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Backcountry Access

What is the best avalanche beacon for the backcountry? To find out, Outdoor Gear Lab took nine of the top avalanche transceiver models and put them in rigorous head-to-head tests in the Cascades, Sierra, and Alaska. They had novices test them to see which is easiest to use and learn and then also put them in the hands of expert mountain guides and AIARE instructors who teach avalanche safety courses.

Outdoor Gear Lab picked the Backcountry Access Tracker 2, three-antennae avalanche transceiver as the “Best Buy – Best Value” for 2013. The outdoor gear review website reports that the BCA Tracker 2 stands out as one of the easiest beacons to use, and recommends it for backcountry travelers – skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers – looking for a great value and a super easy-to-use beacon.

The Backcountry Access Tracker DTS was the first digital avalanche beacon and one of the best selling beacons of all time. The new and improved Tracker 2 brings Backcountry Access back to the front.

Outdoor Gear Lab reports that the Backcountry Access Tracker 2 is $20-170 cheaper than the top three-antennae beacons and is really intuitive to use. It is super easy to use and mega fast at finding a single beacon. The BCA Tracker 2 is a solid avalanche beacon that is super fast, especially for novice users.

Watch BCA’s video “Avalanche Beacon Searching 101″ here to find out how to safely use a BCA Tracker 2 Avalanche Beacon with Andy Wenberg.

To see why the BCA Tracker 2 beacon offers a better value than more expensive avalanche beacons from Ortovox and Pieps, watch Outdoor Gear Lab’s YouTube video here.

Review by Chris McNamara and Ian Nicholson, OutdoorGearLab, January 3, 2012



Colin Balke is a content editor for who lives in Northern California. When not plucking away on a keyboard, he can be found splitboarding, camping, backpacking, or hanging out with family and friends.