Airbags are now like Mulberrys for backcountry wannabes, but happily development is pressing on regardless of fashion status. For winter 2014, a wave of new technology and improved designs are hitting the market, and leading the charge is Scott with its new Alpride airbag backpacks.
The packs feature a CO2 cartridge (for volume), twinned with an argon cylinder (for speed), a system that is based on the technology used in airline lifejackets and able to inflate the 150L airbag in just three seconds.
But the real ‘hallelujah!’ point of the packs is their weight – they tip the scales at just 2.15kg for the 20L size pack, all in. You pick one up and you don’t know it’s an airbag backpack it’s so light. This makes the series more accessible for touring types, who naturally place themselves in avalanche terrain more than other skiers.
There are four models in the range: Air MNT AP 20L and 40L – mountaineering/ touring packs for big days out on the mountain – and Air Free AP 22L and 30L, designed for freeride/backcountry forays. Finally, the replaceable cartridges comply with International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, so no problems stowing them in your hold luggage.