jwcate321292 wrote a review of Backcountry Access Float 22 Airbag Backpack - 1343cu in on March 29, 2013
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.