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Be safer in the backcountry with help from the Avalung-equipped Black Diamond Anarchist Winter Pack.

The Black Diamond Anarchist Winter Pack comfortably carries all your gear for a day of backcountry skiing, and it can save your life with its integrated Avalung. Couloir Magazine was so impressed they gave it the Design Innovation award. The shoulder-mounted mouth piece is easy to access if you get caught in a slide, and it increases your chances of survival by helping you breathe under the snow. If you're the one searching, pull off this pack, open the front avie pocket, and quickly remove your shovel and probe. The Anarchist Pack with Avalung is available in a 32L size for half-day tours and a 42L size when you're in the backcountry from sun up to sun down.

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Review Summary
11 4
6 3
3 2
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Black Diamond Anarchist with Avalung Winter Pack - 1953-2563 cu in

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Here's what others have to say...

4 5

perfect 2-3 day AT pack

AT winter use - great size for 2-3 day trips going from hut to hut in european Alps!

How does a snowboard strap to this pack?...

Posted on

How does a snowboard strap to this pack? I don't see straps or loops for it. I guess it can go on horizontally. But how about mounting one vertically?

Responded on

As Bud Martin said further down the page, the compression straps wrap around the front of the pack to hold on a snowboard.

Is the 42L ok for summer use does it have...

Posted on

Is the 42L ok for summer use does it have enough room for a two day hike with a group and is there compartments inside for a sleeping bag or other things


Responded on

It is a decent pack for around the summer, but it doesn't have any separate compartments for something like a sleeping bag. other than the Avalung feature, it is a fairly minimalist pack, and personally, if I wanted to use this as an all seasons pack, I would just buy the Avalung separate, even though it is cheaper, because then you don't have to lug it around in the summer.

4 5

A little added protection

The Avalung packs are an incredible addition to anyone's touring package. You hope to never need to use the avalung, but it is nice to have just in case. The Anarchist pack is very durable which means it is also fairly heavy. The side zip access is a great feature allowing quick access to the main compartment. I am tall (6'1") so I had to go with the 42L for proper fit. The frames are not adjustable to exact fit can be a challenge. There are definitely better packs out there, but to have an avalung with you all the time is worth it.

3 5

Watch that metal square thingy in the sholderpad

The pack is great but the avalung attachment causes pain in my shoulder. The issue is caused by the box (air intake) in the top/back of the shoulder strap....that box rubs my shoulder in a bad way.

Although I should fit the smaller size, I am right on the border of the two sizes. I would recommend to anyone that is thinking of getting this pack to size it up to minimize this problem.

FYI - that annoying box in the shoulder strap can be pulled into the pack...but it isn't recommended.

5 5

Awesome Pack

I had the medium and it was just a little too small so I ended up purchasing a large. I am about 5' 11". One of my favorite pieces of BD gear that I own. Great features include a side zip to get at gear quickly without flipping open the top, and the helmet carry. When the compression straps are cinched it carries like a much smaller pack, but if you need it for a longer day just uncinch it and fill er up.

5 5


This pack is excellent. Caries the stuff you need to be safe in the backcountry. Plus has plenty of room for extra clothes and first aid kit etc... Bomber proof construction. The avalung is a nice feature that hopefully i will never have to see if it works in real time. This pack carries skis well when bootpacking. I think this pack is a bit too small to carry the stuff you need for overnights especially if your need to carry a stove, fuel and warm sleeping bag. But for its design as an awesome full day ski touring pack I have not found better.

5 5

Great pack

This is one of my favorite packs, without considering the avalung. The lid pockets work well, the front pocket is great for shovel, probe & skins, and the side entrance to the main compartment allows easy access to your lunch or puffy without undoing the lid. Having the avalung integrated means there is no excuse for not having it ready in sketchy conditions.

4 5

Nice all around BD pack

I've had this pack since mid last winter. This is a great pack for the wasatch.

3 5

Almost Perfect

I took this pack on a snow camping overnight. I had it loaded w/ 30+ lbs. The Shoulder strap w/ the avalung tube is uncomfortable. More tuning may be required on my part. The Hip belt has no padding but was not a problem. 2500cu makes a great overnight pack yet still sucks down for day trips.
The lid pocket could be a little bit bigger.
I use a BD deploy 3 shovel and it doesn't fit in the dedicated pocket w/ the handle attached. But it can be fished out of the side pocket. A larger shovel may be more difficult.
I wanted a pack w/ an insulated camelback tube and larger than 1800cu. And this pack serves that well. I love the pocket on the outside of the pack. Its great for large accessories like mittens, goggles and more w/ our having stuff buried. I have no plans of returning it. I give it a conservative rating based on comfort. And w/ any pack you have to learn how to pack it for you.

We were considering the Anarchist pack in...

Posted on

We were considering the Anarchist pack in the med-lrg (son's torso measurement was 19 1/2 "). The question is, he has an older BCA shovel that is 30 cms across, would it fit in the shovel compartment? As well if an Anarchist was purchased wo the avalung does an avalung fit in shoulder strap or does it have to be worn around/upon the chest?

Responded on

The shovel will fit. Trust me, get the 42L not the 32. The separate avalungs MUST ONLY be worn as intended!!! (CHEST)

4 5

If it wasn't for...

..the AvaLung intake manifold, a small rectangular metal box located in the left strap, this pack would be one pack to rule them all. The problem though, is that it's somewhat uncomfortable when you've put a load on the pack. BD says you should NOT place it inside the pack as it would restrict the ability to pull in fresh air from the snow pack, which makes sense as the strap itself is a nylon mesh that's highly breathable. The fit may be different for others, but for me, I found it constantly digging into my upper shoulder with weight on, and when doing an overnighter, it just wasn't going to fly in the long run. I opted to pick up an independent AvaLung as it's more adjustable and gives the added benefit of using it with multiple packs for different occasions. Aside from this, the pack is highly durable, has pretty decent support, has easy access, able to handle a snowboard, cinches down really well (42L), and is well designed overall. I didn't notice the resonance issue previously mentioned.

5 5

" depends on what?"

The resonance does not seem to inhibit air flow as much as was implied in the other review. I'm a patroller at a Colorado resort and I ski in the backcountry 30 to 40 days a year. I have this pack, and mine does resonate a little bit when I breathe through it, however I am still able to breathe. As for the Avalung not allowing enough airflow for the demands of skiing and skinning, this problem is avoided by holding the mouthpiece in your teeth but keeping your mouth open around it. That way if you actually get caught in a slide, all you have to do is close your mouth around it. If you become buried, it may not be as easy to breathe through as a snorkel or a scuba unit, but it is exponentially easier to breathe under the snow with an Avalung in your mouth than it is without one (I've tried). As annoying as it may be to have to hold something in your teeth while you ski, you should get over it because the whole point of the thing is to save your life by allowing you to breath where you otherwise could not. The bottom line is that the built-in Avalung device may not be absolutely perfect, but if you use it properly it is still far better than not having one at all.

5 5

An awesome pack!

The Anarchist is a great pack. I love it because it can hold alot of stuff for longer missions but it sits really well on the back with minimal things as well. It cinches down nice and tight and becomes one with back for enhanced ripping. I like the way it carries skis and has a nice side zip for easy access, and it has an avalung.

Can anyone comment on how well this pack...

Posted on

Can anyone comment on how well this pack works with a snowboard? I'm aware a snowboard can be attached via the compression straps, but how effective is this?

Responded on

It's fairly effective, but the Outlaw might work a little better.

2 5

It depends!

While the avalung has certainly been responsible for saving lives, I’m not giving this integrated version high marks. The reason is “it depends”. It depends on the pack you get! Do you feel lucky? Our ski patrol uses this pack and approximately 1/3 of the integrated avalung units resonate significantly when breathing in or out of the mouth piece. Many describe this noise as a “mating elephant” or other such funny description, but I don’t find the issue amusing when try to use it. Another approximately 1/3 state it resonates sporadically and the last 1/3 claim it works great (quite and smooth).

I’m an experienced open and closed circuit SCUBA user and I am very comfortable breathing through a mouth piece. It became quickly apparent however that when the avalunge became a resonance chamber the air flow was significantly diminished – making it much more difficult to breath. As a comparison, a smaller diameter snorkel with clean air flow is very easy to breath through. Skiing through heavy powder with this thing in your mouth, you are not able to keep up with the oxygen demand. And the whole reason for a mouth piece is to be IN your mouth when skiing suspicious slopes (so says the BD engineers) – so this negates the entire purpose of the unit!

The issue seems to be with the box at the left shoulder – the manifold unit. After calling BD about this, the first guy that answered the phone told me it was designed purposely with this noise so you know it was working correctly. How absurd! Tech service responded that this was a ridiculous answer as well. I sent the pack back for inspection and the resonance was confirmed. BD engineers did admit they had a general issue with this design, but claimed it did not restrict air flow. However their testing consists of pass/fail criteria and they have not released data on airflow rate with and without resonance. Yes, you can still breath when the resonance kicks in, but not well. And certainly not well enough to ski or skin with the device in your mouth in heavy powder at higher altitudes. And how about after being buried by an avalanche when your heart is racing and all goes black, most likely dealing with a traumatic injury. Do you think you’re going to want keep breathing through a device that restricts your airflow significantly? They did say they were working on this issue for future designs but had no intensions for recall. A new pack was returned to me but unfortunately it has the same issue. Interestingly my wife’s unit does not have the issue and works very well.

The pack itself is well made and durable. The larger size can easily support a multi-day winter tour. Most of the reviews I see are for the pack, not the avalung. May only comment with the pack itself is that the ski/ice axe loops being too large to accommodate ice axes securely (more for skis). I’m surprised I have not seen more reviews on this resonance issues, but perhaps folks just accept it?

Again, if you feel lucky, buy the unit, but I don’t recommend rolling the dice and parting with your cash for a unit that may or may not operate smoothly if you are using this mainly for avalanche use. Perhaps the stand alone unit operates more smoothly? One man’s opinion.

Credentials (for what it's worth): 10 year senior ski patroller - Central California Sierra Nevada (instructor for avalanche, outdoor medical and winter search and rescue),

Responded on

Here is the deal with the "Moose call" noise. It does not restrict the airflow that I can tell and the sound depends upon the volume of air you are drawing. The sound seems to appear with low volume breathing not the type of breathing done during exertion or a panic situation. As for breathing while skiing avy terrain, just hold the mouthpiece in your teeth if you need to breath that heavily. The idea is to have the mouthpiece in place should you go under. I own and use two of the original pack (cordura) I work and ski the backcountry of Pitkin county Colorado (worst avalanche county in the country) and would not ski the BC without one. Credentials: 20yr Ski Patroller & Mountain Rescue member

Pack in Use

Pack in Use

Posted on

Backcountry skiing in the Wastch with the Avalung Anarchist pack.

5 5

Anarchist avalung 1 for all

This pack has been out for about three years now and remains my favorite BD Avalung pack. It has enough space to fit gear for multiple day backcountry missions but cinches down tight when only a day lunch and extra layers are needed. The best part about this pack is that no matter what load you are carrying it always fits snug to your back unlike other packs that fit awkwardly when maxed out. Also it has a side zip that allows you to find things further down in the pack without having to search by feel. To top it off it has the Avalung just in case. So if I could choose one backpack to cover all of my needs while in the Backcountry this is definitely it.

Tech specs state "snowboard carry - yes"...

Posted on

Tech specs state "snowboard carry - yes" but I do not see this feature on the pack. How can you attach a snowboard to the pack "as is?"

Responded on

You use the compression straps from the side to go around the snowboard on the front of the pack.

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