top of page

Do You Have RECCO? It May Save Your Life

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

RECCO is a small device that a growing number of manufacturers are sewing into Outdoor Wear that needs no batteries, lasts "forever" yet is there when you are lost or injured in the backcountry, aiding in your rescue

Many people are already wearing coats, headgear, or pants that have the device sewn inside and not even know it.

What is RECCO? How can it save your life?

Nobody ventures into the backcountry with the intention of becoming lost, injured, or buried by an avalanche. Nevertheless, such events happen all too often.

Because of weather conditions or injury, hours or even minutes, can be a matter of life or death.

That's where RECCO makes a difference.

RECCO is a small device sewn into outdoor clothing, such as jackets, hats, or pants that sends out a radio signal that helps searchers locate the injured or lost.

It will even help locate people buried by snow.

The system was first used successfully in late 1980s Europe. Since then it has since been adopted worldwide.

How does RECCO work? In some ways, RECCO is like the little security tag retailers use to prevent theft, the kind that sets off an alarm when you're leaving a shop after the checkout clerk forgot to deactivate it.

Inside a typical RICCO device

Just like the security tag, RECCO comes to life when exposed to a radio frequency. It responds by sending out its own radio frequency, one that can be detected and located.

The big difference is the range. Instead of operating a few feet, RECCO can be detected a hundred meters in ideal conditions.

A RECCO detector can be handheld or carried under a helicopter, allowing the search of large areas very fast.

Inside Lining of Jacket Incorporating RECCO
Inside Lining of Jacket Incorporating RECCO

You may already have RECCO in your outdoor clothing. Manufacturers like Arc'teryx and Helly Hansen have been putting RECCO devices, called "Reflectors" in some of their outdoor clothing for a couple of years.

More manufacturers are adding the system to their outdoor products all the time.

The reflectors are small enough to be built into belts or watch straps. They don't need batteries and should never wear out.

Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) was the third search and rescue organization in Canada to adopt a helicopter-mounted RECCO detector. They use it all year round.

Suspended from below a helicopter the RECCO system gives searchers the ability to search from one to two square kilometers of ground in about 5 minutes.

That translates into lives saved.

You can purchase items with RECCO incorporated or you can buy a stand-alone device that you can tuck away in your backpack or outdoor gear.

In the words of RECCO, BE SEARCHABLE

RECCO saves lives.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page