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Gear Review

5 5

Very well-designed airbag pack

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'll begin by saying that all airbag packs have some huge advantages (a potential life saving tool) and some minor disadvantages (will we someday talk about the "airbag heuristic"?). This season, I decided that the advantages far outweighed my excuses (so heavy/so expensive/not a very good pack).

What an incredible improvement over the first crop of float packs! This pack is much lighter and has a much more well-thought-out design. Thanks BCA!

Pluses:
1. Tons of internal volume. BCA says 32 liters, and it feels even more spacious inside.
2. Well-organized: a large avalanche tool pocket, a nice goggle pocket, a large waist belt pocket...all nicely laid out. The helmet holder tucks out of the way easily as do the diagonal ski carry straps. This pack has a nice clean appearance.
3. Catridge system is simple, refillable and you can fly with it (empty)

Minuses:
1. Heavier than my non-airbag pack. But I need the exercise anyway.
2. The "safety" buckles on all airbag packs are more of a pain than a traditional plastic snap buckle...
3. While this pack will take a hydration bladder hose inside one of the shoulder straps (the one not being used by the pull cord), it requires unfolding the airbag and threading the hose carefully. I'd recommend using the new generation of camelbacks with unclipable hoses and leaving the hose in the pack all season.

Responded on

I just flew to Salt Lake City and back -- I deployed the airbag before each flight, and the empty cartridge went through TSA inspection with no issues. I refilled in SLC and again at home, using BCA's website to find a refill center. Refills are running $10 on average. Pretty darn simple to fly with this thing as long as there's a refill center where you land.