a lanyard holding my car key and Thule box key. Some friends of ours taught us to do this after they somehow lost their car keys while out in the woods. That's not a good scenario no matter how you look at it, so I always hang those keys around my neck. I'm not taking any chances and neither should you!
The last item I can think of that is fun to bring along is a digital camera for those amazing, picture-perfect days when you really want to bring back photographic proof of why you love to ski so much.