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Jetforce Tour 26L
Black Diamond's Jetforce Tour 26L features the new Alpride E1 airbag system, which is one of the lightest electrical airbag systems that's offered on the market. The system runs using supercapacitator technology, which replaces the traditional lithium ion battery to save weight and be less susceptible to changes in performance in very cold temperatures—a huge bonus when you're out in extremely cold conditions. No cartridges are necessary, making this system extremely travel-friendly, and you can also practice with it without having to worry about refilling cartridges, meaning you'll be better prepared in the event of an emergency. The Alpride E1 system easily charges in an hour with a micro USB, and can also be charged in about 40 minutes with two AA batteries while you're out in the backcountry. To make it more second-nature if you do ever need to deploy the system, Alpride designed the trigger so it can sit on whatever side you prefer.
With a generous 26-liter capacity, the pack itself has all the bells and whistles for a day in the backcountry. The main compartment accommodates your food, water, layers, and first aid kit, and the separate compartment for your shovel and probe keeps them quickly accessible. An adjustable hip belt with a stash pocket keeps your inclinometer or sunscreen close at hand, and the included leg loop prevents the pack from being pulled over your head if you deploy it during a slide.
- Airbag pack for backcountry skiing and snowboarding
- Fan-based airbag is fully electronic for easy travel
- Supercapacitator technology functions reliably in the cold
- System charges easily with a micro USB or two AA batteries
- Deploy trigger sits on either shoulder for efficient deployment
- Avalanche safety compartment for quick access in an emergency
- Spacious main compartment accommodates all your essentials
- Item #BLD00ZV
- Q & A
Never Looking Back
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I am super into the whole idea of electric airbags instead of canisters. Easy to travel with, easy to use, and I love that I can test it out as frequently as I like to ensure that I know it's working properly and so I can practice using it.
When I found out they were able to take all the great things about electric bags, and make them way lighter with this supercapacitor business, I was stoked. Oh and it's a good looking black bag not dorky colors or weird shape?? Sold.
One important tip, and this is just one guy's opinion, but if you will use this for sledding or any activity where you'll use a full face helmet, I'd go with the S/M size unless you have a massive torso. I'm 6' tall, and the M/L just cramps my mobility a little bit with my full face on, and a couple layers of hoods bunching up in between. The S/M is just a little bit shorter and fixes the problem completely. You do give up 2L of storage space though, so if you don't wear a full face helmet at all then just stick with your normal size.
Storage is minimal, but sufficient. Dedicated avy gear pocket holds my shovel and probe, and has a smaller zip pocket that I keep a headlamp, tool, and other little emergency goodies. Main compartment is just one big thing, personally I'd like more organization in there, but I'm guessing they have to make some concessions to keep the weight and cost down.
Turning on and off is a bit more annoying than with BD's first air bags. You used to turn it on with the handle, but now you have to go in and turn it on at the fan itself inside your bag. A nuisance for sure, but again since this is a concession made to keep the weight down I am not upset. And it does also mean less vulnerable parts out in the elements to break/freeze up.
- Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Overall the backpack is fantastic! Haven’t had time to put it through the wringer yet, but initial impressions are high!
Took it out for a long day in the Wasatch Backcountry and never felt like I needed more room. With the dedicated shovel/probe pocket, and the helmet cradle, I had plenty of room in the main compartment for my shell, a midlayer, some water, and my skins.
As for the airbag itself, luckily the only time I’ve deployed it has been at dinner parties as a fun distraction! That’s another great reason to get this pack, since it’s a fan powered by supercapacitors, it’s easily recharged by batteries or the charging cable, so no need to refill a cartridge or anything! You can deploy it as much as you want!
When it’s my life on the line I feel much more comfortable traveling in the backcountry with this sucker on my back!
Few downsides though, your friends that don’t have an airbag will poke fun at you and constantly ask why you don’t just have the airbag deployed at all times, even on the skinner up! Ok ok all jokes aside, the only thing that I’ve seen that might be a problem is with the ski carry. This pack does not have straps to carry your skis in an a-frame, so you have to use the cross carry (which makes sense though a-frame would interfere with the air bag deployment). If you have your helmet in the cradle it seems like there might be some interference between the skis and the helmet/cradle. Haven’t tried it yet, so there may be a workaround!
Overall 5/5 for this pack because BD build quality, peace of mind, and it being an awesome pack!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I have been closely watching the development and testing of the Alpride E1 system for the last couple of seasons and eagerly awaiting its arrival in the US. I've always loved the fit and function of Black Diamond's ski packs, so I was stoked to hear that they had partnered with Alpride this season to get the E1 system into their lineup.
The E1 system is nothing short of an engineering marvel in my opinion. The initial charge of the fully discharged capacitors takes about 45 minutes, after which a pair of regular AA batteries maintains the charge level for several weeks. The engine for the system is quite small - about the size of a 28oz can of tomatoes - and contained in a tidy little hard-sided zippered pouch in the main compartment of the pack. This means that this 26L pack has almost as much usable space as my old 32L cannister-based system.
The user interface is reassuringly straightforward. A dual action (pull and twist) switch arms the pack, it beeps at you a couple times to indicate you're ready to rip, and a strip of LEDs that is visible from the outside of the pack continuously blinks to indicate you're still fully charged. Basically - it just works. Turn it on at the car and forget about it all day just like a compressed air bag.
The one test deployment I have done went as expected, with the airbag inflating in a similar amount of time to my compressed air pack. Note that this system does not have an automatic deflation feature like BD's in-house designed Li-Ion powered JetForce system. Not a huge concern for me as my compressed air pack didn't do that either, but some folks really like the idea of having the bag deflate in a full burial situation to have a little more of a breathing pocket - I'll let you do your own research and decide how important this is to you.
The fit and design of the pack will be familiar to anyone that has used any of Black Diamond's ski packs in the last decade. Pleasingly minimalist yet fully featured. You get an avy gear pocket, a large main pouch, a top pouch, an internal pouch, the ever-useful snack pouch on the hip belt, a stow-away helmet carry bra, as well as horizontal ski carry and ice-axe carry. The suspension design carries weight well and does a good job virtually eliminating any bouncing or movement of the pack while skiing.
If you are a believer in the life-saving potential of airbag packs, want a lightweight and streamlined pack that won't slow you down on big days, and want to ditch compressed air and move to an electric airbag for hassle-free practice deployments and travel, this is the bag you need!
Would it be possible to run a camelback hose through one of the shoulder sleeves and into the storage area of the pack? I know there's no dedicated bladder sleeve inside the pack, just not sure if the zippered sleeve on the shoulder only feeds into the airbag area, or if it could run into the main storage part of the pack?
Hey Adrian, This is possible through either of the shoulder sleeves. It runs into the main area of the pack.