Surviving an avalanche has always been problematic. If you survived the fall and remained unburried your chances of survival were substantially greater than if you got buried. Rescue tools like the avalanche probe, shovel, and beacon helped to increase your odds of survival, but only by a small margin. Rescue would often still come too late to save the victim's life. If you can remain on top of the avalanche your chances of survival increase to 95% (the remaining 5% die in the fall), according to Mountain Safety System Ltd. who distribute the Avalanche Airbag Backpacks. This represents a ten fold improvement in survival rates. The core component to their suite of products is the avalanche airbag. This, approximately 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds), backpack contains an airbag that when inflated from a pressurized gas canister increases the wearer's volume by 150 liters. By increasing your volume you become a much larger object in the flow of the avalanche and thus you rise to the surface rather like the large potato chips rising to the top of the bag. Complete inflation takes about 2.5 seconds.
The suite of ABS Backpacks range from the Free Ride which has no additional internal storage and weighs 5.3 pounds to backpacks with up to 45 liters of additional internal storage that weigh in at 7.4 pounds. The selection of packs is broad enough that a user will likely find the right pack to suit his or her needs.
The following video clips require a MPEG-4 player to view
The ABS-Backpacks Free Ride model is being demoed here at Backcountry Basecamp. When Anthony Sands pulled the trigger to inflate the airbags full inflation was achieved in underr 3 seconds.
Features and Specifications
- Model: Free Ride
- Volume: No storage capacity
- Size: 50 x 30 x 9 (cm) - 11 x 18 x 4 (inches)
- Weight: approx. 2.400 grams - 5,3 pounds
- Available Colours: orange /gray ,dark gray /gray
- Material Pack: Nylon , baby ripstop
- Material Balloons: outer material - polyamide fiber, inner material - PVC bag
- extremely lightweight and slim
- external shovel compartment
- neoprene hip belt
- detachable leg straps
- special folded airbags
- airbags in internal pouches with flexible cover
- removable harness
- no internal storage capacity