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Backpacks, Bags and Luggage

Ortovox Free Rider 22L 2018-2019 Snowboard Backpack Review

Praise the lord, I was born to travel

Ortovox is a backcountry behemoth; from transceivers to technical socks, there’s not much you’ll need for exploring the mountain that it doesn’t make. Amongst its best achievements is the compact AVABAG system, as found on the Ortovox Free Rider 22 snowboard backpack.

While it’s by no means a guarantee of safety, an avalanche airbag system significantly increases your chance of survival. Inflating the bag increases your overall surface area, making it less likely that you’ll be buried deep underneath the snow. Then when it deflates, it creates an air pocket that lets you breathe for longer, giving the rescue team more time to find you.

“The airbag system itself is remarkably compact, so even with its low-profile outline there’s still 22 litres of space for the rest of your gear”

The Ortovox Free Rider 22 pack is among the lightest, sleekest designs out there, even down to the activation grip that stashes away neatly into one of the shoulder straps. The airbag system itself is remarkably compact, so even with its low-profile outline there’s still 22 litres of space for the rest of your gear. Plus the AVABAG’s removable nature means that you can free up even more space for the days when you’re staying well within the resort boundaries.

Despite its light weight, the nylon construction is actually incredibly durable, and has a water-repellent coating to prevent it from taking on more weight as it comes into contact with snow or rain. The new ‘safety blue’ colourway isn’t a bad idea for showing you up nicely against a white background, and same goes with the orange version. If both are a little too jazzy for you, there’s also a black one with coloured details.

“Despite its light weight, the nylon construction is actually incredibly durable”

The back panels are extremely comfortable, especially as their resistance to cold means that they’ll move and flex as you do, but there’s even more to them than that. The foam hardens instantly upon impact, increasing the protecting around your spine and vital organs.

With features including an integrated helmet net, snowboard carry straps, water pouch compatability and splitboard pole loops, it’s amazing to see what they’ve managed to cram into the Ortovox Free Rider 22 backpack. User-friendly enough to suit first-timers as well as seasoned backcountry fiends, it’s an avy bag for everyone.

Trade Secrets

Patrick Wesch Product Manager (Safety), Ortovox

“A few years back, my avalanche airbag pack was so heavy that I used it only on big dump days. With the Ortovox Avabags, the system itself is only 1000g of weight including the cartridge! And the system is super small.

With this technical evolution I now use my airbag pack literally every day on the mountain. The AVABAG is just like a normal backpack in terms of weight and space. That’s one more thing I don’t have to bother about and one more thing that improves the safety and the quality of my time in the mountains.

Besides this, the FREERIDER version is just a perfect match with my idea of freeriding. Solid, precise and versatile… just like my riding ;)”

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