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.
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).
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.
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.