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4 5

So I'm pretty picky when it comes to buying things... I ordered this one, the ABS Vario 30, BCA Float 32, and Mammut Pro Protection (with the horseshoe airbag around your head) and the Ortovox came out as my favorite, returned the rest. The biggest reason it won was carrying comfort - the strap materials and the way they distribute the weight are far better. Still not as comfy as the Osprey Kode it's replacing but very nice. It's got plenty of space to carry lots of gear for a full day or more. The variety of pockets is nice for organizing. You can shove a camelbak bladder in the airbag/canister compartment in a bit of a ghetto fashion and have the hose w bite valve in the zippered strap you don't have the airbag pull cord in, this was a slight downside. Carrying a splitboard full assembled on the pack isn't ideal either, it's much easier carried in ski state. Other than those 2 items the pack is great, the ABS Vario 30 which came in 2nd did a much better job at those 2 items but wasn't as comfortable to carry and the cylinder pressed into your back a bit with a full pack. From what I read nitrogen and 2 bags (ABS system) seemed like the way to go over air for reliability even though you can't fly with it.

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4 5

Spent about a season and half in these so far. They take a while to get setup right, and by that I mean at least 4 or 5 days on the mountain to get it all perfect. The key is to keep them a bit loose than what feels right when setting them up but once you're riding it feels perfect. Fantastic for riding in the midwest due to smaller hills, I get a lot more runs in with these - I usually strap in on the lift. Out west I'd say the speed advantage really doesn't pay make a difference, somewhere like jackson hole you get long enough runs it doesn't matter.

Overall, positives: quick to get in, once they're set up don't have to play with much, no pressure points means very comfortable, can rest foot in non-strapped binding while on long lift rides to even weight on feet.

negatives: a bit of a pain to set up, tough to get in if sitting on a downslope full of powder like when hike-riding or backcountry, have to unstrap two straps to pack for traveling (thus making you set up the bindings again)

I think my next set will be back to the normal style since I live out west now but these have treated me really well.

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