SCOTT Air Free Alpride Pack

This pack's light, low-bulk airbag system means less weight on your back and more space for your gear.

Brand: Scott

Model: Air Free Alpride Pack

Most skiers and snowboarders like the idea of an airbag pack—a welcome added safety measure in avalanche territory—until they confront the weight, price tag, and cumbersome nature of all the moving parts. But, thanks to a unique inflation system (called Alpride, an independent product unavailable in the U.S. until now), this new line of SCOTT packs goes a long way toward removing barriers. Instead of the large canisters of compressed air or nitrogen used in most airbag systems, Alpride uses twin mini cartridges of CO2 and argon. The benefit is twofold: The Snickers-size cartridges shave about half a pound off the whole system—and a bunch of space. “It’s so nice being able to fit layers and water—along with beacon, probe, shovel, and airbag system—in the packbag,” says one veteran tester. “And, because the cartridges are so tiny, I didn’t have any qualms about bringing multiples so I could deploy more than once per trip, if needed.” A set (one each of CO2 and argon) of the disposable cartridges rings in at about $50 (buy them at an outfitter or online). Bonus: The system is TSA-friendly. (Last year’s Editors’ Choice-winning Black Diamond JetForce packs also solve some conventional airbag problems by using fans to deploy the airbag, but they’re a bit heavier and considerably more expensive.)

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