Description

The smallest of BCA's airbag-enabled backpacks, but no less effective than the big boys.

Because of its minimalist design, the Float 22 Airbag Backpack feels light on your back, and this pack carries just enough for an afternoon sidecountry mission, helicopter or sled-accessed powder laps, or a quick dawn patrol. And like all of BCA's Float backpacks, this pack offers the protection of a trigger-activated airbag that helps you stay on top of sliding debris should you find yourself suddenly caught in an avalanche. At just five and a half pounds, the Float 22 pack barely weighs in much heavier than some backpacking bags, and it offers a compressed-air system that can drastically increase your chances of surviving an avalanche when you're on skis or a snowboard. Stash your shovel, probe, lunch, and a spare layer in the main compartment, and shred your favorite powder stash with extra peace of mind.

  • Easy-to-operate airbag system uses a compressed air cylinder to inflate a large synthetic airbag behind your head and shoulders in order to increase your overall buoyancy and decrease your likelihood of full burial if you're caught in an avalanche
  • Highly-durable, single-chamber airbag inflates via a 2,700 psi compressed air tank
  • Venturi inflation system is TUV and CE certified
  • External shovel and probe pocket give you a place to store your avalanche survival tools for quick access
  • Diagonal ski carry frees your hands on steep slopes so you can lean into the slope and dig with your ice tools
  • Helmet carry keeps your brain bucket secure so you can take it off for the heli or the tram ride
  • BCA recommends that you deploy your airbag at least once per year. Once you have discharged the compressed air cylinder, you need to bring it or send it back to BCA, BCA Canada, or to an authorized BCA Float cylinder refill station
  • Follow this link to enter your area and see a full list of cylinder refill locations near you: http://www.backcountryaccess.com/about/map/
  • Editor’s Note: wearing this airbag system does NOT guarantee that you will survive an avalanche burial or a slide amidst avalanche debris; get educated, get the right tools, travel with partners, and be smart out there
  • **Cylinder Sold Separately**

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Backcountry Access Float 22 Airbag Backpack - 1343cu in

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Here's what others have to say...

5 5

Best Avy Air Bag!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

BCA Float 22 is the best bag on the market and the most affordable on the market today. Easy assembly instructions on the BCA website. I never go into the backcountry without my Float 22. Carries all my necessary Avy gear, shovel, probes, first aid, etc. Highly recommend getting one if you are serious about skiing backcountry or even side country at the resorts. GREAT PACK that will save your life someday.

5 5

BCA Float 22

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Pack Tested: BCA Float 22, Avalanche Airbag Backpack (color: blue and gold)

Reviewer: Miles Clark, Height: 6’1” (185cms), Weight: 170lbs (77kgs)

Number of Days Using Backpack: 62

Where Pack Was Used: Hakuba, Japan

There’s really no argument anymore. Before you go into avalanche terrain you need knowledge, a partner, a beacon, a probe, a shovel, and most recently: a backpack with an airbag system.

This BCA Float 22 is the ideal pack for side-country skiing and day touring in backcountry terrain. This pack is simple, sleek, and safe.

Simple, because it has only two pockets. A large one and a smaller one. The large pocket has room for your snow saw, goggles, sunglasses, skins, extra layers, water, and more. This larger pocket can unzip completely and fully fold open for access to the entire pocket and its contents. The smaller pocket can fit quite a bit but has quicker access so it’s a great spot for food, water, hats, gloves, shovel blade, sunglasses, and goggles. This smaller pocket has two vertical sleeves sewn inside to accommodate your probe and shovel handle making access to them quick and easy. The large pocket also has one small, zippered pocket built into it for can’t-lose stuff like keys and wallets.

Smaller/Outer pocket opened up with easy access to probe, shovel blade, and shovel handle visible.

This pack comes with a helmet carry pouch that can be attached to the outside of the pack and easily carries any ski helmet to the pack. I’ve used this helmet pouch a lot and it’s very useful.

The most important feature of the BCA Float 22 is the inflatable avalanche airbag system. The handle is located on the left shoulder strap and consists of a circular knob that is easy to grip. I did pull the handle and inflate the airbag once and you do need to give a decent pull to get it to go. This is good, as it helps insure you don’t end up accidentally pulling the airbag handle.

I understand that the Float airbag system is now interchangeable between packs. I just bought the Float32 but would like to consider the Float22 for shorter tours or side-country days. Do you offer just the 22 pack without airbag/engine/cylinder? What would the price be?

Responded on

In The near future BCA will be offering some interchangeable options, tough to get exact info though. They tried the interchangeable thing and it wasnt flying off the shelves so to speak. BCA wanted to focus on keeping the price point down so everyone could have access to the bags, lighter weight bags, and easy to refill canisters. When you look at a interchangeable system the price tag goes way up. Currently Mammut will run you around $700 for the system and bag and then another $200-$300 for a stand alone bag, where BCA gets you in a package for $500.00ish.

Responded on

Bill, just call BCA at 800-670-8735 and we'll help you out. Our Float airbags are indeed interchangeable, we just don't have the stand-alone packs on the retail shelf.

Bill, just call BCA at 800-670-8735 and we'll help you out. Our  Float airbags are indeed interchangeable, we just don't have the stand-alone packs on the retail shelf.
5 5

Great Bag

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

After using this bag extensively this season, in Utah and Montana, I can definitely say its one of my favorite pieces of gear. I initially bought the larger 32L bag, but due to the fit, I had to return it. Many people told me that 22L is not big enough for a ski touring pack, but I think it is the perfect size.

On a normal day, I will carry an extra pair of gloves, snacks, a beanie/balaclava, gopro and accessories, ski straps, small first aid kit and knife, and perhaps an extra layer, depending on the weather. This list is of course, on top of the shovel and probe that I always carry. My Black Diamond Deploy 3 shovel fits well in this pack, along with my probe that folds down to 1 ft. 4 in.

Some features I love about this bag are the hip belt pouch (its great for snacks or light gloves) and the helmet holder that clips on the pack. ALTHOUGH, you can't carry your skis and use the helmet carrier at the same time, which is definitely not cool and something that the larger 32L bag does not have to deal with, as the design is different.

As for the actual airbag component of this pack, I havent had to use it yet, and have only deployed the bag once as a test. Everything worked great and setting up/taking apart the system is easy and intuitive.

Overall, for day trips in the backcountry, I think this bag is an essential piece of gear!

BCA Float in the Cooke City Backcountry

BCA Float in the Cooke City Backcountry

Fellow BC employee Brian Mehregan rocks the float bag just in case...

4 5

Perfect size (no place to lash poles)

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

For backcountry snowboarding I like my packs light and small, so I don't feel awkward when I try to spin or play around on the way down the mountain. This guy is great in that respect, as it somehow doesn't way too much more than my regular pack and thanks to the helmet carry pocket it fits all my gear nicely.

One thing I would mention is that it doesn't have a good place for lashing tour poles. Not a problem for me since I keep my Black Diamond Compactor poles inside, but if you already have telescoping poles you might want to make sure they fit in the Float 22.

Responded on

Bill thanks for the review. Do you happen to know if there is a way to strap on compact snowshoes? I sometimes snowboard in locations where I have to carry these for short hikes and I obviously need a spot to mount the them when I get to the top and ride down!

Responded on

I'm sure you could. If you look closely at the picture of the back of the pack you'll see (4) small colored loops. These are for the helmet holder, but you could probly hook bungee cords or other straps through them. They don't seem super bomber, but would probably do the job for snow shoes.

The Float 32 looks like it has a few more options for strapping stuff to, so you might check that out.

2 5

Design Flaw. Not Worth It

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

There are a lot of things that make this bag great. I thought it was the perfect size for a day pack, it's light, and I found it very easy to rent a cartridge after a plane flight (was in Chamonix). However, I think the design of the air bladder release is poor and ultimately makes the pack useless for those who plan to hike with their skis tied to the back.

If you use the ski straps to hold your skis, the zipper along the top of the pack that keeps the compartment that holds the air bladder closed will release and your air bladder will spill out. Also, your skis will drop (imagine the top of the bag peeling open). You can get around this problem by tying your skis to the handle on the top of the bag. However, if you are in a slide while hiking and you?ve made this tie, the bladder will not function properly.

Also, on the second day I used the bag, the chest strap broke off. Also an easy fix if you?ve got some extra straps or line in your pack, but annoying for an item that costs around $500. I read another reviewer who had the same problem.

I?d suggest looking at a different bag.

Can these packs go on airplanes?

Can these packs go on airplanes?

Responded on

Doubtful. Most airlines that I know of won't allow compressed cylinders of any kind, even if it's not flammable material (like compressed air). I think you'd have to package the canister separately in your checked baggage, and it'd have to be depressurized.

Responded on

There should be absolutely no issue taking an avy airbag pack on an airplane. The cylinder will also not be any issue as long as it is depressurized and empty.

The following is a link to BCA's own instructions on how to prepare a canister properly for travel:

http://www.backcountryaccess.com/customer-service/commercial-air-travel-instructions/

I'm just trying to understand the difference...

I'm just trying to understand the difference between the less expensive backpacks and the expensive ones. I am looking to give one to my husband as a gift and he would be using it for snowmobiling. Is this one sufficient? It does say snowmobiles under recommended use.

Best Answer Responded on

There are a few key differences with these packs that affect the overall price. One of the most obvious ones is size. Think about what else he may be needing to put in the pack, and make sure to buy one that is big enough to fit everything. Also, the different designs of the float devices: this one is more like a giant pillow but others have two devices with one airbag on each side of the pack. The different brands will market theirs to be the best of course, but the jury still seems to be out on which is best since this technology is relatively new. Thirdly, the airbag will need either nitrogen or compressed air to inflate. Nitrogen is less affected by cold temps and will function better, but is more costly and challenging to get refilled once the canister has been emptied. The packs that use nitrogen tend to have a higher price tag (The North Face & ABS). Brands that use compressed air are BCA & Mammut. That's my understanding of the differences, somebody else may be able to explain better. Overall though, any of the packs should work for snowmobiling and in the end a lot of it comes down to personal preference and/or brand loyalty.

Responded on

Regardless of price, for snowmobile use you'll want to make sure the pull cord can be mounted on the right shoulder (pulled with the left hand). Most sleds have right hand throttles so this allows the user to deploy the airbag with the left hand while still using the throttle (with their right hand) to outrun the avalanche. The float bags have this feature, I'd recommend double checking before buying any bag though.

5 5

Best Airbag Pack on the Market

This is my go to backpack everyday, whether I'm shredding resort laps or touring into the Backcountry. Having used the 18 I can say that this pack is a huge improvement. The placement of the motor has been redesigned so there's way more room in the pack and I can fit all my touring gear in it no problem. The pack is one of the lightest on the market which makes comfy and easy to carry all day. Overall this is an awesome backpack.

5 5

Great Day Pack, on hill or backcountry.

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is my go to pack. I've had the 30L and 18L Float Packs and I think the 22L is a happy medium between the two. It has enough room to fit your skins, trekkers, a small water bottle and food for the day. The majority of the skiing I do is off of the resort or off of the sled. I rarely do any multi day missions so this pack fulfills what I need it for. Any longer missions and you may want to consider the size up. Comfortable Pack with high quality straps and metal buckles. Lightweight and well thoughtout. Helmet bag on the back helps save space. Best money you can spend in my opinion, just another great tool on your side while you are out in the backcountry. And being that it is deployed with compressed air, it's less of a hassle to fly with.

Great Day Pack, on hill or backcountry.
3 5

Good Value for Heli, not for skinning

I bought this bag to make my wife and mother rest a little easier while i was in Alaska Heli skiing. It certainly let them rest easier, and gave me some nice reassurance on some of the more exposed lines that i found myself on. While it was great for Heli skiing, when we went skinning it fell short. With the airbag it does not leave much room for storage,so i used the helmet holder to hold some excess gear outside of the pack. Unfortunately without good attachment points, gear would slip off, and i actually lost my skins as a result... The bigger issue however is that when i put my skis diagonal on the pack to bootpack up, the weight of the skis would cause the tear-away-zipper opening for the airbag to pull open which was annoying. So in summation, you can't beat the value if you are looking for extra security heli-skiing, but that savings can be felt with the issues it presents when skining or hiking

5 5

Great day pack

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Have used this for a couple of months,now, and am very satisfied. It replaced an older Float 30, and is a huge improvement. Among other things, it is much lighter, and surprisingly, actually holds as much or more stuff. I easily fit in a down jacket in a stuff sack, a hat, skins and harscheisen, probe and shovel, lunch, 3/4 liter of water, a camera, spare gloves, and goggles, and there is still a little room to spare. It fits me well (5'8", 155 lbs) and carries comfortably on climbs and skiing. Nice roomy belt packet, too. Things I would improve: add an exterior strap or two to carry a jacket or sweater when it's warm; the metal waist buckle is finicky and hard to open and close with gloves on, making the thing a bit of a pain when taking off for lift rides; and the chest strap buckle proved to be flimsy and broke after just a few uses. (BCA promptly sent a new beefier one, but I have not yet figured how to remove and replace the slider device!). I have deployed this twice (in order to take on a plane) and it worked fine. My local scuba shop fills it for $5 (compare that to refilling / recharging an ABS bag!). But get this. I took it to the Alps for two weeks. I contacted BCA in advance for advice on refilling it upon arrival. They are just building a network there, and unfortunately, there were no stations convenient to my itinerary (Verbier, then Val d'Isere). At the last minute, I got a call from the European rep, based in Chamonix, saying he'll meet me at the Geneva airport. There, he filled my tank from his vehicle, and refused to take any payment. Talk about customer service! Buy this one now at a great price, or wait and see what further improvements they make next year...can't go wrong either way.

Responded on

Thanks for the awesome review. Awesome story about the rep at the Geneva airport, now that's service!

4 5

Very good sidecountry pack

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

I owned the Float 18 and this pack is a big improvement. There is now enough space in the pack for me to take it on day tours. I can fit a light down jacket, mittens, 32L Nalgene, goggles, skins, food, and a med kit. There is even a little extra room to spare. The biggest downfall of the pack is the ski carry strap. It is simply too large, and with no adjuster, your skis end up hitting rocks and your boots while hiking. I cut my strap in half, did a little sewing, added a buckle and now have an adjustable strap like the Float 30 did. Also, I still wish there was another external pocket (besides the hip belt), so I don't have to go in the main compartment, but oh well. The helmet carrier works perfectly. I can't wait til next year, when the "pack only" option will be available" and I can swap the system to the 32 pack if needed. Actually I'd suggest that BCA sell a 36 or 40, since the 32 is pretty damn close to the 22.