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The Science Behind Recco Technology in Outdoor

The Science Behind Recco Technology in Outdoor

Bit of an outdoor activity junkie? Discover the science behind Recco technology and how it enhances outdoor safety and rescue operations.

Safety in the outdoors is easily the number one priority when taking part in a range of outdoor activities – next to having the time of your life, of course. It’s one of those things we simply can’t ignore, because when faced with harsh weather conditions, tough terrain, and lack of experience, it doesn’t take a lot to find yourself in a sticky situation. Whether you consider yourself an avid hiker, mountain biker, skier, or snowboarder, all outdoor sports come with a high level of risk. 

Shop our outwear collection to get ready for the backcountry. Discover our Vanguard, Explorer and Dancer collections. 

At Powster, we want you to be able to explore the wonderful world of the outdoors to your heart’s content, which is exactly why we’re introducing you to the science behind RECCO technology in the outdoors. This innovative technology has been designed for rescue teams and keen outdoors people to create a connection for when things go wrong. Because inevitably, they do. Having the right outdoor clothing is a no-brainer, and we have plenty of that. But RECCO technology adds a whole new level of protection so you can stay safe and seen – no matter where you are in nature. 

In this article, we’ll break down what RECCO technology is and how the two-part system works so you have everything you need to know before making an investment. We’ll also cover the importance of using RECCO reflectors and detectors, as well as explore some of the products on offer that you can utilize to enhance your safety on the mountain, the water, or even in the thick of the forest.

And if you’re looking for the best outdoor clothing and accessories to attach your RECCO technology to, you know Powster has you covered. From our extensive range of ski and snowboarding goggles to our ski jackets, bibs, and helmets, our outdoor products are the perfect blend of affordability and quality.

How Does RECCO Technology Work?

We get it, with such huge advancements in technology, it can be difficult to keep up. But rest assured, RECCO is a gadget you definitely want to get your head around – and it’s not complex. In fact, it’s quite simple really. Essentially, RECCO is a two-part tracking system that helps rescuers search for lost people and lost people connect with those rescuers. It features a RECCO active detector which is carried by a rescue team and a RECCO passive reflector carried by the user.

The RECCO detector emits a radar signal, like the beam of a torch or a radio signal from a tower to a radio station. So when the radar signal hits the RECCO reflector, it echoes all the way back to the detector and acts as a pin to point for the rescuer to locate the person in need of help. As the detector gets closer to the reflector, the signal improves until the rescuer can eventually mark exactly where that person is. 

At the moment, the system works in several regions including parts of Austria, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA, with new areas being added regularly.

Why People Use RECCO Reflectors and Detectors

No matter how outdoor savvy you are – there’s always potential for something bad to happen when you’re immersed in the outdoors. You could be a professional snowboarder, mountain explorer, or a white water rafting expert, no matter how much you prepare for the worst, things outside of your control can lead to chaos – and even fatalities. This is in no way a message to scare you off from taking that leap of faith and getting out into all that Mother Earth has to offer, what it’s about is awareness and prevention. 

Becoming more visible and easier to locate not only makes it safer for you and your crew, but it also means that a rescuer’s job is made a million times easier. Basically, it’s a win-win. Gone are the days of outdoor activities requiring nothing but a solar flare, with RECCO technology, search and rescue has upped its game.

Attachable RECCO Reflector

So! At this point, you might be wondering – “How can I use a RECCO reflector?”. Well, these lightweight, passive transponders are actually integrated into the clothing and accessories of more than 150 outdoor brands. But if you’re not wanting to spend any more money on outdoor gear, RECCO also offers attachable reflectors that can adapt to your existing equipment, including backpacks and helmets. They require no power or activation to work, you just simply attach them to yourself and they start transmitting straight away. Designed with durability in mind, they won’t age or wear out, making them the ideal security system for all outdoor enthusiasts. 

RECCO Helmet Rescue Reflector

The RECCO helmet rescue reflector makes you searchable to rescue professionals using RECCO Detectors in the event of an avalanche accident or when lost in the outdoors. Let’s check out what the brand themselves has to say about it:

  • The RECCO helmet rescue reflector comes with a glue on the bottom side and is attached to the helmet like a sticker.
  • The glue is designed for all temperatures in winter and summer and is long-lasting. It is important to follow the application instructions to ensure a strong bonding.

RECCO Backpack Rescue Reflector

The RECCO  Backpack Rescue Reflector easily attaches to your backpack, keeping you searchable to rescuers when you’re adventuring in the outdoors.  Let’s check out what the brand themselves has to say about it:

  • The RECCO Backpack rescue reflector makes you searchable to rescue professionals using RECCO Detectors in the event of an avalanche accident or when lost in the outdoors.
  • The RECCO Backpack rescue reflector has been specially designed for the application on carrying straps of backpacks and is primarily intended for use in summer to be located by helicopter if gone missing.

RECCO Rescue Reflector Belt

Not only does this outdoor belt keep your pants up, it comes equipped with two RECCO rescue reflectors to keep you searchable. Let’s check out what the brand themselves has to say about it:


  • The RECCO rescue reflector belt makes you searchable to rescue professionals using RECCO Detectors in the event of an avalanche accident or when lost in the outdoors.
  • The belt is made of flexible and robust material with a metal buckle and two integrated RECCO rescue reflectors for optimum searchability.

The RECCO Handheld Detector

As described by RECCO: The handheld detector can locate RECCO reflectors within a range of up to 80 meters through air and 20 meters through packed snow, which results in a practical range of 30 meters on avalanche debris. The current version of handheld detectors weighs 1 kg and the detectors are used worldwide by organized rescue as an additional electronic search method at avalanche rescues.

The RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector

As described by RECCO: The RECCO SAR (search and rescue) helicopter detector can cover large areas fast. Searching from a height of 100 meters and covering a search area of approximately 100 meters wide, the SAR detector enables rescuers to search 1km² within 6 minutes. The principle of locating a victim is the same as for the handheld detector with the detector sending a radar signal echoed back by the RECCO reflector. Upon receiving a returned signal, the rescuer can locate the lost individual.

RECCO: In Summary

Feeling informed? We bet. We could also go on forever about all the benefits of purchasing and using RECCO technology to optimize your safety in the outdoors, as well as make it easier for a search and rescue team to find people in trouble. However, we’ll leave you with this, the bottom line – you can never be too prepared or too safe in the outdoors. This is one of those moments where it might be time to check your complacency. You could have climbed Mount Everest for all we know, but your level of skill when it comes to outdoor activities doesn’t safeguard you against all the outside factors that can cause you harm. This is where RECCO reflectors and detectors are so revolutionary. And now that you know all about the science behind RECCO technology in the outdoors, all there’s left to do is try it out for yourself – fingers crossed, you’ll never have to use it!

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