Avalanche Airbag backpacks have quite a range in complexity when it comes to re-charging. User refillable ones seem better at first glance — till you run around trying to get someone to fill it and deal with things like temperature vs fill pressure. Packs such as ABS, that require obtaining a filled cylinder from a dealer or by mail, seem like more of a hassle but may be more user friendly due to the actual refill part of the job being totally out of your hands. The ABS process is well covered in the manual and DVD that’s included with the packs, but here are a few tidbits to show you the process.
The activation handle plugs into the shoulder strap via a quick link coupler. Be sure that the quicklink snaps back to insure that it’s plugged in all the way. If it’s hard to plug in or remove, put some silicone oil (included) in the coupler. The strap is used to put the handle into “saftey position”, i.e. so the system can’t be triggered. To get it ready for use before entering avalanche terrain, velcro strap as shown.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately on ABS, stay tuned for info on Snowpulse and BCA, who also make great airbag packs. For more on all the different packs, please see my overview, or our Avalanche Airbag Backpacks category.