The Avalanche backpacks have become the most essential and evident protection gear for avalanche rescue operations or backcountry skiing or snowmobiling . They have become quite popular among the backcountry snowboarders and skiers who are in search of discovering undiscovered terrains during snowmobiling
With so many options available in the market for avalanche airbag vests, it can surely arise a dilemma in your mind for choosing the perfect one for you.
In this article we have enlisted some of the best avalanche airbags available in the market in 2020 along with all their detailed features.
Best Avalanche Airbags in 2020
Backcountry access Float Mountain pro vest
The 2020 model of the backcountry access float mountain pro avalanche vest is designed to be 6% lighter and more breathable than the 2019 model. It is now compatible with BCAAS 2.0 system which is about 15% lighter and 20% smaller than the original 1.0 system.
It has an airbag with protection and the vest features layers of foam with plastic sandwiched between them for ultimate protection and breathability in the field. You also have the bladder hangers on the top of the bag for hydration with the hose running through the shoulder strap.
It also has an external shovel carry so that you can carry your shovel fully assembled in here. You can take apart the shovel and place it on the front and the handle on the side. There are sleeves present on the insides, for the shovel and the probe.
It has a small pocket for smaller items and on the side it has the webbing loop for the BC link radio and the radio base unit within it as well. The mic chord threads through the compartment behind the air bag and through the shoulder strap into the radio pocket.
The cylinder is housed in the airbag pocket. The trigger is on one side of the shoulder strap and BC link radio on the other.Backcountry access float mountain pro vest is available in two sizes medium large and XL.
Black diamond jet force tour 26L backpack
It is an electrical airbag with Alpride system called the E1 so it is based on a super capacitor system.It is a fan based system that will inflate the airbag that is you can inflate the airbag with a single pull.
You can also use two double A batteries for extra deployments. The system takes an hour to charge with batteries and half an hour with the micro USB.
On the side pouch there is an indicator light which tells you the status of the battery. You can switch sides with handle. It also has the waist loop and the leg loop. It is not charged using battery rather you need to charge it usingan USB into the system that delivers you to have one to two deployments in one charge.
The airbag has a 150L capacity and you have to manually deflate the airbag. The valve present in the box should suck out all the air and then fold the airbag to deflate the last bit of air left in the air bag.
After deflation, it is important to let it recharge for an hour. A green signal on the box indicates the airbag is ready for the next deployment operation.It comes in two pack lengths. It has space for skis on the right side of the bag; you can carry skis of any size diagonally without any difficulty.
You can also carry ice axe with the blade facing downward. On the top there is a pocket provided for fourequipment, shovel and probe and below there is a low hidden pocket with a mesh for the helmet. It also comes along with a hydration system.
ARVA Reactor 25 Ultra-light Avalanche Airbag Backpack
The ARVA Reactor is unique with the system of placement in the backpack. The system is centered along the spine and the airbag is located in the exterior of the bag attached on the sides. This backpack has tons of space to accommodate all the necessary equipment, shovels and probe in it.
The bag also features a quick-open zipper for accommodation of rescue gears for quick access during an avalanche expedition. The airbag attached to the backpack has a huge horse-shoe shape and comes with a dual chamber. The airbag is quite rigid to the body that helps to lift you up while walking in the snow.
The central placement of systems evens out the weight on either sides and prevents the feel of the baggage weight on one side more than the other.The backpack is extremely light-weight weighing around three pounds that allows the traveller to feel light on their feet.
In order to lighten the ARVA Reactor Airbag backpack, the engineers integrated the reactor along with the ultra-light backpack instead of using a lighter airbag feature.
The backpack features a ski carry, removable snowboard, snowshoe carry, hydration compatibility, and avalanche gear sleeve and has the capacity to hold for half-day tours.
The airbag also features a gas canister deployment through the dual chambers located around the neck, head and sides. This arrangement heightens the shock absorption feature of the air bags as well as increases the reliability.
Even if the avalanche pops up one chamber of the airbag, it will still be able to keep you afloat due to the dual chamber design of the bag. The backpack is made up of cordura(210D nylon ripstop) that has volume capacity of 25 litres.
Ortovox ascent avabag crazy orange
The avabagavalanche vest comes with the avabag airbag vest system developed by Ortovox. The avabags are compact and light. It is designed for longer and demanding skis. It is a cartilage based system of compressed air. The avabag system provides you with practice releases and also you can train for deployment without the cartilage.
The ortovox ascent avabag avalanche vest system is the lightest airbag backpacks on the market for snowmobiling. The ortovox uses lightweight and robust material such as 100D RobicRipstop Nylon. The foamed 3D back system distributes weight evenly and is therefore lightweight as well as strong.
The avabag airbag system is compatible with all other Ortovoxavabags and is fully removal.The handle is designed in such a way that it can be gripped wearing any kind of glove. It has a chest strap with a signal whistle. It has a separate pocket for safety equipment.
It comes with straps provided for fixing a snowboard or skis diagonally with the attached straps. The buckles in the shoulder strap are made of metal and the buckle system is made of aluminum which is a pass through buckle system.
How to choose right Avalanche Airbags
There are few things you need to consider before buying your own avalanche airbagsfor snowmobiling in the backcountry and some of these important points have been described below.
Fit of the airbag backpack
The manufacturers of different brands do not offer the choice of the length of your torso therefore; look for bags from manufacturers that offer different pack volumes and sizes. While purchasing an airbag backpack always ensure how the straps, back and hip belt feels on loading the bag with equipment.
Before any purchase always ask the different carry options available in the backpack in order to prevent deflation of the airbags due to pressure of the equipment.
Type of the Airbag Backpack
The market contains three major types of airbag systems and they are integrated, base unite and removable.
The backpack and the airbag are integrated completely into each other that in turn offer a large volume of space. The harness, bag and the airbag system are all combined so that the size of the compartment pack cannot be increased or decreased.
The base unit design consists of an in-built airbag system with a particular pack and harness. The compartment bags cones in different volume sizes that can be zipped on for the versatility of the airbag backpacks according to your own needs.
In this removable design, the mechanical inflation system, hoses and air bags all can be removed from the bag completely and independently according to your requirement. This offers the airbag backpack versatility to modify your pack or even to use them off season.
One or Two bag
There are two types of airbags and they are mono bags and dual bags. The mono bags usually inflate either from the top of the bag or from the straps of the shoulder whereas the dual bags inflates from the sides.
The Mono airbag offers protection to the back of their head and keeps you in an upright in position. It also features a partial air pocket that is helpful during burials.
The Dual airbag delivers protection during an avalanche by keeping you afloat and parallel to the snow surface. If one of the two chambers is damaged or fails to deploy, the other one will still be able to protect you during an avalanche.
The airbag backpacks come in different volume sizes starting from 5 liters to 32 liters. The size of the bag depends on the length of the back of the user. Always ensure your frame size and match it with size charts available for proper fit as you are going to wear them for a prolonged period of time.
You also have to keep in mind that the airbag as well as the canister are also taking up some space so choose accordingly. The type of riding as well as the place and your frequency of travel will also determine the size of the compartment.
Wearing avalanche air bag vests alone while snowmobiling is not going to protect you during avalanche incidents but your presence of mind and smart decisions to avoid the avalanche is going to help.
There are the above mentioned different companies that manufacture avalanche airbag vests of unique designs, versatility and price; among them you will have to choose your perfect avalanche airbag vest for backcountry snowmobiling or skiing therefore choose wisely with an open mind.