- Price: £800
When it comes to avalanche backpacks, Jetforce tech is about as good as you can get. Instead of a single-use canister, the pack uses ‘jet-fan inflation’ which draws in air from the surroundings using an electric motor. This means you can reliably trigger it up to four times per charge. If you’re just unsure how a line is going, you can activate the Black Diamond Pilot 11 pack safe in the knowledge that if you need it later in the same day, you’ll still be protected.
It does this using a lithium ion battery that you can charge from pretty much anywhere, and the PIEPS-integrated startup function provides a full system check every time you turn it on, giving you the chance to test and practice without wasting expensive cartridges. We’ll bet it also means you could deploy your mate’s pack in different hilarious circumstances, guilt-free!
“Instead of a single-use canister, the pack uses ‘jet-fan inflation’ which draws in air from the surroundings using an electric motor”
Not only that, but the Black Diamond Pilot 11 pack’s firmware automatically deflates the airbag after three minutes, so in a worst case burial scenario there’s a much stronger chance of you being left with an air pocket to prolong your survivable rescue time. As a side note, it also means no more uncertainty around whether you can take your backpack with you on a plane – while that’s sometimes a problem with packs that use gas canisters, you’ll have no issues here.
Out of all the models in Black Diamond’s range, the Pilot 11 is the most minimally designed. Whilst it won’t hold enough stuff for multi-day touring, it’s optimised to be discreet and lightweight. This one works best as an in-bounds pack, or for heli or catboarding missions. It does weigh in roughly a kilo heavier than similarly-sized competitors, and the digits next to it might make your eyes water, but you can’t put a price on safety!