Arcteryx Revises Voltair Airbag Battery Specifications

Post by blogger | December 5, 2017      

Arcteryx Voltair 30 backpack deployed.

Arcteryx Voltair 30L avalanche airbag backpack deployed.

This change with the Voltair battery is not a big deal for most skiers, but as a favor to Arc’teryx I’ll bring the details up front and center here, as a blog post.

As proven by my own torture testing, the original Voltair battery will inflate the balloon at incredibly low temperatures, while completely cold soaked. Apparently, while that’s generally the case it’s not something Arcteryx can guarantee without specific numbers, and it’s possible that due to changes in manufacturing the battery does not do as well as before. Previously, they specified the battery to do one inflation at -22°F (-30°C). Perhaps due to recent testing or changes in manufacturing, they are revising the specified minimum operating temperature to -4°F (-20°C).

Fact of the matter is most skiers will not be doing extended tours in below zero fahrenheit conditions, especially tours long enough to cold soak the battery. But if you do tour in such a miserable environment, start with a battery at indoors temperature and stuff your puffy jacket around it on the uphill. By doing that, it’ll be a long time till the battery cold soaks. Along with that, I’d suggest doing a few inflations tests that simulate arctic conditions.

If this above sounds dodgy for those of you sporting airbags in Antarctica, Arcteryx has a generous return program due to this battery issue, see the following and more info on their website.

Interestingly, the information associated with this states:
“Even when the battery is fully charged, and the green LED is flashing the Voltair Airbag should not be used in temperatures below -20°C (-4°F).” Which begs the question, are we supposed to carry a thermometer? Or perhaps they’re building a temperature alarm into the battery? Not to be ironic here, either idea could work but seem a bit much.

In the end, what we probably need with this — and about a million other things in life — is improved battery technology.


Today, we are announcing an advisory notice for both 20L and 30L Voltair Avalanche Airbags.

Our quality control team has recently discovered an issue with our battery which affects its proper deployment at extremely cold temperatures (WildSnow bolding, key phrase)due to an unanticipated change during battery production. This change impacts the proper deployment of the airbag when the battery is exposed to temperatures below -20°C (-4°F).

Due to this change, we are revising the minimum operating temperature limit for Voltair Airbags from -30°C (-22°F) to -20°C (-4°F). No other parts of the Voltair Airbag have been affected by this change.

We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. With the newly stated temperature limit of -20°C (-4°F), we are confident the airbag is still a great solution for your backcountry adventures, however we are offering you the following 2 options:

Option 1 – Keep my pack.
If you wish to continue using your Voltair Airbag, understanding the revised minimum operating temperature of -20°C (-4°F), we request that you submit an online warranty form, sign a release form and receive instructions to relabel your pack. To compensate you, we will send you an Gift Card for $250CAD ($200USD/22,240JPY).

Option 2 – Return my pack.
If you are not satisfied with the revised minimum operating temperature of -20°C (-4°F), Arc’teryx will offer you a full refund. To compensate you, we will send you an Gift Card for $250CAD ($200USD/22,240JPY



15 Responses to “Arcteryx Revises Voltair Airbag Battery Specifications”

  1. Bruce Goodlad December 5th, 2017 3:12 pm

    Unfortunately Arcteryx bags will not be available in Europe as they have failed to agree CE regulations with the EU. Its a real shame as in spite of the price it looks like a great bag.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2017 3:25 pm

    If they can’t conform to CE anyway, too bad they have such a heavy battery when in my experience, most of the time the pack can be run on a battery that’s substantially lighter weight. Lou

  3. Eirik Sharp December 5th, 2017 3:30 pm

    Hi Lou, I’d like to share this with the ACMG membership but I can’t find that advisory notice on the Arc’teryx site (the link in the article directs to their homepage).

  4. justin December 5th, 2017 3:50 pm
  5. Eirik Sharp December 5th, 2017 3:52 pm

    well now I feel silly! thanks

  6. Lou 2 December 5th, 2017 6:50 pm

    Sorry, I was told they’d have this on their homepage for a while. I’ll fix the link. Thanks, Lou

  7. Kurt A December 6th, 2017 6:57 am

    I ski in a severely cold environment (Mongolia). Concerns about something like this happening, based on how nearly every other battery functions in the cold, convinced me to go with a compressed air system. I love the idea and practicality of the battery-powered bags, but need the mechanical reliability of the older system.

  8. RCL1 December 6th, 2017 10:28 am

    though I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone else, if I were concerned with a battery failing due to cold, I would insulate it as Lou suggests, and add in a hand warmer (though in some circumstances this could damage the battery, hence the disclaimer above).

    I’ve found modern chemical hand warmers have much reduced heat output in recent years.. or my hands are just getting colder.

  9. Mike Henrick December 6th, 2017 12:39 pm

    IIRC -4 is standard for lithium ion batteries – I recently got a battery backup charger for my car for cold trail heads and went lead acid because it gets you down an extra 10 degrees or so. Maybe some more electrically minded folk can back me up.

  10. Kristian December 6th, 2017 2:44 pm

    Kurt A – If it’s ok with Lou, can you tell us more about skiing in Mongolia?!

  11. Frame December 7th, 2017 5:54 am

    I had a wonderful time on a trip to Mongolia and looked up at the Altai mountains and dreamed, but did not ski. I think there may be a lift on a hill outside Ulaanbaatur too. Would be great to hear more.

  12. Andre Ike January 3rd, 2018 7:33 pm

    Since we are on the subject of Voltair Packs, mine has had the cable housing fail and shear (exposing the actual cable) at the handle TWICE! I warrantied it once last season, now again a second time.
    Anyone else experience this? Happy to send a pic in,,,

  13. Liana March 25th, 2018 11:22 am

    Anyone had an issue with being unable to fully charge their Voltair battery? I’ve only had this bag for a season and maybe fully charged it three times at most. Now it never charges fully and I can’t get it to flash green (will only flash orange).

  14. Lou Dawson 2 March 25th, 2018 11:28 am

    Hi Liana, the one we have in play here at WildSnow has never had that problem, but I’ll ask the current tester how its going. I’d imagine that would be something Arcteryx would warranty? If I was in your situation I’d test it three or four room temp deployments, if you can get several out of the “flashing orange” level charge, I’d be confident you’d got an inflation while skiing unless you’re skiing in super cold temperatures. Nonetheless, I’d want it eventually repaired, as I’m sure you do. Lou

  15. Pieter October 16th, 2018 7:47 am

    Hi Lou

    Would you have any information if Arc’teryx is working on the compliance with EU regulations to make the backpack available in Europe for the 2019 season?

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