Avalanche airbag pack is a must-have versatile gear in several snow sports such as split boarding, sledding, skiing, and snowboarding. This can increase the chance of survival from accidents caused by an avalanche. Therefore, even if it’s not a primary need in snow sports and requires additional expense, many people buy and equip themselves with this to have a greater chance to survive.
If you’re into skiing and snowboarding too, an avalanche airbag pack greatly helps to ensure your safety, especially that you won’t foresee an avalanche. Here, I will give you ideas about what avalanche airbags you need to buy.
What is Avalanche?
Avalanche is like a landslide but is not composed of soil but massive ice, snow, and rock falling rapidly down a mountainside. This is one of the unanticipated happenings that you might face if you’re in a snowy mountain. A mountain coated with snow may look photographic, but when the ice becomes overloaded, it has a high chance to suddenly fall off, damage properties, and even worse- kill people’s lives.
Since this is a natural disaster, meaning we can’t stop it from happening, what we can only do is make equipment that can save our lives. This is the reason why safety gears for snow sports were invented. One of these is the avalanche airbag pack that was proven to decrease the risks of being buried in the avalanche.
Avalanche Airbag Pack and its Purpose
Avalanche Airbag Pack is a safety gear used in snow activities. It has become an important gear next to the regular avalanche safety equipment like an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe.
In cases of avalanche, larger objects rise to the surface and smaller objects sink to the bottom. Of course, no one would want to sink to the bottom because it will be impossible to be rescued eventually.
An avalanche airbag pack is a backpack that has an airbag system incorporated inside. This consists of a large balloon or balloons that can be easily inflated by pulling off a cord. Using this, the person will appear to be larger so they will naturally rise to the snow’s surface.
However, wearing Avalanche Airbag Packs doesn’t mean you’ll have a 100% chance of survival in case of accidents. It is just helpful in dangerous situations due to avalanche slides.
If you have no idea which avalanche airbag back is worth buying this 2021, below are some recommendations.
Best Avalanche Airbag for Skiing and Snowboarding
1. Jetforce Tour 26L Avalanche Airbag Pack
This Avalanche Airbag Pack is made of 210d Nylon and comes in sizes small, medium, and large. The average weight of S/M sizes is 2.53 kg while the M/L is 2.63 kg. It has a volume of 24L to 26L from small to large.
It features a Black Diamond JetForce Tour system that utilizes the rapid-discharging, capacitor-based Alpride E1 system. The supercapacitors are able to make the turbine-based fan system work. It can deliver a large amount of energy in a short time, usually not exceeding 1 hour, through two AA batteries and micro USB.
Moreover, it has one on/off switch and blinking status indicator lights that can be visibly checked from the outside of the pack when you’re wearing it.
Since it is 26 liters, this avalanche airbag pack is spacious so you can store extra emergency gear, food, and water. It can be easily accessed through its zipper. It also has a reliable safety pocket which is perfect to contain a shovel blade, shovel handle, and probe. Despite being spacious, it is comfortable to wear because it is lightweight.
2. Mammut Pro X Removable Airbag 3.0
If you want an airbag that can save your life while not harming nature, this Mammut Pro X Removable Airbag 3.0
is what I can recommend. It is an environmentally friendly and smart avalanche airbag pack since it is made of recycled and recyclable polyester.
This is very convenient because as stated in its name, it has a removable airbag system and you can inflate the balloon in less than a minute. Also, it won’t give you a hard time since it is very lightweight as it only weighs 5 pounds.
This 22-liter airbag has a main compartment and two exterior pockets which can be easily accessed through its rear zipper. This is where you can store other avalanche safety gear, extra layers, food, water, and other essentials in your backcountry skiing and snowboarding. There is also a separate molded, soft-lined compartment that is perfectly designed for fragile ski goggles. Moreover, it even has a snowboard carrier and hydration system compatibility.
This also comes with a removable hip belt with pockets, shoulder straps with stretch fabric cover, diagonal ski carrier, SOS label with emergency instructions, and a high-density, 2-layer EVA back padding.
3. Backcountry Access Float 22 Avalanche Airbag Pack
The Backcountry Access Float 22 Avalanche Airbag Pack can be used by both men and women. The refillable BCA Float 2.0 compressed air cylinder makes the avalanche airbag system work.
This 22-liter airbag pack that weighs 5 pounds is where you can put all the things you need such as water, food, extra layers, skins, and other safety equipment. It has two exterior pockets where you can put wet skins and a spacious main compartment where you can store the rest of your needs.
It features a hydration sleeve, integration of BC link radios for smooth communication, shoulder straps with foam and two water-resistant zippers, and molded back panel.
Additionally, it includes a hip belt with pockets, comfortable to wear as it fits people who have 24-56 inches waist/hips. It also has straps on the front which enable it to carry a snowboard vertically or ski diagonally.
4. Osprey Soelden Pro 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack – Men’s
This avalanche airbag pack is specifically designed for men and includes an alpride E1 electronic system that uses a supercapacitor to make the fan work.
Osprey Soelden Pro 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack is easy to use and charges faster than any other airbag. Also, this airbag pack is lightweight, it won’t hurt your back or make you uncomfortable while skiing or snowboarding. Hence, it is comfortable to carry and travel-friendly which makes it an ideal airbag for a full day in the backcountry.
This 32-liter airbag which weighs 6 pounds can accommodate all the things you need for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. It has a large J-zip and another large U-zip so you can easily access the safety pockets and the main compartment respectively.
Furthermore, includes a hip belt with pockets, ski carrier, helmet carrier, snowboard carrier, and you can even attach a GPS/radio on its strap.
5. Scott Backcountry Patrol AP 30L Airbag Backpack + E1 Alpride Kit
This airbag is a fully electronic avalanche airbag that is perfect for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. It doesn’t require cartridges so it makes the full-day tour easy.
Moreover, charging won’t be time-consuming because the turbo radial fan gives more filling power in less time. It can charge in just 20 minutes using a micro USB and two AA batteries. Also, you have nothing to worry about the extremely cold weather because it won’t affect the batteries.
This avalanche airbag pack provides a lot of room for your tour essentials. It is a 30-liter airbag pack so you can definitely tell that it can fit all your needs including extra layers, lunch, water, first aid kit, safety gears, and many more. It also has an easily accessible separate compartment where you can put your shovel and prove. Despite having a high volume, it is not heavy so it won’t make you uncomfortable.
Moreover, it has a hip belt to ensure that the airbag will stay in place. It is also able to carry a ski diagonally and a snowboard vertically.
How to Choose an Avalanche Airbag Pack
Acquiring an avalanche airbag pack is not just an additional expense because this will greatly help save your life when you encounter an avalanche. After going through the five given recommendations, you now need to know the things you need to consider in order to choose which is the best among all of them.
You need to choose an avalanche airbag pack that has a weight that you can comfortably carry for a full-day or even multi-day tour. Your backcountry skiing and snowboarding will not be fun if you’re carrying a heavy bag. The ideal weight ranges from 3 to 6 pounds.
A full day in the backcountry requires bringing several things. You will need food that is enough for the whole day, safety gear in case of emergency, extra layers, skins, water to stay hydrated, and many more. These essentials should fit in your chosen airbag. So, you need to buy a spacious one. The ideal is 15-20L for Lift served backcountry, heli & cat trips, 20-35L for day touring, and 35L for multi-day touring.
Type of System
Avalanche airbag packs have various systems such as Alpride E1 Airbag System, Scott Alpride Avalanche Airbag System, Black Diamond, and the JetForce System, BCA Float System, and Mammut P.A.S. & R.A.S. Each of these systems has different features and functions so you can choose depending on your needs and preference.
These are just some of the main things you need to consider if you want to purchase an avalanche airbag pack. But, there are still some considerations like its price, durability, ability to carry skis and snowboards, and others more. What’s important is you don’t waste your money by settling for less.
You engage yourself in different snow sports to enjoy but an avalanche can ruin the fun. However, you can never tell when this disaster will occur so you need to equip yourself with safety gear.
An avalanche airbag pack is extremely helpful and functional as it will lessen the chance of being buried when an avalanche suddenly happens in your backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
This may be costly and does not guarantee a 100% chance of survival but it will at least increase the percentage of your safety.