BCA Tracker 3 Avalanche Beacon Backcountry Access

The long awaited BCA Tracker 3 is finally out. To BCA’s credit they waited to release the new three antenna beacon until they had all the bugs worked out and the beacon could work at the same fast time as the Tracker 2.The first impression of the Tracker 3 is that is it is smaller and lighter. As it turns out it is 20 percent smaller and lighter than the tracker 2. The Tracker 2 with batteries and keeper cord is 8.8oz and the Tracker 3 with batteries and keeper cord is 7.4oz I did not measure the two beacons (Tracker 3 according the BCA website is 4.5 x 2.8 x .9 inches), but the Tracker 3 is substantially smaller and fits in my ski pants pocket much easier.

There are some significant changes to the technical features from the Tracker 2.<a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-article', 'http://coloradoms.wpengine plavix’, ‘\n’]);” >

The biggest changes are the ability to suppress a beacon you have already found, and the ability to get a big picture view. The same button is used for these functions and it takes a bit of practice to remember how to go into each mode. The simple way is to hold the button quickly and the screen will show you “SS” for suppression. If you hold the same button your screen will say “bp” for big picture and you will get a reading of all the beacons within range.

The on off switch is now on the top and there is a wonderful set of noises to let you know it is on and functioning. The display also shows you two blinking human figures when there are more than two beacons found. The real time display is the same speed as the Tracker 2 and gives you quick feedback when searching. The display also gives you the distance you are from a beacon as well as the direction arrows to guide you. The Tracker 3 has a 50 meter range and works off the standard frequency of 457 kHz.

BCA, Loveland Pass, Colorado, gear, avalanche

I have been able to use the beacon in multiple burial practice scenarios and truly enjoy the new features. It took a while to get used to them, but now I am faster with the Tracker 3 than the Tracker 2 for multiple burials. I hope to see everyone out skiing and to never use the beacon in a real life scenario. Everyone should take an AIARE level I Avalanche education course if you are going backcountry riding. Please contact the Colorado Mountain School at or 800-836-4008. We run courses every weekend.

Mike Alkaitis
CMS Senior Guide