Ski straps have come a long way over the years. Once upon a time they were clumsy Velcro things you needed three hands to use. Nowadays, they’re the most versatile gear in your kit. Not only will they hold your skis together (poles included), but there’s practically no problem they won’t solve. You can strap your boot to a wrecked binding, splint a broken limb, or compress down your camping gear. But ski straps shouldn’t just be used to address problems, they should also be deployed proactively to augment your everyday safety in the backcountry, because you can carry way more stuff with them. I mean, would you rather need it and not have it, or have it and have the best time of your life? We checked in with the visionary founder of CAPOW Guiding—Revelstoke, British Columbia’s Marty Schaffer—to show us all the extra things you can haul on the daily with these wondrous devices. He carries at least six to eight straps at all times, allowing him to bring items the less-savvy citizen would likely never think of, but in his professional opinion, are clutch. Remember, everybody, make good choices! —MATT COTÉ

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