Jan 24 2013

OR Report: Backcountry Access’ BC Link


Tracker3™ – 20% lighter, w/real-time digital processing and signal separation for marking multiple victims.

Besides being adopted by K2 Sports, what’s new at Backcountry Access? More of what you might expect, and a little of something unexpected.

The Tracker3™ is the follow up to the Tracker2™, utilizing the same real-time digital processing but now with the ability to separate multiple signals and mark a beacon you have located. Although this is supposed to be old news, the beacon shown last August didn’t work. Whether the software is ready for prime time won’t be known until they ship.

With interest in airbag packs running at a fever pitch BCA’s plans are to simply meet demand. This year’s revision to the 32 liter Float pack was a nice improvement with none projected for next season (yet).

The one truly new product is an adaption of an old product. What distinguishes the BC-Link from a simple walkie talkie is how all the controls are on the handset that is connected to a base transmitter in the pack via a cord that routes through the shoulder straps of your pack. It uses a rechargeable 3.7V lithium ion battery and works on 38 FRS and GmRS channels with 83 sub-channels to minimize interference.

BC-Link delivers glove friendly controls for easy communication.

My first reaction was to dismiss the BC-Link as just another bit of electronic gadgetry that detracts from simply getting out there and enjoying nature. Then I remembered how many trips I’ve been on with groups where one person is always lagging and you don’t know whether they’re in trouble or just slow. Or more likely, you’re separated enough that you can hear each other shout, but can’t understand what is being said. Or what about simply carrying on a conversation on the skin track. Ever notice that the guy in the lead can hear a question from behind, sort of, but those behind can barely hear anything from someone in front? BC-Link would certainly help in those situations. When it becomes as simple to use as a bluetooth, I’ll be looking closer. Until then it’s a solid improvement over the functional but ultimately inconvenient walkie talkies that I never use. Would BC-Link be easy enough to use that I might change that habit? Probably not, but it might be a great tool for guided groups. It’s only ½ pound and what’s another ½ pound when you’re already lugging 50 pounds as a guide? ;)

© 2013