Best Avalanche Airbag For Snowmobiling

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Whether it is widely agreed and accepted or not, Avalanche Airbags are stuff that should be available everywhere. It’s an important thing that all snowmobilers in the backcountry should have. For you to make the right choice of your avalanche airbag, the following crucial criteria should be taken to heart:

NameFeatures 
Backcountry Access MtnPro VestBC Link Radio Holder PocketPRICING
Dakine Poacher R.A.S.It has a 3.0 Airbag System That is RemovablePRICING
Backcountry Access Float 32Improved 2.0 Airbag Pack SystemPRICING
Black Diamond Jetforce TourIncredibly LightweightPRICING
Ortovox AscentIt has a Lightweight and Good FunctionalityPRICING
  • Deployment: Quick deployment, repacking and recharging are the qualities of a good avalanche airbag. Check for these things.
  • Volume: The volume of the pack is equally important. This determines how much gear will be present in the pack. You don’t want to find yourself calculating whether a piece of gear is important to take our or not just because the airbag isn’t spacious enough.
  • Pockets: with extra pockets, you are able to stuff a lot of things in and around your bag. You may need separate pockets to hold your goggles, gloves and a couple of other things

But the field of packs is branching out – there’s a wide range of brands and technologies out there in the market and we want to make it easy for you to pick the right pack. We have taken it upon ourselves provide an in-depth dive into the best Avalanche Airbags you will find out there.

1. Backcountry Access MtnPro Vest Avalanche Airbag

Interestingly, the BCA MtnPro Vest is a lightweight and breathable protective vest that is specifically designed by Backcountry Access for high-performance snowmobiling. The vest is an integrated low-profile pack that is built with external equipment as an in-built integration with a transceiver and BC Link radios, and compact, lightweight float 2.0 inflation system. It also features an avalanche gear; complete front, side and back protection plus a hard shell of 1mm thickness flanked by the two layers of PE foam. This feature serves to provide you protection from hitting against hard things like trees, rocks, handlebars or anything whatsoever that you might encounter . Moreover, the vest is equipped with an external shovel carry, safe dual side-release buckles fixed over the front zip, articulated shoulders, and larger pockets.

You’ll also find it interesting to discover that the BCA MtnPro Vest is equipped with a next-generation float 2.0 cylinder which is about 30% smaller and 15% light weighted than the float 1.0 engine. However, the entire elements of the float 2.0 system sit separately behind a covering that is zippered, thus freeing up useful space in the main compartment separated for gear, first-aid kit, and supplies. BCA’s airbag makes the easiest refillable airbag system around the world, and it is very user-friendly. The pack has a volume of 1,220 cubic inches/ 20 liters.

Pros

  • The best option for a backcountry rider/snowmobiler
  • Durable; has zero rips, tears, holes, or defect
  • Comfortable
  • The chest protector is breathable
  • Faster access to the rider with the presence of the transceiver pocket
  • BC link radio holder pocket
  • Large padded front pockets

Cons

  • It is relatively expensive compared to the backpacks of its size

2. Dakine Poacher R.A.S. 26L Backpack

The poacher R.A.S. 26L is one of the backpack product family of Dakine. Amazingly, this particular product offers a better fit and carry, and technological features which other saline backpack lacks.

It has straps and back that are contoured; this creates a great fit for aggressive skiing.  The 26L has panel loader design which includes full-zip back entry and separate avalanche specifically for tool storage. The pack is equipped with a removable Airbag system 3.0 with roll-top closure which is Dakine exclusive. The backpack also has a diagonal and A-frame ski carry, and vertical snowboard carry.

Pros

  • Contoured straps
  • Diagonal A-frame ski carry
  • It has a 3.0 Airbag system that is removable
  • It provides a feature that can carry snowboards and snowshoes

Cons

  • It is not easy to refill its airbag after exhausting it

3. Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag 2.0

The interesting fact about this latest model of the BCA Float 32 avalanche airbag is its basic but extraordinarily functional and reliable airbag pack. Awesomely, you should know that this BCA Float 32 which is an upgrade to the archaic model now features a complete “U” shaped snow safety pocket, dual-zippered waist belt pockets, enhanced ice axe carrying options, torso length that is fully adjustable, and the option to put on the trigger on either shoulder strap. This BCA float 32 falls on the lightweight side of avalanche airbags; its total weight is 7 Ibs 1 oz, and it is sold at a low price that can be afforded by many people.

It comes with an inflation engine which consists of a new float 2.0 cylinder that is designed to be about 15% lighter and 30% smaller than the ones before it. This cylinder is made to be stored in the airbag compartment, allowing space to be freed up inside the main storage compartment. However, you should note that the upgraded 2.0 system is not in any way compatible with the bags with 1.0 system and vice versa. Secondly, the BCA Float 32 has been built with new straps that allow users to be able to carry their snowboards vertically and conveniently. Thirdly, the ice axe which initially has its storage outside the tool compartment has now been moved into the front tool compartment. Moreover, this pack now has more color pick option, that is, it now comes in black and orange in addition to the existing blue and yellow color.

The refilling system of this pack is very accessible and relatively inexpensive. You can also make use of hand pumps to refill the airbag canisters making its refill easy and mobile. It has a simple and awesome attached permanent helmet holder which is stable and easily deployable. This feature helps you to hang your helmet beautifully, keeps most snow that is falling and it can be equipoise to one side of the bag when carrying your skis. It’s well-designed and lightweight with its components fully fitted in their right form.

Pros

  • Improved 2.0 airbag pack system
  • 32 liters of useable volume, better than other packs which mostly have about 5-10 liters of their volume occupied by the airbag system
  • The float 32 is overall usable and utilizable
  • Can carry skis A-frame style

Cons

  • It came in only one size that doesn’t fit well on many shorter people
  • No easy-to-use diagonal carry system

4. Black Diamond Jetforce Tour 26L Backpack

Fascinatingly, the jet force tour 26L was constructed with the same level of unsullied quality and reliability that you can expect from a product of black diamond. The Tour 26L is built with a swiss built Alpride E1 airbag system which is a fully electronic avalanche airbag. This pack depends on a supercapacitor for powering a fan that functions to inflate the bag, unlike other traditional airbags which use traditional canisters. Aside from the supercapacitor inflator, this pack has the ability to inflate the airbag more than once during a tour. This can be a life-saviour in a situation where you are on a long tour or multi-day trip where it is nearly impossible to have a gas refill.

Also, Tour 26 has high functionality. It is very simple to arm, deploy and disarm. It is more like a minimalist’s version of an avalanche airbag pack. The airbag is encompassed by a perforator zipper which is located at the top of the bag. The zipper that is meant for closing the airbag compartment does not close up completely; it has a small opening at the top, and a small bit of Velcro closes the open zipper. This feature enables the bag to open as the airbag gets inflated, so as to make sure that nothing stops it from expanding.

Another interesting feature that this Tour 26L has is its waist strap clasp. This interlocking clasp is a better option to the traditional buckle that is on most backpacks, which could break up easily. more so, this pack is constructed with an integrated leg loop that fastens between your legs to the hip strap so as to avoid the pack from being pulled over the head during the event of an avalanche. The hip belt also comes with a small pocket on the right side for you to keep your snacks or tools, as well as a loop for ice tool/gear on your left hip.

Tour 26L is a relatively small pack which is portable and perfect for your day tour.  This pack is light weighted and it is probably the lightest electrical system that you can find on the market. It weighs about 5Ibs 11 oz, compared to the popular BCA Float 32 which weighs about 7 Ibs 1 oz. putting this pack on does not feel heavy at all. This is enhanced by the fact that its fan system located at the bottom of the bag keeps the center of gravity lower so that you don’t feel top-heavy while skiing.

Pros

  • It has great reliability as long as its charged
  • It is easy to use and re-use, versatile and flexible
  • It provides for multiple deployments on a tour
  • Incredibly lightweight

Cons

  • Small size, hence not fit for multi-day trips

5. Ortovox Ascent 30 Avabag

One awesome thing about the Ortivox Men’s Ascent is that it is reasonably light, with enough capacity to last you on long touring days. The Ascent 30 uses a compact AVABAG which has a venture inflation system that has a weight of about 690 grams. The Ascent 30 is constructed with some important skiing features that allow you to be able to carry your helmets and skis, board or snowshoes as the case may be plus a front compartment for your avi gear. It also has a back panel that is 3D shaped and contoured hip fans which offer maximum comfort during the tour and also keeps the weight balanced and centred in cases where it’s necessary to make some turns.

Some of the Ascent 30 amazing features that you wouldn’t want to miss are quite much. It is made of lightweight, abrasion-resistant 100 denier nylon robic ripstop, which make them very durable. It also has water-resistant zippers that work in keeping snow and water out during the touring activity. Its shoulder straps are padded and shaped foam, and it distributes the load in conjunction with the hip fins and back panel. It has safety locking hipbelt and accessory leg loop which functions to keep the pack in place during an avalanche. It has a large compartment that is only accessed via a C-shaped perimeter zipper and the assigned front compartment is where your avalanche gear is safely stored. It has a high external carrying capacity for gears like dual ice axe loops, helmet holder, diagonal ski carries straps and webbing for holding a snowboard or snowshoes.

The pack is also hydration compatible though the reservoir is sold separately from the pack. It uses AVABAG airbag and a venture inflation system which has a lightweight and compact design that removes and installs very fast. Its inflation unit is also sealed; it uses no electronics and thus cannot be affected by dirt, ice or corrosion. It has a release handle that is height adjustable and ergonomically shaped so as to make it grab-able with either gloves or hands. The airbag that it uses has welded seams which makes it ardent to leaks and light as compared to the archaic sewn, seam-sealed designs.

Pros

  • It has a lightweight and good functionality
  • Sealed against snow or any liquid
  • Water-resistant
  • Perfect option for long days touring

Cons

  • It is pricey

Conclusion

Beyond all doubts, we are confident that these airbags are capable enough in carrying you through your snowmobiling experience. You need to get your needed the gears to the tracks and nothing else seem to take care of this than the avalanche airbags which we have carefully reviewed here. Hurry now and get one.

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