IFGMA Paddy Jerome needs to be prepared for his work, but wants you to be as well.

It takes years of training in mountains to become a certified IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) guide. IFMGA Paddy Jerome of Canadian Rockies Mountain Guides not only relies on his extensive skill set, but also carries an assortment of emergency items while moving in the mountains. Jerome believes there are a few pack essentials that anyone traveling in remote corners of the mountains should carry. Here are the essentials he never leaves home without.


A personal locater beacon is a must for any backcountry adventure.

“A (PLB) personal locater beacon is an indispensable tool to get help quickly if things go awry or if someone is injured and no longer ambulatory. The Garmin inReach has additional features which can send specific pre-programmed messages; you can sync the inReach via bluetooth to your phone, which allows you text the precise details of your emergency, which helps local SAR (search and rescue) personnel to come prepared with the right resources to respond and or evacuate you efficiently.”

Medical Kit

Pre-packed medical kits don’t take up much space and can literally be a lifesaver.

“A small first aid kit is essential to managing light-duty injuries and medical issues in the backcountry. Kits have the tools to help stabilize bleeding, splint a sprain or a long bone fracture or assist with ventilations if someone has difficulty breathing or respiratory distress. I carry a plastic ‘speed splint’ and a chemical heat blanket, which works on the same principal as chemical hand warmers for my guests or partners. Both these items fold neatly along the length of my pack and give me more options for treating myself, my partner or someone else in the midst of an emergency. The first aid kit size should be proportional to the size of the group you are traveling with. I take a more robust kit or a secondary kit if I’m working in the mountains with larger groups of people.”

Waste Kit

A poop kit. You are welcome.

“A small roll of toilet paper, lighter (also doubles as fire starter) and a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer are great for nature’s call. Be friendly to the earth and keep fastidiously clean all at the same time. It is crucial to keep this kit in a small sealed plastic bag to keep it dry and ready to go when you have the urge.”

Emergency Shell

Weather can change fast. Be prepared.

“Staying dry is a non-negotiable. Arc’teryx makes a variety of super light Gore-Tex shells, using Paclite® tech, that are ideal for spring, summer and fall when you want to keep your pack light but the weather pulls an unexpected fast one on you.  A burlier Gore-Tex jacket is the go-to when the weather is wetter or for winter conditions.”

Wearable Warmth

A warm hat can help you retain heat when the temperatures plummet and it weighs next to nothing in your pack.

“A light puffball jacket and a hat are also essential items to bring when moving in the mountains. Patagonia’s Micro Puff is incredibly lightweight and fits in its own pocket, making it easy to put in your pack. It also provides good insulation when you aren’t moving, and if the temperature drops and the windchill is cutting through you. A warm hat is also crucial to retaining optimal core body temperature since your head will lose 40-45 percent of your total body heat – in dire or emergency circumstances, these items are the answer.”


Having a headlamp in your pack (that has charged batteries) can make a dark day brighter.

“Always have a headlamp. In case of weather change or other factors, you will not be able to move on steeper 2nd and 3rd class terrain without it in the pitch black. Make sure you carry at least a 200-lumen rated lamp (like these) so that you can deal with either moving on a well-trodden trail or you are able to bed down and make your surroundings comfortable enough to stay the night.”

All Photos By Kate Erwin

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