Inflatable Avalanche Backpacks

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by FatBoyDave, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave One of Us
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  2. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    I've skied with Compressed Gas for about 4 years & am probably the retailer who sells the most ABS in Australia (not that it's saying much!)

    I reckon the fan backpacks will absolutely murder the category due to their ability to be taken on planes without jumping through hoops, and also the fact you can get a few inflations out of a single charge.

    I'll be looking to stock them and use one myself.
     
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  3. Angus_McCrory

    Angus_McCrory Old n' Crusty

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    Unlikely to carry as can't be retrofitted to 80ltr Macpac.... just one more piece of stuff to carry when in the BC... nice for in-bounds or heli hopping where avalanche risk exists.
     
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  4. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    I tour with mine in France - exceptions are long tours or multi-day where weight becomes a factor, but in stable spring conditions.

    Skied with it in-bounds during a massive dump in Japan.
     
  5. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave One of Us
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    Why don't they sell one with the Ava lung incorporated?
     
  6. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable
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    then you could blow up the air bag .....
     
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  7. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable
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    I am looking at this very question, canister or fan with zip on pack sizes. I may wait another year and just buy a small day pack to put my BC utensils in and remain a cautious powder pig.
     
  8. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    Maybe now with the Black Diamond one it's a possibility.
     
  9. FatBoyDave

    FatBoyDave One of Us
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    Might have to wait till the 2nd generation of their packs...
     
  10. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable
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    The question I ask myself is .... How often would I use an ABS pack ?
     
  11. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    Hopefully never.
     
  12. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable
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    Yes indeed ..... Situational

    Euro fluff lines, Gulmarg, Nor Am back country, Stay out of creeks in Japan .... .... anything more substantial is going to shatter my puny body
     
  13. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    What about the new model inflatable at 1:52 in this trailer.
     
  14. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    Probably because that would be overkill.

    The airbags or at least some variations can do a few things:
    - provide volume to keep you nearer the surface ie. flotation
    - the ones that inflate around your head will also provide some protection against impact on the way down
    - they also slowly delate which provide additional air to breathe if still buried

    As a result you would be far less likely to need to use the avalung (esp on the last point)

    As well as that when you are hit by an avalanche, if you are lucky you have a chance to do one thing. eg. engage ABS or Avalung or whatever else. It is unlikely that you would be able to do both especially once you have been swept up.
     
  15. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    I myself haven't gone that way yet, still just sticking with old school Avalung. Issues travelling with the ABS have put my off the idea. The fan idea will potentially address that issue, but I'm still not inclined to rush into it (as with most things). Will watch to see how it pans out. Plus I don't like to end up buying multiple different packs.
     
  16. Ziggy

    Ziggy Renormed
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    Lou Dawson eg. says he sticks the avalung mouthpiece in the gob when he starts on tricky terrain.
     
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  17. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    I still haven't gone that way yet. I ski a lot of BC in deep snow terrain so probably should.

    I think the fan will kill it. Those who travel by plane to these destinations will definitely go that way.

    For those slackers like me who don't have either, here's a little tip, which works like an Avalung. If caught in an avalanche pull one arm across the body and grab your pack strap up high, so your mouth and nose sit in the inside bend of your elbow. This helps in two ways, one can stop your mouth filling with snow and also assists the dissipation of CO2. The CO2 will travel along your arm and away from your face.
     
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  18. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    Have done that a few times. The next thing if caught would then be to bite down on it so it stays there.
     
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  19. sbm

    sbm One of Us

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    My impression is, in a few years airbags will be seen as more important than beacons. The data is adding up that airbags will actually stop you from getting buried, while beacons help you find the body (not much use pinpointing the beacon in 120 seconds, if it will take half an hour to dig to them).

    And fan/battery airbags will become the standard.
     
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  20. BobGnarly

    BobGnarly One of Us

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    If anyone is in need of abs cartridges in nagano hit me up, Ill
    be keeping a few
     
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  21. Angus_McCrory

    Angus_McCrory Old n' Crusty

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    This. If you need to deploy you won't enough time to find it otherwise.
     
  22. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    Yup, I've taken mine to Europe, Japan and NZ. Europe is no problem but have had minor issues in NZ and big ones in Japan.

    I've not had to go to the US but that is impossible. A mate landed with his in LAX, got a taxi to a post office, mailed his canister to a friend in Vail, and then went back to the airport for his flight to Denver.
     
  23. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    How often do you use a Transciever?
     
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  24. Red_switch

    Red_switch Part of the Furniture
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    I like the idea, I don't like the culture.
     
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  25. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    That's always the risk....making poor decisions due to equipment. Especially when trauma is a massive cause of avvie death.
     
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  26. piolet

    piolet Found anything yet?
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    From what I understand, the same things were said about beacons etc.
    Hopefully the jetforce concept matures well soon
     
  27. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    A beautiful design and multifunctional too!
     
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  28. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    I have watched enough video to know I have absolutely no hope of following the course (or any premeditated) action you describe as your plan if caught in an avy.

    It is hard enough to breath when just skiing full blower powder (mental note, must get snorkel before next japow trip), never mind in more complex and dynamic situation.

    I have been directly involved in 2 avys and a cornice collapses and numerous sluffs or varying sizes, there is zero time.
     
  29. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Yeah, when i was caught in a slide i tried my hardest to ditch my board, think i got one ratchet off. You will be too busy swimming and gasping for air to think about something as complicated as that.
     
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  30. piolet

    piolet Found anything yet?
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    Its a good to know as you never know... :)
     
  31. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local
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    I don't know about that....... IMO I think it has more to do with the individual , and how they 'process' the situation .
     
  32. Jamesc

    Jamesc Hard Yards

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    With that many near misses id be re-assessing my skiing decisions
     
  33. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Nothing is that simple. Every event has long story & I'm almost an old man.
     
  34. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    When everything beneaths you flows as liquid and accelerates faster and faster down the mountainside the last thing you are thinking about is "oh shit what did that one guy on a forum say about covering my mouth with my elbow??" It will probably be more along the lines of "oh shit im gonna ****ing die" But im personally just speaking from experience. Swimming helps, making yourself a larger surface area helps.

    Of course the easiest solution is to just avoid avalanches :)
     
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  35. BobGnarly

    BobGnarly One of Us

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    Did you see the pic of my quick release system?
     
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  36. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    This. Theories you might have are easily missed when you are being rag dolled.
     
  37. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Is it better than the voile ones?!
     
  38. BobGnarly

    BobGnarly One of Us

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    same in theory but mine has a detachable rip cord at my waist.
     
  39. MickeyE

    MickeyE Hard Yards

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  40. MickeyE

    MickeyE Hard Yards

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    CM - the issues in Japan. Was that airline specific or was it the ground security staff?
     
  41. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    Bit of both I guess. Getting them to/from Japan on Qantas was no issue as they have the backpacks specified in their DG policy.

    The troubles we had was with the domestic airline Skymark which we took up to Sapporo and back. They had NFI.

    They eventually insisted that we assemble the backpack with the canister in place!!!!! (I didn't screw it all the way in though....). So I guess it was both the airline and the staff, because the airline didn't have a policy and the staff had no idea.

    I always print out all the IATA regulations etc in quadruplicate etc for air staff.
     
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  42. piolet

    piolet Found anything yet?
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    Installed in a consumer device they should be ok. Carry it on.
     
  43. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    You may be right. It's not that complicated to grab your strap and tuck your head. In any case it was just a tip I shared. It was passed on to me by one of the southern hemi's most experienced avi experts. I've pulled a guy out after 90 minutes buried and he lived, through a bit of luck. His air pocket was created by his helmut and his broken nose (long story) but his arm had ended up in that position. If that tip helps one person then job done.

    Whilst, I haven't been in an avalanche, I can't say what I would do. I have been directly involved in avi rescues, I'm Avi 1 certified and spend a lot of time skiing in avi terrain both here and overseas. I don't view it as a badge of honour to have been in an avalanche. They should be avoidable. I've seen a good few.
     
  44. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter One of Us

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    +1

    Airbags are of limited value if you get sifted through trees / over rocks. There's definitely people out there that are alive only because they deployed one in an avalanche though.

    The BD jet force fan solution certainly solves a few of the logistical travel issues. The batteries are not big enough to raise the wrath of the airlines if you take it as carry on (unless you are carrying loose spares - which is not really necessary).

    I wear an airbag when jumping out of a helicopter.

    If you want to use an avalung with an airbag I guess there's nothing to stop you, seems like a little overkill to me - The airbag (in theory of course) stops you from getting buried hence no need for it. If you're that worried, maybe back off your line a little o_O, an ounce of prevention and all that...

    My concern with any of these technologies is hoping I get to 'deploy' it. In the case of an airbag, I would hope I was actually able to pull the handle (not too hard hopefully) and in the case of an avalung, if it's not in my mouth when the avalanche started then I would have not a lot of hope of getting it in at that point (and then it might be full of snow).
     
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  45. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    Don't want kill let alone overkill! ;)
     
  46. Legion

    Legion One of Us

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    So does the snow industry. I had a Pieps Vector. The official reason it was recalled and removed from the market was degradation of the built-in lithium batteries. Of course, the UI needed a lot of work so that might have had something to do with it too but that wasn't the official reason.

    It would be good if you could use consumer alkaline batteries. Then you would save a kilo or two flying too.
     
  47. Legion

    Legion One of Us

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    Airbag handles are easy to pull. Even accidentally ...
     
  48. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    ROFL
     
  49. Legion

    Legion One of Us

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    To rub salt in the wound, it's not only highly embarrassing but hugely expensive and generally annoying to replace canisters when it happens. Hard to hide when a huge orange bag attached to your back explodes at 100dB. So don't do it, kids.
     
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  50. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Im not considering it a badge of honour. If the most horrific experience i've ever been through is considered honourable by others then thats ****ed. Im simply sharing what i know from what happened to me when i made a stupid mistake, Nothing more.
    As i stated, Best prevention is to not get caught in them.
    I dont wear a helmet, i wouldnt buy an ABS bag. People keep telling me i should get crampons... if im in a situation i need to be using crampons, i dont want to be riding down that. These are all tools that can put people into a stupid situation fast IMO.
     
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