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It's time to update your checklist.
Skis, boots, and poles? Check. Helmet, goggles, and gloves? Check. Beacon, shovel, and probe? Check—there are some things you don't head into the mountains without, and it's time to update your list to include the Mammut Ride RAS 3.0 Backpack. Airbag technology has been proven to save lives, and when it's as light, functional, and easy to use as the Ride 3.0, you'd have to have a really good reason to leave it behind.
Obviously, the safest policy is to avoid avalanches altogether, but unexpected things happen, and when they do, the Ride can inflate within three seconds to help keep you on the surface of a slide and shield your head and core from trauma. Just pull the shoulder-mounted deployment handle to inflate the bag, and the padded waist belt, safety leg strap, and sternum strap will keep the pack securely attached to you, even in the turmoil of a slide. After deployment, deflate the bags and pack them back up according to instructions and remember that the compressed air canister needs to be replaced. You can even remove the airbag system entirely if you want a lightweight in-bounds pack, or swap it between all RAS packs to fine-tune your carrying capacity.
The Ride wouldn't be that useful if it wasn't a functional pack, so Mammut made sure it had all the features of a modern freeride pack, like ski and snowboard carry systems, a special pocket for your avy tools, and gear loops for ice axes and ski poles. You can cinch down your day's load using the side compression straps, stash your goggles in the padded pocket for safekeeping, and toss a reservoir in the hydration-compatible sleeve so you don't have to gobble snow all day. All this weight is carried comfortable by the V-frame aluminum suspension, padded back panel, and removable waist belt. Mammut even included an SOS label with emergency instructions.
Please note that this system does not include the Refillable Compressed Air Cartridge, which is available separately (MAM0939). And please remember, this airbag system is NOT a guarantee that you will survive an avalanche; get educated, get the right tools, travel with partners, and be smart out there.
- All-around airbag pack for backcountry explorers
- RAS airbag increases chances of surviving avalanche
- Fabric is ultra-tough and waterproof
- Aluminum frame supports and stabilizes load
- Front pocket keeps avy gear within easy reach
- Hydration system compatible (reservoir not included)
- Side compression straps keep pack compact
- Safety leg loop for added security
- Item #MAM00PO
- Q & A
Really nice pack and it has an airbag!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This is a great airbag pack that is perfect for full days out in the mountains. I've never had to use the airbag in anger so I won't pretend to review that feature, but it's a well regarded system. It also suffers from all of the potential travel headaches of canister based systems.
Things I really like:
1) The main zipper pulls and buckles are easily manipulable with gloves on (even mittens if they're not over bulky). Well done.
2) It's fits all of the gear you need for a full day in the mountains. I can fit a full lunch, extra layers and gloves, emergency bivvy and food, tool and repair kit, and a 1.5 liter water bottle in the main compartment. I've also fit aluminum crampons (or mr chomps ski crampons but not both) and a minimalist harness in there as well. The avalanche tool pouch is big enough for a real shovel and probe along with my skins. The fleece lined goggle pocket is fine for goggles + snacks.
3) Things strap to it easily wihout a lot of excess straps flopping around. The vertical snowboard carry and ice axe attachments are simple to use. I also like the little plastic loops at the base of the carry straps, they are perfect for strapping your helmet to.
Splitskis work well carried A-frame also using the compression straps, but don't use it this way in avalanche terrain since this configuration interferes with the airbag deployment.
4) It's reasonably lightweight for an airbag pack.
Things that aren't perfect:
1) The bag isn't the best for riding with heavy or bulky loads. It doesn't deal well with loads over 25 pounds or so and when full it's a portly little 30L bag that rides a bit further from the body than I'd like. Making it slightly longer and thinner would be my preference.
The straps are surprising comfortable up 30 lbs or so, but because the doesn't ride super close to your body it has a larger impact on snowboarding and hiking dynamics when fully loaded than other packs I've owned. Not a dealbreaker by any means but it's not great particularly when you add the awkward load of a snowboard to the very back of the pack.
It does just fine with smaller loads and the compression straps work well to hug it in as much as possible.
2. It doesn't have backpanel access. Backpanel access isn't a big deal for everyone but I really like the ability to easily access my whole pack without undoing compression straps and/or taking my board of my back. This is particular handy when booting up a couloir for example.
3. Diagonal ski carry system does not work well for splitboard skis, I imagine it'd be OK for all but the fattest of skis but I'm still not totally sold on this method of attachment. A frame works well but makes the airbag feature useless.
4. My version doesn't have a hipbelt pocket. Looks like they fixed that.
Great bag for a full day of backcountry snowboarding with the added bonus of an airbag.
I find I use this pack happily all winter and don't particularly notice the extra couple of pounds from the airbag. Then volcano season (spring) hits and all of a sudden my other pack feels featherweight. Bonus!