Here is a bit of advice that I find had a fair amount of weight to it. Go to your local retailer that sells beacons. Have them "hide" one in the store. Then take two or three models you are interested in and just see if you can use them. The one that you find easiest to use for how you operate is probably the one to buy.
If you are planning on riding with your dog and want a doggie beacon, the Pieps DSP (Pro I believe) or Vector are the only ones that work with the Pieps doggie beacon.
As far as probes go, get one that is suitable for the amount of snow you get. A good do it all size is 300cm. Sounds long, but if you travel in deep snow packs such as Washington or BC it really isn't long enough. I don't think you can carry a probe long enough for those. If you are in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, something around 260 should suffice. Really though a 300cm probe barely weighs more than a 240. My probe is a 340 and I live in Colorado but I do travel to the west coast at least once a year.
Airbags work just fine as packs. Mammut RAS and PAS (again I believe with PAS) are removable. BCA are not but you can take the canister out to save some weight.
Hope that helps.
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Last edited by killclimbz; 04-03-2014 at 06:41 AM.