A ski backpack with a built-in airbag to help you stay on top of an avalanche.
Skiing in the backcountry comes with the inherent risk of exposure to avalanche terrain. Should you find yourself caught in a slide, the BCA Float 32 Airbag Backpack is a tool that offers a drastically increased chance of survival. Pull a trigger on the shoulder strap, and a highly durable airbag quickly inflates behind your head, decreasing your odds of burial in avalanche debris by increasing your overall buoyancy. Even with this technology, the Float Backpack still offers all the storage you need for your shovel, probe, goggles, and other gear—here's to the evolution of safety beyond the rope.
- 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 in the event that 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 & probe pocket gives you a place to store your avalanche survival tools for quick access
- Lined goggle pocket keeps your eyewear handy and protected from scratches
- Hydration sleeve holds your choice of hydration bladder to make sipping easy
- 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 Not Included**
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Share your thoughts
I purchased the float 32 last year. While...
I purchased the float 32 last year. While carrying my skis in the recommended diagonal position the airbag zipper and Velcro released under the extra weight of the skis pulling the pack apart. compression straps were pulled tight. Any suggestions on how to rig the skis so this does not happen?
Snowboard carry attachment?
Snowboard carry attachment?
Snake River Avalanche BCA Float Deploy
- Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
I bought this bag and then returned it for the Float 22. This bag is BIG. Not just in terms of what you can fit in it, but in the length/height of the actual bag. I am about 5'7" and it was from my neck to my butt, if not more. I just couldn't ski with a bag that big.
Hoping the Float 22 is a better fit, I will be posting a review soon. Besides the fit, this bag looked awesome so it could be 5 stars for the right person!
i just bought this pack from y'all. fit,...
i just bought this pack from y'all. fit, styling(blue version) and quality all seem top notch.i had to get the canister from my local rei because i live in AK and while there they pointed out there is a recall ongoing for this pack (a faulty "e clip" or something. which makes the trigger nonfunctional). are the ones that backcountry.com is selling updated or in need of the fix/revision?
Our BCA Reps came out to resolve this issue and everything we have in stock should be good to go. If you got this pack from us recently you should be fine but it wont hurt to give us a call just to check.
i talked w/ BCA also and they said that I was good to go also. ALL of the new blue 32's are good to go they said.
Is this backpack ok for snowmobilers as...
Is this backpack ok for snowmobilers as well? Or is it just for back country skiing?
The pack would definitely work for a snowmobiler. I suggest looking at the Float 22 though, which has a version optimized for snowmobiling. It has the same airbag technology but you might not need the extra space since you'd be on a sled.
Thank you so much for the advice! I really appreciate it!
A former BCA rep and friend had me test out the airbag while skiing around the Wildcat lift at Alta. Good times! I was surprised by how loud the deployment was - WOAH!
Great Fit, Super Update to the 36
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This pack has just about all the fixes the Float 36 needed. I hated the 36, but love this 32. The fit is great, plenty of room without a bulky feeling. I used it for an entire season of backcountry skiing and never had any hotspots or wish I had more room. I'm 6'3" 210lb and this pack fits and carries well.
If you need something for more sled assisted or other mechanically assisted skiing, get the smaller pack.
Lots of fill up areas around the US as I traveled.
My only complaint is the horrible compression feature. The straps need to be about double the width... really the whole compression system needs to be different.
Chic Choc Mountains
Excels as a ski pack
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I purchased this pack prior to last season and used it every day I went. I wouldn't quite say it's been through the wringer, but I have definitely become comfortable using it.
The size is perfect for me and worked for every day I went, from hot laps with almost no extra gear to overnights in a lift shack. I would not use it for true winter camping tours, but it's the best I've used for day trips.
-The pocket layout is well thought out. The 'wet' pocket is great for avi gear (when needed) and skins, while the main pouch can hold layers, water, med kit, and anything else one would need.
-Going from an older pack to this one with an external helmet net is also extremely convenient. The helmet always takes up too much space inside the pack and can be awkward if it dangles on the outside.
-The removable airbag and engine is the best feature on the pack. I live in Vermont, where avalanche conditions are essentially nonexistent. Therefore, I don't need to carry the extra weight around for the days that I ski in Vermont, and can just install the system back in for trips to avalanche terrain. This is a versatile pack.
-The clasp for the waist strap is ingenious and I love it, but it does take some getting used to.
-The adjustment straps feel like they gradually loosen over each day, but I have no specific evidence to support this.
-The hose routing for a bladder is a pain. I don't use a bladder for water, but my friend had some trouble setting his up.
-The cost is a deterrent ($550 + 100-175 for cylinder).
The bottom line is that this pack works and is the best backcountry skiing pack I have used.
A Goll-Dang Good Float Pack
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This is my second BCA Float bag and I couldn't be happier with it. I had the Float 40 last year and it was just too much bag for most days. The user interface is intuitive (you just pull the handle)(if you need to)(i hope you don't ever need to) and I find that the 32 liters is perfect for all but big excursions. The separate shovel and probe pocket really frees up the main compartment for the stuff you need most. Like soup and whiskey. Or layers if the soup and whiskey don't cut it. It's comfortable to wear even on long days and your girl will be really happy that you're using protection when you're not with her.
Voile shovel in external pocket
Rocking the float 32
Light and affordable
I have been really happy with my Float 32. It has quite a bit of storage space in the main compartment and has a dedicated avalanche tool compartment. It has enough storage space to carry a lot of gear for a full day. My favorite features are the helmet carry and the lined goggle pocket. I considered the Mammut and the ABS packs as well but in terms of price and weight you really can't beat the Float 32. Also, the cylinder is really easy to refill because it is filled with compressed air. You can get it filled at paintball or scuba shops for about 10 bucks.
The best backcountry ski pack
I love the added security this pack provides. Of course I do not ski anything I wouldn't have gone down without this pack, but I like knowing it's there. It has slightly less space then I am used to, but I like that it makes me only take what is necessary.
The BCA system where the bag inflates on top of the bag is appealing since the cushon sits in the neck/head area, like a gigant Dracula collar. The system with a rechargable float cylinger is pretty smart if you intend on bringing the backpack on an airplane. Not all airlines are happy about bringing charged cylinders onboard and it might cost some time in hassle and a small fortune in cash to be allowed onboard. Bringing an empty cylinder solves the issue as long as there is a refill opportunity where you are heading.
I have tested this backpack during a few thousand feet of skiascents over easter here on the northwest coast of Norway and have a pretty good feel for how well it performs as a pack. The float32 is easy, got good compartments, it is easy to seggragate safety/rescue stuff from your other normal gear like down jacket/food/goggles/... etc. It is spacious, maybe a bit too spacious for daytrips. I found that there was lots of spare capacity after packing all my gear. Not a problem though as it is pretty easy to compress the pack. One thing we couldn't figure out is why the helmet mesh on the outside is mounted top down rather than down up. Maybe it doesn't matter, but I personally feel better when my headpot lies safely in a meshbag with little ability to fall out. :)
This was the good side, what I'm not too happy about is the lower part of the carrying system. BCA could do some work on improving their cushoning, particularly in the lower back region. The float32 is a bit unstable on the ascent, moving about as you walk, which is uncomfortable. On the descent you can tighten the pack so it's not really an issue, but it still doesn't fit as snugle and comfortably as my favourite winter day pack. Adding some cushoning along the spine and hip region will make it into a daypack of choice. Having tried the pack my conclusion is that I'll use my float32 mostly for descents due to the comfort issue of carrying a load on the ascents.
Is there a way to strap an ice ax to the...
Is there a way to strap an ice ax to the outside of the pack? I'm wondering how to carry one such that it wouldn't pop the airbag during a tumble down the hill inside an avalanche.
Yes, you can strap and axe to the back of the pack, the pick goes into that sleeve at the bottom and the shaft is secured by the bungie next to the "T" in FLOAT. You shouldn't have any interference wiht the airbags and the axe since they aren't really near each other and there is a fair amount of pack between them.
Great pack if not snowmobiling
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
This was a really nice pack and it can hold a lot of gear compared to the Float 22, which is what I currently have now. The only problem I had with this pack was when I used it for snowmobiling. If I were to tilt my head back just slightly while on the sled my helmet would hit into the pack. This proved to be very annoying for riding and made it hard to concentrate on turns and transitions. So I would not recommend for snowmobilers. However, I had no problem with my ski helmet hitting so I would recommend this pack for skiers/snowboarders. I never got a chance to deploy the airbag since I only used it 2-3 times so I can't comment on that. It is nice being able to go to the local scuba shop (BCA certified) and fill up the air cylinder for $8.
What types of ski carriage does this allow,...
What types of ski carriage does this allow, both diagonal and A frame?
Is this pack compatible with a harness and general rope work for lines with tricky entrances?
Diagonal ski carry. You can strap skis on there a-frame style but it will get in the way of the airbag's deploy, so not recommended. In terms of harness compatibility - yes, you can fit a harness under there. The leg loop is not the most comfy in the world but it definitely can be fit alongside a harness.