The smallest of BCA's airbag-enabled backpacks, but no less effective than the big boys.
Because of its minimalist design, the Float 22 Airbag Backpack feels light on your back, and this pack carries just enough for an afternoon sidecountry mission, helicopter or sled-accessed powder laps, or a quick dawn patrol. And like all of BCA's Float backpacks, this pack offers the protection of a trigger-activated airbag that helps you stay on top of sliding debris should you find yourself suddenly caught in an avalanche. At just five and a half pounds, the Float 22 pack barely weighs in much heavier than some backpacking bags, and it offers a compressed-air system that can drastically increase your chances of surviving an avalanche when you're on skis or a snowboard. Stash your shovel, probe, lunch, and a spare layer in the main compartment, and shred your favorite powder stash with extra peace of mind.
- Easy-to-operate airbag system uses a compressed air cylinder to inflate a large synthetic airbag behind your head and shoulders in order to increase your overall buoyancy and decrease your likelihood of full burial if you're caught in an avalanche
- Highly-durable, single-chamber airbag inflates via a 2,700 psi compressed air tank operated by a trigger that can be placed on either the left or right backpack shoulder strap
- Venturi inflation system is TUV and CE certified
- External shovel and probe pocket give you a place to store your avalanche survival tools for quick access
- Diagonal ski carry frees your hands on steep slopes so you can lean into the slope and dig with your ice tools
- Helmet carry keeps your brain bucket secure so you can take it off for the heli or the tram ride
- BCA recommends that you deploy your airbag at least once per year. Once you have discharged the compressed air cylinder, you need to bring it or send it back to BCA, BCA Canada, or to an authorized BCA Float cylinder refill station
- Follow this link to enter your area and see a full list of cylinder refill locations near you: http://www.backcountryaccess.com/about/map/
- Editor’s Note: wearing this airbag system does NOT guarantee that you will survive an avalanche burial or a slide amidst avalanche debris; get educated, get the right tools, travel with partners, and be smart out there
- **Cylinder Sold Separately**
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Share your thoughts
I'm just trying to understand the difference...
I'm just trying to understand the difference between the less expensive backpacks and the expensive ones. I am looking to give one to my husband as a gift and he would be using it for snowmobiling. Is this one sufficient? It does say snowmobiles under recommended use.
There are a few key differences with these packs that affect the overall price. One of the most obvious ones is size. Think about what else he may be needing to put in the pack, and make sure to buy one that is big enough to fit everything. Also, the different designs of the float devices: this one is more like a giant pillow but others have two devices with one airbag on each side of the pack. The different brands will market theirs to be the best of course, but the jury still seems to be out on which is best since this technology is relatively new. Thirdly, the airbag will need either nitrogen or compressed air to inflate. Nitrogen is less affected by cold temps and will function better, but is more costly and challenging to get refilled once the canister has been emptied. The packs that use nitrogen tend to have a higher price tag (The North Face & ABS). Brands that use compressed air are BCA & Mammut. That's my understanding of the differences, somebody else may be able to explain better. Overall though, any of the packs should work for snowmobiling and in the end a lot of it comes down to personal preference and/or brand loyalty.
Regardless of price, for snowmobile use you'll want to make sure the pull cord can be mounted on the right shoulder (pulled with the left hand). Most sleds have right hand throttles so this allows the user to deploy the airbag with the left hand while still using the throttle (with their right hand) to outrun the avalanche. The float bags have this feature, I'd recommend double checking before buying any bag though.
Best Airbag Pack on the Market
This is my go to backpack everyday, whether I'm shredding resort laps or touring into the Backcountry. Having used the 18 I can say that this pack is a huge improvement. The placement of the motor has been redesigned so there's way more room in the pack and I can fit all my touring gear in it no problem. The pack is one of the lightest on the market which makes comfy and easy to carry all day. Overall this is an awesome backpack.
Great Day Pack, on hill or backcountry.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This is my go to pack. I've had the 30L and 18L Float Packs and I think the 22L is a happy medium between the two. It has enough room to fit your skins, trekkers, a small water bottle and food for the day. The majority of the skiing I do is off of the resort or off of the sled. I rarely do any multi day missions so this pack fulfills what I need it for. Any longer missions and you may want to consider the size up. Comfortable Pack with high quality straps and metal buckles. Lightweight and well thoughtout. Helmet bag on the back helps save space. Best money you can spend in my opinion, just another great tool on your side while you are out in the backcountry. And being that it is deployed with compressed air, it's less of a hassle to fly with.
Good Value for Heli, not for skinning
I bought this bag to make my wife and mother rest a little easier while i was in Alaska Heli skiing. It certainly let them rest easier, and gave me some nice reassurance on some of the more exposed lines that i found myself on. While it was great for Heli skiing, when we went skinning it fell short. With the airbag it does not leave much room for storage,so i used the helmet holder to hold some excess gear outside of the pack. Unfortunately without good attachment points, gear would slip off, and i actually lost my skins as a result... The bigger issue however is that when i put my skis diagonal on the pack to bootpack up, the weight of the skis would cause the tear-away-zipper opening for the airbag to pull open which was annoying. So in summation, you can't beat the value if you are looking for extra security heli-skiing, but that savings can be felt with the issues it presents when skining or hiking
Great day pack
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Have used this for a couple of months,now, and am very satisfied. It replaced an older Float 30, and is a huge improvement. Among other things, it is much lighter, and surprisingly, actually holds as much or more stuff. I easily fit in a down jacket in a stuff sack, a hat, skins and harscheisen, probe and shovel, lunch, 3/4 liter of water, a camera, spare gloves, and goggles, and there is still a little room to spare. It fits me well (5'8", 155 lbs) and carries comfortably on climbs and skiing. Nice roomy belt packet, too. Things I would improve: add an exterior strap or two to carry a jacket or sweater when it's warm; the metal waist buckle is finicky and hard to open and close with gloves on, making the thing a bit of a pain when taking off for lift rides; and the chest strap buckle proved to be flimsy and broke after just a few uses. (BCA promptly sent a new beefier one, but I have not yet figured how to remove and replace the slider device!). I have deployed this twice (in order to take on a plane) and it worked fine. My local scuba shop fills it for $5 (compare that to refilling / recharging an ABS bag!). But get this. I took it to the Alps for two weeks. I contacted BCA in advance for advice on refilling it upon arrival. They are just building a network there, and unfortunately, there were no stations convenient to my itinerary (Verbier, then Val d'Isere). At the last minute, I got a call from the European rep, based in Chamonix, saying he'll meet me at the Geneva airport. There, he filled my tank from his vehicle, and refused to take any payment. Talk about customer service! Buy this one now at a great price, or wait and see what further improvements they make next year...can't go wrong either way.
Very good sidecountry pack
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I owned the Float 18 and this pack is a big improvement. There is now enough space in the pack for me to take it on day tours. I can fit a light down jacket, mittens, 32L Nalgene, goggles, skins, food, and a med kit. There is even a little extra room to spare. The biggest downfall of the pack is the ski carry strap. It is simply too large, and with no adjuster, your skis end up hitting rocks and your boots while hiking. I cut my strap in half, did a little sewing, added a buckle and now have an adjustable strap like the Float 30 did. Also, I still wish there was another external pocket (besides the hip belt), so I don't have to go in the main compartment, but oh well. The helmet carrier works perfectly. I can't wait til next year, when the "pack only" option will be available" and I can swap the system to the 32 pack if needed. Actually I'd suggest that BCA sell a 36 or 40, since the 32 is pretty damn close to the 22.
BCA Float 22 Airbag
BCA Float 22 Airbag