Snowpulse 2013 Airbag Packs including Lite 35 – Review

Post by blogger | December 27, 2012      

Snowpulse Lite 35

For the 2012/2013 winter season, Snowpulse is keeping their same tried and true packs from last season, with two new additions. The new Lite 35 and Heli 22 (both numbers reflect pack carry volume) continue the “lifebag” style airbag concept for backcountry skiers and other snow country recreators, which is an airbag that inflates wraped around one’s head and chest for added protection. What’s cool about the lifebag system is that it provides a higher level of head and neck trauma protection, and, unlike other airbags, will begin to deflate a few minutes after being deployed in order to create an air pocket if you’re buried. This air pocket could be useful in a terrain trap or in secondary slide situations as airbags only work when you’re moving with the flow; if you are stuck in a terrain trap and snow continues to pile on top, an airbag will not bring you to the surface, thus, an air pocket could be appreciated as are friends with strong arms and large shovels.

The Snowpulse Lite 35 is impressively light (6.62 lbs with cylinder, size large). This especially when you realize that the pack is actually a bit bigger in volume than the Snowpulse Pro 35 (a favorite of mine), has a small expansion collar, and is still about a pound less mass! This in itself is enough to put this pack in the top tier alongside a select few other lightweight packs this season. Lighter fabric and simplified design cause much of the weight savings. About time. We’re getting tired of carrying stuff around that’s designed to look cool on a shop rack.

Lite 35 expansion collar provides even more volume beyond the stated 35 liters

Side pouches should be taller and made of lighter fabric, but at least they're there. Using these is of course an invitation to losing stuff, so don't use for essentials like skins, and stow your thermos inside the main bag when you head downhill. Easy to cut off for more weight savings if you think they're lame.

Side pouches should be taller and made of lighter fabric, but at least they're there. Using these is of course an invitation to losing stuff, so don't use for essentials like skins, and stow your thermos inside the main bag when you head downhill. Easy to cut off for more weight savings if you think they're lame.

Snowpulse Lite 35 interior tool pocket and shovel port for backcountry skiing tools. We're not impressed by this configuration though for some users it'll be better than nothing.

Avy tool pocket
35 Light has ‘sort of’ a separate pocket but it’s within the main compartment, which kind of makes it pointless other than keeping your tools from rattling around in the main sack. Having to unzip more than one zipper to get to your shovel all for the sake of keeping it separate from your layers seems dubious to me, and Lou concurs. Also, the pocket is not big enough for a shovel handle, so they cut a slit for it to slide into, with the handle sticking out. This is annoying with a T handle but would be worse with a D handle. Wish they would just put the zipper on the outside so you could access the tool pocket from the outside — or just forget any file cabinet stuff — or perhaps even put the tool partition in as a mesh panel with a super light zipper so it’s optional instead of requiring a razor blade for removal.

Brain (top flap) is large enough to cover the sack opening, but the top pocket is almost too small for goggles.

Brain (top flap) is large enough to cover the sack opening, but the top pocket is almost too small for goggles. Underneath you'll find a mesh pocket as well that works nice for stowing headlamp and wallet. Key clip is included in upper pocket, though may be hidden in the fold and is not exactly friendly to tightly packed goggles.

Crotch strap stows nicely in this semi-pouch, but once it's deployed you'll not be repacking it unless the pack is off.

Lite 35 has no real pockets on the hip belt. We appreciate at least one small mesh one for sunscreen and such. Crotch strap stows nicely in the pictured semi-pouch, but once it's deployed you'll not be repacking it unless the pack is off as you can't really do it by feel and the pocket is hard to see unless you're in your lycra race suit instead of your puffy. All our testers agree that very few airbag packs get this right. In Lou's case, he'd left the crotch strap dangling while getting on the Whitewater lifts. He was skating through the maze like he was 18 again, and the strap caught on one of the posts and brought things to a quick halt. The lift attendant said he was happy that hadn't happened in the chair, which it easily could have. We'd have all liked seeing that, but Lou probably would not have appreciated it. Lesson, strap stowage is probably more important than many skiers want to admit.

Side zip on the Lite 35

The pack is a top loader, but uses the same wonderful side zip as the Pro 35. I’d like to see them change the drawstrings so that they come out the opposite side of the opening from the zipper, then there could just be one drawstring instead of two. Lou and Louie have a different opinion. They’d like to see no side zip as they just look at this as another failure point and more weight. To be fair, Lite 35 probably needs the zipper for easy cylinder installation, so you might as well love on it like me.

Valve is now on the inside of the main compartment instead of inside the airbag pouch, making the airbag much easier to pack (lite 35 only)

It seems airbag pack designers simply cannot leave well enough alone.

It seems airbag pack designers simply cannot leave well enough alone. This weird chunk of elastic behind he waist belt stabilizer might do something, but not much. Easy to razor blade.

Methods for diagonal carry are not obvious, but it only took us a few minutes to figure something out using the stock straps.

Methods for diagonal carry are not obvious, but it only took us a few minutes to figure something out using the stock straps (re-routing them is suggested, but not mandatory). If you do a lot of ski carry, it would probably be worth experimenting a bunch at home. Problem is you can't just run a strap over one shoulder, as it would go over the airbag and block deployment. Verdict is yes, the pack has diagonal carry and also has snowboard carry. All straps are stowable in one way or another.

Snowpulse Heli 22

Snowpulse Heli 22
While this pack is a bit beefier than the Lite 35, here at WildSnow we feel it’s too heavy and too small to be worth considering for human powered backcountry skiing. It has similar features to the 2012 Guide 30 and Pro 35:
– Retractable cable loops for diagonal ski carry and ice axe (something like this would perhaps be nice on the Lite 35, but weight is an issue.
– Stowable webbing straps for vertical snowboard carry.
– White zippered front pocket like Guide 30.
– Full zip clamshell.
– Full zip clamshell shovel pocket.
– 1 hipbelt pocket and gear loop.
– Heli 22 = 7.17 lbs with cylinder, whew, watch those excess baggage charges.

Heli 22 shovel pocket is too small. You can barely fit a small handle in there.

Main compartment of the Heli 22. Decent amount of space, but not enough for the weight. The concept of these packs is to pretty much just provide an airbag for mechanized skiing, and do so with extra durability for the extended and varied use that heli and sled recreation entail. All packs are a compromise between weight and durability, these just go the beef direction.

Both the Lite 35 and Heli 22 use the Snowpulse 2.0 system, which utilizes a mechanical trigger handle and user refillable air cylinder. All our testers have deployed this system. It requires a fairly firm pull and is good to practice; to do so you can dry fire but doing a full deployment is recommended at least once a year (the system is re-cocked with a special tool). Refill instructions here. See the airbag overview page to compare these packs against others.

Overall, our testers agree the Lite 35 is a nicely designed pack that’s super functional. Minimal weight penalty over non-airbag packs is a huge plus. Indeed, if you’ve been carrying a big Avalung pack or something like that, using the Lite 35 will mean you’re only carrying a few more pounds. Size is large enough to stow a helmet inside, but not excessive for average ski mountaineering. Sack easily compresses, Lifebag system rocks. Branding graphics and extra junk are minimal. Highly recommended.

Lite 35 = 6.62 lbs with cylinder for the size large. Size medium drops about 1/4 lb. (Note, Lou Dawson also contributed to this article.)

Shop for Snowpulse Lite 35


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95 Responses to “Snowpulse 2013 Airbag Packs including Lite 35 – Review”

  1. Greg December 27th, 2012 1:57 pm

    I am myself not a big fan of the SnowPulse backpacks. I think they look odd, a bit like the ABS ones.

    But next year…….Mammut will sell a Mammut backpack with the original SnowPulse airbag (i.e. not the RAS one)… these are moving forward.

  2. Nick December 27th, 2012 3:57 pm

    We’re hoping to take a look at Mammut’s version of the lifebag style (they’ll be calling it Protection) at OR. Word is that they have a 6 lb 30 liter pack and that the system itself gets lighter and less bulky in the shoulder straps. Plus, it can be moved between backpacks.

  3. Mark December 27th, 2012 6:42 pm

    I wonder if someone could develop a system based on separate bags: a tougher, smaller collar bag for trauma protection, and a lighter, higher volume set of wings for volume.

  4. Eric December 27th, 2012 9:00 pm

    There is a key clip in the top pocket. Look around carefully, I didn’t find it until I had looked over the pack several times.

    I like the idea of the Lifebag and I wanted to like this pack, but there seem to be too many poor choices to try and save weight. I can’t believe that there’s not a small pocket on the waist strap and the tool pocket is a joke. As you said, having to unzip 2 zippers to get to your stuff is terrible. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have put a zipper on the outside of the pack opposite the current zipper.

    I prefer clamshell packs, but was willing to consider this top loader with a full zip down 1 side. It seemed like a good compromise. But because the zip goes all the way up to the top, there are 4 draw strings instead of 2 to open up the top. So to get access through the top, you unclip the top flap and undo 4 drawstrings. Way to cumbersome IMO. So I think I’ll be returning this pack and looking at either the BCA Float 32 or waiting for next year’s Mammut’s version.

    And on an unrelated note, I find it annoying that Snowpulse quotes a weight and price without a cylinder. It seems somewhat deceptive to me.

  5. Lou Dawson December 27th, 2012 10:39 pm

    Thanks Eric, I found the key clip! What would we do without the internet?!

  6. Nick December 28th, 2012 8:21 am

    Nearly every company quotes weight and price without the cylinder. I agree, it drives me crazy. That’s why I put together this spreadsheet:

    I prefer top loaders, but I agree, 4 drawstrings is too much. I’d remove the lower drawstring entirely, then revise the upper drawstring as I mentioned in the review. It would be very simple to have the drawstring come out the side opposite the side zip, then you would only need 1 drawstring, not 2.

    I guess I see this as a pack that, with some modifications (those above plus cutting out the internal shovel pocket), creates a light and simple, single compartment top loader airbag pack.

  7. Lou Dawson December 28th, 2012 8:56 am

    I’ve thought about it, in my opinion giving weight without cylinder is valid so long as it’s clear, since there are options such as carbon cylinders, and I’d expect more options will appear soon. On the other hand, it’s indeed important that our reporting here at WildSnow is clear about weights, thanks Nick for working on this as we move along with covering the airbag wars. Lou

  8. Matt Kinney December 28th, 2012 9:13 am

    Still too small. I carry a bunch of stuff. I carry a parka and a foam pad. For instance I prefer to carry my shovel assembled on descents or my skis mounted on the pack for booting. I am in and out of my pack numerous times on a tour prefer top loaders for stuffing. Not sure if anyone gets that though lou seems to be concerned about booting with balloon packs. Barely fits a helmet? I would rather have larger capacity and practicality, so the weight issue seems not that important. I can get this pack, I just can’t carry all the stuff I need to carry to feel safest.

    How much of the 35L is taken up with the airbag system. Why not just make a larger pack and leave us some space to dink with? Mammut is making a 30Lpack? Why? The pack above does not look nearly as spacious at my 32L Avalung though it says it has more capacity?? I carry my water bottle in my pack and need room for my really fat skins to fit 1/2 the time. Help me here as nearly every reviewer on Wildsnow has mentioned the lack of real space to pack stuff.

    Thanks Wildsnow for keeping the airbag reviews flowing.

  9. Lou Dawson December 28th, 2012 10:10 am

    Matt, I agree that the companies could easily make larger packs that really didn’t add much weight. Problem is, the strange pack designers seem to think that as soon as they add some volume, they need to lard in all sorts of zippers, straps and partitions. It’s incredibly annoying but I think we’re probably stuck with this as they tend to make what looks good on the rack in a store.

  10. Slow December 28th, 2012 2:41 pm

    I am now in the market for an airbag pack and in attempts at exhaustive internet research (i.e., mainly this website…thanks for all the hard work and info!) I haven’t read anyone really specifically talk about any “real” differences between the different airbag deployment configurations. I understand the basics…ABS = most-tested, going for horizontal positioning of body, redundancy; SnowPulse = head/chest trauma protection, post-burial air space; Everyone else = keep you afloat and head-up orientation, some rearward head trauma protection.

    I’ve also read some of Lou’s comments noting that the reality of these different claims is akin to the vagaries of evaluating how much ski helmets really protect folks.

    So, is there anything too this stuff beyond just marketing pander? With what current data is out there is there anything to any of the specific claims by ABS/Snowpulse on this topic (beyond what is just face valid…e.g., it just “feels” like it should be safer with a pillow wrapped around my head’)?

    I’m drawn to either the Float 32 or the WARY 33, from a price-point and backpack standpoint, respectively…but if the Lifebag or Angel-wing design is genuinely that much better (safer?) I would not hesitate to get one of those instead. I’m buying this to stay afloat in a worst-case scenario, not because I love the pack…although a nice pack is a bonus!

    Bottom-line, how much should I weigh airbag deployment configuration in my pack-buying decision making?

  11. Erik Erikson December 28th, 2012 3:10 pm

    What I really can´t understand: Snowpulse says. the weight of the pack (without cylinder) would be 1820 gramms; In reality it seems to be like 2450!! That´s a third of the weight the manufacterer says added ! Are you sure you weighed the pack correct or do you have an explanation for this?

  12. Eric December 28th, 2012 3:16 pm

    I definitely appreciate the info you all have put together on these packs here at Wildsnow, very useful.

    Nick, I think your assessment of this pack is pretty accurate, unfortunately, it just wasn’t what I was looking for. 🙁

    Matt, I have a BD Covert Avalung 32L, and I think this Snowpulse 35L pack probably has as much, if not more usable room in it. I stuffed all my usually things in it (first aid kit, skins, mittens, puffy, shovel, probe) and it seemed to be about half full. Lots of room for other stuff.

  13. Lou Dawson December 28th, 2012 3:37 pm

    Slow, you are experiencing the “mine is better (bigger) than yours” airbag wars (grin). Here is my advice: Figure that the main number one ultimate most important job of these things is to keep you from getting buried. For that, they are proven to work with much testing, study, and so forth. With that in mind, buy the one you want without worry about the shape of the bag. In a few years, bag shape will be more tested and refined, and perhaps even standardized by DIN/ISO.

    I’ll admit I like the idea of the bag perhaps protecting my head, but no way do I view that as a deal breaker. In fact, if I had a choice of a pack that was lighter and didn’t protect my head, I’d pick that one.

    As for ski helmets, common sense says they help much, but science (and Lindsey Vonn) says they help a little. Airbag shape in terms of protection doesn’t even have the extensive science yet, though I’m sure it will eventually from real world testing and filming of airbag equipped manikins in real avalanches.


  14. Hank December 28th, 2012 11:32 pm

    Isn’t snowpulse folding into Mammut next year? That woukd be fine with me as the mammut packs are so much more refined than the snowpulse…

  15. D. December 29th, 2012 2:08 am

    “Neck trauma” and “air pocket”- clearly marketing department involved – very clear sign there is no need to read further….

  16. Jimmy December 29th, 2012 3:07 am

    So the verified weight is 6,63 lbs and manufacturer says 5,5 lbs? Thats quite a big difference…

  17. Lou Dawson December 29th, 2012 7:12 am

    Manufacturer weight is probably without the cylinder. Whatever, when we have test packs we weigh them. Lou

  18. Lou Dawson December 29th, 2012 9:03 am

    It remains to be seen how Mammut deals with their and Snow Pulse branding. Doesn’t really matter to the consumer, as we’ll all just shop according to weight, prices, etc…. Lou

  19. Nick Thompson December 29th, 2012 10:19 am

    A study was done comparing ABS and Snowpulse airbag designs.

    “There were no significant differences of burial
    depths between the two airbag systems ABS
    and Snowpulse.”

    “Preliminary results suggest that the only
    difference between the two airbag systems ABS
    and Snowpulse may be the force acting on the
    head as indicated by the acceleration
    measurements. With the ABS airbag system the
    head seems to be more exposed to
    accelerations than with the Snowpulse system.”

    “The results show that dummies with airbag
    systems were buried significantly less deep than
    dummies with the avalanche ball or without any
    additional equipment. ”

    Find the study here:

    The study did not include terrain traps or obstacles, only a clean runout. So, nothing definitive on whether the Snowpulse lifebag design will protect you any better when in treed terrain than other styles, beyond anecdotes and intuition. I could imagine an airbag providing some cushion in treed terrain, but then again, there was an incident in Telluride where the ABS airbags (older fabric design, not the new zodiac fabric) were torn to shreds.

    Next year, Mammut and Snowpulse will be rearranged somewhat. My understanding is that Mammut will focus on skiers, Snowpulse on snowmobilers. Mammut will introduce their version of the Snowpulse lifebag which they will call the “Protection Airbag System”. Their improvements to this wrap around the head airbag style will include:
    – Lighter weight
    – More comfortable to wear (more flexible shoulder
    – Adjustable back length
    – Removable & Transferable between 4 different
    styles 15-35l (one System for many Packs)

  20. Nick Thompson December 29th, 2012 10:34 am

    Another thing mentioned in the study:

    “The impact on the airbags is large
    enough to nearly tear off the backpack from the
    body. We often observed the breast strap to be
    right below the chin of the dummies after the
    avalanche release. The use of leg loops is
    therefore recommended although not often used
    in practice and also not in our tests. ”

    Good reminder to use those leg loops!

  21. D. December 29th, 2012 12:05 pm

    Lou, is there any information what is happening with air travel in North America with activation units? I heard some info that it is not allowed by TSA and I am planning to visit with my backpack in Spring?

  22. Rick Wieloh December 29th, 2012 9:24 pm

    I am skiing with a recently fused cervical spine this season, would be ” fully healed” until next winter. The main risk for me is taking a bad tumble so I’m skiing slow, but a larger fear for my fusion is if I were to take a ride in an avalanche. I like the snowpulse system offering more head and neck trauma.

  23. Robin December 30th, 2012 12:09 pm

    Nick, thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I drew heavily upon your previous efforts in making an airbag pack choice.
    Perhaps Wildsnowers could crowdsource the airbag pack 3.0; drawing upon the innovations and creativity already demonstrated in the marketplace:
    – trip length flexibility via interchangeable packs (ABS)
    – weight savings without sacrifice of durability via dyneema fabric (Cilo gear)
    – *integral Avalung shoulder strap (BD) to decrease snow packing in the mouth in the tumble; the belt and suspenders approach
    – hip belt pouches (Osprey)
    – weight saving carbon air canister (?who-dat)
    – *diagonal ski carry system with a top of the shoulderstrap-anchored hook on a bungee, and a loop at the opposite lower corner of the back of the pack to allow on the fly ski stowage and retrieval without pack removal (Dynafit)
    – *insulated hydration hose integral with shoulder strap (BCA)
    – *chest strap origination site loop for mini-camera bag anchor so that it doesn’t slide off the strap
    – *shoulder strap bungee loops for on the fly skin stowage and avoiding pack removal for transitions
    – a quickdraw arrangement for probe and shovel retrieval that doesn’t necessitate pack removal (Batman?)
    I modified a Mammut RAS pack with the *’d items – without running out of shoulder strap space. Maybe this is a project a budding engineer would find interesting – ahem, Louie. The technical aspects are likely less challenging than the patent lawyer ones, though.
    Now if you want to really get crazy, check out the rocket deployed parachute system at


  24. Lou Dawson December 30th, 2012 4:34 pm

    Good comment there Robin, thanks! Cool to see all those ideas on one list. The airbag designers seem to think we all want more straps and more partitions. Not sure where the communications breakdown is, but it’s rather obvious. Lou

  25. aaron trowbridge January 2nd, 2013 2:07 pm

    I’m sold on the airbag concept and I researched packs extensively this year… none that meet my needs. For day trips, there are two 45L options I would happily go with. However, 30-50% of my ski days, and probably 75% of my bigger terrain days are on 3-5 day base camp trips. For these trips I need by 80+L pack to get to base camp. No existing airbag is going to work for this (light hut trips ok, but not tent camping with glacier gear).

    I can’t justify the cost when I can only use it on a portion of my actual ski days.

    With no manufacturers seeming to have any interest in going above 45L I have two ideas for home built:

    1) build my own 80L very simple/clean top loader pack on an ABS frame. ABS bag deployment has no issue with added pack height, although I am not comfortable with the zipper taking the full pack load and would need to somehow add reinforcement (compression straps, lacing?).

    2) Use an RAS kit in a custom lid on a modified commercial 80+L alpine pack. The RAS would not be usable for fully packed approaches (too high, release cable not long enough), but after downsizing could be used in daypack mode.

    Any thoughts on these ideas?

  26. aaron trowbridge January 2nd, 2013 2:22 pm

    A couple of further thoughts on option 2. Would need to source break away zipper for custom lid, ensure adequate anchor points for RAS bag to main pack, and add crotch harness. All in all riskier playing with the actual airbag and makes me lean towards custom abs pack add on.

  27. Nick January 2nd, 2013 3:23 pm

    Aaron, the ABS vario system has 4 straps that attach the zip on in addition to the zipper. Probably the best way to go for what you’re envisioning.

    Here’s an example of someone making a custom pack for the ABS vario system:

    You could probably add more reinforcement too.

  28. Juergen January 3rd, 2013 12:45 pm

    Lou, I’ve briefly checked the overview and kindly ask you to confirm that only ABS airbags have a currently available carbon cartidge option ?!
    Is there a patent in place ? Compared to carbon bike parts the cost/weight saving ration seems quite reasonable, doesn’t it ?

  29. Lou Dawson January 3rd, 2013 2:54 pm

    Pretty sure that’s so, but Nick will have to confirm. Nick?

  30. Nick January 3rd, 2013 3:04 pm

    ABS is the only carbon cartridge manufacturer that I’m aware of. It’s not permitted for sale or import in the US (DOT regs), but is legal in Europe. Not sure why Snowpulse/Mammut haven’t gotten a carbon cylinder going out there. God knows when DOT will allow the ABS carbon cartridge in the US. Some people have managed to smuggle them….

  31. Gustav January 6th, 2013 7:11 pm

    I don’t understand how yours can be 6,63 lb ?? Sure the 207 canister adds 150g but still. I got mine to 2.3kg with the 307 canister as is says on the snow pulse homepage.

  32. Nick January 7th, 2013 6:53 am

    Hmm, maybe I should double check the weight once Lou gets back with the pack. Unless he has some way of weighing it out there.

  33. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2013 7:09 am

    @ Gustav: That´s about the topic i´ve been writing about before
    :Snowpulse Homepage says: 1.85 kg without canister (4.1 pounds), that would be 5.2 pounds (2.3 kg) including the canister.
    I took the weight of a snowpulse light: 5.5 WITHOUT canister, 6.6 including the canister;
    That´s a real big difference, especially concerning a product, one would buy because of its lightness;
    I´d really like to hear a comment from snowpulse reffering to this problem, but they don´t answer e-mails…
    I think it is not ok to put a weight on a hompage, thats about 1.6 pounds BELOW the weight of the product you buy in the shop. I think a producer chould be more serious and reliable.
    Anyone out there who owns the snowpulse light and could post the actual weight?
    (Sorry fpr my english, but it´s the best i can do…)

  34. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 7:56 am

    I’ll weight it again, it’s here at HQ. I’ll do it right now. Mistakes can indeed be made…

  35. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 8:09 am

    I had to weigh the 2013 Snowpulse Light 35 on my spring scale instead of digital, so give or take a few ounces I got 5.6 lbs., this is 100% verified now, latest Snowpulse Light 35 backpack.

    Not much to razor blade off this pack, but a few ounces could probably be trimmed.

    I’m not sure where I got the heavier weight we quoted in review above (now edited and corrected), I finished editing it on the road so didn’t have access to a scale at the time, perhaps it was weight for an older model pack or something, or I had some gear buried in the pack when I weighed it the first time at home. Or there might have been a typo in the original review draft. Those things happen, though I wish I’d corrected it sooner. My apologies, didn’t mean to stir things up, and thanks to you guys for getting me to verify. Nick can do so as well when he gets the pack back to his workshop.

    Lisa and I are starting another journey today, so I’ll leave it to Nick to check the Airbag Overview and do any weight corrections necessary. Thanks Nick.

  36. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2013 8:29 am

    Thanks, Lou ! Is this the weight INCLUDING the canister or without it ?
    If it is the weight INCLUDING the canister, things get really weird: I took the weight of several snowpulse light packs now, and they all weigh about 6.6 pounds (including the canister), 5.5 without it .
    So there seem to be different models of the same pack out there, at least concerning the weight ?!?

  37. Nick January 7th, 2013 8:33 am

    I had a pre production version of this pack over the summer which was basically the same minus the expansion collar. Sadly, I don’t have the weight for that one anymore.

  38. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2013 8:47 am

    Maybe they changed the fabric of the pack. Obviously the weight can differ for more than one pound (5.1 – 6.6), all INCLUDING the canister; It would be really good to have some information about this by snowpulse. I know several persons who bought the pack beliving it would weigh like 5.2 pounds and weighing it at home it was 6.6 …. it would be good to know, if these are older models, so the shops should exchange them for the current one.

  39. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 8:57 am

    Sounds like the confusion continues. Everything on the pack we have here appears to be totally functional retail stock, and it is close to 5.5 lbs. I’d suggest anyone with a “Light” 35 would be careful about how they weigh, and if their pack is indeed a pound! heavier than that they’d do some digging.

    Also, I hate to say this but I did weigh it on a spring scale, our tester needs to be weighed on a digital scale. I’m hoping Nick can get that done fairly soon.

    This is making me laugh, as for years all we needed at was a digital scale with a 5 lb capacity. Now we need to weigh stuff that’s heavier? Seems like we’re going backwards (grin).

  40. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 9:16 am

    Erik, that is WITH the canister, but weighed on a spring scale which is tough to balance the pack on. I’d get a better weight immediately but am leaving for some traveling. Hopefully Nick can get to it soon so we don’t perpetuate any more confusion. Lou

  41. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2013 9:19 am

    Lou, i can guarantee that the packs i mentioned were weighed correctly, and they all (4 of them) weigh about 6.6 (3 kg) with canister, 5.5 (2.5 kg) without !! And for sure no forgotten gear or anything else in the pack, packs not wet or anything like that !! So they ARE indeed a pound heavier; And packs are – reffering to the shops where they were bought – new for 2013 models…

    now you say 5.6, Gustav says 5.1 (2.3 kg)… and now another funny thing: many European online shops say the weight is 5,4 (2,470 kg) WITHOUT canister (look at the sport-conrad-homepage (Germany) for example); thats again much heavier than what you´d weigh…

  42. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 9:26 am


    I broke out our digital luggage scale, which I then checked by comparing weight of stuff I weighed on digital postal scale. Pretty much the same. I then weighed the Snowpulse Lite 35 2013 with cylinder. 6.7 lbs. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I just check the spring scale with the calibration weight, about a pound off !!!!!!!

  43. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 9:27 am

    So, now I’ll edit the blog post yet again. This is quite a saga.

  44. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2013 9:29 am

    Thanx, Lou for weighing! And have a nice trip! / I´m really corious about the weight Nick will bring us… 😉

  45. Erik Erikson January 7th, 2013 9:37 am

    Lou, I had not read your last comments when i wrote mine .. thats REALLY a saga; Maybe the guys at snowpulse also have troubles with their scales, otherwise i would not understand the weight they post on their homepage;

    So, now you REALLY deserved your travelling after all that weighing – hope, it will be about powder-skiing, good journey again!

  46. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 9:37 am

    Well, with my weight in line with yours, I’d say we’re giving the real-world weight plus or minus a few grams due to manufacturing tolerances. But yeah, we’ll see what Nick comes up with.

    I’m not surprised about the weight confusion. That’s been the state of affairs in our industry for years, due to things like less than diligent catalog copy writers and so forth (and perhaps bloggers?).


  47. Gustav January 7th, 2013 10:48 pm

    Sounds really strange! I used two different scales, a spring scale and a digital one. Only thing I noticed was that the handle to reset the pin and instruction booklet was about 200g and after I took them out the weight was around 2300g.

  48. Erik Erikson January 8th, 2013 12:08 am

    Gustav, instruction and handle are NOT included in the weights i´ve listed above (i know this for sure since at first i made exactly that mistake).

    The weights of 4 packs (large, including canister) are all around 2950 – 3000 g….and they were partly weighd with different scales.

    Really strange…; as i said, i´d really like a comment by snowpulse about this, but they don´t answer emails it seems (at this point i should maybe make it clear: I am NOT against the company snowpulse in general, i even love their products and will probably buy a snowpulse light, even if it is much heavier than they say; but nontheless i think it´snot ok to put a wrong weight at the homepage)

  49. Nick Thompson January 8th, 2013 9:22 pm

    Ok, I’ve got the Wildsnow production version of the size large Lite35 back from Lou. I checked all the pockets to make sure they were empty and weighed on my digital scale.
    Weight without cylinder or anything else= 5.19lbs or 2,355g
    Filled snowpulse 2.0 cylinder weighs more or less 1.43lbs or 649g
    So, total weight of pack with cylinder= 6.62lbs or 3003g
    My original weight was 6.63lbs, so basically the same.
    I’ve asked Snowpulse to see if they can double check their marketing numbers.

    All this aside, one could easily cut some weight off the pack by shortening straps and removing the shovel pocket. And 6.62lbs is still light in the current airbag world given the pack volume.

  50. Lou Dawson January 8th, 2013 10:36 pm

    Thanks Nick! Go ahead and match that up in the blog post.

  51. Nick January 9th, 2013 9:06 am

    Done. Also updated the overview.

  52. Erik Erikson January 10th, 2013 12:57 am

    Wow, Snowpulse allready changed the weight of the pack on der page… it is still too low though, but much closer to the “real world”; at least they changed it in the description, not when you click the details.

    And, yeah, it is still a light and great pack I think; but as for many people the additional weight is the main argument for not buying an airpack-bag (besides the costs…) i think companies should be especially carefull and reliable with the weight datas they give and not ruin their image and the trust of the customers by going much too low;

    – Another question: As I understand, the US – cylinder is heavier than the European one, right ?!

  53. Mountain Sports Distribution January 10th, 2013 4:08 pm

    Howdy all – love the questions and comments – apologies it has taken so long for us to “weigh in.”
    Regarding the weight. The bottom line is, the comments here are correct. The weight quoted in the product material was provided by the Snowpulse Manufacturer in Europe and I truly don’t know why there is a difference between these original numbers and the products that we distribute in North America. According to our scale, the weight of a medium pack is 4.6 lbs, 5.8 lbs with the canister. A large pack is 5.2 lbs, 6.4 with the canister. We sincerely apologize for the lack of communication with the weight change. Thank Lou & Nick for testing, publishing and keeping the public informed.

  54. philip January 13th, 2013 1:03 pm

    Hi everyone,
    i was wondering if any of you can tell me the difference between the medium and the large version of the snowpulse lite 35. i’m about to buy one, but i can only find the Large measure. what is the difference?
    thanks a bunch

  55. Lou Dawson January 13th, 2013 1:49 pm

    Philip, is this truly not on their website? If not, that’s a fail. Nick can probably get that info at some point, I’m sure he’ll try… Lou

  56. philip January 13th, 2013 2:34 pm

    Yepp, i confirm. Nothing on their website. They only state that it is available in M and L size. elsewhere i’ve read that M is fine till 175cm tall, L is fine above that. Point is i’m 170, and the online stores where is cheaper only have the L left… now… i’m wondering…

  57. Lou Dawson January 13th, 2013 2:35 pm

    Philip, lack of such information is lame and I’m sorry to hear about it. We’ll try to fill the gap. Lou

  58. Erik Erikson January 13th, 2013 3:27 pm

    Hi Philip,

    Me and some buddys tried the fit of the L and the M Snowpulse light. I´m sorry to say as you just can get the “L” cheaper, but at 170 it will for sure be to long for you (the back and so the hip-belt will sit to deep). The L has a perfect fit for persons at around 185 or taller, as far as i could see.
    I found two reccomendations in the www – one says L for persons 175 and taller, one says 180 and taller. In fact, the L has a really long back , i think.

  59. philip January 13th, 2013 3:31 pm

    ok… Thanks a lot for the info eric. i’ll have to go for the M and pay those extra 70 bucks…
    thanks again to all.

  60. Erik Erikson January 13th, 2013 9:41 pm

    philip, Yes, I would think you have to go with the “L”- But maybe Lou and Nick could tell their opinion too. As I understand, they tested a “L”, I do not know how tall the both of them are.
    Another thing is: I could measure the back – length of an “L”,( since I know a person owning one) if that helps – in case just tell me.
    Advantage of the “M” is: It is a little lighter. But as far as I could see it has less volume, so they shoud not call it “Ligt 35 M” but Light 30 M” ore somethinglike that

  61. Erik Erikson January 13th, 2013 9:45 pm

    Philip, sorry, I made a mistake in my last comment: I meant , you will have to go with the” M” ,( not the” L”).
    (By the way: Is their any opportunity for authors of comments to edit those comments later on?)

  62. Lou Dawson January 13th, 2013 11:13 pm

    Erik, users can’t edit comments but we can edit if it’s something critical. We sometimes do a few spelling corrections and stuff like that, since many of your comments are super useful and will never go away. User edits don’t work, as the historical integrity of the thread gets messed up if people are in there changing things at will. Lots of people comment on how high our level of discourse is, we sure apprciate you guys who mae it that way! Thanks! Lou

  63. Erik Erikson January 14th, 2013 1:33 am

    Thanks for the information Lou, you are right, I fully agree with the way you handle the comments (and spelling correction for sure is a good thing, especially concerning the comments of guys like me who are not exactly native speakers 😉 )

    @ Philip: I just had the opportunity to measure the back length of a snowpulse light in large: 53 cm, which is really quite long (i compared it to some packs I own).

    I know two guys at around 175 cm height, who definitly would want the M. But maybe, if you have a VERY long back, the L would be possible ??

    One minor disadvantage of the “M” (besides the obviously lower volume) is, that the handle of even a short shovel will not fit in the compartment designed for that. The compartment of an “L” is roomy enough for a short handle. Further, the shoulder-straps of the “M” felt a little bit stiffer than the one of an “L” (since the “M” -straps are shorter, but the same volume airbag is stuffed in there) – but that´s not a real problem…

    I had the opportunity to test the snowpulse light on a short Tour, and I have to say I really love it. At first, carrying it feels a little “different” to what you are used to, cause of the fat shoulder straps. But after a while they kind of “mould” to your body-form, and feel really comfortably. I can recommend the pack.

  64. philip January 14th, 2013 3:21 am

    Ok, i’m still evaluating my options…
    besides the weight, is there such a big difference in carrying volume between the guide 30 and the lite 35? i’t is just those 5 liters or it is (as i’m inclined to think) more?

  65. Erik Erikson January 14th, 2013 4:21 am

    HI Philip,
    I wrote a longer comment (partly to you), but it does not appear here (they say it is awaiting moderation, don´t know why)
    Now I´m in a hurry, so just quick: Measured the back-length of the snowpulse light L: 53 cm, really quite long

  66. Nick January 15th, 2013 3:07 pm

    From Mountain Sports Distribution:
    There is a 5-6 cm (2.5 -3 inch) difference between a large and medium pack. My measurement has the Lite 35 Large measuring at 52 cm and the medium at 46 cm.

  67. Laurie February 11th, 2013 7:12 am

    any feedback out there from a woman? I am 5’2, looking for a comfortable size frame and an appropriate amount of space. Do you guys have a picture of a helmet in this bag? I’ve tried on the 45 and it seems pretty huge, but if my helmet wont fit in this 35, i’d probably go with the larger bag simply for that factor… any advice?

  68. Nick February 11th, 2013 7:42 am

    Probably not a lot room in the pack after you put a helmet in it. Guess it depends on how much stuff you bring. My wife (5′ tall) loves her Snowpulse Pro 35, which is a similar size. She likes the light weight and the fit seems to work great. She manages to go on hut trips with hers (straps a dry sack on the outside with clothes and uses a lightweight sleeping bag. No helmet). I think the Lite35 is a bit larger as it has an expansion collar.

  69. Erik Erikson February 11th, 2013 8:01 am

    @ Laurie: I purchased a snowpulse lite 35 (size L) and I am really happy with it. When I put in like clothes (primaloft, gloves, shirt, vest), filled camelbag, something to eat, skins and avalanche gear a Skiing helmet easyly fits in also (but I put the helmet in last and in a way that the front of it is facing downwards).

    The lite 35 size S (which would be your size) is quite a bit shorter than the L, but I know people whp pack it similar to the way I do and the skiing-helmet also fits in easyly.

    The pack is quite roomy for 35 lites of Volume and the sidezip makes packing very easy.

  70. Erik Erikson February 11th, 2013 8:03 am

    @ Laurie again: Made a mistake: I meant size M would be yours – I think S does not exist.

  71. Nick February 11th, 2013 8:06 am

    Thanks Erik. You are correct, only size medium and large. My wife uses a medium.

  72. Jeff P. February 11th, 2013 11:15 am

    Just back from using this pack in the Whistler backcountry. Disappointed in its lack of functionality. Of course I read everything in this thread before using so buyer beware.

    I blew the airbag in order to travel back home with an empty cylinder and must say that the airbag itself is quite impressive. Really gives you the feeling of great protection of your neck, head and shoulders.

    The problem is the design of the storage areas. Shovel pocket is definitely not user friendly. I was able to fit my shovel (handle retracted) and probe in the pocket. But god forbid you actually had to use it. It would take you precious minutes to get the thing out of the pocket given how tight it is. Also, the fact that there is basically one main storage area makes for some issues packing and unpacking what you need to get at quickly. I found myself always looking for stuff that I needed and invariably had made its way to the very bottom of the pack. Didn’t like having to pull everything out in the middle of a snowstorm on the side of a mountain to find what I was looking for.

    Not breaking a lot of new ground here but just giving my opinion on the lack of functionality. I far prefer a pack like the Black Diamond Outlaw which is nearly the same size and functions far better in the backcountry, albeit without the airbag.

    One other comment which I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned is the bulkiness of the shoulder straps. Since the airbag comes down into the shoulders when packed, it makes the shoulder straps quite a bit larger than usual and quite a bit harder to put on unless you loosen the straps first, which becomes a pain over time.

  73. Erik Erikson February 11th, 2013 2:59 pm

    Jeff: I am really sorry for you that you did not like the pack. But I have to say that I feel quite different: Due to the side-zip its no issue to find stuff in the pack and not having too much compartments makes the pack lighter and makes it more possible to stuff in really big items if yo need to. What I dont like is that the pack is all black (especially on the inside), cause that makes it really sometimes a little harder to find small items in darker coniditions.
    But I totally agree concerning the chovel pocket: My shovel, probe an handle does fit in, but getting to it quick is impossible- They really should have put the department on the outside of the pack with a go around zipper.
    But I really like the shoulder straps concerning the comfort of carrying. They are not stiff at all (thoúgh they are bulky, right) and carry really well. Much more comfortable than regular rucksack-straps. Maybe they would be a little in the way if you had to like climb real hard wearing the pack, but thats not what I usually do wearing an avalanche pack.
    So I still would really recommend the lite 35, though their should be some improvements done in the next series

  74. dean March 12th, 2013 12:17 pm

    Very impressive products list; well done. One problem; which to choose. Lets assume for my 2 questions below you will be doing some boot packing.

    If you were to go on a one day backcountry trip which bag would you choose?

    If you were to go on a 5 day backcountry trip which bag would you choose?

    I realize there are many variables to consider but it is very difficult to choose without having touched the product so hopefully you can make it very simple.

  75. Erik Erikson March 14th, 2013 3:54 am

    Hi Dean,

    As I am not a native-speaker in english, I am not sure what you mean by “boot packing”.
    I for myself am quite convinced by the “snowpulse light 35” and would definitly take it for a one day trip. It carrys very good, is very roomy for the given 35 litres and still light. On the other hand it seems to be kind of a “prototype” as it is the first model of the “light” series by snowpulse and some details will probably get improvements in the coming years I assume. Further, there are no datas concerning durability till now.
    As for 5 day trips things get harder… As far as I have seen,there is at the moment no airbagpack on the market,which is really big enough for the stuff you need on a multi-day-trip. The snowpulse light 35 seems to be almost as roomy as the abs 45 (but I have NOT tested that!). And I have never seen the Mammut 45. But that one is probably not to roomy, as the airbag is situated in the main compartment.
    So for a 5 day trip I would take the pack which offers the best opportunity to fix additional gear or a additional packsack on the outside of the rucksack, for you won´t get all yout stuff inside of it

  76. Nick March 14th, 2013 6:46 am

    Good comments Erik. Snowpulse’s packs for next year will be tailored specifically to snowmobilers. Mammut will pick up where Snowpulse left off for the skier market, including the Pro 35 and Light 30 which will have the wraparound airbag design.

    If you want a big pack, consider the ABS 55 coming out next season.

  77. Lou Dawson March 14th, 2013 8:09 am

    Nick, thanks for clarifying this. Lou

  78. dean March 14th, 2013 8:58 am

    Thanks guys. I have a dueter 35 litre standard pack that is very simple, which i like, and it carries what i need for short trips however, throwing the airbag component into the mix adds another element that i have no experience with so i am trying to figure out what you guys thought was the best overall pack which you have answered. One thing i notice in the photo above is the skis have to be carried diagonally across the pack which may cause a balance issue versus carrying them attached to the sides or vertical on the back of the pack. Thoughts?

  79. Phil March 14th, 2013 9:06 am

    Dean: all of the different carry methods can work well. Many prefer the diagonal carry because it is easy to set up and the diagonal means the skis won’t bang your legs in some situations. Rando racers use that technique and balance is fine if set up properly. Nothing wrong with the classic aframe though!

  80. Lou Dawson March 14th, 2013 9:15 am

    Dean, when you carry skis diagonal, they are not out of balance to any significant extent. It’s probably the most popular way to pack skis now, mostly because skis have become shorter and thus easier to carry that way. In the old days with 200 cm + skis the diagonal didn’t work because the tails hung too low, A-frame or left/right across the top were the only ways. Lou

  81. Erik Erikson March 14th, 2013 10:09 am

    @Dean: I like to carry my skies the A-frame-way cause I always did and am used to. But I don´t know what would happen if I had to release the airbag of the snowpulse while carrying the skies “A-frame” – maybe the skies would get in the way. So wearing the snowpulse I only carry the skies a-frame when there is really zero danger of avalanches. Otherwise, I carry them diagonal which is no problem too, even better going downhill as I experienced (as the skies won´t bang at your calfs).
    If you need a pack right now: Maybe it would be a good idea to buy an RAS one, as there is a chance that roomier packs will be available for this system in the future. But if you have the chance: Wait for next season, for there obviously will be new better products on the market.
    @ Nick: Thanks for the information about the future of the brand snowpulse. I hope that mammut will manufacture even better wrap-around-airbag-packs, as their packs in general are quite good. And as has been said here: There are some improvements to be done concerning the snowpulse light (Avalanche-gear-department on the outside, better toplid and so on; And I would change at least the inside-color to a light color – not black.)

  82. Nick March 14th, 2013 10:22 am

    More info on Mammut’s next year packs here:

    I’m a fan of the current Mammut RAS and Snowpulse Pro 35 RAS packs. Next year’s removable wraparound design will be great. For a big pack, I currently use the ABS Vario 40 and am happy with it.

  83. Erik Erikson March 14th, 2013 10:59 am

    Thanx Nick, I missed that post about coming up airbags. I am a real fan of the wrap-around-system (which they will call “protection” as I read). And I think it is a big improvement making this (also) removable!! So you don´t have to worry when your pack gets torn over time, cause you can switch the by far most expensive part (the airbag-system) to a new and/or better one.
    What do you think: Will Mammut / snowpulse transfer the airpack-system to a new pack should the current snowpulse light get torn? (If one would pay for that transition and the new pack)? I am not sure how long the relatively light material of the snowpulse light will withstand the abuse of heavy use over time…

  84. Nick March 14th, 2013 11:11 am

    Doubt they’d want to do a retrofit for you, but you could always ask.

  85. dean March 14th, 2013 11:34 am

    Thanks for your comments. Again, your attention to detail is appreciated. Was wondering if it is possible to rank the packs from the best to the worst based upon your experience using them (either in the field or not ) using simple criteria such as user friendliness, comfort, weight, options etc? I realize everyone has different criteria however obtaining information like this from individuals like yourselves would be extremely helpful. Trying to compile and filter through all the information is an arduous and confusing task to say the least especially if you have no experience with or never seen these packs in real life.

  86. Erik Erikson March 14th, 2013 11:57 am

    Sorry, Dean, think I can´t do a ranking for you: That is because I only owned one of the first ABS-packs, which was really bad concerning the pack and the way it carried (the current ABS-packs are much better), and now the new snowpulse light. I know other people owning other packs, but I only tested some of them for a very short time,for example a Mammut RAS
    Just some thoughts: The RAS-system has the disadvantage that it takes away plenty of room in the pack-inside. And that happens in a place where you always have to stuff your gear in the pack (on top of the main compartment). Also the weight for my feeling is not very good distributed. Big advantage of the RAS: Removable!
    ABS: I do not like the way this packs carry. They somehow “feel heavier than they are”. But thats just my opinion! And I do like the more simple release mechanic of RAS and snowpulse more (again:just personal, as the ABS releases very reliable as far as I know)
    Snowpulse: I believe in the additional safety of the wrap-around-system (stay on top, trauma-protection), though data concerning that issue are not very strong as far as I know. Also,I like the way especially the snowpulse light carries. Very good weight-distribution, and I love the fat shoulder-straps (but others don´t like them!). And the “light” is a pack that has not to much unuseful gimmicks, which I like. But, as I said: I am not sure how durable the material of the pack will be in long time use. Thats an issue,cause you can´t remove the airbag system!!
    If I would be looking for an airbagpack right now, I would definitly wait for the coming up products and rent or borrow one in the meantime!! Than I´d probably buy a removable Wrap-around pack (like snowpulse is now) without the option of removing) at about 35 litres and the lightest one.
    But, as I said: I am really not an expert when it comes to solid experience concerning all the different pack-models out there

  87. Lou Dawson March 14th, 2013 12:20 pm

    Erik and all, today we posted another ABS review:

    In the review Anton does mention how the pack seems to hang back and be too far from his back, and thus carry poorly. That’s been my experience with a lot of these packs.

    Another indicator that the whole airbag pack thing is in its infancy in terms of design.


  88. Erik Erikson March 14th, 2013 12:32 pm

    Yes, the way he describes how the ABS feels bad concerning carrying is exactly what I meant by “feels heavier than it actually is”. But I think that is cause of the general design of the ABS (base unit and BEHIND it the pack), and I do not know if they can change that design (which besides has advantages too).
    Still, the airbagpack that carries best is the snowpulse light in my opinion. Probably because the weight is close to the body or partly even situated in the shoulder-straps. And the straps of the “light” are softer than the one of the older snowpulse-models I think. Especially in the large size, as in this size the airpack is stuffed less tight than in the medium size (cause the large straps are longer and have more room inside)

  89. Nick March 15th, 2013 7:28 am

    There are a lot of different variables with these things. First, the airbag systems are so different, then there are so many different backpacks. Some systems are better than others, but they all have pros and cons. All the systems are decent though, so make sure it’s a backpack design and size that works for you and is comfortable to carry. If you don’t like the pack and don’t take it, then it doesn’t matter how good the system is.

  90. Markus March 18th, 2013 12:51 pm

    “and, unlike other airbags, will begin to deflate a few minutes after being deployed in order to create an air pocket if you’re buried.”

    Is that really true, that the airbag deflates after a few minutes? I read a lot about the snowpulse system, but I never heard about this feature.

  91. Lou Dawson March 18th, 2013 3:22 pm

    I’m not sure whether it’s a feature, or just a marketing story…

  92. Mountain March 19th, 2013 10:07 am

    Maybe a little from column A, a little from column B….It’s definitely a benefit when talking about the airbag being filled with compressed air, instead of the alternative. It also assists when explaining that yes, the bag is deflating with purpose. Often we encounter people who expect the bag to stay inflated permanently, which is not the intent. The bag should deflate on its own within about 12 minutes and should indeed provide a pocket of breathable air around the victim’s face.
    Take it as you will – it’s definitely a benefit!

  93. Lou Dawson March 19th, 2013 10:39 am

    Statistics? How many people have had their lives saved by an air pocket created by an air bag?

  94. Mountain March 19th, 2013 12:42 pm

    No statistics that I know of…it’s just all part of the package, in the same way we wouldn’t be able to tell how many people have been saved because of wearing a leg strap for security or having the airbag coloured red for visibility.

  95. Lou Dawson March 19th, 2013 12:46 pm

    Mountain, good point. BTW, please use a shorter name, we know you appreciate the free advertising, but tone it down a bit. Thanks, Lou

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