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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I'm new to these ABS avalanche pack systems. Do any of you guys have them and have any knowledge of them as far as, enough room to still stow gear? single use or have the ability to recharge? I have some knowledge on how to deploy, just interested in them. I get the..."don't put yourself in a compromising position and you wont need one" and on the other hand, risk vs. benefit. Would just appreciate some knowledge from those that have experience with them rather than someone youtubing it and being a hard ass, telling me not to rely on one. We all know mother nature is unpredictable and backcountry is a different bird. Thanks guys.
 

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I know killclimbz has one. They're definitely rechargeable and you can get them in packs of various sizes. Other than that, I'll leave it to him.
 

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The Rooster King
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i have one, same one as killz. they are rechargeable at the paintball store. $3 for them and $3 for a new 'burst disc', so $6 to blow it. easy to change discs and repack the airbag.

pack is heavy but not unbearable. but it is heavier. not a ton of room (30l pack) but enough. we both have the mammut RAS 30l
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If I can ask how much did you pay for your packs? The ABS brand packs are EXPENSIVE...unless thats standard. I really like the Mammut and BCA packs where they inflate in one unit, on both sides and around your head, almost to keep your head above the snow. The ABS brand looks like they have 2 bags, one for each side with no support behind your head.
 

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Shred pretty much summed it up for the Mammut Snow Pulse system. Dive shops and paintball stores can refill the canister if they have the adapter. A lot of them do now. I got mine refilled for free in Washington. Here in Colorado it costs me $8 to get it filled at the dive shop near me. Prices seem to be under $10 but every place charges what they like so ymmv.

I find that the pack is heavier, but the Mammut pack supports well. The 30L pack is well designed for a snowboarder. The real problem is that the pack is 30L before the system is in place. So you lose 5-8 liters of space with the airbag. The 35 liter pack seems ideal for day trips, but I don't think has much of a snowboard carry.

ABS packs are very nice. The ABS system is contained in a frame and you zip onto it whatever size pack you want. Another advantage is that ABS uses two airbags when it inflates. So if one gets punctured you still have a sizable airbag deployed. The pack is not so great for carrying boards or skis for that matter. ABS also uses some unique features that can be pricey and a pain for traveling. The canister uses a compressed gas. Nitrogen I believe but not sure. Either way, you can't get it refilled easy and in the states you can't fly with a full canister. To get it refilled you have to ship it off and it costs around $40. There are dealers where you can rent a canister for your trip. It also does not use a cable pull to puncture a plate. The handle actually has a firing pin that is activated by a gun powder charge when you pull it. Very easy to do, but new wads cost a bit more than burst plates or o rings. The gas ABS uses doesn't compress more with altitude which is their big worry. I find that regular compressed air is just fine. Unless you are riding peaks in the 20K foot range, no way it you are going to have a problem with a properly charged canister.

All of the bags are use once then you need to get them refilled. So you get one shot in the field. Hopefully it will never come to that.
 

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BCA's airbags for next year look nice. They are like the ABS system in that the system is on a frame and then you attach the pack size you want. With the Mammut you can swap out the snow pulse system into other snowpulse bags. I've pulled mine out a couple of times now it's easy, but BCA's and the ABS system is easier.

Another thing is that I would be leery of BCA until maybe after next season. They have been having quality control issues and I have seen nothing in the field that believes me they have done anything to correct it for the past three seasons at least. Hopefully K2 will straighten that shit out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Awesome! Good info. I think I can live with mildly compensating a little extra weight for safety. In my current Quiksilver pack, I don't have a whole lot besides ski poles, probe, shovel, small med kit, and my beacon which is usually on me, under my coat anyway. Plus a small amount of food, extra gloves/shirt(s). The bare essentials...I like the ABS systems, but had no clue about the hassle of transporting and refilling the system. Good to know before making that big purchase! I just wonder why they too don't use compressed air instead of Nitrogen for the ease of the consumer?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I did read where Snowpulse and Mammut packs were now not compatible with ABS cartridges. ABS made changes in their cartridges to void compatibility...said folks preferred the lightweight carbon ABS cartridges. I think that is mainly over in Europe as far as having availability of a lightweight carbon cartridge.
 

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I don't think Snowpulse (owned by Mammut btw) was ever compatible with ABS. Every cartridge I have seen for both systems are distinctly different in design.

ABS doesn't use compressed air because they are over analyzing the safety factor. That is what happens when you got a bunch of geeky engineers.
 

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I have the BCA floating 18, used $200 blown 1x for fun, it’s a bit small, it’s fine for side country lift assist and packing a lunch. Get at least the 22 they work on compressed air cheap to fill. I’ve had my completely taken apart to do some sewing on it to fit poles...but with a 22L or larger...or smaller poles will fit inside.

 

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18 is pretty small. So is a 22. 30-35 is kind of the standard for touring. Gives you enough space for standard gear, extra layers, food, water, first aid, skins. 18-22 is great if all you are doing is sidecountry laps where you just need minimal gear. That is one of the things I liked about next year's BCA line up. Choose what size bag you need for the day, zip it onto the airbag system and go.
 
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