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Old 10-29-2013   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
what airbag to buy?

Does anyone have suggestions on what type of airbag backpack to buy for avalanche safety?

It looks like the options are compressed air or nitrogen cartridge. I think I want a bag with an over the head airbag.

I'm normally skiing above tree line. I don't do terrain traps in trees much.

Am I correct that these things work well?


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Old 10-29-2013   #2
Laramie, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 51
head and trauma protection

ive seen all snow pulse, bca, and abs work just fine like they should but i really like the idea of having the ride protection air bag from mammut. and i also would like having the two separate air bags that the abs packs have. thats the toss up i say. i have the mammut ride ras pack without the head protection and it seems to work just fine. but when i get a new air bag pack it will have head and trauma protection and hopefully they will have a two chamber bladder with protection design by that time.

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Old 11-04-2013   #3
dgoods's Avatar
Montrose, Colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 88
You should wait until Black Diamond and/or Arctyx puts out their battery operated/fan filled air bag packs. Unlimited deployments, no nitro to fill, no travel restrictions... look on for beta on the bd model slated to come out next season.
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Old 11-14-2013   #4
Riverton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 337
Call the guys at and talk to them. They have been selling, testing and using airbags since they first came available and can go over all the pros/cons of each one with you. Cade or Brian can discuss what you are going to use it for and what things matter to you (size/movement restriction/etc) and then recommend a good option for you.

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Old 02-06-2014   #5
Foco/Red Cliff (Vail), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 66
I'm a big fan of as well.

I personally had a Float 30 (original) it was big. Didn't like the size, liked the security and features. Just switched over to the AVi Vest. Been very happy.
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Old 02-14-2014   #6
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 328
After playing with a lot of them the BCA float fit me the best. Go with what fits you and is most comfortable loaded down. If you don't like wearing it you'll leave it at home where it won't do you any good.

What helped sway me:

ABS - you have to deal with the nitrogen BS = PITA to travel with.
ABS also seemed to carry the load further from your body.
Ride protection by mammut is a great idea but shoulder straps are rigid and uncomfortable.
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Old 02-15-2014   #7
dgoods's Avatar
Montrose, Colorado, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 88
BCA- easier to deal with...

I ended up getting a Float 32 and really like it. Plus, you can buy a paintball to scuba air fill adaptor and get the air cartridge filled pretty easily at local fire depts or places that deal with paintball compressed air cartridges.

I like the fit of my 32- I have a fairly long torso. Shovel/tool compartment is a little on the small side, but the pack is streamlined and relatively light for an airbag pack.

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