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  • Backcountry Access - Float 32 Airbag Backpack - 1953cu in - Black
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  • Backcountry Access - Float 32 Airbag Backpack - 1953cu in - Black

Backcountry Access Float 32 Airbag Backpack - 1953cu in


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    • Black, One Size

    26 Reviews


    A ski backpack with a built-in airbag to help you stay on top of an avalanche.

    Skiing in the backcountry comes with the inherent risk of exposure to avalanche terrain. Should you find yourself caught in a slide, the BCA Float 32 Airbag Backpack is a tool that offers a drastically increased chance of survival. Pull a trigger on the shoulder strap, and a highly durable airbag quickly inflates behind your head, decreasing your odds of burial in avalanche debris by increasing your overall buoyancy. Even with this technology, the Float Backpack still offers all the storage you need for your shovel, probe, goggles, and other gear—here's to the evolution of safety beyond the rope.

    • 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 in the event that you're caught in an avalanche
    • Highly-durable, single-chamber airbag inflates via a 2,700 psi compressed air tank operated by a trigger that can be placed on either the left or right backpack shoulder strap
    • Venturi inflation system is TUV and CE certified
    • External shovel & probe pocket gives you a place to store your avalanche survival tools for quick access
    • Lined goggle pocket keeps your eyewear handy and protected from scratches
    • Hydration sleeve holds your choice of hydration bladder to make sipping easy
    • 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:
    • 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 Not Included**
    • Item #BCA2932

    Tech Specs

    330D nylon double ripstop, 840D ballistic nylon
    1953 cu in
    Float system
    Deployment System
    compressed air
    Canister Included
    no, sold separately
    Shoulder Straps
    Hydration Compatible
    1 waistbelt
    23 x 11.5 x 6.5 in
    Claimed Weight
    [entire system including cylinder] 6.4 lb, [pack, airbag, engine, no cylinder] 5.1 lb, [pack only—no airbag, engine or cylinder] 3.4 lb
    Recommended Use
    backcountry touring
    Manufacturer Warranty
    3 years

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    The only pack you can afford...

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I have used this pack maybe 30 days both ski mountaineering, sidecountry and backcountry skiing. The pack is pretty heavy, but i knew that coming in. I wouldn't say that it makes me not want to use it due to the amount of safety it provides , but for lift served sidecountry skiing i think it is a bit bulky, heavy and conspicuous. Of course you could get the smaller 22 liter version but that one is too small for ski mountaineering which bring me to the rest of the review. For ski mountaineering I thought the pack was good at carrying heavier loads and had diagonal ski carry which i prefer as the skis are away from my feet and head. Some drawbacks are the side compression straps which when used make the main zipper hard to use. You kind of have to loosen them each time you want to zip up the pack. Another drawback is the clam shell design. I am really not a fan of this style of pack especially in steep terrain. Its great for packing that the whole thing opens up and everything is easy to find, but I really feel a top loader is a more appropriate choice for steep terrain due to the security it provides in holding your equipment. With a top loader i can sink a ski pole or ice axe through the top loop of the pack and know it and all of my things are held securely while I fish around inside. Good luck finding one of these though as most companies seem to have gone the clamshell style for their airbag packs, with the exception of Mammut Light or whatever it is called, but that one is pretty expensive. The "wet" pocket on this pack is very nice and my stuff looks ultra organized inside it. It fits a large shovel and probe as well as skins with ease. The main pocket I can get food, nalgene, harness (BD couloir, which is the size of a potato), rope (30mx8mm), spare gloves, shell and repair kit in with some negotiation. A final gripe, i had to replace all the zipper pulls within the first few days and removed the top ski strap and slipped in a voile strap in its place because the pulls and ski strap are so sadly constructed. Not a big deal but again shouldn't be necessary. Bottom line is this is really the only affordable airbag pack so if you want one and are on any kind of budget you will probably buy this one. It has some drawbacks, but for the increase in safety and price point i think it is a smart buy.

    Piece of Mind

    Excellent pack! Tons of space for avy essentials, extra layers, and backcountry snacks. I am 155 LBS 5’11’’ tall and this pack fits great. It took a few minutes of adjusting with a full load in the pack to find the right fit. All of the zippers are smooth and the storage pockets are well positioned and intuitive. In my opinion this bag is pretty high quality and packs a lot of bang for your buck. I would highly recommend this pack to anyone looking to add a little extra peace of mind to their backcountry experience without breaking the bank. (Pun intended in title)

    Piece of Mind

    The Toyota Camry of Airbag Packs

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    My title isn't intended to be a dis - a compliment, if anything. This pack gets the job done. It's affordable, simple, reliable, and time-tested with few frills.

    My top priorities in a ski pack are adequate space and how well it caries. On the first front, the Float 32 does very well.

    Although it's listed as a 32L it has quite a bit more carrying space than any other 32L pack I've owned. The dedicated compartment for avalanche gear comfortably fits my Voile TelePro (one of the larger shovels on the market), probe, and snow saw. The main compartment has plenty of room for a full first aid kit, extra layers, extra gloves, food, hydration, skins, and anything else you might want for a full day in the hills. If you were smart with your packing and didn't bring any luxuries, it would be totally possible to use this for a quick overnight.

    I'll be perfectly honest and say that this pack doesn't carry nearly as well as packs I've owned from BD and Dakine. The hip belt does a good job taking weight off your shoulders and it's quite comfortable to carry all around, but it doesn't have that "body hugging" feel that a really good ski pack does. It's prone to shifting and bouncing a bit when you get moving. It's not unbearable or even really annoying for the most part, but definitely noticeable.

    I haven't used this in an avalanche but my test deployments have gone exactly as expected. It's simple to re-pack after it's deployed. Getting the cylinder filled is quick and hassle free, and there's few places in the developed world that don't have some facility that can fill the cylinder. It runs me $10 a pop to have it filled at the shop I've been going to.

    I am moderately weight conscious - I try to buy light gear and pack smart but I don't weigh anything and count grams. This pack meets my requirements in this department. You gain a few pounds due to the airbag and cylinder, and the generally burly construction, but not enough that it's really noticeable.

    If you're under 5'8 or so I'd highly recommend trying one of these on in person before you buy. The torso is quite long and not adjustable. I'm around 5'11" and it fits great, but it's borderline too long on my friend that's a few inches shorter than me.

    Affordable Insurance

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

    I recently picked up this pack after using the ABS setup for a few seasons. I am 6'-0", 170 LBS and BCA packs always fit very well on me. The pockets/storage are very intuitive and well thought out. I like the idea of the compressed air vs. the nitrogen that is used in the ABS packs. A test/deployment will run you $5-20/EA with the BCA, while the ABS will cost you $70-100. ABS are better quality, but a BCA pack is more affordable. BCA sells their canisters separately, so keep this in mind if you decide to pull the trigger.

    Pretty Cool

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    This air bag is quite nice. Features tons of room. I have no problem fitting all my avy gear and skins into this bag. There is enough room left over for some snacks and an extra layer or two. The construction of this bag is good and when you start using it, you can tell you have a product that will last. This pack is a bit long and that gives it an awkward fit compared to other brands like ABS. I haven't had to use this bag other then test and I hope to keep it that way. I love the extra protection it provides and I think this is a great bag if your not skiing anything to extreme. If I was riding in Alaska every day I would want a bag with more features such as an ABS or the Black Diamond Jetforce. Over all this is a great pack and it's a nice piece or extra protection, without breaking the bank.

    Great day pack with just enough space

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Been using the BCA packs since the original. Now they've streamlined the airbag components and redesigned the pack that i don't even notice the extra weight of the canister/airbag. I use it for long day missions or sidecountry off resort with enough room for crampons, ice axe, extra layer, food, water and a dslr camera. With the ski carry system you can easily through them on your back and there is a pull out helmet cover for those hot days skinning. If you don't need the extra room, check out the smaller float 22.

    Pack has great adjustments for any body type, i'm 6'1" and fits great. Another great feature is the BCA radio compatibility to feed the radios through the shoulder strap to stay in touch with friends.

    Definitely worth the buy to stay safe and carry everything you need. If you fly, filling the canister is way cheaper than the other packs, any dive/paintball shop should be able to.

    Great day pack with just enough space

    GREAT AIRBAG! Lots of space!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    BCA FLOAT - Awesome backcountry bag! So lite you barely feel it on your back. It does not really impede your movement. Can carry everything you need for a day trip and still provide you that safety and security. Easy to refill at a local scuba shop too. I highly recommend this airbag! BCA makes some great backcountry gear!

    GREAT AIRBAG!  Lots of space!

    Great peace of mind; pack needs work

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    As with any airbag pack, this provides a nice bit of peace of mind that you're odds of a full burial are reduced. As always, remember that no airbag pack can guarantee that you won't be buried and really don't do a whole lot to protect you from cliffs, trees, and other hard objects that you might encounter on the big white ride. In terms of the airbag functionality, this pack is really easy to use, deploy, and re-arm. The air canister connects with an air hose a screw-in trigger cable. It's easy to access and arm/disarm for traveling. Another nice touch is that the trigger can be set up in either the left or right shoulder strap with a couple minutes of effort. I'm also a big fan of the compressed air systems - I took this pack up to Alaska last winter and it was very easy to pack the empty air cylinder on the plane and get it filled at a dive shop in Anchorage.

    As far as the actual backpack is concerned, this pack could use some love. For starters, the frame and shape of the pack is very long and the harness makes the pack ride pretty high on your back. This would definitely be an awkward fit for people with shorter torsos because the top of the pack would end up at or above your shoulders. The interior pockets and organization are ok but not great. There is no back panel access and not much in the main pocket to keep smaller items from getting lost in the abyss. The ski carry system work ok but again not great. The straps seem a little undersized for carrying skis without fraying or cutting through.

    My last major gripe is that the leg strap kind of sucks. Most other packs have one end of the strap sewn into the bottom of the pack with a loop in the free end to connect to the hip belt. This pack comes with a loose strap with loops on both ends - you can run it under a leg and loop both ends through the hip belt, but it's pretty awkward and makes it easy to lose the strap when you take the pack off. Seems like a minor point, but the leg strap plays a key roll in keeping the pack from riding up when deployed in an avalanche.

    Overall, I think this is a decent pack and if money is a big issue then this is a good way to get an extra piece of safety gear in your kit without totally blowing the bank. That being said, the $$ tradeoff is for pack features and comfort. If you're going to make the investment in an airbag pack I think there are better options on the market for comfotr and features (particularly the Mammut and ABS packs) for not that much more money.

    BCA in Action!

    Here is a video showing a deployment of a BCA bag and it's use in a real avalanche.

    Note: This bag does not guarantee you will not be buried - please make sure when travelling in the backcountry you are well educated and have all the proper equipment to keep you safe

    Hands Down Best Airbag on the Market!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I got the Float 32 in the middle of this season and couldn't be more pleased with it. At first, the high volume was a concern, but the ergonomic fit and light weight makes it a non-issue. Plenty of room for food, skins, water, a layer, plus an emergency kit as well as all the standard avalanche tools. I've spent days with the ABS, Black Diamond and Mammut airbag packs and this one is my favorite. The fit, functionality and weight make it the best airbag on the market in my opinion.

    Decent pack, could use some improvement.

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I purchased two of the Float 32 backpacks for the added safety while riding in the back country. Fortunately I have not had to deploy the air bag in an avalanche situation. My review is more on my observations with what I like and what I see room for improvement. I am 6?2? and the pack fits nicely. I was concerned that the pack maybe too large and I considered a smaller one. After 4 trips out using it I am glad I didn?t get anything smaller. I have found that with food, drink, extra clothing, and a handful of the ten essentials the pack is pretty full. Overall I am pretty pleased with this pack.
    Things I like:
    The added feeling that am doing what I can to increase my chances in the event of an avalanche.
    Deployment handle storage is good; just remember to unzip it when you hit the trail.
    The quality of construction is good.
    The shovel and probe area is nicely set up.
    Zipper quality is good.
    Deployment cylinder storage and connections are good.
    Things that could use improvement:
    More small pockets! In addition to the goggle pocket there is a pocket on the right side of the waist belt and only one small pocket in the main compartment for storage. There is a key hook in the inner pocket.
    The waist belt material is very thin; a thicker material would allow the waist belt to have some rigidity. I found that with a heavy coat it was awkward to connect the buckle. I found that the adjustment of the waist belt and the leg harness was not very easy. I found the leg strap to continually loosen up. The instructions leave a fair amount to the imagination on how the leg harness is used. I think I will make modifications to this area of the pack.
    Although the pack is set up with a path for using a hydration bladder there is no hanging means in the main compartment. I found my hydration bladder would get bunched up and restrict the flow to the hose. I melted a small hole in the inner trim at the top of the pack and installed a hook to fix this.

    It works.

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Great Price, great size, and it works. I take it up to RMNP, and pack everything you need for a day trip, and I always pack more food than others, plus a 2L camelback. Although this pack doesn't have a place specifically to hang the camelback (you could sew one in), but I've yet to have any issue lying it across everything else, and it's never really in the way. Once you're touring, you're rarely in there, unless you're grabbing food. or stuffing skins. It fits nice on your shoulders and hips, and it felt good to carry on a 6hr tour up to Tyndall Glacier and back down to the lot at Bear Lake.

    Only issue, is that the small pull strings on the zippers seem a bit unsubstantial. I had to email BCA for a few replacements, but they'll send at no cost to replace, else it's just a great pack for the cost.

    OH!, and refilling for 3$ at the local paintball park is super cost efficient. They let me pull it and test it for no cost.

    It works.

    Good fitting pack, great price, proven..

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

    I got this pack because I think it fits well, looks good, and works well. It is a good price, and I live near several re-fill stations. I hope I never have to use it, but I am glad I have it.

    Good airbag pack at a reasonable price

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    The BCA Float 32 seems to be an all around touring pack that is just the right size for all day tours that is too big for sidecountry laps and too small for avalanche pros who carry a lot of extra gear. The spacious 32 liters, I think, is just the right volume for day tours.

    While touring in the La Sal Mountains above Moab, I was surprised at how light weight the bag felt on my back. Compared to my 32 liter Black Diamond Avalung pack, I did not notice any measurable amount of extra weight. I liked how the bag felt on my shoulders as the straps are very cushy and comfortable. But I was disappointed in the waist belt. It did not seem to carry much of the load on my hips, which means my shoulders got tired pretty quick, and the safety buckle is difficult to adjust to my bony frame compared to traditional snap buckles. I also took issue with the back panel. It is thin and not terribly sturdy, and even caved in the middle if I stood upright and moved my shoulder blades back. I suspect this non-burly back panel saves weight, and is a lesson not to overpack the thing.

    Dislikes include the two compression straps on the sides of the bag. They are pretty much worthless for carrying gear, are thin and cheap, and really only serve the purpose of compressing the bag down if it is not completely full. I also find this to be a problem as I like to strap my climbing skins to the outside of my pack when skiing down.

    One of the key features of the Float 32 is the fact that the cylinder uses compressed air rather than nitrogen or CO2 gas. That means if you deploy the airbag, it is super easy to refill the cylinder at outdoor and scuba shops.

    Design wise, it could use some work, but it is probably the most user friendly airbag pack in the market, and is one of the most affordable. If you are looking to purchase one, I do not think you will find a more functional avalanche pack at a better price.

    Good airbag pack at a reasonable price

    Airbags on a budget

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    This pack is exactly what it is meant to be, an airbag pack for the masses. It's not your top of the line most technologically advanced airbag pack. The ABS system with twin bags will probably float better than the single bag from BCA. The ABS system will inflate microseconds faster than BCA. The ABS will also cost you about twice as much.

    I've been using the Float 32 for two seasons now and I'm a fan. It is a very well organized pack. I love the separate goggle pocket, the tuck away mesh helmet carry, the dividers for probe and shovel are pretty standard and work well. I love that its a $5 cartridge refill as opposed to around $70 for ABS. There's plenty of space for just about any touring situation your going into. It is a big, and tall (as other have mentioned) pack. I'm 6'3 and feel that its size fits me comfortably, if I was much shorter I would go for the Float 22. I've seen shorter people (I'm talking around 5'6 and shorter) using this pack and thought it looked ridiculous and that there wasn't a shot in hell it was comfortable to ski with. Even for me it's still big enough that I never use this pack at the resort, strictly backcountry touring. I will admit I am not the biggest fan of how the pack sits. No matter how tight I strap it around my waist the support is not the best. I get more movement from the pack than I would really like, but its not horrible. The ski carry works well, but again it's not the best out there and on long boot packs it does start to wear one shoulder with the diagonal carry. It's not a big issue by any means but its noticeable.

    I bought this pack because as a typical ski bum I didn't have the cash for a top of the line $1200 ABS pack and I am very happy with my purchase and absolutely recommend it. My complaints are minor and you will not find a better airbag pack at this price point. But, if you happen to have the cash, I'd recommend picking something out of the wide line of ABS packs.

    Awesome Pack

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I got this pack after using the Covert Avalung pack for a few years (wanted a little more insurance in case things didn't go as planned). I'm 5'10" and 170 lbs and it fits perfectly. It's definitely a longer pack, in terms of height, compared to the Covert pack. I feel like if you're kind of short, this pack may be a bit too long. You can fit a lot of gear in and it's pretty dang comfortable. Definitely pleased with this purchase.

    Awesome Pack

    My second season using the Float32

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    This is my second season using the Float 32. I love the fit and functionality (I am 5'9" and 155lbs). I can access my layers, food and gear easily. My rescue gear fits easily in the outer pocket with room to spare.

    I have deployed the pack several times as a means to test it and empty the cylinder prior to traveling to B.C.. Folding and repacking the airbag is much easier than it was on the earlier addition Float 30.

    The pros for me are the fit and function. It has ample room and can compress if you are carrying less gear. Mounting skis is easy and quick and they ride comfortably. The helmet pocket is easy to deploy and stash. Finding a place to fill the cylinder when traveling has been easy so far.

    Cons When I attached my hydration to the velcro near the top of the interior compartment the zipper for the airbag would begin to open especially when carrying skis. The simple remedy was to not use the strap. A couple of the zip pull strings broke. I simply fixed them with parachute cord and tape, no problem.

    I would highly recommend this pack for anyone who is serious about self rescue. I would much prefer not to be buried as all or at least increase my chance of being near the surface. The pack has a great fit and intuitive utility. My only recommendation would be to provide the side pockets for the shovel handle and probe like the Float 30 thus freeing up some room in the two main compartments.

    Do yourself and your ski buddies a favor and get this pack. To me it is essential gear and should be used by all serious back country travelers.

    Does this pack have the ability to carry...

    Does this pack have the ability to carry a snowboard vertically and/or horizontally?

    To make this bag snowboard carry capable you will want to purchase the Backcountry Access Float Snowboard Carry System. Unfortunately we do not carry this add-on at the moment but it is the best/easiest way to make this bag carry ready:

    I purchased the float 32 last year. While...

    I purchased the float 32 last year. While carrying my skis in the recommended diagonal position the airbag zipper and Velcro released under the extra weight of the skis pulling the pack apart. compression straps were pulled tight. Any suggestions on how to rig the skis so this does not happen?

    Man, i cannot say besides you are carrying a ton of ski weight or that zipper/velcro is faulty. I've snowmobiled and hiked both with my skis with no issues. However, I am generally carrying a pair of Praxis 190 BC and Dynafits... lighter-weight setup.

    Snowboard carry attachment?

    Snowboard carry attachment?

    i just bought this pack from y'all. fit,...

    i just bought this pack from y'all. fit, styling(blue version) and quality all seem top notch.i had to get the canister from my local rei because i live in AK and while there they pointed out there is a recall ongoing for this pack (a faulty "e clip" or something. which makes the trigger nonfunctional). are the ones that is selling updated or in need of the fix/revision?

    Is this backpack ok for snowmobilers as...

    Is this backpack ok for snowmobilers as well? Or is it just for back country skiing?

    Is there a way to strap an ice ax to the...

    Is there a way to strap an ice ax to the outside of the pack? I'm wondering how to carry one such that it wouldn't pop the airbag during a tumble down the hill inside an avalanche.

    Best Answer

    Yes, you can strap and axe to the back of the pack, the pick goes into that sleeve at the bottom and the shaft is secured by the bungie next to the "T" in FLOAT. You shouldn't have any interference wiht the airbags and the axe since they aren't really near each other and there is a fair amount of pack between them.

    What types of ski carriage does this allow,...

    What types of ski carriage does this allow, both diagonal and A frame?

    Is this pack compatible with a harness and general rope work for lines with tricky entrances?


    Diagonal ski carry. You can strap skis on there a-frame style but it will get in the way of the airbag's deploy, so not recommended. In terms of harness compatibility - yes, you can fit a harness under there. The leg loop is not the most comfy in the world but it definitely can be fit alongside a harness.

    To anyone who owns this, how large is the...

    To anyone who owns this, how large is the actual tool pocket?

    My probe is the BD QuickDraw 300, which is about 40cm long when packed...just wondering if it will fit in the pocket...

    Best Answer

    Hi there...i have this pack and it holds the mammut 320 probe, which packs to 44cm, (the voile shovel and handle are in there too), with plenty of room to you should be right. its pretty voluminous...the rest of the pack easily fits skins, first aid kits, spare gloves, 500ml thermos, down jackets, sol bivvy's x2, emergency kits, food packs, etc...its a sizeable pack...cheers ss

    Hi there...i have this pack and it holds the mammut 320 probe, which packs to 44cm, (the voile shovel and handle are in there too), with plenty of room to you should be right. its pretty voluminous...the rest of the pack easily fits skins, first aid kits, spare gloves, 500ml thermos, down jackets, sol bivvy's x2, emergency kits, food packs, etc...its a sizeable pack...cheers ss

    Could this pack carry a split splitboard...

    Could this pack carry a split splitboard A-Frame style? Or can it only carry a board with the adapter?

    Is the canister included? The sidebar...

    Is the canister included? The sidebar indicates yes, but this MSRP at other retailers does not include the canister.

    Canister Included: yes