- Price: £850 / €1,000
- Capacity: 10 litres
An airbag system has two primary functions. Firstly, in the event of a slide it’ll increase your surface area, thus keeping you closer to the top of the snow debris (you know how smaller corn flakes get sifted to the bottom of the box, while the bigger ones don’t? Same idea).
Secondly, should you get buried it creates an air pocket that can drastically increase how long you can survive before being found. In short, while it’s no substitute for good decision-making, it’s still a bloody good idea to have one when venturing out of bounds.
The PIEPS Jetforce Rider avalanche backpack uses battery-powered jet fans to inflate the airbag, as opposed to compressed air. As well as allowing for multiple deployments (if you’re that unlucky, or stupid), it also makes travelling by plane to the mountains much less troublesome. Furthermore, all the kit you need is included, so there’s no need for additional cylinders and whatnot.
"The PIEPS Jetforce Rider uses battery-powered jet fans to inflate the airbag, as opposed to compressed air"
A souped-up hairdryer inflates the PIEPS Jetforce rider in under three seconds, with a simple pull of the deployment handle. The airbag itself is made from hard-wearing Cordura, but is still lightweight enough to pack away easily. It automatically deflates after three minutes, in order to create that all-important air pocket we mentioned earlier.
"The airbag automatically deflates after three minutes, in order to create that all-important air pocket"
What about the rest of the bag? Well, there’s a handy compartment for your shovel and probe - both essentials in the backcountry - as well as 10 litres of space for other bits and pieces. Should you be travelling light, a compression strap lets you pack down the excess bulk.
When on an ascent, you can strap your board to the PIEPS Jetforce Rider using the handy system. There’s also a helmet carrier, which can be fully removed and stashed when not required.
Jet-powered avalanche backpacks are amongst the most impressive bits of tech we’ve seen emerge in the last few years, and the PIEPS Jetforce Rider is as fine an example as you can hope to find. It’s going to rank amongst the most expensive bits of kit you can take with you to the mountains, but when you look at how much it reduces the risk of death in an avalanche, buying one seems like the best decision any frequent backcountry explorer could make.
Heinz Stocker - Marketing Manager, PIEPS
"The PIEPS Jetforce Rider features the first electronic avalanche-airbag technology with jet-fan inflation, that only needs ambient air for inflation - practice without additional costs.
The airbag deflates automatically after three minutes. In Case of emergency the pressure on the buried person is reduced, and a big air pocket is created.
The compact Lithium-Ion battery supports at least four airbag deployments per charge, and is air-travel friendly."