Backpacks, Bags and Luggage

Black Diamond Jetforce Pro Split Avalanche Airbag 25L 2021-2022 Snowboard Backpack Review

Tested and selected for our top 100 snowboard products of the year: the Black Diamond Jetforce Pro Split Avalanche Airbag 25L

  • Price: £1,020 / €1,120 / $1,500
  • Sizes: S/M, M/L

Why we chose the Black Diamond Jetforce Pro Split Avalanche Airbag 25L Snowboard Helmet: A product that justifies the sizeable price tag. User friendly, durable, lightweight, customisable… and potentially life-saving.

Avalanche airbags have become an increasingly common sighting in the backcountry. Their statistics on avoiding burial in a worst-case scenario are very impressive and, while an airbag will never be a substitute for knowledge and experience in the backcountry, they make for a very reliable add-on to your safety repertoire. A few years back, Black Diamond changed the game with the first all-electric airbag system in the original JetForce 1.0. The Jetforce Pro was new for last year, and with a split specific add-on pack, it caught the attention of our test team this winter.

“While an airbag will never be a substitute for knowledge and experience in the backcountry, they make for a very reliable add-on to your safety repertoire”

So what are some of the specific advantages of havin a pack like this? Well, electric airbag systems come with a few handy tricks up their sleeve, many of which you won’t find in other system.

The big one being having the ability to deploy the pack multiple times in one charge, unlike single use activations with gas canister systems. Now, that’s not an endorsement for anyone getting caught in multiple avalanches in a single outting (you’re doing something very wrong if this is the case), but it does give you the opportunity to practcie deplying the device multiple times from the comfort of your own living room to get well practised in using it – and it won’t cost a penny either.

It’s also a great feature if you find yourself at the bottom of a slope but still in an area where there’s risk of another slide (you’ll be able to repack the airbag and ski to safety with the ability to redeploy in case anything were to come down from above).

The motor on the Jetforce Pro allows you to fully inflate the 170 litre airbag in only three and a half seconds. This motor can also keep the airbag inflated, even when the airbag has a seven inch tear in it. That could easily be the difference between life and death if you’re riding in exposed, rocky or tree-lined terrain which could cause a tear in the bag.

Once the motor has run through its deployment cycle, which keeps the bag inflated for three minutes, the system then sucks all of the air out of the airbag. In doing so, the JetForce Pro creates a potentially life saving air pocket around you and the snow from where the inflated airbag used to be – giving you and your companions some much needed breathing space when it comes to performing the rescue. 

For those of us who travel (read: fly) to the mountains, the LiPo battery found in the JetForce Pro is also airline friendly. Having the freedom to travel with such a devise – and not have to hire one in resort, or even go without one for the day – certainly makes the initial hefty investment seem more palatable when you’re safe in the knowledge that it’s one piece of backcountry equipment you’ll never have to leave behind.

“The motor on the Jetforce Pro allows you to fully inflate the 170 litre airbag in only three and a half seconds”

While the weight has been kept to a minimum, durability has still been upheld – with a 210-denier fabric being used throughout the pack.

In addition, there’s also the option to zip-on on a 10, 26 and 36 litre version of the pack, depending on your objectives. Better still, Black Diamond now have a split-specific zip-on pack which enables easier board carrying and appropriate clips and buckles .

Finally, Bluetooth has been built into the pack, giving you the option to connect your smartphone to the pack and run any urgent software updates directly to the pack.

Black Diamond has refined an already proven system in the avalanche safety market with the JetForce Pro 25L. It’s not cheap, far from it. In fact, it’s probably one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever be likely to make with your snowboard setup. But, as morbid as it sounds, the old snowboard shop floor addage rings true: “It’s still cheaper than a coffin.” Serious backcountry enthusiasts will more than likely be well aware of airbag systems on the market, but for our money, the JetForce Pro stands out as a cut above the rest.

Trade Secrets

Sean Manley – Snow & Trail Category Specialist, Black Diamond Equipment UK

“So you may not know that the Black Diamond is one of the lead partners for the Freeride World tour and we support athletes and crew with our snow safety equipment, packs and gloves… The Jetforce Pro is obviously a firm favourite. Black Diamond actually has John Jackson, Victor De Le Rue, Bjorn Leines and Eric Jackson all ripping on their Athlete books for 2021 (More boarders than skiers!) and all of them love the Jetforce!

My favourite feature is the self-check via the Pieps app. I.e you connect to the pack via Bluetooth and the Pieps app can check the pack remotely direct from the app and ask it to perform a full self-check so you can be 100% confident that everything is working properly before you venture out. Genius.”

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