UBAK Airbag System Adds to the Mix

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Should we call this the “year of the airbag” instead of Year of the Horse? Yeah, I’m paying a bit more attention to China now that we’ve lost our ISPO innocence. But in this case a crazed mechanical designer from France takes the stage. Apparently the UBAK airbag system has been around for a while in various incarnations and business dealings that the developer could only hint at in his excellent but still rapid-fire “Frenglish.” Check it out.

Nothing like a different concept to shake the consciousness.

Nothing like a different concept to shake the backcountry skiing consciousness. Yes, this avalanche airbag solution covers and surrounds your head to prevent injury as well as creating an air space that fills with oxygen when the bag deflates. More importantly, it operates independent of a backpack, but can be integrated to a rucksack.

It's similar to a life preserver 'yoke' you wear around your neck, in this case anchored down to your climbing harness.

It's similar to a life preserver 'yoke' you wear around your neck, in this case anchored down to your climbing and mountain skiing harness.

Info, click to enlarge.  I thought this to be super interesting in concept, though it appeared a bit bulky and uncomfortable.

Info, click to enlarge. I thought this to be super interesting in concept, though it appeared a bit bulky and uncomfortable for real world ski touring as it's up-close and personal around your neck and chest.

Rear view shows harness integration. A backpack or back protector can easily be integrated.

Rear view shows harness integration. A backpack or back protector can easily be integrated. Also includes a helicopter lift D-ring. Jerk you right out of there if you get hurt! It's a basic compressed gas system, only it uses oxygen.

Another view.

Another view.

Front harness integration.

Front harness integration. To understand this system it helps to know it comes from a region and style of ski mountaineering wherein a harness is almost always worn. More, a key concept is even if your backpack is removed you still have your airbag protection -- critical for guides and rescue personal who may be removing their rucksacks to help other people while they themselves are exposed to avy hazard..

Another view of how UBAK rides. Developer claims a huge reduction if cervical injury forces due to it acting like a neck collar.

Another view of how UBAK rides. Developer claims a huge reduction if cervical injury forces due to it acting like a neck collar.

Yet another view. Other than it covering your head and obscuring vision, I quite liked this concept for an airbag.

Yet another view. Other than it covering your head and obscuring vision, I quite liked this concept for an airbag.

Apparently the UBAK system weighs 2.8 kilos with a bag volume of 100 liters.

Comments

6 Responses to “UBAK Airbag System Adds to the Mix”

  1. TimZ January 29th, 2014 12:01 pm

    I like it, also perhaps similar to the Swedish bike helmet idea http://www.hovding.com/en/

  2. Charlie Hagedorn January 29th, 2014 12:35 pm

    Flammability concerns with O2? Airline restrictions may be even tighter.

  3. Brian January 29th, 2014 12:39 pm

    Yea, you would think compressed air would offer the breathability without the explosive hazard.

  4. billy g January 29th, 2014 5:25 pm

    A lot of crucial developments here. Love the burial deflation concept, if trauma doesn’t get you and an air pocket of any size can be created your chances rise exponentially. I agree that compressed air should be fine and less fuss/danger (that is what we breathe in scuba tanks right?).
    Also need a clear visibility window. The vision loss is a deal breaker as I want to be able to pull the cord while active straightline escape is still possible. Obviously, once you are fully caught you have little hope of negotiating obstacles, but you can still hope right?!!! Fight for the sky at least…

  5. Dell Todd January 30th, 2014 5:24 am

    This looks a lot like my spinlock deckvest sailing device. I’m glad to see this. No story or pics on inflation & activation mechanism? Similar to the new argon unit? Did you put one on / how did it feel? My deckvest feels like a superheavy upper harness. it’s not like one forgets it’s there.

  6. Jack February 1st, 2014 9:32 am

    I guess you’ve thrown in the towel when you rip on this one. I’d rather have the option to at least try and ski/swim out. Having a pillowcase thrown over my head before I get beat up sounds like it might violate the Geneva Convention :-)

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