Top 7 Best Avalanche Airbags In 2024

Mountains are a beauty for every skier and anyone who loves nature. It is quite easy to forget the danger it holds when you are floored by its beauty and just wish to explore its majestic terrain. However, if you have ever seen the force that a mass of ice carries when coming down a mountain, you must be wary of the dangers that a mountain holds.

An avalanche airbag is designed to provide safety when skiing in avalanche terrain. This technology inflates the airbag with about 150 liters of compressed gas and helps you stay afloat in case of a slide.

Avalanche airbags have been a preserve for expert skiers and snowboarders for years now, and it has only become accessible to even entry-level skiers in modern times due to advanced technology and innovation.

Related: Best-Heated Ski Jackets

The more recent avalanche airbag models employ a supercapacitor to fill the airbag instead of a canister. This design is more convenient and easy to use. While avalanches are easier to manage in ski resorts due to the presence of ski patrollers, the same cannot be said when you are skiing in ungroomed backcountry terrains.

This is why avalanche airbags are crucial safety gear for anyone who wants to ski around the mountain freely. As an experienced ski instructor, I have witnessed a fair share of avalanches. Fortunately, I have never had to face one. I always have an avalanche airbag when heading to ski locations further away from the resort.

If you are hunting for an avalanche airbag, then you are at the right place. I will provide you with the best avalanche airbag models for 2024, a guide on selecting the best model, and answer some of the questions you may have about this safety gear.

Let’s dive in!

7 Best Avalanche Airbags In 2024

Avalanche Airbag Preview Price
Ortovox Ascent 30 Avabag Kit Overall Best Avalanche Airbag Check Price
Mammut Light Removable 3.0 Airbag System Backpack Runner Up Avalanche Airbags Check Price
Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Check Price
Scott Patrol E1 40 Backpack Scott Patrol E1 40 Backpack Check Price
Mammut Light Removable 3.0 Airbag System Backpack Mammut Light Removable 3.0 Airbag System Backpack Check Price
BCA Backcountry Access Float E2 Avalanche Airbag Pack Backcountry Access MtnPro Vest Avalanche Airbag 2.0 . . Check Price
Backcountry Access MtnPro Vest Avalanche Airbag 2.0 Backcountry Access MtnPro Vest Avalanche Airbag 2.0 Check Price

1 . Ortovox Ascent 30 Avabag Kit – Best Overall

  • Large capacitynAffordablenPadded back foamnGreat colorway for easy spottingnUser-friendlynComes with bells and whistlesnWell-designed partitionsnCompatible with your hydration system
  • None

This avalanche airbag is perfect for extensive tours on backcountry terrain. It is an affordable yet versatile model that will come in handy as you ski. Ortovox allows you to purchase the inflatable airbag system without the pack making it less heavy on your arms and pockets.

The pack provides a large amount of storage for your avalanche tools and provides ski straps for your skis. It is also compatible with your hydration system. This airbag pack also provides a carry system for your ski helmet. Quite impressive, right?

This avalanche airbag is fitted with padded back foam to ensure your comfort even against a huge load. The bag’s color is also designed to be easily spotted and makes it easy for the rescue team to find you in an emergency. It is also fitted with a decent amount of bells and whistles that you may need off-piste.

This airbag pack is not only functional when skiing on avalanche terrains but is ideal for storage even when skiing on a piste. Its user-friendly features are quite a score if you purchase this bag.

It is my best model from this review, and I cannot stop raving about its solid performance.

Why Is The Ortovox Ascent 30 Avabag The  Best Avalanche Airbag For 2024?

This is the smallest and lightest avalanche airbag from the Ortovox brand if sold separately from the pack weighing just under 700g. What I love most about this model is its high filling speed with a record time of 3,3 seconds. This is one of the fastest airbag systems on the market.

Another feature I appreciate is the pre-tension tool that it comes with. This tool allows you to train yourself on using the airbag without deploying the air canisters.

The pack offers great storage room, ideal for any skier on the outback. It is also designed using durable material and is lined with a PU coating to ensure that snow does not get into the bag.

The 3D molded foam added on the back, straps, and waist straps is the perfect addition to an already wholesome package. The innovative welding technology used on the bag ensures the airbag is compact. It also enhances its resistance to leaks and tears. I highly recommend this  Ortovox airbag.

2 . Mammut Light Removable 3.0 Airbag System Backpack – Runner Up

  • Easy to transfer to other Mammut RAS backpacksnLightweight fabricnReliablenAdjustable handle that is easy to pull during deploymentnDiagonal ski carry systemnCompatible with hydration system nProvides great back support
  • Lightweight material could pose a challenge when using a lift or helicopternDifficult to travel with in regard to refill centersnTiny tool compartmentnZip design makes it difficult to pack

This airbag pack is designed for all-around protection. The pack design allows enough support to handle the heavy airbag without bearing any shoulder or back pains. The airbags inflation system, like the Ortovox, deploys and fills up in a record 3 seconds.

It is designed to protect your head and neck from trauma using its wrap-around structure. The best feature of this bag is the support it offers. It is fitted with a V-shaped frame constructed from aluminum, increasing support on the Thermo-packed back.

It also features a diagonal ski carry which comes in handy for holding the skis. The avalanche airbag is compact, creating additional space for storage. This gear is fitted with an external zipper with a micro pocket ideal for carrying your communication gear and snacks.

3 . Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag – Budget Pick

  • LightnAffordable nEasy to usenAdjustable height hipnDurablenCompatible hydration systemnInternal ice axe compartment
  • BulkynAir travel with an air cylinder is not idealnDiagonal ski carries one way

This new-sized bag from the BCA model boasts a multifunctional backpack that provides you with enough storage for you and even other people. It is lightweight and features high performance.

This new airbag removal system is 30 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than its predecessor. This creates room for other essential ski gear you may need when skiing in the backcountry.

The material used in this pack is designed to withstand wear and tear. The shoulder straps and hip belt are fully adjustable and fitted with a molded back panel for maximum comfort. The bag has a compatible hydration system which is essential when skiing on this challenging terrain.

This great airbag pack option won’t hurt your pockets as it is quite affordable. It also features water-resistant zippers. The front partition is used to keep your wet gear separate from others.

4 . Scott Patrol E1 40 Backpack

  • Third-party Alpride E1 airbag systemnReliable supercapacitor that is not affected by cold temperaturesnDurablenNumerous internal pockets
  • ExpensivenHip belt pocket is quite smallnPoor diagonal carry system designnNot compatible with hydration system

The Scott Patrol brand boasts some of the best airbag technologies. It employs a supercapacitor system making it reliable and easy to maintain. You can easily carry the supercapacitor when traveling. This bag is the latest addition to the Patrol E1 range.

Many electric fans utilize lithium-ion batteries to generate power which can be quite a hassle to get through customs when traveling by air. This can be very inconvenient for you. This pack is perfect for ski experts who can last several days on backcountry terrain.

This Scott patrol model is one of the most spacious backpacks on the market, providing you with more than enough storage while backcountry skiing. It is also fitted with a portable mesh helmet holder. 

Backcountry access requires a lot of ski gear, food, and water to last you the day or days, depending on the conditions. If you are keen on purchasing an avalanche airbag with space, then this model is your best bet.

5 . Mammut Light Removable 3.0 Airbag System Backpack

  • Lightweight systemnGreat deployment mechanismnCompatible with Mammut backpacksnCompactnResistance to wear and tear
  • None

This is a uniquely designed airbag compared to the abovementioned ones. This model features the airbag only and the attachments needed to secure your airbag. It is a stand-alone airbag system compatible with other Mammut 3.0 backpacks.

The deployment handle on the bag folds to avoid triggers when skiing through avalanche ski terrain. The tear-proof nylon used to make the bag is also a great feature for enhancing durability.

This airbag utilizes compressed air canisters. It provides the standard 150 liters deployed in case of an avalanche. I love this bag due to the portability it comes with. You have the choice of whether to carry the airbag with a backpack or not, which is something I appreciate.

6 . BCA Backcountry Access Float E2 Avalanche Airbag Pack

  • SupercapacitornRobust buildnWater resistantnDurablenHelmet carry solutionnExcellent stitchingnGreat support
  • Basic chest strap for the price

This airbag utilizes Alprides new supercapacitor technology. It also features a robust build that I would advise you not to heave on any surfaces due to the electronics attached to the airbag.

If you are keen on looks, this backcountry airbag will be a great option. The zippers are YKK, and the fabric used is water-resistant and durable. The buckles and hardware securing the airbag straps are made of aluminum.

The stitching on the avalanche airbag is impeccable, providing great reinforcement even when carrying heavy ski gear. it provides a helmet carry solution and a dedicated zipper for your ski goggles.

It also provides a water compartment essential when you are on backcountry terrain. It is a good pack for those who know how to utilize space efficiently. The padded back and straps offer great comfort and support, which every skier will appreciate.

7 . Backcountry Access MtnPro Vest Avalanche Airbag 2.0

  • High performancenAffordablenImproved back supportnCompatible with your hydration systemnBreathable materialn3-year warrantynTrusted brand
  • Prone to wear and tear

This airbag is designed for high-performance backcountry skiing. It is a low-profile pack that seamlessly integrates with your hydration system. It is fitted with back protection with a 1mm hard shell between two foam layers to offer extra support against the huge weight load.

A zippered covering well separates the float 2.0 system. This ensures adequate space in the main compartment for your ski gear, emergency supplies, and first aid kit. It is the perfect companion for outback skiing.

This airbag also features an external shovel carry compartment and offers back panel support for improved performance. It is designed with breathable material to avoid overheating. This float backpack is the perfect in-between the brand could find for protection against trees and objects in motion.

Retailing at $799, this avalanche is one I highly recommend not only because Backcountry Access is a trusted brand, but the 3-year warranty it comes with provides you with additional peace of mind in case of product defect.

What Is An Avalanche Airbag?

An avalanche airbag is an inflatable airbag designed with a built-in rapid inflation mechanism that looks like an inflated balloon when full. It starts filling up with compressed air as soon as you pull the handle on the airbag. 

It is a life-saving tool that is especially helpful in ungroomed ski terrains such as the backcountry.

Here’s how. 

The science behind an avalanche airbag is that whenever a large mass is in motion-similar to an avalanche- the larger objects that are also lightweight tend to float while the more dense objects though small, will sink to the bottom.

This means when caught in an avalanche, the airbag will help you stay afloat when connected to it and protect you from being buried in the snow. The avalanche airbags also come in bright neon colors that are much easier for rescue teams to spot in times of evacuation and emergency services.

When deployed, the airbag also helps protect your neck and head from trauma as you are being jostled around in an avalanche. This is because the airbag inflates on top of the pack creating a cushion for your neck and head.

Are Avalanche Bags Worth It?

There has been a lingering debate on the efficacy of avalanche airbags for skiers. The main reason is that not enough avalanche cases are reported. However, as a ski instructor, I have witnessed a life being saved in an avalanche, and I am not sure I would be saying the same thing if the victim did not deploy his avalanche airbag.

Despite the never-ending debate, we all understand the impact that an avalanche may have on your body and the force it carries. It is, therefore, more important that you stay safe than sorry. 

I recommend that you always carry your avalanche airbag when heading for a ski on the backcountry terrain and learn how to use it just in case the need arises properly.

Types Of Avalanche Airbag Inflation Systems

There are two main categories of avalanche airbag inflation systems. Included in them are:

Compressed Air 

This method uses gas canisters filled with pressurized air. It quickly fills the airbag when deployed. This can be done by pulling the handle fitted on the airbag pack’s shoulder strap.

This system is quite costly, given that you must replace or refill the gas after every use. This makes people grow apathetic towards the system as you do not want to deploy the airbag in case you are not sure whether the danger is ‘real’.

 It is also quite challenging to travel by air with it as airports avoid bringing pressurized air on board. People are also unwilling to learn how to use the airbags with this system due to the accrued cost.

Electric fans

This is an innovation that uses a high-speed battery-operated fan to fill the airbag. This method is quite affordable and makes it easier for people to learn how to operate the avalanche airbag.

While the initial investment is quite high, the long-term cost of operating the electrical fans is less compared to gas cylinders and compressors.  Batteries can be used more than once and generally have a longer lifespan hence offering more value. It is also easier to travel with this type of system.

Buying Guide On Purchasing The Best Avalanche Airbag

Compressed Air Vs. Electrical Fan

Compressed air canisters are more common compared to electric fans. They are easy to operate, and the actual canisters can easily be bought from sports shops. You need multiple canisters when practicing. 

This makes airbags a very costly investment. Compressed air is very difficult to move when traveling by air.

On the other hand, electrical fans are rechargeable even though they have a high initial investment cost. The choice of whether to purchase an airbag powered by compressed air or rechargeable batteries is a matter of preference and accessibility. No one method is better than the other.


It is important to check the product description to get the capacity that it is able to hold. Avalanche gear is usually quite bulky and commonly made of metals. Keeping the initial weight at a minimum when operating avalanche airbags is important.

A lighter pack usually requires a trade-off. It implies that you will not have all the necessary gear you might need when heading out to avalanche ski terrain. A heavy airbag will force you to overexert yourself.

You must carefully consider what to carry when you want to go skiing in the backcountry. Choosing an airbag with the necessary back support will help you easily bear the weight without suffering from shoulder and back aches.


It is important that whatever avalanche airbag you invest in is long-lasting and provides value for your money. This is especially so if you are dealing with safety gear. Failure of your safety equipment could be quite risky and result in injury.

The airbag models mentioned in this review are made with high-quality materials. The avalanche bag you choose should be able to withstand wear and tear. This is because of the dangerous terrains that are synonymous with backcountry skiing.


If you are out skiing the whole day, the avalanche airbag you choose should secure your ski gear excellency. The pack should still feel comfortable on your shoulders. Heavy ski gear will require you to choose an airbag with good back support.

A backpack with reinforced back frames and padded foam will provide you with the necessary comfort. The models mentioned in this review feature adjustable straps to help distribute the weight. This will help ease the load on your back.


All avalanche airbags are designed differently. They come with dedicated features that help improve your backcountry skiing experience. While some bags come fitted with different compartments, others come stand-alone to cut off the weight as much as possible.

You must decide on what you want before purchasing so you do not regret making the decision. A small bag design is ideal for short backcountry trips. However, the Scott Patrol E1 40 is a perfect choice if you are making a long trip.

How Do I Fly With An Avalanche Airbag?

Airports avoid any compressed air entering an airplane as it can become quite dangerous once released. It can be quite challenging to fly with an avalanche bag, but the steps below will help avoid trouble with customs.

  • Empty the air canister. You can travel with an air canister as long as it is empty. This is also a great way to check whether your airbag system is working properly.
  • To prove to the authorities that the canister is empty, you must separate the head from the cylinder. Most canisters are designed to be hand-tightened, and separating the two is quite easy. It will easily come apart once you screw the lid off.
  • Carefully store away the parts after the relevant authority proves that the canister is empty. Placing them in a new and clean ziplock bag may be the best way to do this. Place it on your carry-on to avoid losing the parts.
  • You can easily find refill stations around ski resorts. Be sure to refill your gas canister once you land and enjoy your ski-touring escapades.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Should I Store My Gas Cylinder And Avalanche Airbag Off-Season?

You should store them in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from any heat or sunlight. It is also important to keep the airbag pack and cylinder away from all corrosive materials to avoid damage.

Do Avalanche Airbags Work In Heavy Snow?

Yes, they do. Because an avalanche consists of a huge mass of snow, it is usually very heavy. This makes it quite compact, making for a smaller contact area during impact. Loose snow has a relatively lower density than compact snow, making an avalanche airbag highly efficient even in heavy snow.

Final Thoughts

I remember the first and only time I witnessed a man caught in an avalanche. It was nothing short of a horrific nightmare that I like to think I would have been fine not witnessing. It, however, helped me truly understand the necessity of an avalanche airbag while skiing off-piste on the ungroomed mountain terrain.

It had been triggered by heavy rains that had fallen the night before. The sound from the snow falling was terrifying, to say the least. What feels even worse is knowing that you are not able to help.

Therefore, you must always have an avalanche airbag pack when heading out to new terrain in the backcountry or choosing to ski an avalanche-prone terrain. While it does work to improve your chances of survival, you should be careful not to be too adventurous for your good and always lie on the side of caution.

An avalanche improves your chances of survival, but you should not be so nonchalant because you have an airbag strapped to your shoulders. We must appreciate the power behind an avalanche and realize how risky and life-threatening it is. Also, be sure to learn how to use this safety gear and when you should use it.

I hope the information provided in this review will help you invest more effort into your ski safety gear and answer key questions on avalanche airbags. Just ensure your safety gear is at hand to help you brave through an avalanche even as you enjoy the majestic wonder of the mountain.

Mitchelle Lynn