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Cody Townsend’s Gear for the Ultimate Dirtbag Road Trip

Editor's Note: Presented by evo.

Photo of Cody Townsend... courtesy of Cody Townsend. 

Cody Townsend is known for skiing hairball high consequence lines like this one. But that belies his busyness and his depth. He also runs a business, films with his equally impressive wife, and is raising a very tiny dog. This winter he’s not slowing down. He’s headed to Canada, and into the depths of Nevada’s relatively unexplored Ruby Mountains. But he also has some international travel on his mind. "I’ve got a trip in Europe that I want to do, a dirtbag trip," he says. "I want to go as far as we can mountain to mountain. Just bring a backpack and see how far you’d make it.” 

Here’s what he’d bring.

Salomon QST 118

Townsend's favorite set up. 

Since he’s only going to travel with one ski he’s bringing the  Salomon QST 118. “It’s a powder ski, but it has so much torsional rigidity it holds an edge in funky stuff or on groomers,” he says. “They work well in all conditions, which is perfect for Europe, and it’s so light that it works really well as a touring ski. They’re a pound or two lighter than the equivalent ski.” He’s mounting them with Salomon’s upcoming Pin Bindings, which he says he’s skied all over, including on big Alaskan peaks, so he knows they won’t blow out.

Salomon QST Charge GTX Jacket

Townsend says he wears a Gore-Tex shell regardless of conditions. “I think that’s the best. I just layer underneath. If I wear something insulated I get really hot," he says he wears a merino/polyester blend base layer, then an insulating mid-layer with a hood—“I really like a hood”— and a packable puffy. He adjusts that system depending on the weather, but doesn’t vary it much.

Stuff Sacks

Townsend’s secret to being on the road all winter and not losing his literal or proverbial shit is stuff sacks. He packs in them—all base layers in one, for instance— they throws them into a duffle bag, so he always knows where things are. “You’re not digging to find socks, it’s so much more organized,” he says.

Voile Straps

Useful for everything from emergency binding repair to splinting, Townsend says he keeps a grip of straps in his pack. Last year he used one to keep his boot together on a backcountry tour after losing one of the screws.

Survival Stories

On winter camping trips, Townsend says he likes to read survival stories, like "Endurance," the Alfred Lansing book about Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition. He says he likes them, because it reminds him how good he has it, even when it’s cold. “It’s to remind myself how soft I am,” he says. He says he packs sausage and chocolate, too. Which totally isn’t soft.

Arcade Guide Belt

The Utility belt, from Arcade, the company Townsend co-founded, is made to be stretchy but incredibly tough. He says he uses it, and that he also gets pictures and stories from people who have used it to keep wounds together in the backcountry, and other slightly more adventurous applications that keeping their pants up.

DeLorme inReach

For long backcountry trips, Townsend uses the DeLorme inReach to keep people updated on his progress and to get trip planning details. It’s a personal locator beacon and a two-way satellite messaging device. He says he likes that he can send and receive messages, get weather updates, track his route, and more. 

From The Column: The Packing List

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