Mammut Ultralight 20 RAS Avalanche Airbag Backpack Review

Post by blogger | December 5, 2016      

(Please note, regarding our use of the Mammut carbon cylinder that’s only retail available in Europe. Quite a few of our readers are in Europe, and the cylinders can be brought to North America from Europe on direct flights. So we chose to configure these packs with the lightest weight option possible.)

The object at hand.

The object at hand, Mammut Ultralight 20 super minimalist airbag backpack. 2-way radio for scale, I carry it in the vest pocket of my layers. Black object on shoulder strap is a camera bag.

Weight 1592 grams with carbon cylinder. Airbag backpack. Need I say more? Sure, it’s a blog, more shall be said.

Ever since Mike Arnold did our initial testing of the Mammut Ultralight 20 RAS (Removable Airbag System) I’ve been eager to configure one of these rigs for my own real-world use. I’m a “normal” user of this sort of rucksack, since my tours are generally more moderate than Mike’s, and I don’t do as much hardcore ski mountaineering as I used to. Well, I got it done — I’ve been out with the little blue fellow for a few days of powder skiing in Colorado avalanche terrain.

Goal was to configure (fancy word for “load”) the Ultralight 20 for a specific style of ski touring. That where you rarely strap your skis to the pack, carry minimal water, and don’t need arctic clothing. In other words, moderate ski touring in terms of weather and objectives. (If a larger pack is needed Mammut boasts their Light 30, which is quite commodious while being reasonable in mass, 1736 without cylinder, 2054 with 318 gram carbon cylinder. **See below for more weight informations.)

The load.

The load. Clockwise from top left: Strafe Recon shell, Mammut Alugator Light shovel, with sharp edges ground off, downsized thermos, FRS radio that gets carried in vest pocket included for scale, goggles in soft black case, Buff, tiny repair kit, spare lighter that wouldn’t fit in repair kit, satphone. Added on the up, puffy and possibly fleece layer rolled up and strapped to outside. Clearly, not much. (A small “Euro” style avalanche probe fits in as well, not included in this photo.)

I tried stuffing the Strafe into this compartment behind the back flap, but it created too much of a baby bump.

I tried stuffing the Strafe into this compartment behind the back flap, but it created too much of a baby bump. This pack is of course a panel loader, via a zippered flap on the rear, behind your back.

Compartment had this small chunk of foam,  a bit of a joke.

Compartment had this small chunk of foam, a bit of a joke. Weighs 18 grams for those of you who care about those sorts of things. While packing, my biggest problem was figuring out how to load all those hard edged items without them digging into my back. I finally acquiesced and cut a larger foam pad that covers all the pack contents, as a layer just behind the rear zipper flap. My DIY foamie is 31 grams. I really feel those additional 13 grams on my poor misbegotten shoulders, but now I’ve got a piece of foam I can actually sit on instead of waving around and asking “what is this thing for?”

My home build foam backpad.

My home build foam backpad. Took several hours and six trips to the outdoor store to get it perfect. Carabiner for scale, but also used to quick-clip the pack’s leg strap.

Experimenting with the load.

Experimenting with the load.

Where does that puffy go?

Where does that puffy go? Turns out I wasn’t utilizing quite a bit of space up next to the airbag storage. Careful packing got the puffy stowed nicely utilizing that area. I then layed the Strafe over some of the gear, and covered with my DIY foamie.

Puffy going in.

Puffy going in.

Secret compartment is under the word Mammut.

Secret compartment is under the word Mammut.

Final build, before the foam layer.

Final build, before the foam layer. Note how my puffy is almost totally stowed in the upper area. Carbon cylinder is key to using this pack for actually ski touring as the small amount of added interior cargo space takes you over the top. Oddly enough, the velcro strap that secures the cylinder is miss-located and results in the side of the pack being dimpled in. Removing the cylinder strap got me a few more cubics of volume.

Dimple created by the cylinder mounting strap.

Volume stealing dimple created by the cylinder mounting strap.

The now legendary carbon cylinder.

The now legendary carbon cylinder. One thing I like about the Mammut system is that screwing in the cylinder cocks the firing pin. No fuss. Be sure to firmly tighten cylinder to the point where you can’t see the rubber gasket, then inspect occasionally to be sure it’s not coming undone. I wasn’t careful enough with this, mine worked its way out during my first tour-test.

Loaded up with everywhere to go.

Loaded up with everywhere to go. Camera bag on shoulder strap is secured with a few zip ties (see this blog post.)


I see no problem in using the Ultralight 20 within its design parameters. Meaning moderate ski tours in moderate climate, or perhaps for activities such as heli skiing when you carry minimal gear. The admittedly small volume is inappropriate for anything more.

Further, I don’t recommend carrying skis on this pack. Doing so without damaging the thin fabric would require utmost care with lashing as well a judicious padding, things most people would not have the patience nor time for.

The RAS system is wonderful. For example, I’m thinking for a hut trip I can carry the 30 liter pack on the access trail, with the 20 packed inside sans airbag system. At the hut, switch the RAS to the 20 for day tours. Main takeaway here is that with the RAS removable airbag system, you could own this as well as the 30 liter and swap the balloon plumbing back and forth accordingly. Or just go with the 30 if what you’re seeing here isn’t appropriate for your style of skiing.

The 20 rode well and fit my 180 cm body perfectly. The leg strap has an odd adjustment system that ended up in a big loop when I opted to clip with a carabiner. I taped up the excess webbing with a few chunks of duct tape. Only thing I’d like to see added is a small “sunscreen” pouch on the waistbelt (the 30 does have that feature). Whining and moaning about adding anything more (can’t we have…tool pockets!?) is just futile fighting against what is clearly an ultra-minimalist design philosophy — a build style we’ve been waiting for years to enjoy in an airbag backpack.

(The “worldwide” Mammut aluminum cylinder weighs 656 grams so it comes at a penalty of 338 grams, 12 ounces. That’s major with a pack this light. Further, the worldwide cylinder takes up noticeably more space and probably makes the Ultralight 20 impractical for most backcountry skiers.)

Shopping for Mammut airbag backpacks appears to be confusing, but I found a solid source for the Ultralight 20. Check out this link at I couldn’t find the current Light 30 at Backcountry, but did find it on the REI site.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


79 Responses to “Mammut Ultralight 20 RAS Avalanche Airbag Backpack Review”

  1. Kevin December 5th, 2016 12:39 pm

    Any idea of how to get ahold of a carbon cylinder stateside?

  2. Lee December 5th, 2016 12:53 pm

    Europe has had carbon cylinders for quite a few years. In the US it is the DOT that says no to carbon cylinders being shipped and why they are not available; is my understanding.

    Not sure if places that fill would have a problem with the carbon tank. I have only filled scuba tanks and am familiar with the regulations for them.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2016 12:56 pm

    The carbon cylinder is filled with nitrogen, and apparently is not very easy to refill so it has to be sent back to Mammut. Lou

  4. Gary December 5th, 2016 4:01 pm

    Cool small air bag pack, but where do your skins go for the downhill?

  5. hacksaw December 5th, 2016 4:20 pm

    Is it easy to “disarm ” the pack for heliskiing?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2016 5:54 pm

    Gary, they fit fine inside if I’m wearing layers, and can be mounted on the outside in a skin bag if necessary. Or, skimostyle, in shell jacket pockets… common thing to see in Europe. I’m not saying this is for everyone, it just shows one extreme end of the spectrum. Lou

  7. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2016 5:54 pm

    Hack, the trigger handle stows quite nicely. The cylinder can also be unscrewed in seconds if paranoia strikes. Lou

  8. Lee December 6th, 2016 6:47 am

    Unless things have changed this is not available in US if you need to send it back for filling because a carbon cylinder can not be shipped. Unless you take a boat from Europe you can not get it here.

    Didn’t know Mammut was using nitrogen along with ABS. More complicated fill, but the benefits must be there.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 December 6th, 2016 8:04 am

    Lee, the empty carbon cylinder can easily be shipped back to Europe, by air. With the cap removed and no compressed gas inside it’s just an object. As for getting it here, it can be brought over here by people on direct flights from Europe. All for personal use, not resale. You are correct the carbon cylinder is not for sale in U.S., which I make clear multiple times in writing about these products. Other than that being true, Please don’t spread misinformation, doing so is not helpful.

    Also, quite a few of our readers are in Europe, we are global, so we cover global subjects.


  10. atfred December 6th, 2016 9:54 am

    With all this talk about lightweight packs, carbon cylinders, etc., I would be curious to know what total pack weights folks are hauling around. My (non airbag) day tour pack can weigh anywhere between 14 and 18 pounds depending on time of year, weather, tour objective, technical needs, etc. That’s total pack weight as I throw it in the car, so it includes skins, goggles, gloves, beeper, etc.

    Every year I try to lighten it, but it always seems to stay about the same.

    How does that compare with others?

    Just wondering.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 December 6th, 2016 10:07 am

    Interestingly, I often carried a much lighter pack while ski touring in the 1970s, as sometimes I didn’t even carry a shovel or probe, no Inreach or satphone, no GPS, rations were a baggie of dried fruit and a liter of water in a plastic water bottle, no thermos. Pack was a little thing that was basically a nylon sack with two shoulder straps. And no airbag stuff. I like what I carry these days, but have to say my goal is always to get back to that “weight of the day.” Lou

  12. jasper December 6th, 2016 11:19 am

    Atfred, I have my BD Saga 40 jetforce bag at 23 pounds (10400g). Which includes emergency/first aid kit (cpr, bleeding control, spot, lighter, headlamp, multitool, 2way radio), avy kit (shovel, probe, saw, notebook), skins, food (1L water, nuts and dry fruit), layers (mittens, lightweight puffy, and lightweight shell). I use this for basic trips. If I am going longer or bigger I will through in 50m of 6mm cord with some slings and carabiners as well as a heavyweight puffy layer. Hopefully somebody in the group will carry bivy gear/recuse sled. Everything else I need is on my body and about 1600g (without boots, skis or helmet). I must say I would like a lighter airbag pack, and hope to have one going in the next couple of years, but for now my kit is manageable.

  13. Joseph December 6th, 2016 11:26 am

    I’m at 3.3kg now including the airbag and all safety gear. 1st aid, tools, skins, goggles gloves and puffy as well.
    Water not included.

  14. Chris December 6th, 2016 4:55 pm

    Like Lou, I discovered after a while that getting creative with small spaces you did not suspect were there makes a huge difference (under the cylinder, under the airbag itself, in the left and right hip areas, etc…).

    I also sometimes strap stuff outside without losing the ski carry.

    And there is definitely an art in how you pack stuff and why kind of gear you have! Some shovels won’t fit (i have an area plume that works), and neither will some probes or shovel shafts. Bulky down jackets without stow bags are also a hassle.

    But pack the right gear with a little thought, and you can make it work – i have had ropes and crampons in there (together), and after i adapted a Mammut shoulder strap drink holder, got even more space.

    best of all, i use my skins as dorsal cushioning by flatenning them in their back and stowing them flat vertically – no more baby bumps.

    And like Lou, I also wish they had added a couple of small outside belt pockets (losing change in this pack is a real pain). And while we are on the subject of negatives, that zip just sucks (always gets caught by flimsy liner that runs along it) and is always stretched to the limit if you load the bag (I am sure some stitching issuing to blow at some annoying moment). The fabric feels flimsy (but so far so good), but I would have happily sacrificed a few grams for some ruggedness.

  15. atfred December 6th, 2016 10:32 pm

    Damn, Joseph, even with some water, your airbag pack load would still probably be less than 4 kg (8.8 lbs)- that’s amazing!!!

  16. Joseph December 7th, 2016 12:53 am

    That’s including foldable poles now that I think about it. I never carry water in my pack, ussually on my belt.
    This is a setup for the Alps, where you will find a mountain hut every day that has running water heating and food. Or day tours.
    The beauty of a small pack is that you simply can’t take all the stuff you don’t really need. If you have a 30L pack you will simply bring more because you can. If you have your clothing and gear dailed, you can get away with a lot less stuff.

  17. Jeremy C December 7th, 2016 4:22 am

    @Joseph, any chance of a brand name kit list? Going on basic weights a shovel, probe and your folding poles should be around 1kg of your total.

    On a separate subject, I’ve never been able to understand how people can happily survive without drinking more than a couple of mouthfuls of liquid, while I have drunk a litre, in the same time frame. I guess it comes down to personal physiology.

  18. Joseph December 7th, 2016 6:25 am

    @Jeremy C
    Poles are BD carbon FLZ with modification to fit powderbasket (342g) Probe Arva compact carbon (120g), shovel Arva Ultra with mods to make it stronger(320g).
    None of this stuff is strong, but if you take a little care you won’t break it. This is what works for me, it might not work for you.

    Puffy is cheap brand minimal down vest, nothing fancy. Skins are Gecko mohair Splitboard skins without tail hooks.

    First aid is regular stuff in a cloth bag and a powergel, powerbar, cpr mask, zipties, handwarmer, cord and a Leatherman Skeletool with one extra bit. Headlight Petzl e+light. GPS is on my watch, phone in pants pocket.

    There are some other bits and bobs in there probably, so I feel I carry most of the stuff that I need. Just a bit lighter.

  19. Lee December 7th, 2016 8:07 am

    Lou, I know you have a wide European readership. Yes it can be transported to and from the US/Canada empty. I am just unsure of what use it is in the US/Canada. Unless you have a source you can drive to that is willing to fill the cylinder (I don’t know anyone who fills nitrogen to those pressures for individual cylinders) you are SOL as far as I know. I could be wrong on this, but it is my understanding and the point I was trying to make for NA readers.

  20. Nathan December 7th, 2016 8:53 am

    My standard uphill load with the Mammut Ultralight RAS 3.0 is weighing 3640 grams (no food or water.)

    I carry it with a loaded alu canister and:
    -Mammut alugator light shovel.
    -Voile 240cm aluminum probe.
    -1lb first aid kit for single patient based off what I carry when ski patrolling
    -4 Voile straps and leatherman
    -Hooded puffy jacket (currently Patagonia nano-air)

    There’s still plenty of room for my skins to be thrown in during transitions. It does have to be packed carefully.

  21. Lou Dawson 2 December 7th, 2016 8:57 am

    Ok Lee, point taken.

    The reality is there is no need to discharge the cylinder unless you’re in an avalanche. The chances of that happening for most people are thankfully rather small, and they’re not going to care about refills after an airbag saves their life. And if a mistake is made or the trigger is pulled when unecessary, that’s just life and for some people will be worth the money. It’s like the crush zones in your car. Even a small accident can result in expensive damage, but we accept that with automobiles because crush zones make vehicles incredibly safe compared to the old days.

    In the event of a real save, the cylinder will probably be gifted to the wife or husband with a bow on it.

    Testing the Mammut packs is done using a dummy cylinder device they sell with the packs.

    More, active users who are serious about these packs could own both the refillable air cylinder and the carbon nitrogen.

  22. Jeremy C December 7th, 2016 1:04 pm

    @Joseph, many thanks. I would have guess Arva, and their Skimo style products. I saw the Arva Compact Carbon online, but I assumed the 120gm weight was a typo for a 2.4m probe.

  23. Witold December 7th, 2016 3:50 pm

    Hi Joseph,
    What type of modifications to Arva Ultra shovel? What is the weakest point of this shovel in your opinion?

  24. Joseph December 8th, 2016 12:39 am

    @Witold The blade is made out of very thin aluminium, you will bend it on hard snow. I laminated triax carbon on the outside to make it stronger. You could layer carbon on the inside as well but it’s not really needed.

    If I’m riding in a group or with a very smart partner, I’m taking the Arva Ultra. If I’m with people I don’t know that well I’m probably taking a larger stronger shovel. The Arva will work if you would dig fast with 3 people in soft snow. I prefer a small shovel for this anyway. Obviously the handle is quite short as well.

    I also have a telescopic handle made out of a carbon tripod leg that’s only 172 grams. It fits a regular Voile blade, but the blade is soooo heavy and big! 😉 But that’s what I would carry in some cases.

    All Arva weights are spot on, the probe is actually usable despite the weight.

  25. Buck December 8th, 2016 7:43 am

    I spend enough time checking out some of the ultralight backpacking websites to be somewhat inoculated against all this weight-shaving talk. But, reading about having to modify your ultralight shovel because “The blade is made out of very thin aluminium, you will bend it on hard snow” is awesome.

    fun and games on a web forum, slightly different when you’re buried and wondering if your partner is carrying that flimsy little shovel or the real shovel.

    When Joseph says “This is what works for me, it might not work for you.” it really pays to think about what “you” and “me” means. When the shovel doesn’t work for Joseph, it means that he’s standing on top of the snow with a broken blade, no big deal. “you” can interpolate the potential other half of the situation

    Of course, you’re in Europe, you’re carrying an airbag and you can see a mountain hut on the ridge a kilometer away. You will never, ever, be buried – this is all hypothetical, right?

  26. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2016 8:12 am

    Hi Buck, my view is the middle ground in the issue of gear mods. There is no reason to trust manufacturers 100% to get it right, or best. But on the other hand, most people know that mods of safety gear must be done with care and thought. For example, me cutting the sharp edges scallops off my Alugator Mammut shovel seems to be totally reasonable. The shovel performs better in my opinion, and I’ve got the experience to back that up. But my carbon shaft shovel mod was done more as proof-of-concept and I was never sure it was really strong enough, so I frequently carry shovels that I’m certain are strong enough, based on actual physical observation of the tool (my “pry up the deck boards test”), as well as a modicum of trust in makers such as BCA, Mammut, Voile etc

    As for my general view of weight fun and games, I’m of the opinion that weight of gear is incredibly important in ski touring. So my wish is that everyone would keep talking, experimenting, and having fun with the issue.


  27. atfred December 8th, 2016 10:02 am

    And let’s not forget the “organic” factor – body weight. My losing twenty pounds a few years ago, and keeping it off, has been the best thing by far for my uphill ability!!

  28. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2016 10:12 am

    Totally agree with you Atfred. Even in the case of us skinny guys, a pound less of belly fat makes an obvious different on the uphill, though I find it easier to ski downhill when I’m a little heavier rather than a beanpole. Most skis are not designed for 155 pound men… especially when their backpack weighs nearly nothing (smile). Lou

  29. Joseph December 8th, 2016 10:51 am

    Jeez, it’s not like you can’t test this stuff out before putting it in your pack. I’ve done enough actual digging in my life to know what works and what doesn’t.
    Like I said, it might not work for you. That’s fine.

  30. Kristian December 8th, 2016 11:48 am

    Based on what I have seen and read, Avalanches have tremendous kinetic energy that can translate into heat and melts the tumbling snow. When it stops, it quickly refreezes. So it’s entirely possible that you will not be scooping snow so much as chopping at tons of frozen ice mix.

  31. Lou Dawson 2 December 8th, 2016 1:42 pm

    Kristian, if you’re really chopping you’re looking for a body. Avy shovels do need a degree of stoutness (a kid’s garden toy isn’t going to work, for example), but myself and others have dug countless times in real avalanche debris soon after the event and have found that all the good quality shovels work fine. The pile most certainly eventually becomes quite dense and difficult to dig, but it takes time. It doesn’t QUICKLY refreeze into some kind of icy substance you have to chop away at, that’s a myth. Again, you might eventually have to chop and struggle, but by then it’s too late. When I talk avalanche safety gear here on WildSnow the design philosophy is about what you would use for a live companion rescue.

    To be more clear, digging set-up avalanche debris requires a steel shovel of the type you’d use on a construction site, or a significantly beefier aluminum shovel than is generally carried. A little bit stouter aluminum shovel designed for companion rescue doesn’t cut it for more than a short stint of digging that stuff. But other than in very rare instances (like an ice serac avalanche), the digging you’ll do to rescue a live person is in snow that’s not that difficult to move, though the process can be exhausting, which can be more of an issue and could even be an argument for shovels that compromise between weight and durability.


  32. Kristian December 8th, 2016 3:17 pm

    Yes of course. I treasure and still carry the classic (made by Stubai?) light stout round tip aluminum shovel that can optionally fit on the end of an ice axe – shovels, hacks, and cleans tents nicely.

    And I decided a couple of years ago to go with ritual and stop trying to outguess conditions to save half a kilo. Snowpulse Lite 35+ rucksack, Fastfind PLB 220, first aid, helmet (stuffed with light balaclava, goggles, light gloves), shovel, carbon probe, beacon, skins, ski or boot crampons, insulated jacket, GPS, small thermos, insulated water liter, Lupine Piko headLamp, Zrest seat pad, food/snacks, small stuff sack with misc spare/repair stuff including lighter, and maybe lightweight tarp or bivy.

    Dry/repair/recharge the gear after every trip and then store together.

    Side compression straps keeps the pack svelte.

  33. Wookie197 December 9th, 2016 2:52 am

    Its enlightening (enheavining ?) to see what everybody is packing….I use an 18 liter pack as my normal touring set-up…..and get this – I use it for multi-day hut trips with no trouble whatsoever. I’ve got a 35 Liter pack, that I think I’ve actually only used twice when camping outdoors with a sleeping bag and bivvy sack.
    Caveats: I’m in Europe, so its not usually arctic cold, and I use the huts – so I don’t have to carry tons of equipment – and crap like sat phones are just silly here.
    Couple of things I’ve noticed over the years:
    1) The vast majority of people are wearing and carrying so much stuff. Wear as little as you can, and regulate your temperature with activity. I rarely take anything off or put it on. Maybe a puffy vest at the top for the down – I only rarely carry a full puffy. buy jackets with hoods, and use them instead of a beanie, but wear a brim for the sun.
    2) Euro clothing, and euro-style fit makes a difference in wieght. Spandex may be overkill – but close fitting gear is less material to carry and pack.
    3) get rid of all those bags, containers and other stuff, unless they really help compress
    4) water is nice – but if you’re returning with half the bottle full…..when I get to the bottom, I am DYING for a beer. Consider using a reservoir instead of a bottle
    5) Personal choices: helmet, nope. googles, nope. nice bottle of prosecco, often.
    6) skins ALWAYS in the jacket. otherwise one day, you will get stuck not sticking
    7) always buy small and light, if you can. skis and boots are sexy, but they get replaced. Shovels, probes, packs, tools – they hang around. its a good place to spend your carbon budget – but do consider durabilty

    I am a total wieght weenie – so I’d love to hear other peoples tips and ideas.

  34. See December 9th, 2016 8:47 am

    Good tips. Thanks. Lately I’m trying to reduce “unsprung” weight– skis, boots, bindings– but I’m still using wood core skis, 1.5 kg boots, and fully adjustable bindings with brakes. Sometimes I share clothing, water, tools, etc., with people carrying lighter packs. I don’t mind, but if the person with the lightest pack is also the fastest in the group, maybe some redistribution is in order.

  35. Aaron December 9th, 2016 11:36 am

    Wookie, there are days I dream of the euro support network that would allow such light packs.

    I’m in NW British Columbia where most skiing involves extensive bushwacking, short daylight hours and almost zero chance of evacuation support that day if something goes wrong. Because of this need for self reliance I pack a vhf and spot, insulated clothing top and bottom, repair kit, lightweight evac sled, 35cm wood pruning saw etc and need a 45l pack to hold it all.

    Come late March/April I will start to drop some gear as there is more daylight hours and better wx for heli evac, the temps are warmer and the forested bush hazards are better covered.

  36. Paul Noto December 9th, 2016 8:18 pm

    Lou, I ran into you at Cripple Creek the other day. Was buying this pack in the 30L version. If you happen to come back from mecca (Euroland- let’s be honest, the access to great ski touring in Europe is second to none) with a carbon cartridge, please get in touch. Thanks!

  37. Mike Wood December 12th, 2016 11:24 am

    Lou how is it that you think TSA allows flying in with a full carbon cartridge? Its very clearly on the prohibited list, no?

  38. Kristian December 12th, 2016 2:35 pm

    From the link that you provided, Small Compressed Gas Cartridges are allowed. Avalanche Air Bags can be classified as personal flotation.

  39. Mike Wood December 12th, 2016 3:39 pm
  40. Craig December 14th, 2016 10:48 am

    What is in your repair kit?

  41. Lou Dawson 2 December 14th, 2016 10:55 am

    Mainly, duct tape, a screwdriver, fire starting stuff and an extra strap or two. More or less depending on location and goals of the skiing. Lou

  42. Lou 2 December 17th, 2016 7:07 am

    I have it on good authority that people in North America have been buying the Mammut carbon cylinder from Snowinn

    If you give it a try please share the results here.

  43. Lou 2 December 17th, 2016 7:08 am
  44. Kristian December 17th, 2016 8:43 am

    The carbon cartridges are supposedly not refillable and must be exchanged. They do not have the additional pressure gauge and fittings of the refillable aluminum cartridges.

    Does anyone know how the carbon cartridges can be adapted to be refillable? Can the the pressure gauge and fittings be moved to a carbon cartridge?

  45. Kristian December 17th, 2016 9:02 am

    Or is it that you would hopefully rarely (never) have to deploy because you are a cautious safe skier? And you are trading off convenience for lighter weight.

  46. Kristian December 17th, 2016 9:14 am

    Comparisons 300 grams, 300 Ml Water, 1.3 Cups Water, 0.66 Pound, 10.5 Ounces

  47. Lou 2 December 17th, 2016 10:03 am

    Hi Kristian, the carbon cylinders are factory filled with nitrogen, they are not user refillable in any practical sense. Yes, the idea is for those of us who don’t go pulling their airbag trigger that often they’re a nice way to save weight and room in the pack. The refillable cylinder can be used for practice. As for checking fill, you do it by weight of the cylinder. I don’t think they’re very likely to leak but it’s an easy check, takes 5 minutes. Lou

  48. Mike Wood December 17th, 2016 2:56 pm

    TradeINN customer support on the mammut carbon cartridge: “This can be shipped to the US. If you have any further questions or concerns, please visit our FAQs page. If you still require any assistance, please feel free to contact us via our on-line Contact Form.”

  49. Mike Wood December 17th, 2016 3:27 pm

    Also the carbon cartridges are available in Japow.

  50. Lou 2 December 17th, 2016 5:50 pm

    Mike Wood, where did I say TSA accepts the Mammut carbon cylinder?

    It’s European flights where it’s ok, and you can bring a cylinder to North America on a direct flight from EU. If you have a connector flight, then no go, you’d have to mail the cylinder or hand it off to a friend during the customs bag recheck process.


  51. Mike Wood December 18th, 2016 9:48 am

    Sry Lou I thought you meant a direct flight to the US with no intra-US connections. Now I’m picking up what you’re laying down.

  52. Lou Dawson 2 December 18th, 2016 10:57 am

    I did mean a direct flight to US from Europe. Those are under the jurisdiction of the European Commission, and my understanding is they allow airbag backpacks with cylinders, in checked baggage, along with whatever else the European Commission rules allow or ban. Clear?

  53. Henning January 15th, 2017 11:18 pm

    Hi Lou, great review! I was referred here by a friend and since I am going to Europe in February the ‘bringing the Carbon cartridge to the US’ is of great interest for us since I offered him to get it. I’ve read through all the comments and with all due respect think it is not accurate that you can bring a filled carbon cartridge into the US. Looks like it is not possible. It is clearly stated on the Mammut site at this link under the ‘Travel with Airbag’ section, last subsection ‘IMPORTANT’
    This is the full text:
    Despite the IATA’s approval, any airline operator is entitled to refuse to transport the cartridge.
    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not permit the carrying of filled pressure cartridges on flights arriving into or departing from the USA, or on internal flights within the USA.
    This regulation also applies to passengers transferring between flights in the USA.

    The TSA regulation can be found here.

    Any cartridge carried into the USA must be completely discharged and the valve must be removed from the cartridge body for the security check.

    The following cartridges cannot therefore be transported to the USA since after discharging they cannot be refilled locally in the USA.

    1. Carbon Cartridge Non-Refillable 300 Bar

    Maybe people have gotten away with it?

    If SnowInn can indeed ship it then that might be the better or perhaps only option for US folks.

  54. Kristian Woyna January 24th, 2017 9:55 pm

    From order to receipt is five weeks. Amazingly worth it once you see how small and light it actually is.

  55. Kristian Woyna January 24th, 2017 10:21 pm

    For Carbon…

  56. Peter March 4th, 2017 5:00 pm

    Kristian: Where did you order?

  57. Kristian March 4th, 2017 5:47 pm

    Peter – See previous comments above.

  58. Joel November 12th, 2017 5:40 pm

    I’m just curious if you are involved in a burial are you worse of having it filled with nitrogen as opposed to breathable air from the normal cylinders? Any thoughts?

  59. Slim November 13th, 2017 8:00 am

    Re: packing for less remote areas(i.e. Alps) vs more remote areas:

    I would still always bring some serious warm clothing. It’s amazing how cold you can get in a few minutes, after being slightly sweaty from activity, and wearing thin clothes for temperature regulation, once you stop.

    Changing a flat tire my fatbike has driven this point home several times. Even riding IN town, if I was immobilized, and had to wait for help, it could easily be half an hour before rescue showed up.
    If you don’t have super warm clothes, you might very well be in severe hypothermia by then.

    Remember, the first rule is to self rescue. That means being prepared with enough warm gear to wait for your friends to organize a rescue.

    And as far as the people who think that with huts and helicopters nearby, rescue will be swift, another anecdote:
    I saw a fall accident down a small cliff off an extremely popular hiking trail last summer. This was 2 km from a major highway. Busy summer day. Near a State Park headquarters.
    So, it really doesn’t get any less remote and busier than this. I started hiking just behind the first responders going in at 3:00pm, don’t know how long ago the fall had happened, yet the Heli didn’t lift the victim out of there until 6:00 pm.

    So the moral of my story:
    Even in areas with good rescue coverage, you still need some VERY warm gear in case of accident.

  60. Kristian November 13th, 2017 8:57 am

    Z Rest Seat Pad. Weighs almost nothing. Takes up negligible space in your pack. Nice for a long day when you stop to eat or emergencies. You most lose of your heat through snow & ice contact.

  61. Caruzo November 23rd, 2017 11:09 am

    I ordered one from AlpinStore and now DHL says “Held at Customs”. Has anyone got a carbon canister successfully shipped form Europe?

  62. Lou Dawson 2 November 24th, 2017 9:04 am

    I had one shipped from Snowin a while back, with success, then tried it again and no go. Best way to obtain is for someone to fly from EU with it, on a direct flight. I’ve heard plenty of success stories with that. Lou

  63. Bill Hoblitzell November 24th, 2017 10:41 am

    @ Joel, in a burial, the ‘important’ source of air you’re getting is coming through the permeable snow around you, not from the small pocket or cavity around your body; what’s in your airbag is not likely to be super relevant changing that situation. Typically asphyxiation doesn’t occur until an ice lens has built up around the head area from your moist exhalations and body heat. At that point, fresh air can’t diffuse to the face area very well anymore due to the decreased snow permeability and burial victims suffocate by rebreathing their own CO2. What’s coming out of the airbag in your burial hole should quickly diffuse into the snowpack around you and I can only imagine has close to nil influence on your long term prospects. Atmospheric ‘air’ is almost 80% nitrogen by volume to begin with… Long story/response made short: I think your main problem is probably still the pending issue of freezing the snow around your face and cutting off your larger air infusion from the snowpack, versus any potential ‘oxygen dilution’ that might occur from the 150 L of gas in your balloon.

  64. Peter November 24th, 2017 3:01 pm

    I have the carbon cylinder. Brought it to the US when shipping a moving load by boat (in container). Unfortunately I had to pull my airbag last season so I am now stuck with an empty carbon cylinder. Has anyone tried to fill these? I am pretty sure I know how Mammut fills these. I believe they poor liquid Nitrogen into the cylinder and then seal it. However, I am a little apprehensive to do this without hearing from others. Let me hear from anyone who has experience. Best, Peter

  65. Caruzo December 1st, 2017 9:44 am

    Update. I was able to get the carbon canister from

  66. Lou Dawson 2 December 1st, 2017 10:01 am

    Caruzo, cool! Makes for an amazingly lightweight pack, doesn’t it?

  67. Peter December 1st, 2017 11:05 am

    Caruzo: How did you fill the carbon canister?

  68. Caruzo December 1st, 2017 11:06 am

    Lou, yes unreal. Will be interesting to see if i can convince someone to refill it;)

  69. Kristian December 1st, 2017 11:23 am

    They cannot be refilled by anyone including the manufacturer. Close examination shows the design difference. They are best for those trying to avoid avalanche conditions and wanting to carry less weight.

  70. Peter December 1st, 2017 12:06 pm

    Kristian: I am quite sure this is not correct. In Europe you can exchange an empty carbon canister for a full carbon canister. I believe the price for the exchange is €20, which indicates an easy and cheap refill process. See my specilations above. Furthermore, the cannisters are not manufactured with nitrogen in it. So they need to be filled from the very start.

  71. Lou Dawson 2 December 1st, 2017 12:47 pm

    I was told numerous times that the carbon cartridges are refillable, done on an exchange system. as Peter speaks of. I can ask, again… Lou

  72. Lou Dawson 2 December 1st, 2017 12:52 pm

    By the way, I see the “breathable air in airbag balloon” idea come up frequently. Fact is that most of what we breath is already nitrogen, and when a compressed gas avalanche airbag fires, the venturi motor mixes ambient air with the cylinder gas, so with nitrogen I don’t consider this an issue. On the other hand, a pack that fills with carbon dioxide, for example the Scott, could be of a bit more concern as CO2 is poisonous, though the Scott pack also mixes the CO2 with argon and ambient air, so it’s probably not a big deal either. Rather than quibbling, let’s remember that the whole idea of avalanche airbag packs — and good backcountry judgment — is not to get buried, period. Once you’re buried, the odds are not good. Lou.

  73. Kristian December 1st, 2017 1:09 pm

    Apologies; had heard the refill program was canceled, but yes they cannot be refilled easily by anyone else due to the design except the manufacturer.

  74. Caruzo December 1st, 2017 2:30 pm

    Peter – it arrived full.

  75. Dan December 30th, 2017 5:05 am

    I deployed my bag in a nasty fall the other day – not an avalanche, but I hit it anyway just to be sure (and I couldn’t really see what was happening). I’ve got a new cylinder, but when I screw it or the trigger test tool in, the handle becomes loose and slides freely without activating. Remove the tool or cylinder, and it becomes fixed in the correct position. I thought the tool or new cylinder would rearm the mechanism, but for some reason it’s not working. Going to take it into a mammut store, but just wondering if others have encountered similar issues.

  76. Kristian December 30th, 2017 9:00 am

    Dan, did you use the Mammut/Snowpulse Rearming Tool?

  77. Dan December 31st, 2017 4:05 pm

    Hey Kristian,
    No need to apparently – 3.0 airbags don’t utilise a rearming tool. Screwing in a new canister / test tool is enough according to their instructions. Will stop into a store and see if I can get some more clarity on the matter.

  78. Dan January 28th, 2018 6:01 pm

    Just an update – user error, no problem with the Mammut trigger system 🙂

  79. Konstantin March 11th, 2018 11:11 am

    What was the error?i have same issue here 😳 😥

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