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How to Choose an Airbag Pack

An airbag pack may increase your odds of survival if, despite your precautions, you end up getting caught in an avalanche. These packs feature large single or dual air bladders that inflate with a pull of the trigger to help you stay on top of the snow during a slide. The air bags also offer protection against blunt force trauma, another danger of avalanches.

Cylinder Type
Most airbag packs use either sealed, single-use cylinder or a refillable, multi-use cylinder (usually compressed air) to store the propellent that helps inflate the air bladders. TSA tightly regulates travel with airbag packs; rules will vary depending on the type of propellant.
Bladder Shape
There are several basic types of air bladders. Single bags can either be shaped like a ‘pillow’ behind your head, or with wraparound ‘arms’ that extend down over your chest for greater protection. Dual-bag systems have a smaller bladder on either side, like ‘wings.’ This system has the advantage of offering a backup if one bag fails.
Pack Size
The size of your pack will depend on the kind of touring you’ll be doing; day-long tours will require a larger pack, while you can go more streamlined for riding heli- or snowcat-accessed terrain. Many bags come with a removable airbag base unit that can be swapped out to a different ‘cover’ pack according to your need.

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