Snowpulse RAS Pro 35 Airbag — First Look

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Last winter I skied with numerous airbag packs from all the various manufacturers. I was so used to their obesity that when I pulled Snowpulse’s new Pro 35 out of the box last spring, I figured something must have been missing. I still can’t believe how light the pack is for its size (proto, 6.28 lbs, 35 liter)! This is not a tiny slack-country pack, but a full featured rucksack for a real day of backcountry skiing, with all the right features. YES!

Then my wife stole the Pro 35 from me. I only got to use it a couple days; most of the time I was jealously looking at it from behind as my significant other floated up the skin track ahead. But she did give it plenty of real-world use, and overall, a thumbs up on what’s probably the lightest-per-liter airbag backpack with enough room for packing a day trip without leaving gear behind.

Top loader, clean lines, snowboard carry straps are stowed out of sight. Zipper on right is the tool pocket, which fits a medium to small shovel nicely.


The Pro 35 is part of Snowpulse’s R.A.S. line (removable airbag system) which means the airbag components are removable from the backpack. Nice if you want to lighten the pack up for zero avy danger days or summer use or if you want to have more than one pack (you can swap the system into other RAS Snowpulse and Mammut packs).

This pack uses the new 2.0 Snowpulse plumbing system, which is user refillable and much easier to refill than the old system. See our WildSnow 2.0 refill guide for instructions. A “local” refill is much easier than the overly detailed instructions may lead you to believe, and if you don’t want to bother, just send your empty cylinder to Snowpulse to be refilled. If you’re feeling sneaky, you can use an ABS cartridge too, as they are interchangeable. The ABS cartridges are smaller and a bit lighter, especially the new carbon one (for which we’re still waiting for US DOT approval).

Rachel loving the light weight of this pack. The trigger handle is stowed in the white zipper on the shoulder strap. Easy to deploy once in avy terrain.

A-frame ski carry, vertical snowboard carry, and two axe loops make this a versatile ski mountaineering pack. Most of the straps stow out of sight to keep the pack looking clean without webbing flapping around. The lid has a zipper compartment for odds and ends, but is fairly small. On the waist belt, there is one small pocket, and a leg loop that tucks out of the way when not needed. The leg loop is necessary to keep the pack on you when the airbag is deployed in an avalanche.

One of my favorite features of this pack is the side zip, it goes all the way up to the drawstring opening at the top, allowing it to be separated. This means the pack works as a sort of hybrid top loader/clamshell. Very nice.

With the drawstring and side zip open, you get full access to the inside of the pack. Here you can see the RAS system: the red airbag and the cylinder, which zips up inside a sleeve. Simple.

RAS system removed. It's attached by a zipper and several loops.
Weight of system removed from pack (minus cylinder): 2.09 lbs

The airbag deployed. 150 liter pillow of air behind your head. Bright red to help with rescue in case you are partially buried.

Easy to deflate, just push the button on the valve.


The airbag zips back up into the pack and you're on your way. Don't forget that you must refill the cylinder too!

This “first look” review is based on a prototype, the production model will have a few small changes. Exciting to see this and other airbag backpacks being built with weight more compatible to human powered skiing. Stay tuned for a full, detailed review later this season after we’ve had time to fully vet the production model. For weight comparo and pricing on this and other airbag backpacks for backcountry skiing , see the Wildsnow airbag overview.

Comments

69 Responses to “Snowpulse RAS Pro 35 Airbag — First Look”

  1. Hugh HUBBLE October 25th, 2011 9:17 am

    Hello.

    In preparation of snow arriving here (Evian, France) I went out to search for some new skins for my Movement Shamens and have just seen in a local ski shop, Gecko ‘glueless’ Ski Skins. Never seen or heard of them before.

    I came home to research on the web and came across your blog and a review dated 2009 where you were not too impressed by them as they tore over some rocks.

    Have you any further thoughts on those or do you know if they have been improved upon?

    Best wishes

    Hugh HUBBLE, Neuvecelle, Evian-les-Bains, France

  2. Lou October 25th, 2011 9:25 am

    Hugh, they have been improved. We have a review pair of the latest, have not tested yet. I’m pretty sure they’ve got past the durability problems. Lou

  3. Phil October 25th, 2011 10:13 am

    Lou, wildsnow, et. al.

    So I was looking at a SnowPulse/Mammmut RAS, maybe the 22 or 30. When talking about the product this concern came up. The diagonal carry (which was not installed on the pre-production pack the rep had) will not come off the back of the pack, as many do. For load stabilization, and possibly to prevent the air bag blow out zipper from being wrenched open, they have placed the top strap off the shoulder strap where it meets the back.

    Great concept, for a normal ski bag.

    BUT, with the air bag needing to deploy right thru that zone I am concerned about this. The rep assured me that “when carrying skis I wouldn’t potentially be in a slide zone” ummm, don’t tell that to local legend (or local idiot, dealers choice ;) Andrew McLane. Hiking chutes I explained, i’m in the danger zone for 2000-3000 ft. “Well the bag will still deploy, it will just be impaired”

    Impaired??? I couldn’t get a straight answer out of the guy, and I have some serious concerns based upon that. Even A-framing them, with out the tips lashed together seems like it could be problematic. But better, still sloppy as your tips/tails wouldn’t be as secure.

    Thoughts on this? I am attempting to get a hold of the Mammut rep who can specifically address this, and maybe get them to put a video on youtube…

  4. Dimitri October 25th, 2011 12:35 pm

    the newer ABS vario units are lighter and have more airbag capacity. They have been developing the avy airbag for 25 years and all the survival rates/airbag stats out there are based on the ABS units.

    it is personal choice, but the decision is clear in my view. I know what I would rather trust my life with.

    Having said that, competition is a good thing. I hope more outdoor companies would get in the game and make the airbags a standard tool!

    Weight: 1900g (4.2 lb) without cartridge
    Carbon cartridge
    Weight filled: app. 280g

  5. Nick Thompson October 25th, 2011 12:45 pm

    My understanding from Mammut is that the diagonal ski carry attachment is behind the airbag opening, thus the two do not interfere with each other. Hopefully we’ll have one in hand in the next couple weeks to speak to that.

  6. Phil October 25th, 2011 1:58 pm

    Nick,

    That’s not what the rep was telling me, but he did seem confused…

    He indicated it would be like the pack it was modeled after, which had that diagonal carry coming more off the top of the shoulder strap. As well, Mammut HQ when I called indicated they thought to be the case…

    I have emailed the Mammut rep in charge of these, I will report back!

  7. ShailCaesar! October 25th, 2011 2:18 pm

    I’ve looked on their website and the RAS pack looks exactly like the Nirvana Pro 35, which is the pack I bought last year, there’s no way you can set up your old pack for ABS is there?

  8. Nick Thompson October 25th, 2011 2:47 pm

    Straight from Mammut’s mouth:
    “Our 2011 pack style is advertised as having diagonal ski-carry only specifically so that no airbag interference is likely. The Ride RAS packs have some side compression straps that might be used for A frame carry when using the pack without the airbag, but we removed the more aggressive side-carry straps specifically so it would not interfere with the bag. We’re currently developing some packs that do function in an a-frame carry with the airbag packs for terrain where a diagonal carry isn’t optimal.”
    “I have a Mammut RAS 30 (production model) at this very moment. The pack has a diagonal carrying system for skis. This consists of a loop of webbing on the bottom corner of the pack (which can be stowed away) and then the skis can be further secured using the two horizontal compression straps across the back of the pack. These two horizontal straps can also be used to secure a snowboard. This system does not get in the way of the airbag. A-frame carrying will get in the way and is not encouraged. If the user insists on this carrying style then it can be accomplished using the compression straps on the side of the pack,but again, this is not encouraged.”

  9. Doug Workman October 25th, 2011 2:49 pm

    Phil,
    I am sorry for the confusion over this issue. Obviously, early designs differ from final production runs. Perhaps the pack you saw was an early design.

    I can assure you, however, that when skis are stored on the pack in diagonal ski carry mode, the airbag is not inhibited in any way.

    I have a production version RAS 30 in my hands at this very moment. The pack has a ski carrying loop on the bottom corner of the pack. The pack also has two horizontal compression straps across the back of the pack to further secure the skis. The carrying system does not get in the way of the airbag, and there is no “shoulder strap” carrying strap as you referred to.

    A frame carrying is not encouraged with this pack, although it is possible using the side compression straps. The airbag will still deploy but will be inhibited by the A Frame. This is not recommended unless you are Not in avalanche terrain.

    I hope this answers your question.

    Feel free to contact me with any other questions or comments.

    Doug Workman
    Mammut Snow and Avalanche Technical Representative
    mammutavalanchesafety@gmail.com

  10. Nick Thompson October 25th, 2011 2:53 pm

    ShailCeasar: Yes, the Mammut Ride RAS pack is modeled off the Nirvana, so it is very similar. However, the RAS pack does not feature the rear panel access. I don’t think it would be possible to add the RAS system to the non airbag Nirvana pack, you would need to make extensive changes to get it in.

    Just to clarify for everyone else, the last few comments have referred to Mammut’s RAS pack, which uses the same airbag system as the Snowpulse RAS, but the pack is different than the one reviewed above.

  11. Nick October 25th, 2011 6:57 pm

    Dimitri: ABS was indeed the first and has an impressive record with their airbags, and yes their airbags have 20 liters more capacity of air. However, I’m unfamiliar with which ABS pack you are referring to. The most comparable ABS pack by volume would be the new Vario 25, which is 5.5 lbs without the cartridge or activation handle. The Snowpulse RAS Pro35 is 4.85 lbs without cylinder. Snowpulse’s system is compatible with ABS’s carbon cartridge.

    See the overview page to compare weights: http://www.wildsnow.com/5014/avalanche-airbag-backpack-overview/

    Cheers to more competition in this product category!

  12. Hugh HUBBLE October 26th, 2011 12:12 am

    Many thanks for your response. I shall look for the review with interest.

    Might just have to go get ‘em anyway, I hate all that fiddling about on a windy col trying to stick the Coll-Tex skins back on to their plastic protection which is inevitably flapping and twirling around like a wind sock…

    8-)

  13. Suede October 26th, 2011 12:55 am

    Hugh! Fkna! See you in bernex and tollon!

  14. Dimitri October 26th, 2011 1:37 am

    i have the 11/12 Vario with carbon cartridge and the new 25 liter sack, ill do some real world weigh ins today and post them.

  15. Jaakko October 26th, 2011 1:55 am

    Trying to decide between the new Vario line (25l) and the new Mammut Ride RAS. Both look good on paper, but the Vario seems to have a bit more features. On the other hand, the fitting the handle on on the ABS is not a feature I really like.

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers.

  16. Dimitri October 26th, 2011 5:21 am

    the brass fitting on the ABS is super slick precision metal work. truly clicks on insert and ive never worried about a false trigger of the unit.

    what are your concerns Jaakko?

  17. Lou October 26th, 2011 5:22 am

    We included the Mammut to be complete, but thusfar their pack is vaporgear as we’ve not received samples for evaluation or testing. My advice would be to stick with what has been tried and refined.

  18. Jaakko October 26th, 2011 5:51 am

    Dimitri,

    After skiing with a friend last season who had the ABS unit, having to click the handle on didn’t feel very confidence inspiring – he was constantly wondering whether or not the handle is securely clicked in or not. Can’t really try it out either..

    Lou,

    The Mammut is an obvious choice in my opinion due to the fact that it’s based on an already tried and tested backpack and if you ask me, that is the way to go: if you have a good, working backpack, figure out a way to implement the airbag into it instead of trying to build a whole new backpack for your airbag system. Too many of the airbag backpacks lack (or used to lack, at least) in the backpack area.. but the new ABS Vario 25l looks pretty slick too.

    Both Snowpulse RAS and ABS offer interchangeability with other backpacks of the line making it possible to use the expensive airbag system in smaller daypacks and larger overnight packs, but RAS has the upper hand here due to being completely removable for summer etc.

  19. Lou October 26th, 2011 8:03 am

    I’d agree, I like what Mammut appears to be doing. But I learned a long time ago that I want to see the actual physical gear before I start raving about it. Once bitten, twice shy…

  20. Nick Thompson October 26th, 2011 9:04 am

    ABS offers a base unit without the airbag system for summer use. The handle can be a little finicky at first, especially if ice gets in there, but once you get used to it, it’s not really a problem. That said, Snowpulse and Mammut’s handle is no brainer easy, and you can dry fire test it to your heart’s content, unlike ABS.

    Will hopefully have a Mammut RAS in a week or two.

  21. Dimi October 26th, 2011 11:13 am

    an oil is supplied with the ABS to keep it ice free. season after season ice has never been a problem for my skiing partners, I far as i remember they have never mentioned the oil, so im assuming it is applied once a season/every few trips.

    in the future, i personally would like to see premium outdoor companies (i.e. Arc´Teryx etc) making packs that would fit the airbag hardware. You can fit a camel bak into most packs these days. same idea :)

  22. Jaakko October 26th, 2011 11:35 am

    This is exactly what I hope the RAS system will accomplish. (Also, some consider Mammut one of the better outdoor companies ;)

    It should be a lot easier for the other manufacturers to make a backpack to fit the RAS system than ABS – this is why I’m leaning towards the Mammut Ride.

  23. Craig October 26th, 2011 2:27 pm

    Probably best to look at an air bag pack as a specific tool for augmenting snow travel safety. Most of us have more than one pack in the closet for different times of the year, so summer use isn’t a consideration – just performance and a little extra weight to be safe is worth it.

    We rep ABS and the reason why we pursued the line is we felt that the features and performance were the best and they have been in the game a long time. ABS Vario base with the 25l & 40l pack that will be dedicated for my skiing this year. The vario system comes with a cover that allows you to use it just as a base unit and holds a shovel and probe for side country riding. In very cold temperatures the chance low inflation (physics of density) or icing in the valve by using compressed air due to high moisture content cannot be guaranteed. Nitrogen is an inert gas and ABS says it can be used as low as -60(F) and is dry. The canister and handle can be exchanged fairly inexpensively (I believe $35.00). Once you fire it to get the feel, there isn’t a real need to go around firing it off all the time unless you want to show your buddies. ABS will give you a free refill and handle if you are involved in an avalanche and fill out a report. Also, the ABS bags form a redundant system using two bags in the unlikely event one should fail (each bag is 85 ltrs.) The bags inflate lower down on the body providing more protection and probably better float. The ABS folks had the single bag style that was deployed toward the upper part of the body in an earlier version (1985).

    With all this said, air bags are not and do not substitute for smart backcountry travel and snow evaluation! My hope is that these don’t start making people (and us) think that they can take more chances or go out when the avy report is high.

  24. Lou October 26th, 2011 3:13 pm

    Craig, thanks, please stick around, industry voices are welcome.

    As for risk tolerance increasing due to better gear, that effect is a given, but we do of course not want it to get the better of us.

    Too bad we have so many trees on many of our North American backcountry ski runs. Airbag doesn’t help much if you slam your torso into a spruce while traveling 60 mph….

    Lou

  25. Kale October 26th, 2011 3:21 pm

    Hi Nick or Lou,

    Would you happen to know the Torso length on the Snowpulse R.A.S. Pro 35. I am having trouble finding an air bag pack that fits my long torso. Any Recommendations?

    Thanks

  26. John October 26th, 2011 3:37 pm

    I was just visiting with a TSA management type about traveling with an airbag canister. He said once it passses through TSA, the Airline or DPS can still reject it and dispose of it. He suggested asking all parties to confirm clearance with enough time to get the canister back from any rejecting party. He also recommended taking a prepaid package to mail it in the event of rejection so it doesn’t get tossed. Sounds like the decision can be made by local law enforcement, airline, or TSA… who don’t necesarily coordinate.
    John

  27. Hugh October 27th, 2011 12:59 am

    Suede,

    You may well do! Bernex certainly… and also Vallée de la Manche, Morzine for Col de Golèse…

    8-)

  28. Nick Thompson October 27th, 2011 7:45 am

    @Kale: The Snowpulse RAS bags are one size fits all. The Pro 35 is fairly long, and comfortably fits me (6′) and my wife (5′). Not sure about taller, but I think it would work. I’ll see if I can get more info for you.

    @John: Yes, always call airlines before bringing a filled ABS cylinder, and print out the safety data sheet. Neat idea on bringing the shipping box. With the Snowpulse refillable cylinder, you can bring it empty with the cylinder head removed (see the refill post for how to do this), and not have to worry about anything except for refilling at your destination. For more on flying, see the “use one or not” airbag post: http://www.wildsnow.com/3736/airbag-overview/

  29. Craig October 27th, 2011 8:10 pm

    Getting them through the airlines will come in time with the TSA and airline folks becoming more familiar with airbags. I would imagine that an over zealous TSA agent might even confiscate an empty open cylinder if they did not understand it – so a good idea to carry as much documentation with you as possible – no matter what brand you choose. For most backcountry skiers, air travel is the exception, not the norm, so a little planing will probably pay off. I would imagine in the not to distant future most heli ski and backcountry lodges/ companies will require their clients to use an airbag system. It seem natural that they would service them too.

    From the Snowpulse SA site:
    207 Bar Cartridge (Cartridge Refillable 207 Bar Alu)
    The IATA (International Air Transport Association) prohibits the carriage of the 207 bar cartridge. The only territory where it is allowed is Canada (domestic flights).
    So plan ahead! You still have to get a refillable cylinder 207 Bar Cartridge refilled at a location that has compressed dry air. So it may just be worth it on your big trip to find someone who has cylinders and rent/ purchase one.

    With the wide adaption and distribution of airbag systems in general, it will start being easier to pick up a cylinder. ABS is working on getting service centers set up in key areas across Alaska and the west. More and more shops are bringing on the systems and the next step is servicing them. Also, snow mobile dealers are starting to handle them for their riders – so more of them will be available.

    One thing I haven’t seen any discussion about is ABS’s new wireless activation system that allows for remote firing of your client’s or buddy’s airbag in the event they drop into a chute and it goes. It works because ABS uses a pyrotechnic trigger to puncture the canister and deploy the bag. The wireless activation system sends a signal to the “partner” unit and fires the unit. The systems are coupled and set up at the trail head or prior to getting into the chopper. A guide could fire more than one client’s unit to assure all of the party is safe. It is pretty slick and replaces the standard trigger without any modifications. I understand the range is a 1000 meters and someone who has a wireless unit that is between you and your partner can act as a relay and double the distance. Interesting innovation that could be very useful for ski patrol, rescue and other high risk situations.

  30. Doug October 27th, 2011 8:32 pm

    For clarity regarding Snowpulse/Mammut canisters: Travel, Refilling, and Compatability.

    In the U.S.A. the refillable Snowpulse canisters are filled to 3000psi. The head comes off which allows airlines to look into the canister and see that it is empty. TSA is very familiar with this process as it is standard for Scuba divers as well. Of course with TSA anything is possible, but I have had very good luck travelling to and from Alaska with these canisters. If time allows, shipping is the most reliable method. Refilling is generally very easy with some prior planning. Fire-stations, paintball stores, and scuba shops are all usually very accomodating. I know of many places where filling is possible in Valdez, Anchorage, Cordova, and Haines as well as all the major ski towns in the Lower 48 including Jackson Hole, Telluride, Salt Lake City, Tahoe, and Aspen–to name a few.

    It is also worth noting that as of the 2011-2012 season, all Snowpulse/Mammut systems work perfectly well with ABS notrogen canisters. Use of ABS cartidges in Snowpulse systems has been approved by the TUV (http://www.hgv-europe.com/development/tuevgsappproval/index.html).

  31. Ben R November 3rd, 2011 12:16 pm

    Any data out there comparing the ‘trauma protection’ of the snowpulse lifebags with the RAS/ABS… airbag systems?

    Any anectdotal evidence?

    good review thanks!

  32. Nick Thompson November 3rd, 2011 1:36 pm

    No stats that I’m aware of directly comparing the two. Anecdotally, there is this one (referring to the lifebag trauma protection) from Snowpulse’s list of testimonials. As to what the outcome would have been with the RAS system, who knows.

    Matt Peters – ACMG Guide – Successful Snowpulse story
    In the spring of 2009 I was caught in a small but serious avalanche while working as a heli-skiing guide. I was traversing above a slope that I was unwilling to ski when the avalanche occurred, pulling me into the steeper treed terrain below. I inflated my Snowpulse backpack immediately after I saw the crown open above me, and I was pulled in to the trees immediately after inflation. Within moment, I was knocked unconscious. The avalanche pulled me down through the trees and over a small cliff. I suffered multiple torn ligaments in my knee, a cracked femur, broken humerus, broken teeth, a basal skull fracture and major scalp lacerations. All the medical professionals agree that although I was seriously injured, I would have been killed without the protection that the Snowpulse backpack offered to my chest and neck. I am fortunate to be able to continue my guiding career, and this fortune goes out to the designers of the Snowpulse backpack. I am thankful that I was wearing a Snowpulse backpack on that day, and continue to wear one every day I ski.

  33. Ben R November 4th, 2011 9:58 am

    “Matt Peters – ACMG Guide – Successful Snowpulse story”

    Thanks. That is actually compelling even though it is only a single case report. It takes a great amount of force to fracture a femur. I wonder if he was wearing a helmet?

    b

  34. Mike W November 10th, 2011 3:47 pm

    Can anyone speak to the durability of the nylon used in the RAS Pro 35?
    Half my skiing involves bootpacking so wear from edges is a concern of mine.

    For reference I thought the exterior of the ABS vario 25 was to fragile for my tastes.

    Thanks

  35. Nick November 10th, 2011 8:48 pm

    Mike- I should have a production version in a week or two.

  36. Jeff Hunt November 16th, 2011 1:21 am

    Nick — thanks for all your work on the airbag reviews! I am really torn between the Snowpulse Guide 30 and the Pro 35. On one hand, I really like the potential trauma protection of the Guide 30 airbag that wraps around your head and chest for trees and rocks in the run out zone. On the other hand, the light weight of the Pro 35 is also very appealing. Since you have had a chance to use both, do you have any thoughts? Is the extra protection around the head and chest worth the extra weight?

  37. Nick Thompson November 16th, 2011 11:12 am

    Jeff,
    This dilemma weighed heavily on my mind as well. I can’t exactly compare apples to apples, as I’ve only used the older Lifebag (pre system 2.0) which is heavier than the new one. Hope to have a new one soon so I can better compare. That said, the difference in weight b/t the old lifebag and the new pro 35 was enough for my wife to insist on the pro 35. I’d rather she have the trauma protection, but she’s happier using the pro 35 and more likely to bring an airbag pack that than not at all that way. We ended up purchasing the pro 35 for her.

  38. Jeff November 16th, 2011 4:50 pm

    Thanks Nick!

  39. Scot December 15th, 2011 12:46 pm

    I’m interested in a Snowpulse airbag, either the Pro35 or the Tour45. I like the weight of the 35, but concerned that I won’t be able to fit a rope, crampons, etc into it along with rest of my gear for a whole day out on a glacier. There are no dealers close to me, so I’m counting on some expertise from the group.
    Thanks.

  40. Doug December 15th, 2011 1:36 pm

    Scot,
    Where are you located? I will try to find you a dealer in your area.

    I have been guiding in Alaska for several years now with a Snowpulse Guide 30L. I carry a 30m 8mm rope and crevasse rescue gear along with my standard guide kit which includes snow safety gear, snow science kit, first aid, food, water, and extra clothing for clients.

    Some of the guides that I know prefer the 45L for the extra room, but most find the 30L to be plenty big to fit their kit.

    The Snowpulse Pro 35L certainly is large enough. Are you carrying a full length (60m) rope?

    Doug

  41. Hugh December 15th, 2011 1:41 pm

    Hi

    Back end of October I posted a question referring to Gecko skins asking for any updates to which you responded.

    In the event I bought at huge cost (we are talking euros here) a pair of new Gecko skins which I used last week for the first time in Les Gets in the Portes du Soleil area, (border of France and Switzerland) and they were simply wonderful. Good smooth glide uphill in not very good conditions; wet snow falling and a slow descent, whereas my companion had to stop to remove snow and ice build up on his ascent, and on the descent he had to get off and push… Coll Tex for yer!!! Just great. Worth the extra money. And on a cold windy Col none of that fighting to get the skins to fix against a protective skin/cover. Big smiles all around. I should get commission for this…

    Hugh HUBBLE – Evian-les-Bains, France

  42. Scot December 15th, 2011 5:58 pm

    Doug,
    Thank you. I live in Bend, but often skin in Canada. I’ll bring a 30m, 9mm rope, crevasse gear, safety gear, etc, oh and a big lunch!

  43. Doug Workman December 15th, 2011 6:25 pm

    Scot,
    Feel free to email me at mammutavalanchesafety@gmail.com and I can direct you to a local retailer and discuss this further. I think th Snowpulse Pro 35 would be more than adequate to fit your gear. the Snowpulse Lifebag 30 and the Mammut 30L RAS may work as well but are probably cutting it close.

    Doug

  44. Norseman January 3rd, 2012 7:43 am

    Will there be a review of the production version of the pack soon? How much space does the airbag use of the total volume of the pack?

    I’ve had a look at the Mammut Ride 30L in a store, and I would suspect that the positioning of the airbag at the top of the main compartment will obstruct the accessability to the compartment. It that the case for the PRO35 as well?

  45. Nick Thompson January 3rd, 2012 8:38 am

    I’ll get around to a production review at some point, but for now I can tell you that it’s basically the same with the following changes:
    -When pack is stuffed full, the airbag compartment no longer blows out. This is a big fix.
    -minor improvements to RAS attachment.
    -Drawcord is now connected.
    -Excellent diagonal ski carry and ice axe retractable cable loops.
    -Shovel pocket is a bit smaller and harder to zip/unzip due to ribbing getting in the way, but not a big deal.
    -T handle reset tool (same as Mammut’s)
    -might be others but I can’t think of them off the top of my head at the moment.

    As for the airbag obstructing the opening? Not really an issue at all for me, especially with the side zip. Let me get out and use it a few more times and I’ll put up a quick update review.

  46. Norseman January 3rd, 2012 9:53 am

    Sounds good, Nick! Do you estimate the net volume of the pack to 35 litres when the airbag is installed, or would you subtract the size of the airbag from that number?

  47. Nick Thompson January 3rd, 2012 10:10 am

    I would subtract the airbag from the 35. Pack feels more like a 30 I’d say.

  48. Doug Workman January 3rd, 2012 11:33 am

    Norseman,
    The Mammut/Snowpulse RAS airbag and the canister take up 3.8 liters of space. The pack volume is measured, as any other pack, without anything in it. So a Snowpulse Pro 35 is about 31.2 Liters with the RAS installed.

    The packs are measured this way because they can also be used without the RAS installed. So the measurement is simply the pack volume.

    The positioning of the airbag, as Nick opined, is not a problem. It certainly needs to be packed around, but I have had no issue with it. I have heli-ski guided this season with both the Mammut RAS 30 and the Snowpulse Pro 35. Both of them provide plenty of space to pack a full days provisions without a problem–and I suspect, as a guide, that I am carrying more than most people on a typical outing including:

    Large 1st Aid kit
    Large Repair kit
    Extra hat, gloves, goggles
    Water and food
    Down Jacket
    Emergency Shelter
    Shovel
    Probe
    Snow Saw
    Snow study kit including: inclinometer, paintbrush, ruler, notebook, magnifying glass, Extended Column Test cutting cord.

    If I paired my kit down (notably my first aid and repair which are on the large side) I would easily have room for my skins, which I do not carry while heli-guiding.

    Some people certainly do carry more than I do, in which case a larger pack may be warranted. I know the guides at Irwin Lodge in Crested Butte prefer the Snowpulse Lifebag 45–but they are carrying explosives during their recons which take up quite a bit of volume. I find the 45 to be too large for my purposes. In fact, when guiding in Alaska I still use a 30L and I have a 30m 8mm rope and crevasses rescue kit as well.

    The 30 and 35 Liter version may require some people to pay extra attention to detail when planning what to carry. I think you will find it very manageable to adjust your load accordingly. And, I suspect any sacrifice you may make in terms of your normal kit is more than compensated by the additional safety provided by an airbag–especially on a season like this with such a structurally poor snowpack in most areas of the Western United States and Canada.

    Feel free to contact me with any questions. I am the North American Tech Rep for Mammut and a Snowpulse sales rep as well.

    Doug Workman
    mammutavalanchesafety@gmail.com

  49. Nick Thompson January 3rd, 2012 12:27 pm

    Thanks for chiming in Doug!

  50. Nick Thompson January 10th, 2012 9:56 am

    Update:
    ABS cartridges are no longer compatible with this pack, see this post:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/6503/mammut-abs-compatibility/

  51. Robert February 1st, 2012 10:50 am

    Hello! I am very interested in buying such a Airbag system.
    I am just wondering if the 35l volume is still available when the R.A.S system is mounted? Or reduces the Airbag system the effective volume for additional equipment?

    Thanks,
    Robert.

  52. Mike W February 1st, 2012 11:36 am

    I picked up a Ras Pro 35 this year. The volume shrinks some with the RAS installed but not enough to make a difference to me.
    I am usually making shorter day trips with the pack and it easily fits:

    Extra shirt
    puffy coat
    sit pad
    extra gloves
    googles
    repair kit
    first aid kit
    lunch
    water
    shovel/probe

    basically everything that Doug listed. With all the above the zippers seem alittle stressed when I put my skins inside

  53. Terje Rasmussen February 14th, 2012 2:43 pm

    I’m really considering to get the Pro 35, but can someone tell me if has a way of carying a helmet?

  54. Nick February 14th, 2012 3:51 pm

    Terje,
    Nothing that comes with it, but you could clip a mesh holder that you go elsewhere onto it pretty easily as there are gear loops/slits down each side. The Snowpulse Guide 30 (lifebag style of airbag) has a stowable helmet mesh.

  55. JaapvR February 18th, 2012 6:02 am

    I’m very close to buying this pack, stuck between this and the Guide 30. Could anyone with experience comment on the following?

    - Does the PRO 35 have a camelback sleeve in the shoulder strap?
    - Does the camelback sit in a seperate compartment, or in a sleeve inside the main area? (eg. what is the risk of a leaking bag?)

    - How do you rate the durability of the material (with regards to ski edge damage when carrying diagonal)?

  56. Nick February 18th, 2012 9:27 am

    I’ve got both right here in front of me.

    The Pro35 has a sleeve for the airbag trigger cable and handle, which is insulated. I guess you could probably use it for a camelback hose, but you’d have to be very careful that it didn’t interfere with pulling the handle.

    Both packs have a pouch for a bladder. No drain holes at the bottom, but it’s just a thin layer of fabric. Get something other than ‘Camelbak’ that doesn’t leak?

    The Guide 30 seems to have a slightly more durable fabric, plus has a hypalon reinforcement across the front.

    Stay tuned for a review of the Guide 30.

  57. JaapvR February 18th, 2012 10:11 am

    Thanks for the quick reply Nick!

    Do you have the production version, or a prototype? In this video a separate hydration-zip is shown, but it doesn’t really come out in pictures / reviews i find in other places..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ8kOTbWZuU

    My cheap waterbag doesn’t leak, so i guess the sleeve shouldn’t be a big problem. I just really like the hydration compartment my current pack has (TNF Off Chute); that bulbous bladder and hose don’t get in the way of other stuff…

    Any comments on size (with the system installed) and ‘on-the-back-volume’ ? Chairlift issues?

  58. Liam February 23rd, 2012 4:45 pm

    Hey Nick and Wildsnow,

    a few questions. Does anyone know if Snowpulse or Mammut plan to make larger (45l or 50l) RAS compatible bags?

    Also, is it possible to buy packs without the air bag system from either supplier?

    Lastly, does Snowpulse and Mammut plan make future model RAS bags compatible with the 2.0 system?

    Thanks a lot!

    Liam

  59. Nick Thompson February 23rd, 2012 4:51 pm

    Liam,
    Yes.
    Yes, next year. Not right now.
    Yes, as far as I know.

  60. Jeff Hunt March 3rd, 2012 9:39 am

    Hi Nick — I don’t want to rush you, but how is the Guide 30 review coming? I am still having the hardest time trying to decide between the extra (potentially) trauma protection of of the Guide 30 versus the light weight and clean lines of the Pro 35. Tough choice! Any insights you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

  61. Nick March 3rd, 2012 5:16 pm

    Jeff,
    You’ve broken it down to the real differences between the packs. If the extra protection is worthwhile to you, I’d go Guide 30. The Pro35 is dreamy light and carries better though…
    Guide 30 review is done, hopefully Lou will post it sometime next week.

    Next year Snowpulse will have a pack that blends the best of both (Lite35). I’ll get something up on that in the next month or so….

  62. Ben R March 8th, 2012 10:05 am

    Nick,

    maybe a crystal ball question here, but…

    any idea as to when the lite 35 might become available?

    Thanks

  63. Nick March 8th, 2012 2:13 pm

    Fall 2012 I’m told.

  64. phil April 3rd, 2012 9:47 pm

    Hi

    is this style of air bag likely to result in the Avo victim face down with there head buried in the snow. Would the bag that comes over the shoulders and chest be better for keeping your face out of the snow. I’m thinking of situations where your are touring solo or both of you get caught.

  65. phil April 3rd, 2012 9:49 pm

    ps how is the ultimate quiver coming on, there are a few pre season deals to be had at the moment so I’m keen to hear about the skis

  66. Nick Thompson April 4th, 2012 6:40 am

    Snowpulse claims this to be a ‘head on top’ style.

  67. myska January 23rd, 2014 1:46 pm

    lou, my friend has this bag (2012 model) and i am looking at buying it as well. however, her cartridge which is 2.0 model is showing low air just going into the second year. does it mean that the cartridge has a leak? isn’t that why 1.0 models were recalled? or does the cartridge need a top up at the beginning of the season? thank you

  68. Nick Thompson January 23rd, 2014 2:01 pm

    Hi myska, it’s possible that air is very slowly leaking out. She should test fire it and refill once a season anyway. I’d fire it and get it refilled. Be sure to put the new burst disc in correctly and tighten it down before filling. Keep an eye on it and if it doesn’t hold air, get in touch with Mammut. Keep in mind that temperature affects the fill level due to gas expansion (very cold will make it drop, very warm will make it go up). You should check it at room temp.

  69. myska January 24th, 2014 4:56 pm

    thank you nick for some answers. i am surprised that a cartridge wouldn’t hold compressed air for longer than a year. each refill is 30 bucks at our local store.
    i went to the store today and asked about the leak, i was told it should not be that low after such a short time maybe it does have a leak. does the air pressure get affected by altitude too?

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