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 Post subject: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:48 pm 
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I recently started looking for a Avalanche backpack (airbag system) I want something like not crazy amount of space 20-25 liters or so could be a little less. I checked out videos on all the different types of bags and considering that most of my pow days are on travel days and trips North Face and the entire ABS system is out because they use nitrogen and can't be brought on a flight. That leaves BCA : which seems reliable company seem a good amount do footage of avalanches and BCA has been through its share so i take that as a good amout of experience in the field. Snowpulse and Mammut which are essentially the same company but Snowpulse has a differnet airbag system that wraps around the chest and head helps for trauma protection along with float. Next season Mammut will also be offering the all around system and it will be removable I'm just trying to figure out which one to go with. I plan on taking it on Heli trips and also splitting here and there so I want it to be comfortable, light but also have enough space to fit my backcountry gear.

Any suggestions would be greatly apreciated


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 Post subject: Re: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:25 am 
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Location: Amsterdam
I've used all brands you mention for a few days, the biggest difference you will notice on a day to day is how usable the backpack itself is. You'll probably never deploy the airbag, so having a good backpack is nice.

There is endless debate on what type of airbag is more likely to keep you alive, but imo there is little difference in the real world. ABS may be safer because they have two separate bags, Snowpulse because some will protect you head a little, but ultimately it's all about the volume of the bag. That's what will keep you on top.

Some bags have a removable system so you can purchase another bag, or a zip-on bag so you can make the bag bigger. If you ever go on a multi day trip this is nice. Mammut is removable, Snowpulse is fixed and wraps around your head. I can get enough for a hut trip in my 22l Snowpulse, a bigger bag will only encourage you to bring more useless stuff imo.
I carry a shovel and probe, tools and spares, large fist aid kit, blizzard bag, synthetic down midlayer, 1x underwear and socks, food & water and stuff to melt snow in a 22L pack.

The only bag I didn't like were the 2012 BCA's, the design and quality of the bag are no good for me and you can't replace the bags yet. Haven't tried the 2013 yet.
The bags I like most are the Dakine and Ortovox ABS packs, they really know how to design a pack. But like you say, taking an ABS on a plane can be a little difficult because the trigger contains an explosive. Mammut bags are nice, but so far there are not a lot of other manufacturers making bags for their RAS system.

If you can get a good deal on a 2012 Snowpulse 30L (the one that wraps around your head) that would be my recommendation. You can compress the bag when it's not filled up so it's small. But when you need the space 30L is enough for almost anything.

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 Post subject: Re: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:46 am 
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Really appreciate the info I'm wondering if I should pick one of the Snowpulse up now or wait till next season for the Mammut models that you can remove. They got some great deals on them now, but being able to remove it seems like a great feature to me . Not sure

The ability to compress it sounds great, how's the weight compared to the others and overall comfort?


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 Post subject: Re: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:26 am 
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I didn't notice much difference in weight, I think you have larger cylinders in the US though so our bags are lighter anyway. :)

The Snowpulse has the airbag in the shoulder straps, so at first it seems a little uncomfortable because the straps are not as flexible. But after a bit of use they become better and it's not uncomfortable at all, just weird.

I do recommend whatever bag you buy, to test it in the store. They should be fairly relaxed about giving you a new cylinder to test the bag if you buy one. As with all gear, you need to learn how to use it. You should be able to find and pull the trigger blind, if you've a few times it becomes a reflex.

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 Post subject: Re: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:49 am 
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Location: Salzburg / Austria
Snowpulse Lifebag Lite 35.
- head on top
- mechanical protection against Head/Neck injuries
- lightweight
- large enough for longer trips, still compressable enough for freeriding

Or next year's Mammut/Snowpulse PAS (not RAS) system.


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 Post subject: Re: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:39 am 
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Wildsnow has a continuously updated comparison of bags. AFAIK, it has every bag available on the market.
http://www.wildsnow.com/5014/avalanche- ... -overview/

At my Avy1 class last week, a Mamut rep came and demoed their RAS system. It seems pretty rad to me.
- One device that can be zipped into multiple bags.
- Refillable
-May be taken onto airplanes
-Uses dry compressed air so it won't ice up upon deployment
-The only airbag OSHA approved for ski patrollers to carry explosives. The tank is inside a neoprene sleeve which prevents static electricity from creating a spark.
-Next year's version will have the snowpulse protect-your-head-and-neck design.
In all fairness, this is the only system I have intimate knowledge of. I've only read about others.


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 Post subject: Re: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:39 am 
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There is the rumor that Arc'terxy will have an electric fan driven inflation system in the future based on an alleged patent application. No idea if this is for real, but that could be a pretty cool and light system. If it even does come to fruition, it may be years out.

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 Post subject: Re: Recommendations for a good Avalanche Pack
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:53 pm 
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The Snowpulse 35 Lite seems amazing I gotta say the weight is about 25% less then any other bag out there in that size range they are currently on sale for 720$ that with 20% off the reg price http://www.backcountry.com/snowpulse-lite-35-backpack , to bad for me they only have em in large.. Guess ill have to weight for next years model, you never know might even be lighter. Thanx for the suggestions it's got everything I need, plus the size will work for all different conditions with the compressions straps, space not used will just keep it smaller so its win win.

As for the RAS model it's nice that it is removable and all but the big pillow type bag compared to the Snowpulse wrap around type I will go with the Snowpulse. Same air bag volume for both so it only makes sence to go with the additional head, chest protection. Plus next season as I mentioned Mammut will have the wrap around airbags and they will be removable so that's great all around but realistically with the 35 liter Lite version I don't see a point in removing the unit to another bag. Perhaps removing it when avi conditions aren't a issue that way you only need one bad :-/

As for Arc'terxy and the electric fan driven inflation system that seems like a great idea, definitely going to be adding $$$$ for that kinda tech so you save 150-200$ on the cylinder to add the money into the price of the bag but its better because no tank to fill and weight will be reduced but then again. Relying on a electrical system to save your life in sub zero temps :-/ Ill wait for some field testing before going that route.

Thanx again all for all in info really appreciate it


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