Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 11:08 am Posts: 95 Location: Calgary
I've been considering an airbag pack for quite a while, but would like to hear some opinions from those in the same boat as me as well as from those who currently do, or have used them. I've used the search function and there aren't a lot of recent posts. With the technology and options increasing, I was hoping we could dial in an updated discussion. Basically I'm just looking for some other perspectives before I dive into a big investment. I've got about 8 years of backcountry experience and 20+ years riding. I'm not sure if that is relevent to the discussion but perhaps it will help folks understand a bit more about me...
I'm not worried too much about weight - they are heavy but they all seem to be in the same 6.8lbs - 7.5lbs area. Being weight concious with alpine climbing, most of my gear is light and I'm willing to accept some extra ounces if it means I'm getting the right pack for me.
The options I've considered are the ABS vario, the BCA Float 36 and the Snow pulse.
I'm looking for something that can be a jack of all trades. I want to use it for slack country, day trips and multi-day tours. I realize there is compromise and I've never had an issue using a larger volume pack and cinching down the straps on short days.
So what are some opinions? Are the ABS packs the best as the marketing points to? needing to reload the handle and a new abs cannister may be a pain compared to being able to re-load canisters at a diveshop or fire hall with the other 2. Are the snow pulses better because they protect the head and thorax? Is the BCA the best budget choice? I do like its ice axe holder as it keeps the picks locked in place away from the airbag.