Since avy airbag systems add 4 to 8 pounds to a pack, manufacturers typically strip out features to keep weight low. Not the redesigned Float 32, which has an EVA foam backpanel, a 4-inch-wide hipbelt, adjustable torso length, and articulated shoulder straps—making it feel and carry like a standard backpack. It’s a touch heavier than comparable airbag packs, but we appreciated the added comforts. “I removed the airbag and used it as a resort pack,” one tester says. Features include dual ice axe carriers, a fleece-lined goggle pocket, and an internal mesh pocket.
BCA’s compressed air cylinder, while slightly heavier than other companies’ alternatives (and not TSA-friendly), is far easier to get refilled: Take it to your local paintball or SCUBA shop and refresh it for around $10.