Avalanche safety gear is absolutely essential if you’re venturing into the backcountry in winter. Even the most solid-looking slopes can slide if the conditions are right (or rather wrong), so an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe should be the first things you pack on a powder day.

German brand Ortovox have been making some of the best safety gear in the business since they were founded by Gerald Kampel and Jurgen Wegner in 1980. Before they came along, avalanche transceivers used one of two different frequencies - 275 kHz and 457 kHz - a situation which was obviously problematic if yours used a different frequency to those of your would-be rescuers.

“This uses the three antennas to pinpoint the position of a burial victim more accurately and if you’re buried it automatically switches to the best antenna for transmitting your position."

Their first product, the revolutionary Ortovox F2, was the first to transmit and receive both frequencies, and so quickly became a bestseller. Ortovox have continued to innovate in the years since, consistently pushing the envelope when it comes to transceiver technology. The 3+, sold separately for £230 or as part of a kit with the Beast shovel and 240 pfa probe for £275, is a case in point.

It features Ortovox’s patented smart antenna technology. This uses the three antennas to pinpoint the position of a burial victim more accurately when you’re in search mode and if you’re buried it automatically switches to the best antenna for transmitting your position. The display screen makes it easy to locate multiple burial victims and the easy flagging system enables you to block out signals once you’ve dug someone out, so you can search for others more easily.

avalanche-rescue-kit-3-transceiver-beast-shovel-_-240-pfa-probe-review-2016-2017-best-avalanche-beacon-and-safety-gear-5

avalanche-rescue-kit-3-transceiver-beast-shovel-_-240-pfa-probe-review-2016-2017-best-avalanche-beacon-and-safety-gear-5

avalanche-rescue-kit-3-transceiver-beast-shovel-_-240-pfa-probe-review-2016-2017-best-avalanche-beacon-and-safety-gear-4

avalanche-rescue-kit-3-transceiver-beast-shovel-_-240-pfa-probe-review-2016-2017-best-avalanche-beacon-and-safety-gear-4

avalanche-rescue-kit-3-transceiver-beast-shovel-_-240-pfa-probe-review-2016-2017-best-avalanche-beacon-and-safety-gear

avalanche-rescue-kit-3-transceiver-beast-shovel-_-240-pfa-probe-review-2016-2017-best-avalanche-beacon-and-safety-gear

A motion sensor-based technology means that if there’s a follow-up slide and you’re buried yourself, your transceiver will automatically switch to transmit mode, so you can be found. All-in-all this is one of the most advanced and best-made transceivers on the market.

The Beast shovel included in this kit is lightweight but solid, with a sharp metal blade that cuts through snow and ice with ease. The rubberized grip zones make it easy to handle. The probe is 240cm long, and the lightest weight aluminium probe in the Ortovox line. They make lighter carbon models of course, but this only weighs 270g, so it’s not going to add much to the weight of your backcountry pack.

Ortovox Avalanche Rescue Kit 3+ Stats:

The 100 Best Outdoor Products for Winter 2016 View them all

Shot on location in Chamonix