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Avalanche Backpack

(43 articles)
-0% New
Reactor 24 Avalanche Backpack Arva

Reactor 24 Avalanche Backpack

Lightweight, compact and reliable avalanche bag that includes Reactor airbag system

£512.95 Reg. £512.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
Grey/Black
-21% New
Reactor 18 Avalanche Backpack Arva

Reactor 18 Avalanche Backpack

Lightweight, compact and reliable avalanche bag with Reactor airbag system

£376.95 Reg. £476.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
Blue
-27% New
Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack Mammut

Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack

Comfortable and well equipped allround ski rucksack for ski touring and snowboarding (comes with removable airbag system)

£428.95 Reg. £584.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
black
30 L
lava
30 L
dark cyan
30 L
-14% New
Rocker Removable 15 Avalanche Backpack Mammut

Rocker Removable 15 Avalanche Backpack

Compact freeride backpack (Airbag System compatible)

£448.95 Reg. £521.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
15 L
-0% New
Rocker Removable 15 ready Avalanche Backpack Mammut

Rocker Removable 15 ready Avalanche Backpack

Compact freeride backpack with removable Protection Airbag System

£116.95 Reg. £116.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
15 L
-15% New
Pro Short Removable 33 Avalanche Backpack Mammut

Pro Short Removable 33 Avalanche Backpack

Technical ski touring backpack especially designed for women and shorter backs (comes with removable airbag system)

£511.95 Reg. £602.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
33 L
-27% New
Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack Mammut

Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack

Comfortable and well equipped allround ski rucksack for ski touring and snowboarding (comes with removable airbag system)

£428.95 Reg. £584.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
black
30 L
lava
30 L
dark cyan
30 L
-0% New
Removable Airbag System 3.0 Mammut

Removable Airbag System 3.0

Avalanche airbag system with low weight for installation in compatible backpacks

£404.95 Reg. £404.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
OZ
-0% New
Neo 30 ARS Avalanche Backpack Millet

Neo 30 ARS Avalanche Backpack

Superb featured and technically designed avalanche backpack with all the necessary attachments

£629.95 Reg. £629.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
sky diver
-0% New
Ride Short Removable 28 Avalanche Backpack ready Mammut

Ride Short Removable 28 Avalanche Backpack ready

Comfortable and well equipped allround rucksack for freeride and ski touring - especially for women or shorter backs (compatible with airbag system)

£179.95 Reg. £179.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
28 L
-10% New
Free Rider 20 S Avabag Avalanche Airbag Ortovox

Free Rider 20 S Avabag Avalanche Airbag

Freeride backpack with short back length and flexible back protector - also includes the ultralight AVABAG Avalanche Airbag System

£565.95 Reg. £629.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
black anthracite
aqua
-10% New
Free Rider 20 S Avabag Avalanche Airbag Ortovox

Free Rider 20 S Avabag Avalanche Airbag

Freeride backpack with short back length and flexible back protector - also includes the ultralight AVABAG Avalanche Airbag System

£565.95 Reg. £629.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
black anthracite
aqua
-10% New
Free Rider 22 Avabag Avalanche Airbag Ortovox

Free Rider 22 Avabag Avalanche Airbag

Average Rating

Freeride backpack with short back length and flexible back protector - also includes the world's lightest and award winning AVABAG Avalanche Airbag System!

£564.95 Reg. £629.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
crazy orange
-12% New
Ascent 22 Avabag Avalanche Airbag Backpack Ortovox

Ascent 22 Avabag Avalanche Airbag Backpack

Technical ultralight avalanche backpack for long and demanding ski touring

£538.95 Reg. £611.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
crazy orange
black anthrazit
-12% New
Ascent 22 Avabag Avalanche Airbag Backpack Ortovox

Ascent 22 Avabag Avalanche Airbag Backpack

Technical ultralight avalanche backpack for long and demanding ski touring

£538.95 Reg. £611.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
crazy orange
black anthrazit
-0% New
Pro Short Removable 33 Avalanche Backpack ready Mammut

Pro Short Removable 33 Avalanche Backpack ready

Technical ski touring backpack especially designed for women and shorter backs - with removable airbag system

£197.95 Reg. £197.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
33 L
-16% New
Ultralight Removable 20 Avalanche Backpack Mammut

Ultralight Removable 20 Avalanche Backpack

Light, avalanche day-pack with high wearing comfort and plenty of attachments

£430.95 Reg. £512.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
20 L
-10% New
Light Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack Mammut

Light Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack

Light one-day avalanche pack with high wearing comfort and plenty of attachments

£511.95 Reg. £566.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
30 L
-0% New
Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack ready Mammut

Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack ready

Comfortable and well equipped allround freeride and snowboard rucksack (compatible with airbag system)

£179.95 Reg. £179.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
black
30 L
lava
30 L
-0% New
Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack ready Mammut

Ride Removable 30 Avalanche Backpack ready

Comfortable and well equipped allround freeride and snowboard rucksack (compatible with airbag system)

£179.95 Reg. £179.95
In stock,
delivery time 3-5 days
black
30 L
lava
30 L
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 Ultralight Trekking

Avalanche Safety Backpack Buyer's Guide

Safety is becoming ever more important in modern society, and mountain sports have not escaped this demand. What many do not realize is that the mountains do not permit absolute safety; risk can only be minimized, never completely eliminated. Though myriad safety equipment is available today, accurate personal assessment and responsible action are still the two most important factors when it comes to preventing accidents in the mountains.

Avalanche Airbag Backpack - Mammut Ride Airbag RAS 30l
Mammut Ride Airbag RAS 30l - Foto: Baschi Bender

Avalanches pose the single greatest danger to ski tourers and freeriders, and are by no means only chance events.  Quite the contrary; in 90% of registered accidents the avalanche is caused by the affected person or group [1]. One does not need to be a statistics expert to realize that preventing these human mistakes is be the most effective way to reduce the number of accidents. Such preventive measures include reading avalanche bulletins, making conservative choices in risky situations, and becoming knowledgable on how avalanches are formed and caused. Of course all accidents could be prevented if everyone stayed home, but that would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?

One thing is clear: There is always a certain element of risk involved, however small, when traveling through mountains and avalanche terrain. And no one is perfect, even the most experienced mountaineers make bad choices.  Accidents happen. Carrying safety equipment is not a license to take greater risks, but rather provides the necessary tools to deal with the consequences of mistakes or unforseen events. Today a standard set of avalanche safety equipment is composed of an avalanche transceiver, a probe and a shovel; that a helmet and first-aid kit are necessary hopefully goes without saying [2]. Of course one should always bear in mind that any technology and equipment is only as good as the person using it. Skills like locating buried transceivers, properly using a probe, effective searching techniques, digging quickly and providing adequate first aid need to be aquired and practiced regularly! Otherwise valuable time may be wasted due to lacking routine and coordination. That being said, technology that is used properly can turn a potentially fatal mistake into a valuable lesson.

Airbag Systems and Backpacks
The following manufacturers currently offer avalanche air bag systems and compatible backpacks:
  • ABS
  • Snowpulse
  • Mammut
  • BCA
  • Wary
  • Mystery Ranch

The main purpose of air bag systems is to keep the person wearing it from becoming fully buried in an avalanche. It may not sound like much, but staying on the surface (and thus visbile) can save valuable minutes that would otherwise be spent locating the buried person. If, on the other hard, you have managed to survive the slide but are completely buried, the chances of survival diminish extremely rapidly. Statistics don't lie: On average, the chance of survival is already down to 40% after 30 minutes [2]. In light of the fact that it usually takes professional search-and-rescue teams over 40 minutes to reach areas outside ski area boundries, it becomes glaringly obvious how important it is for yourself and the members of your group to posess search-and-rescue skills as well.

Mammut Ride Airbag RAS 30l - Finger on the trigger Finger on the trigger - Photo: Baschi Bender

There are also additional tools - besides the obligatory transceiver-probe-shovel threesome - that can help tip the scales in favour of a successful rescue. Personal action (attempting to escape terrain traps, ditching poles and skis, "swimming" backwards, creating an air pocket, digging yourself out, keeping calm, etc.) is not only free, but can also diminish the situation's severity [3]. As far as equipment goes, there are generally three different types of supplementary safety systems. Each has a different goal: Keeping a person afloat (air bags), making it easier to find a buried person (avalanche balls), and keeping a person alive for longer while buried (Black Diamond AvaLung, Ferrino Airsafe) [2]. The opinions on each type of safety system differ, but only the air bag systems' effectiveness sesms to be well-documented [4]. Since none of these pieces of equipment can fully guarantee that a burial will be prevented, they must always be used in addition to basic avy safety gear (transceiver, probe, shovel) - never as a replacement.

Avalanche Airbag Brands

For alomst two decades ABS was the sole manufacturer of avalanche air bag systems and backpacks. In recent years however the competition has grown and new alternatives have become available. A happy development for consumers, leading to more choices at lower average prices. Having more choices of course also means that you need to do a bit more research to find the right one. It is worth taking a closer look at the various backpacks, which we have already done to compile the following overview of air bag pack types.

BCA (Backcountry Access), Wary, and Mystery Ranch are North American brands that are hardly represented in the European market. For this reason we have decided to concentrate on the companies Snowpulse and ABS in the following overview.

Snowpulse has been producing air bag systems since 2008, and became a subsidiary of the Swiss brand Mammut in 2011. The Snowpulse company however still makes and sells its products under its own name. Snowpulse backpacks include the integrated Lifebag system, while certain models of Mammut backpacks can now be bought with the Snowpulse Removable Airbag System (R.A.S.). Besides this function, the biggest difference between the Lifebag and the R.A.S. is the shape of the air bag. The former is inflated from behind the wearer's head and expands forward over each shoulder in front of the chest. The idea behind this construction is to prevent injuries to the head and upper body. The R.A.S. inflates from the same point, but extends out- and downward (as pictured below) instead of over the shoulders. Ferrino and Scott air bag packs feature the R.A.S. as well. The greatest benefit of the R.A.S. is that it can be removed and used with multiple R.A.S.-compatible backbacks, e.g. in small pack for freeriding and a larger (ski-)mountaineering pack.

Avalanche airbag pack - Mammut Ride Airbag RAS 301 Mammut Ride Airbag RAS 30l - rear view - Photo: Baschi Bender

ABS has been around since 1985, and currently makes air bag packs with two separate airbags (TwinBag), one on each side of the pack. With a total volume of 170 liters these dual airbags are the largest on the market, and presumably also provide the according floatation. ABS is also currently the only company who's airbags can be be triggered remotely. Though it may sound it a bit strange at first, the feature can be immensely useful - e.g. for guides (who may be able to thus help more inexperienced riders), or in situations where a skier freezes up due to stress. ABS offers two different base units (Vario or Powder) with various zip-on bags of different sizes and styles. Arva, Dakine, Dynastar, Evoc, Millet and Rossignol make ABS-compatible zip-on bags as well, some of which also come with an attachable carrying system that allows them to also be used without the ABS base unit. Salewa, The North Face and Ortovox are also beginning to make full backpacks that feature an integrated ABS system.

Summary:


ABS

    Pros:
  • wireless activation (optional)
  • large selection of zip-on bags of varying sizes and brands (Evoc, Arva, Dakine, Dynastar, Millet, Rossignol)
  • complete ABS-compatible backpacks from other manufacturers (Salewa, The North Face, Ortovox)
  • largest total airbag volume (170 liters)
  • light carbon-fibre cartridges (optional)
  • integrated back protectors (optional)
  • Cons:
  • weight
  • price
  • no protection for head/neck

Snowpulse Lifebag

    Pros:

  • protection of head, neck, shoulders and chest
  • user-refillable cartridges available
  • Cons:

  • price
  • conventional cartridge has to be mailed in for refilling
  • bag shape limits field of vision
  • no wireless activation
  • not interchangable between backpacks

R.A.S.

    Pros:
  • price
  • interchangable among compatible backpacks
  • large selection of compatible backpacks
  • repacking the airbag is easy
  • airbag shape that does not obstruct vision, while providing head/neck protection
  • weight
  • user-refillable cartridge available
  • Cons:
  • no wireless activation
  • conventional cartridge has to be mailed in for refilling

Click on the button below to check out the avalanche packs in the Bergzeit shop:

Avalanche air bag packs online in the Bergzeit Shop

Text: Totti Lingott (www.powderguide.com)
Photos: Baschi Bender (www.baschibender.de)

Sources:
[1] W. Munter, 3x3 Lawinen. Risikomanagement im Wintersport. 3. Auflage, Verlag Pohl & Schellhammer, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 2009. 
[2] H.-J. Etter, J. Schweizer, T. Stucki, Die Alpen, 2/2009, Schweizer-Alpen-Club SAC, 2009. 
[3] T. Kurzeder, H. Feist, PowderGuide | Lawinen – Risiko-Check für Freerider, 4. Auflage, Tyrolia-Verlag, Innsbruck, 2012. 
[4] L. Meier, S. Harvey, Feldversuche mit Lawinen-Notfallgeräten Winter 2010/2011, WSL-Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung SLF, Davos, 2011.
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