When is a backpack more than just a bag? When it packs a 20,000rpm jet fan, that's when. It's been around for a few years now, but this is the first time our Gear Guru has managed to get his hands on this Pieps/Black Diamond collaboration: the Jetforce Rider avalanche backpack. Needless to say, he was impressed.
Said fan is powered by a battery and inflates the emergency airbag should you get caught in a slide, but unlike traditional ABS packs that rely on gas canisters, the electronics allow multiple deployments from a single charge, continuous re-inflation to negate any tears or rips in the bag and finally an automatic deflation to create more space for you should you be trapped in debris.
"When is a backpack more than just a bag? When it packs a 20,000rpm jet fan"
In the Gear Guru's humble opinion, it's one of the most exciting products he's touched upon yet, so much so he felt he had to show it off to Maria, who'd never even heard of an avalanche backpack before. The result was incredible.
Downsides? Well as we're constantly reminded, there's never a perfect product, always a compromise. In this case, not only is the weight of the backpack is significantly increased by the hardware you're carting around, but the price is too. It comes in at a staggering €1,000. But then again, can you really put a price on peace of mind?
Disclaimer: avalanche safety packs are not and never will be an alternative to experience and training. Always know your limits and prepare for the conditions appropriately. It's better to not go than to never come back.
We've got more Gear Guru episodes in the works, but if you're hungry for more why not check out previous episodes below?