Scott Alpride Airbag Rucksack — Experiments in Mass Reduction


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 19, 2014      

UPDATE I waited for our weather to get colder, and cold soaked the backpack outside at night to 3 degrees fahrenheit, using the single 68 gram cartridge, no hotpacks warming the cartridge, 6.5 hours. The balloon inflated full and taut with satisfactory speed. Due to the balloon being stiff and cold it unfolded out of storage slightly slower then when tested at room temperature. I’ll be using this configuration during skiing at our normal Colorado temperatures, probably packed with a handwarmer or two for insurance. This mod saves a significant 6 ounces under stock configuration. See below for more details.

Shop for Scott Alpride avalanche airbag pack.

Want to run a 30 liter avalanche airbag backpack that weighs about 2268 grams (5 lbs), saving significant weight over many of the rucksacks on the market? Check out my Scott Air Free Alpride 30 mods. Take it to any level that appears practical and safe.

Yours truly rocking a 2.366 kilo, 5 pound airbag backpack, testing after 4 hour tour in average temps of 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yours truly rocking a 2.366 kilo, 5 pound Scott Air Free Alpride 30 backpack, testing after use with one aftermarket 68 gram CO2 cartridge after 4 hour tour in average temps of around 22 degrees Fahrenheit. The bag filled quickly, at taut pressure. I’ll be using this configuration with total confidence in such temperatures, will need to do more testing at lower temps. (As mentioned below, I began my tour with the cartridge at room temperature, packed with a few small chemical handwarmers for insurance.)

Alpride OEM cartridges.

Alpride OEM cartridges, 448 grams, 15.8 ounces. Cartridge at top contains 60 grams CO2, 5/8 fine thread neck. Bottom is argon cartridge, 1/2 inch fine thread neck.

Alpride stock configuration uses two gas cartridges, one carbon dioxide (CO2) and one argon. This results in a super reliable and fast inflation, per European standards. According to the engineer who designed the system, while the 60 gram CO2 cartridge will probably inflate the balloon at ambient temperatures above 23 degrees Fahrenheit, the argon is there “to maintain fast inflation at lower temperatures; also by including the argon the C02 won’t form dry ice because we maintain the pressure inside inside the inflator chamber.”

Alpride blockoff plugs, 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch fine thread, cut down with hole to allow firing pin to function.

Alpride blockoff plugs, 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch fine thread, cut down with hole to allow firing pin to function. These are somewhat heavy; weight is easily trimmed by cutting a flat screwdriver slot and trimming the sides of the head off. One could even run plugs made from aluminium if this mod got serious.

60 gram CO2 cartridges are readily available as PFD inflators. They fit the Alpride 1/2 inch cartridge port. I made some blockoff plugs for the cartridge ports and bought a few 60 gram PFD cartridges to experiment with. I figured perhaps I could cheat this by using some hand warmer packs to keep the cartridge heated, or perhaps find a slightly larger CO2 cartridge to compensate for lower temps, or both. My experiments were fun, with mixed results.

Quick conclusion is don’t use just one 60 gram CO2 cartridge (no argon) as a weight reduction hack unless you’re ski touring at fairly warm ambient air temperatures, (in my opinion above about 25 degrees F), and even then you should probably pack a few chemical hand warmer packets around the cartridge. If you’re thinking this sounds too iffy and impractical you’re right, so I’m not recommending this hack. But having the option of using only one cartridge in the Alpride still shouts the question, “show me?” What is more, how about a slightly larger CO2 cartridge to compensate for not having the argon? WildSnow.com, here we come.

During decompression, some of the CO2 will freeze in the cartridge at ambient temperatures around negative 5 degrees Celsius (23 F), resulting in a lack of volume for filling the balloon and possibly icing the inflator plumbing with “carbonic ice,” otherwise known as dry ice. What is more, these types of airbag packs work by using the power of the compressed gas to scavenge air volume intake via a venturi valve. Result is that cold ambient air mixes with the CO2, reducing volume. Those are the downsides. To compensate for problems with CO2, the stock Alpride configuration comprises the 60 gram CO2 cartridge we’re experimenting with here as well as a cartridge containing argon gas. The argon obviously provides speed and backup volume, but I’m told also provides added pressure in the plumbing to prevent the formation of dry ice.

Tests and results:

1. At room temperature (around 68 degrees F) using only one OEM cartridge worked well; one 60 gram CO2 cartridge inflated the Alpride balloon to taut pressure plenty quickly.

2. As a torture test, I left the pack outside over frigid Colorado winter night, 8 hours of cold soaking. I then triggered in the morning (using one 60 gram cartridge) at ambient temperature of 25 degrees F (the sun had warmed things up a bit by then). The bag inflated poorly and the cartridge had a chunk of dry ice in it you could hear moving around when shaken. Totally unacceptable.

3. Again testing with just one cartridge, I placed two chemical handwarmer packs around the OEM CO2 cartridge and left the pack outside for 3 hours at 25 degrees F and below. Before triggering, I measured cartridge temperature at 41 degrees, air temperature 25 degrees. Results were poor; bag inflated somewhat but not enough to function.

Alpride OEM 60 gram CO2 cartridge to left, aftermarket 80 gram to right.

Alpride OEM 60 gram CO2 cartridge to left, aftermarket 68 gram to right.

4. Going truly cowboy, I bought a few 68 gram CO2 cartridges with the correct threading. The stock Alpride cartridge pair weighs 450 grams, while the 68 gram CO2 weighs 278 grams — for a savings of 172 grams (6 ounces). While experimenting I weighed full and empty cartridges and found that my 68 gram cartridges actually held about 70 grams of CO2, which is interesting, as it appears there might be significant variations in how much CO2 cartridges are actually filled with — that requires further study for sure. Overall, this hack seemed to work well and I’ll be using it during my ski tours (with attention to ambient temperatures, and plenty more testing). See below.

Alpride configured with my 68 gram CO2 cylinder mod.

Alpride configured with my 68 gram CO2 cylinder mod, showing the 1/2 inch port blockoff plug installed, and the handwarmer packs. Added benefit of this configuration is a noticeable improvement in backpack interior volume.

Alpride inflation with one 68 gram CO2 cartridge, air temperature 22 degrees F, cartridge 43 degrees F, resulted in fast fill with good pressure.

Alpride inflation with one 68 gram CO2 cartridge, air temperature 22 degrees F, cartridge 43 degrees F, resulted in fast fill with good pressure. With some care as to temperatures, I’m comfortable skiing with my pack configured this way for a significant weight savings of about 170 grams (6 ounces); exact savings depending on the weight of the port blocking plug and hot packs. What’s excellent about this mod is it’s non destructive. You can always go back to using the OEM cartridge configuration. UPDATE I waited for our weather to get colder, and cold soaked the backpack outside at night to 3 degrees fahrenheit, using the single 68 gram cartridge, NO HOTPACKS, 6.5 hours. The balloon inflated full and taut with satisfactory speed. Due to the balloon being stiff and cold it unfolded out of storage slightly slower then when tested at room temperature.

This raft of modding and testing resulted in much more than a few trips to our back porch, thus my repacking the Alpride airbag multiple times. A few tips regarding that. 1) Reconfigure the zipper by unhooking the slider, quickly zipping back to the packed position using only one side of the zipper then rehook the slider to start your zipping and packing. 2) Insert an object such as the eraser side of a pencil into the flapper valve on the plumbing so you don’t need three hands while you’re packing. 3) How you pack the balloon isn’t hyper important; don’t roll it up, start folding and stuffing with the side closest to the plumbing. 4) Cock trigger BEFORE installing fresh cartridges, otherwise you’ll get a surprise and spend extra money.

If you have an Alpride and want to experiment for yourself, first task is find a reasonably priced source for PFD cartridges. For the 60 gram units I found these guys, aquamentor.net A six-pack of cartridges costs $80 including shipping, so that’s $13.00 a pop, pretty good. The 68 gram cartridges are harder to find. Please let us know in the comments if you find a source, as they seem to be ideal. If you Google for the 68 gram stuff you can find a few options, especially on Ebay (but beware of the shipping cost markup scam).

I’ve got more cartridges of various persuasions coming. Experiments ongoing. Overall, in my opinion there is a lot of potential for changes to the gas airbag systems that’ll help with weight issues. I’d guess one of the biggest sticking points is the European CE standard, which appears somewhat arbitrary and biased not only for gas systems, is perhaps too strict as to inflation times and even balloon volumes. Result is the usual double edged blade of standards; protecting the consumer, but possibly stifling innovation and improvement. At least we modders can practice our craft and perhaps cut through the B.S.

More weight reduction
Beyond playing around with the gas system of the Alpride, you can do some practical weight stripping that doesn’t compromise safety. Check out some options below:

Trigger cocking screw weighs  20 grams, so leave it at home unless you're carrying extra cartridges.

Trigger cocking screw weighs 20 grams, so leave it at home unless you’re carrying extra cartridges.

As with many airbag backpacks, Alpride is designed with quite a bit of fabric some of use consider superfluous.

As with many airbag backpacks, Alpride is designed with quite a bit of fabric that some of us consider superfluous: in this case 227 grams, 8 ounces worth of confetti! I removed nearly all liner fabric, the interior partition, and a few of the exterior straps. I left the diagonal ski carry, which could also be removed, and I left the goggle pocket as it’s convenient and using it eliminates what I’d probably otherwise put in a stuffsack. I also left the backboard “protector” intact as you need something between your back and the plumbing. With all this stuff removed the pack for me has a better overall feel; it’s not as stiff and seems to pack easier. As always, I intensely dislike the panel loader configuration but I can live with it. Only advantage I can see is when returning home all it takes is a light tug on the zipper and everything in the pack forms a nice pile on your floor (grin)), oh, and it’s easy to access the plumbing for modifications. (Seriously, to be fair, most airbag backpacks need some kind of zipper access to the plumbing, and panel load configuration is easiest way to provide that.)

Check out our unboxing of the Scott Alpride 30 liter airbag backpack.

Shop for Scott Alpride avalanche airbag pack.



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Comments

39 Responses to “Scott Alpride Airbag Rucksack — Experiments in Mass Reduction”

  1. cam December 19th, 2014 11:29 am

    #warrantyvoid. awesome hack!

  2. Patrick O December 19th, 2014 11:33 am

    This has got me thinking.

  3. Charlie Hagedorn December 19th, 2014 12:35 pm

    Lou Dawson, making product engineers nervous for over thirty years….

    Not sure I’d rely upon handwarmers to ensure proper function of a safety device. “Gotta get home in the next hour, otherwise my backpack’ll get too cold…”

    Adding in a second cartridge with a different, and heavier, gas species is a hard decision for a company to make; they probably wouldn’t have done it unless they felt they really needed to do so.

    Kudos for trying it all out, though! Experiment is the arbiter of truth.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 December 19th, 2014 1:12 pm

    Charlie, I was alluding in the post that much of what’s in my opinion stifling gas airbag innovation are the CE standards. We have to have them, but I’m not so sure they’re totally accurate as to what’s necessary. For example, if the bag was allowed to inflate slightly slower a whole bunch of options would open up. The standards are a result of statistical averaging (from what I hear) of various field tests with avalanches, as well as just plain theory. Also, marketing plays a part. For example, could we have an airbag pack with a fairly large tank run at 200 psi? It might not look as trim and be as cool, but just think, you could fill your airbag from a home workshop compressor, and the tank could just be a light fabric affair with an impermeable liner, like a bicycle tire with a tube. How much volume? Apparently an avalanche airbag should inflate to 150 liters, which if my calcs are right is 5.3 cubic feet or 9,158 cubic inches. I tried to calc online for volume, am I right that at 200 psi it takes 1 liter compressed for 14 liters at ambient pressure? That means you could have something like a 10 or 11 liter tank in your backpack to fill your airbag? That seems so easy… what am I missing? We’re carrying around 3,000 psi cylinders so we can have our backpacks look good in the photos?

  5. Charlie Hagedorn December 19th, 2014 2:46 pm

    One atmosphere is about 14 psi, so getting up to 200 psi above atmospheric pressure (214 psi absolute) ought to require a compression ratio of about 15, so your estimates look correct.

    Beyond the considerable volume concern, a damage-resistant larger vessel might be heavier? Small or large, a rupturing pressure vessel will have the capacity to hurt people. Running at lower pressures will probably decrease the fill speed somewhat, too. The bicycle-tube analogy is clever, though. Perhaps a bike tube in an Ursack….. ;).

    Making a functional/bomber but lightweight airbag pack is a tall order.

    If the standards are too strict, they probably have to be altered first, as it’s hard to be a manufacturer out ahead of an existing standard.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 December 19th, 2014 2:56 pm

    Charlie, in my view a small manufacturer should just go outlaw with this and forget standards, and see where they can go with it. My view for the tank is just a configuration like a bicycle tire and tube, only made from Dyneema type fabric with an impermeable liner. The idea is the flexible tank would pressurize at home workshop PSI and give the pack a nice rigid configuration for carrying skis and such.

    It just seems like it would be so easy to do this. The valve could even be a nice big ball-valve with a cable attached to it. So simple.

    Oh well, back to work here, too much fantasy!

  7. Jonny B December 19th, 2014 3:53 pm

    Lou,

    Thanks for all your thorough research on the topic of avalanche airbags. It’s a pretty confusing sea of specs and weights out there and it’s great to have your no BS reviews and mods.

    For the record I’m with you, I just want a lightweight sack that rides close to my body. I like some features but I’m willing to sacrifice shovel handle slots and fleece goggle pockets for a lightweight ruck with an airbag. Is that so much to ask?

    I’m still not in love with any of my options but I didn’t want to go another season without one. I ended up buying this guy yesterday, it was on sale and seems to be lightweight: http://www.backcountry.com/mammut-light-airbag-ras-30l

    Keep up the good work and happy holidays!

  8. Lou Dawson 2 December 19th, 2014 4:25 pm

    Jonny, I think that Mammut is one of the best in terms of weight and simplicity, let us know how it goes. You’ll be tempted by the razor blade and Bic lighter, but don’t get too crazy (grin). Lou

  9. john December 19th, 2014 4:51 pm

    Lou,
    Are you wearing an Arcteryx Alpha LT?

  10. George December 19th, 2014 5:25 pm

    Color coordinated jacket and airbag…fashionista?
    How is Marble bowl skiing?

  11. Nick Thomas December 19th, 2014 6:05 pm

    Some categories of products must meet CE standards to be legally sold in Europe – including ‘personal protective equipment’. I’m not sure if that applies to avalanche airbags. However, even if it doesn’t any small manufacturer who does ignore the CE standard is probably going to have to survive on North American sales.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 December 19th, 2014 6:20 pm

    John, that’s something new from Arcteryx that my pusher told me to bogart until the OR show. It’s some mighty good stuff. The color match was so good we could not resist the photo, but I think I remember being sworn to secrecy. Lou

  13. Lou Dawson 2 December 19th, 2014 7:15 pm

    BTW everyone, yes, I’m really into my jacket matching my airbag color if I’m caught in an avalanche. I think that’ll make the resulting Youtube video much better for my sponsors (grin). Lou

  14. John December 19th, 2014 9:23 pm

    As long as you remember that it doesn’t count unless it was on video. Cool post Lou, I dunno if I agree with all of your weight savings on the pack, but I’ve never held one of the Scott packs so what do I know? Besides you never know where the line is unless you wander around a little bit to find it. Pretty cool that you were able to make it down to 5 lbs, I’d sure like my ABS pack to do that.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 December 20th, 2014 6:04 am

    One thing beneficial about modding and writing about it is you really get into the guts of stuff, so if nothing else it’s educational. That’s probably the main thrust of this post.

    I actually thought that airbag backpacks would be more developed by this winter, with more available composite gas tanks, more cartridge systems, lighter fan system, etc. Compared to a few years ago the differences are noticeable, but nearly everything that’s changed is more contributory and incremental. than outright major.

    In terms of CE standards stifling development, garage built tech bindings were sold for years out of car trunks in Europe, why not innovative airbag systems?

  16. Russya December 20th, 2014 11:12 am

    Lou, thanks for another great article. About your large volume lower pressure tank, you should be able to mock up a test rig out pvc and a simple valve to test your theory. Just need to get the proper threaded fitting with a suitably strong hose to connect the two together. But I do think perhaps the much slower gas velocity will negatively impact the Venturi on the bag, but that’s just a guess.

  17. Lou Dawson 2 December 20th, 2014 11:35 am

    Russya, the idea is the system wouldn’t need the venturi! It just needs 150 liters…, think it’s possible to just get that out of a larger tank?

  18. dean December 20th, 2014 12:12 pm

    Would be nice to see how the airbag inflates using the CO2 and argon cartridges under your test conditions?

  19. Lou Dawson 2 December 20th, 2014 4:16 pm

    Dean, no discernable difference when I use the single 68 gram CO2 cartridge with care for temperatures. As mentioned in the post, using the single 60 gram wasn’t working well. If I can do a colder test I’ll make a quick video, have to wait till we get a clearing spell here and a cold night, I’d like to test at more like 10 degrees F.

    Lou

  20. Lou Dawson 2 December 20th, 2014 5:13 pm

    John, I thought it didn’t happen unless it was on Facebook? In any case, if my cartridge mod seems to work well I’ll video it, otherwise not worth the effort. I’d use it in total confidence during our normal ski touring weather here in Colorado, but I need to test at lower temps. Lou

  21. See December 20th, 2014 9:28 pm

    I don’t think a Dyneema tank would save much weight compared to a small carbon fiber one (not to mention that bike tires go flat pretty regularly).

  22. Lou Dawson 2 December 21st, 2014 8:09 am

    There are a bunch of really nice carbon fiber paintball air tanks you can find online. They hold the kind of pressure used for airbags. One wonders…

  23. Andy M December 21st, 2014 11:15 am

    I seem to remember you or Louie did some mods to your BCA Float, mostly trimming. Which areas did you hack out?

  24. Lou Dawson 2 December 21st, 2014 11:23 am

    The latest BCA Float packs are quite a nice departure from BCA’s original fabric heavy designs, very little to cut out. Louie’s post is here:
    https://www.wildsnow.com/9498/bca-airbag-float-32/

  25. Hank December 21st, 2014 11:46 pm

    An airbag designed for use in avalanches that doesn’t inflate in cold temps seems to have missed the mark…? This lightweight “avy” airbag is like a much more dangerous version of the lightweight “avy” shovel of days past… IMHO. Didn’t this technology come from another platform… what was it?

  26. Lou Dawson 2 December 22nd, 2014 5:16 am

    Hank, Alpride works super well in stock form, and my mod is an experiment that actually seems to be working well and inflates well in the temperatures I ski in, I mentioned the failed experiments to inform the discussion. Nonetheless, point taken, I suggest with any airbag that you do a test fire in real conditions. I’ve been told that if the refillable cylinders get too much humidity, they’ll suffer in cold temps as well, to the point of failure. Nothing is perfect. Lou

  27. Micha December 22nd, 2014 1:00 pm

    FYI, while speaking about avalanche airbags:
    ABS is recalling all European ABS activation units in steel (steel + handle) with a filling date till 02.12.2014
    Carbon cartridges and yellow steel cartridges (North America) are not affected.
    https://www.abs-airbag.com/us/service/recall/

  28. TimZ December 22nd, 2014 3:33 pm

    What about other gasses? Helium or nitrogen canisters might not have the dry ice issues and are still non flamable.

  29. Mark Worley December 23rd, 2014 7:09 am

    So, what about warranty with all the mods? I am all for lightening up these pigs, but would be concerned about voiding the warranty. That said, keep up the good work.

  30. Lou Dawson 2 December 23rd, 2014 7:30 am

    Mark, indeed, just reading Wildsnow.com voids the warrenty on every piece of gear you own!

  31. Lou Dawson 2 December 24th, 2014 1:55 am

    I updated with another test. This time I cold soaked the backpack for 6.5 hours to 3 degrees F, and fired it using one 68 gram CO2 cartridge, no handwarmer packs. Torture test. In my opinion the bag inflated fine, albeit just a hair slower than when tested at warmer temps.

  32. Tibi April 11th, 2015 11:08 pm

    Hi Lou,

    thank you for tinkering with the Alpride for the rest of us. Partially because I could not find a store to ship the cartridges to Calgary and together with the lack of 60 or 68 gram CO2 cartridges in Canada (with the correct thread size) I looked for other options for the airbag.

    In the process I came upon the JT 90gram CO2 cartridge (used for paintball I think), which costs around $6 ($12 for a blister pack of 2 cartridges). I used a block-off plug similar to yours for the argon inlet.

    I just ran a test at room temperature; the bag inflated in 3.5 seconds, really taut, no issues. I should mention one thing though, the JT canister has around 6mm of un-threaded area at the top which reduces the amount of thread screwed into the triggering unit of the airbag. Even so, the cartridge screwed in just fine and there was absolutely no leaking or hissing of any sorts.

    Will update with a below 0C temperature test.

  33. Tibi April 12th, 2015 4:19 pm

    Quick update on the Alpride mod with one 90g CO2 cartridge;

    since spring is already here, I could only test the airbag in cold temperatures by getting creative and letting it for 6.5 hours in the freezer at about -21C (-6F) with the JT cartridge installed.
    Immediately after taking it out of the freezer I deployed it in outdoor temperatures of -2C (28F). The inflation took 4.5 seconds and lead to a more than satisfactory tautness (although the airbag and backpack fabrics were really crunchy sounding).

    This was an extreme temperature test, and I am more than happy with the mod myself. After reviewing the video of @ room temperature test, I timed the bag inflation at 3 seconds, really, really taut. I can only predict that at moderate winter temperatures the bag will deploy quick with no issues in this configuration. I expect 3.6 – 3.7 seconds with perfect airbag pressure. Will have to run a test to confirm that though.

    I have also taken photos of the extreme temperature test for whoever is interested.

  34. Lou Dawson 2 April 12th, 2015 4:29 pm

    Nice job Tibi. I’m suspecting that the addition of the Argon is mostly for the CE/TUV certification, not always for real life. On the other hand, be careful. The formation of carbonic ice can be a very real problem. Lots of testing will tell the tale.

    I’ve got some of the 90 gram cartridges here as well, from “Air Venturi.” I’ve not tested yet as I’m very happy with the aftermarket 68 gram as detailed above, used in moderate temperatures.

    BTW, I made an aluminum block-off plug, which does save weight over a steel plug made out of a bolt.

    Lou

  35. Tibi April 16th, 2015 11:04 am

    Lou,

    you are absolutely right about the carbonic ice. Paintball gear suppliers say that in low temperatures the liquid / iced CO2 can do permanent damage to the paintball gun components inside the pressure chamber. I guess that applies to the airbag’s taped seams as well.

    Because it’s been impossible for me to purchase the OEM cartridges from Canada for a decent price, I kept on looking at other options (the lowest price I could find on OEM was $70. That is $25 + $45 shipping / blister pack due to them being shipped as hazardous materials). As of now, I am not concerned so much about weight-saving, just being able to buy enough cartridges for trigger-testing and real use for a decent price.

    I found a place that sells Argon 26.9g in a 5/8″ fine threaded cylinder for $15/piece and CO2 59g in a 1/2″ fine thread cylinder for $11 / piece. The gas amounts are almost the same as the Scott OEM ones, but the threads are switched. To your knowledge, are the cartridges triggered in any particular order, or both at the same time? If the latter is true, then this option might work perfectly (without any weight saving though).

  36. Nick December 30th, 2016 9:23 am

    Thanks for the helpful advice. I just got the Scott 40 and am getting things dialed in. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

    Air-Travel with cartridges: No dice! Scott markets them as good-to-go. Nope. This may be true in Europe, but in the US, TSA explicitly bans compressed gas containers. One exception is cartridges for inflatable life jackets. I don’t remember exactly, but you can have 4 cartridges, no more than 30-40ish grams a piece. Not helpful. Little 16g bike inflation cartridges are technically banned, but sometimes get through TSA. Maybe the same with a 90g paintball cartridge, maybe not.

    Sourcing cartridges:

    I refuse to buy the OEM cartridges for $80 in the US, and have found some good options for plugging the small hole and buying other CO2 cartridges (5/8″ – 18, fine thread) for cheap. These ones, made by ‘Fluval’ are nice because they don’t have that protruding ‘nub’ beyond the threads that paintball-specific cartridges have (like the widely available ones made by JT). This means a more secure fit.

    https://www.amazon.com/Fluval-88g-CO2-Disposable-Cartridges-3-Pack/dp/B0049RIV2O/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1483038543&sr=8-4&keywords=88+gram+co2

    Tibi,
    If you play with the trigger mechanism without cartridges installed, you’ll notice the spring fires BOTH piercing rods (or whatever you call them) at the same time. It actually happens too fast to see, but it’s a simple setup and both cartridges will get activated at the same time.

    Here are some other 5/8″-18 threaded CO2 cartridges I ran into. From Lou’s 68g of choice, to a couple paintball 90g, to a 45g made for car and motorcycle tires. I have not bothered finding 1/2″-20 fine thread argon cartridges, but maybe they are out there in the wine drinkers world.

    https://www.amazon.com/CO2-Cartridges-Threaded-Pack-Inflator/dp/B01LX1RTYD/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1483113911&sr=8-3&keywords=45+gram+co2+cartridge

    https://www.amazon.com/Umarex-2252534-Cylinders-Pack-Grey/dp/B001IEM1W2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483113869&sr=8-1&keywords=90+gram+co2

    https://www.amazon.com/90g-Co2-Cylinder-Cartridge-Paintball/dp/B012B9VV28/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483113886&sr=8-2&keywords=90+gram+co2+jt

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/201682391145?lpid=82&chn=ps&ul_noapp=true

  37. Lou Dawson 2 December 30th, 2016 9:43 am

    Nick, thanks for your efforts. Regarding only using CO2, in theory, be sure you only use that configuration in warmer temps, best to test by leaving pack outside overnight and doing an inflation, while paying attention to the overnight low temperature. Starting the day at room temperature helps, but remember that when the balloon inflates it draws in ambient air through the venturi so your ambient air temp has an effect no matter what temp the cartridge is.

    Regarding flying, did you get refused or are you just theorizing based on documents?

    As for plugging the extra hole (which I repeat is proof-of-concept and not recommended by us in real life), it’s probably important to drill a hole in the plug for the firing pin to go into when you trigger the pack, to avoid damage and allow proper function.

    Lou

  38. Nick December 30th, 2016 11:36 am

    Sorry for the lack of info/sources.

    Yes, I have some testing to do with the just CO2 setup, and am aware I’m not using the pack as designed. The lack of argon could cause problems. Fear not, I am not following these mods blindly.

    As for air travel, theory, not experience. I have not tried to get a cartridge through TSA. Curious if others have? Just thought it was worth mentioning, since Scott’s claim of being OK through IATA (Intenational Air Transport Association) is misleading. IATA doesn’t mean much when going though TSA.

    Yes, milling a hole in the plug is important. Based on the way I observed the mechanism to work, it likely won’t function at all if you block the needle in one port.

    Overall, I’m pretty psyched on the pack, and look forward to further testing and learning about the system. The functionality of the backpack, simple/solid airbag system, and light weight made it the most attractive 40L airbag pack on the market. I’m aware we’re tinkering with a ‘life saving device’ against manufacturer’s will, but tinkering makes the world go ’round, and the real life saving device is my head, not a backpack.

    Happy New Year!

  39. Simon Lamb October 2nd, 2017 9:12 am

    😀

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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