Forums The Gear Room Next Year ABS Systems – Any knowledge?
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  • #578658
    summersgone
    820 Posts

    I just received a gift of the ABS Vario base unit pack for next season. I was initially deciding between keeping and trading it in for the Mammut PAS system. I think currently I am at keeping it due to the zip on options, and the potential for carbon canister reducing weight down the road. I also like ABS’s airbag design, even thought it is heavy. I do have some questions though, if anyone knows who went to SIA.

    I am disappointed with the actual pack for ABS. I have the Vario 25L and I think it’s not overly great for ski touring. I probably will just trade it in next year because I think its junk and lots of other options will be possible. I’ve seen pictures of next years pack integrations, and looking for any insider info.

    I’m looking for a day pack, in the 30L range that zip on. So from SIA, it looks like the choices are the Arva x-Oveo 28, MH Powzilla 30, and I’m not sure on the Dakine Signal 25, Haglofs Vojd 30, and Ortovox Tour 32+7 if they zip or just full pack. Am I missing any others? http://www.thegearcaster.com/the_gearcaster/2013/02/abs-avalanche-airbag-packs-for-20132014.html

    Did anyone physically see these packs and can comment on the following:

    1) Board carry mode, Vertical or A-Frame options? I know A-Frame is tough with ABS, but it’d be good to know if there is options. I know the 40L Dakine pack has this, but 40L I think is too large for me and day trips.
    2) Compartment’s, what do they got? Goggle pack, how does it store the avalanche gear, hydration compatible?
    3) Weight, lightweight material like the Mammut lite, or regular pack weight?

    Also, does anyone have any knowledge when the US will do the carbon canisters like in europe? I know this is a DOT certified thing, but it will drop .7 pounds, which helps aid the heaviest avalanche bag on the market, the worst thing for ABS (and flying).

    #668250
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    hey Jason, I have yet to see a pack with the features and quality which I want… Too bad. Next season there are going to be a lot of options, sure hope that someone gets it right.
    I agree that the ABS bag system seems best, especially if one can get their hands on one of the Euro carbon cylinders. I have not seen them, but one person advised me to check out the Ortovox packs, I will respond again when I get a chance to.
    BTW, without an airbag I prefer a 30 L pack, so with an airbag I am going to need a 35… Remember, they specify the size without considering the (considerable) space taken up by the airbag and other hardware…

    #668251
    ieism
    298 Posts

    I don’t think the US will ever get the carbon canisters. You could try ordering one though, they might not give a $#!t or even know that they can’t ship it, and send it anyway. Here’s a reliable shop in my country that seems to have them in stock, and I haven’t seen them cheaper elsewhere..

    http://www.snowcountry.nl/abs-activation-unit-carbon.html

    If that doesn’t work, ask them for a solution. They should be able to ship it empty regardless of regulations right, but check with your local dealer if they are willing and able to refill it first? If you can’t get it refilled in the US, it’s pointless IMO.

    http://flatlandsplitfest.com/

    #668252
    ieism
    298 Posts

    Regarding the backpacks, they are now quite common here in Europe so I know a lot of people who own one. I have a Snowpulse myself, so this is just from looking at them and their feedback.

    But as you said, not all packs you mention are zip-ons for the Vario as far as I know. The Ortofox isn’t for sure, it has a removable bag inside (I don’t even think you can buy the pack without the airbag). The Dakine are both zipons, I think, or at least work with the Vario you have. I’ve seen the 40L, that is a nice pack for sure.

    And Evoc has a zipon, not a big fan. It’s not much better than you ABS bag IMO.
    Dynastar makes a pack, but I think it’s more a ski pack. I’m not so sure you can carry a board on it vertically, and I hate the colours.

    Millet makes a very nice zipon, but it’s always sold out here (that should say something) And a very wide snowboard won’t fit that well, but you can relocate the straps easily if you have a super wide board. This is probably the pack I would get regardless of the short strap issue.

    You have Arva, but I’ve only seen those in a shop. They come with a zip on back so you can use them as a regular pack and the materials look nice. No idea about the carry system though. The shape looks good, smooth and not in the way you know…

    Hope this helps…

    http://flatlandsplitfest.com/

    #668253
    summersgone
    820 Posts

    I saw this video of the Mountain Hardware Powzilla pack. Seems cool, wondering on the weight. Looks like good features for an actual pack.
    [youtube:1249ycof]OehtdW2kAzk[/youtube:1249ycof]
    One thing it seems with all these packs is they are adding features, but greatly increasing the weight (obviously). With ABS already being heavy, this sucks. I really hope they get the carbon canister set up. From what I’ve read, a US dealer will not refill the system. And actually what sucks is that the ABS dealer closest to me is 2+ hours away, so I have to deal with the British Columbia shop directly.

    I also was doing research, and read in this review the Tour32 will weigh somewhere around 11 pounds… That’s way to heavy. 😯
    http://14erskiers.com/blog/2013/02/review-ortovox-abs-packs-and-beacons/

    #668254
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @ieism wrote:

    I don’t think the US will ever get the carbon canisters. You could try ordering one though, they might not give a $#!t or even know that they can’t ship it, and send it anyway. Here’s a reliable shop in my country that seems to have them in stock, and I haven’t seen them cheaper elsewhere..

    http://www.snowcountry.nl/abs-activation-unit-carbon.html

    If that doesn’t work, ask them for a solution. They should be able to ship it empty regardless of regulations right, but check with your local dealer if they are willing and able to refill it first? If you can’t get it refilled in the US, it’s pointless IMO.

    I agree that it is unlikely the US DOT will approve the ABS carbon cannister, as I doubt ABS themselves are making enough of an effort (greasing the palms) to make it happen. I have talked to an ABS dealer, and he has suggested some ways around this limitation though (yes, by circumventing the regs). The ABS system does weigh a little more in itself, after all it has two airbags. For the lightest system, one should look elsewhere.
    I also agree though, it is terrible that the pack manufacturers are adding so many features, zippers, and compartments. Someone should concentrate on reducing the weight of the pack bag itself, only having what is necessary, and using very lightweight materials. We should be able to rock an airbag pack with 30 litres of storage for 6 lbs. Super heavy packs may be fine for motorised users, but come on…

    #668255
    peacefrog
    376 Posts

    One thing to bear in mind with the ABS system is that if you live somewhere remote without a local dealer you’re fucked.
    I live in Juneau, AK (pop. 30,000) and got an semi inside deal on a Vario 30 from a guy who runs a heli ski op in the area. He’d said I’d be able to replace canisters and triggers through him. Great!….until his deal with ABS fell though. Since I’m off the road system no one will ship me a canister or trigger, at least not at a cost that approaching reasonable. So now I’m stuck with a useless bag.

    #668256
    classicauto
    152 Posts

    The ABS packs are terrible feature wise, in my opinion, for anything aside from the 15L for a heli day.

    Using them to tour with is just a series of comprimses. Unfortunatley, getting a better oriented pack means adding weight, considering most of the larger ABS packs are literally just one big cave.

    I’m waiting to see in my hands some of the new mammut offerings, and personally, I think the jones airbag pack for next season looks amazing. All the features I love in a normal touring pack + airbag. Doesn’t seem to get better – but who knows what it will look like when it rolls out let alone how well it will truly work.

    #668257
    ieism
    298 Posts

    @peacefrog

    I think there are a lot more heli ski companies that use and have the canisters in AK. I had a friend who went on a helitrip to Ak, and they advised him not to bother taking his own canister and trigger on the plane (it’s still not guaranteed that they will let you take it on a plane) as they would provide the whole group with canisters if they needed them.

    Perhaps you can contact ABS and ask them if there are any “near” you?

    http://flatlandsplitfest.com/

    #668258
    summersgone
    820 Posts

    Yeah, Peacefrog. My closest is in Telluride, 2 hours away, but I called ABS customer service in British Columbia, and they were responsive. I have to ship to them to refill my canister, which kinda sucks though.

    http://abs-airbag.de/us/meta/contact/

    I’ll wait through the summer to see what specs come out for the Mammut PAS system, and new packs zip on compatibility before I make my final decision on what to do. And cross my fingers on carbon coming to the US.

    #668259
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    When you have to ship to re-fill, then you need two cylinders charged and ready to go at home at all times. It would be kind of absurd to have to “wait’ for a cylinder to be re-charged: if one owns an airbag, one should always be using it. An extra cylinder would be worthwhile to have around.
    My understanding is that my ABS dealer here in Boulder will switch out a charged cylinder for a depleted one, so the customer avoids the additional cost of owning two cylinders.
    Compressed air systems are easier to deal with for sure, as are single bag set ups, but there are technical advantages to the ABS system which make it very attractive to me, despite the downsides.
    Of course, all this discussion may become mute by late next season, if Arcteryx gets their ducted fan based system to market.
    That MH pack looks pretty nice (thanks for the vid), at least they should have decent sewing… I have seen too many BCA and DaKine packs blow up in the field to trust them.

    #668260
    peacefrog
    376 Posts

    yeah tried that but the only ones using ABS are not connected to Juneau. Anchorage, Valdez, etc are all on the “mainland” of AK and Juneau and Haines are in the “pan handle”. So to get to us anything coming from there has to go through Canada which poses difficulties with Haz Mat items. I may try to sell it in the Swap for someone who can use it, then buy a system with Co2 that uses a mechanical trigger.

    #668261
    FloImSchnee
    291 Posts

    @barrows wrote:

    Someone should concentrate on reducing the weight of the pack bag itself, only having what is necessary, and using very lightweight materials. We should be able to rock an airbag pack with 30 litres of storage for 6 lbs.

    And there it is:
    http://www.snowpulse.com/en/rubrique/produits/lifebag-system/lite-35/

    – One of the lightest packs on the market, although 35 litres size
    – A-Frame and vertical solid-board carry
    – Mechanical protection of head & neck
    – Compressable to slim profile for resort days

    If I didn’t already own a Snowpulse Guide 30, I would buy the Lite 35.

    #668262
    classicauto
    152 Posts

    I know its very rare, but I’ll mention it anyway – an ABS pack my friend demo’d we fired off when we brought it back because the guy said we could.

    When he pulled the trigger, one bag came out, the other blew apart the stitching inside the pack and inflated against his back, inside the bag itself

    The rep told us he’s seen it before – but that its rare. And then asked which model he’d like to buy lol

    A good reason for two bags I guess, however it didn’t give me a real awesome feeling about ABS especially considering the relative uselessness of the packs they offer.

    You can see the deployment in question in my video in the trip reports section.

    #668263
    summersgone
    820 Posts

    @classicauto wrote:

    You can see the deployment in question in my video in the trip reports section.

    Approximately what time is this at?

    The lite was what I leaning towards as well otherwise. I also read though the Mammut PAS system was going to use lighter material, so wanted to see the specs prior to pulling the trigger.

    All good feedback, thanks everyone.

    #668264
    classicauto
    152 Posts

    don’t have 7 minutes to kill? haha

    about 4:10

    #668265
    summersgone
    820 Posts

    So doing a little research on Carbon canisters. My thought is two things. 1st, it seems that the US already has carbon canisters for paintball guns, whats the issue with ABS canister? http://www.ansgear.com/Empire_Ultra_72_4500_Compressed_Air_Paintball_Tank_p/empiretank724500ultra.htm

    Also, when will Snowpulse have a carbon canister? Their canister weights 670 grams (more than ABS by almost 100 grams), but if it was carbon, that could drop weight significantly to maybe ~350g, saving almost .7 pounds as well. That would be great, seeing as the RAS bag is somewhere in 6.5lbs range, and this would drop it under 6.

    It just seems like a no brainer and what is the hold up here?

    GET ON IT COMPANIES!

    #668266
    singlewhitecaveman
    242 Posts

    Summersgone, PM Zak. He’s been using the ABS system for a while (currently with the Arva add-on), and i’m pretty sure either he, or a buddy of ours, or both, were able to get hold of a carbon canister. Zak’s tried a few iterations so he’s got some insight, I’m sure.

    #668267
    summersgone
    820 Posts

    Thanks,

    Spoke to Zak, and he said the carbon is basically worthless. He got it a few years ago because the company forgot, and ABS won’t refill it and hasn’t had luck getting them to exchange for a steel cartridge.

    Good to know about it all though, seems like a major pain. I was hoping there was a work around or something.

    #668268
    moridinbg
    151 Posts

    I suggest against the Ortovox pack, after doing several tours with demo unit for next season. It’s a nice pack, very comfortable, but probably the pack with the least usable volume I have ever used. With the ABS system and shovel & probe it is almost full with barely enaugh space for a very packed fleece, 1l water bottle and small mountain medkit 😯

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