By: randosteve|Posted on: March 15, 2011|Posted in: Avalanche Safety, Gear, Gear Reviews, Trip Planning | 10 comments

I like to wear my transceiver on the front of my torso and away
from my arms, backpack straps and jacket pockets.

Like many of you (I think), I wear an avalanche transceiver when skiing in the backcountry. (My personal favorite is an Ortovox S1.) Most transceivers come with a decent carrying case and harness system that goes over your neck and shoulder, and has a strap that clips around your waist. Although these harnesses do keep your transceiver nice and securely close to your body, I feel like sometimes they can slowly creep or migrate to the side of your body. If you have a long torso (or beer belly?), this is often no big deal. But, if you have a short torso like me, it can be kind of awkward in that the transceiver bumps up against your backpack shoulder strap and waist belt, adds bulk to one side of your body which can affect arm movement and also interfere with the use of your jacket pocket on the same side. It’s annoying to me sometimes, but if you use your head, you can wear your transceiver in a way so this doesn’t happen.

I know some people ditch transceiver harnesses altogether, opting to put their beacons in a pant or jacket pocket, or even worse, their backpack. This can be dangerous because pockets can mysteriously be left open (or open on their own) sometimes, allowing a transceiver to fall out. It can also create more futzing, or make you transceiver harder to access when you need to remove or add layers. Also (though maybe unlikely?), jackets, pants and backpacks can be ripped off your body when you are caught in an avalanche. This practice also scares me a little because the transceiver isn’t tethered to your body at all and can easily fall out of your hand when you are speedily negotiating an avalanche debris pile when searching for you bud, or even be pulled from your grip if you are hit with a secondary slide. For this reason alone, I like to use the harness that comes with avalanche transceivers, but in a way that limits the movement of it to the side of my body.

Thread your avalanche transceiver’s waist-belt under one of your pant suspender straps…

One way to avoid this so-called transceiver creep, is to put one of the loops of the harness around your neck and just clip the other strap around your waist. This works fine if you are wearing a base or mid-layer that has a high collar, like a zip-neck or turtleneck. (Do people still wear turtlenecks?) The majority of the time though, I wear a t-shirt without a tall collar under my jacket, and the strap of the transceiver can rub against my neck and/or deltoids, and often be irritating and uncomfortable.

…and then through the other side.

Another way to avoid transceiver creep, and the way I personally roll, is to put one arm and your head through the neck strap and then weave the waist strap through the suspenders of your pants in a way so that it holds the transceiver in place and restricts it from moving to one side. Obviously one needs to have pants with suspenders to do this, but I find that I prefer pants with suspenders when backcountry skiing the majority of the time anyway. This technique keeps the transceiver centered on my body so that it is easy to locate, doesn’t restrict the use of my jacket pockets and is comfortable. You may need to experiment with your own transceiver harness and pant suspenders to find a way that works with your own system, but try it out next time you are shredding the backcountry, I think you will find that it works great.