How Many Benjamins Can You Pay?

Post by blogger | December 30, 2015      

Backcountry Access has made it about as easy as possible to buy airbag cylinder refills. Still, you hesitate to blow off your balloon due to the hassle of getting a recharge, thus you miss out on practice that might help you avoid hesitation on the rip cord and the resulting crater (AKA avalanche burial).

No more. The guys in Boulder, Colorado are promulgating the use of an airgun “Benjamin” refill pump that does a fine job of refilling the BCA Float airbag cylinders. Albeit with a bit of work — you pay to play. We found the pump easy to operate (though time consuming and a bit strenuous), with a modicum of assembly required that I’d give a 3/10 wrench rating (e.g., you’ll need a metric spanner to remove a fitting you replace with the desiccant cartridge).

Benjamin unboxed, handle and base need to be screwed on, and you follow simple instructions for desiccant cartridge.

Benjamin unboxed, handle and base need to be screwed on, and you follow simple instructions for desiccant cartridge. Niggly things: You have to dry out the desiccant in your oven if you see more than a few pink moisture indicator crystals, and you’ll need a metric wrench to attach the desiccant cartridge. Note the desiccant is essential. The cylinder holds a lot of air, meaning if the air has much humidity you can get a lot of condensation in the tank if you go from warm to cold temperatures. The condensate can freeze and clog your valve. Tip: probably a good idea to keep any airbag refillable gas cylinder in a somewhat upright position while in use, to prevent small amounts of water from getting into the valve system. In my opinion it’s also a good idea to test airbags when you’re out in colder temperatures.

Our pump came with a kink in the hose, but it still works.  Red circle to right indicates plug you remove to install the desiccant cartridge.

Our pump came with a kink in the hose, but it still works. Red circle to right indicates plug you remove to install the desiccant cartridge.

Benjamin assembled and hooked to BCA cylinder.  Keep a BCA refill kit on hand, you might need to swap some o-rings.

Benjamin assembled and hooked to BCA cylinder. Keep a BCA refill kit on hand, you might need to swap some o-rings.

I’d imagine BCA and will begin selling these at some point. For now, you can get the Benjamin from Amazon.

Benjamin Hand Pump, Fits Discovery, Marauder, Katana & Challenger Rifles

Sun Optics USA Airgun Scope Mount Desiccant Kit For High Pressure Hand Pump


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13 Responses to “How Many Benjamins Can You Pay?”

  1. TimZ December 30th, 2015 11:19 am

    I was wondering if a bike shock pump would work, but at 2700PSI I guess not!
    Looks like a nice option to have… but expensive and quite the effort!

  2. Charlie Hagedorn December 30th, 2015 11:47 am


    An aside: that’s a darn fine-looking shop right there.

  3. Marco December 30th, 2015 12:17 pm

    I’ve been using a similar pump for the past 3 years. Takes less than 15 minutes and it’s quite a workout but not that bad really. I emailed bca when I first started using it and exchanged a few mails with one of the designers. At the time I remember they were very worried about moisture content freezing in the valve when releasing. They wouldn’t recommend it but was not a “yer gonna DIE!” Reaction either. I did a few calculations and I seem to remember that even filling up in 100%humidity you would only have less than 1 cubic millimetr of water in the volume pumped in the canister, pretty negligible if you refill outside on a cold clear night (very dry air)
    I filled up my float airbag at least 30 times and never had an issue. Other advantage is that the components don’t heat up as much as when filling up from a compressor as you’re filling slower…

  4. See December 30th, 2015 8:05 pm

    Are the BCA cylinders (sold separately) all the same, or are some better than others?

  5. Dawj163 January 1st, 2016 8:52 am

    I don’t have reliable access to anyone I would trust to refill my bag and use this. Not an easy chore but you can pace yourself and refill over days. Our air is bone dry when it is -30 outside. Those temps are why I hae have compress air bag rather than electric. I wish BD/pieps would have remember AK when they built the Jet Force

  6. Lou 2 January 1st, 2016 7:04 pm

    Thanks for the comments guys. I was up skiing at a cabin without internet for a few days over New Year. Back in the saddle now.

    FYI, we had 4 comments in the moderation tank, those are approved now. Thanks for not freaking out.

    See, all current cylinders are the same. There were some a while back that had a problem with being too hard to trigger.

    We like this pump. Alot. Only problem is it’s a bit heavy in the luggage for just a couple people, but it sure is a nice idea instead of the amazing hassle of trying to get a cylinder filled in Athens.


  7. Jason January 4th, 2016 10:26 am

    Glad to see this being “endorsed” by BCA. I looked into it for our last japan trip, but couldnt find a firm answer regarding the moisture issue. Canister rentals in Japan are $$$, so this pump easily pays for itself on trips like that.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 January 4th, 2016 11:33 am

    Louie just hauled the pump to Europe. Heavy, but he was pretty excited about it, as he’s had endless hassles with BCA refills during his world travels. What’s really needed is a small electric pump, that takes its time so it doesn’t have to be too expensive or heavy. I mean, perhaps they could make something that took 5 hours to fill a cylinder and was the size of a water bottle, ran on 110v or 220v. Combine with carbon cylinder, then who would need Jetforce or Voltair? BCA, are you listening? If you can invent the digital beacon, could it be that hard to get an electric pump made? Who will be first?

  9. Jksprint January 5th, 2016 2:12 pm

    Now if you can just rig up some kind of piston drive that you can hook to your garage compressor or cordless impact driver for regular use this would be pretty sweet!

  10. Josh February 6th, 2016 7:37 pm

    How much weight does a carbon cyclinder save? Are they available?

  11. Noah January 21st, 2017 9:38 am

    About a year late Lou and Jksprint, but they’re out there…

  12. Galina Fedorova November 18th, 2017 1:33 am

    I am trying to fill it, but the air is coming out, while pumping. Am I missing something?

  13. Lou Dawson 2 November 18th, 2017 6:50 am

    I’d imagine so! Sounds like you need to follow refill steps exactly, you’re probably missing a gasket or something. Perhaps contact BCA? Lou

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