With its ground-breaking dual airbag system, the Avalanche North Face Patrol 24 ABS is a life saver for climbers, riders, and backcountry skiers venturing into the mountains in search of snow, adventure, and awe-inspiring sights. In case of an avalanche, two integrated 85 liter airbags filled with compressed Nitrogene gas deploy, helping you stay on the surface and increasing your survival rate by as much as 95%. 

Why do I need an airbag? 

In an avalanche, larger objects rise to the surface, while smaller objects sink to the bottom. An airbag incorporated into your backpack, which inflates at the pull of a cord, is designed to make you larger so that you rise to the surface.

How effective are they?

Airbags are designed to prevent you from being buried, which is key to survival in the event of an avalanche. Although nothing is guaranteed, ongoing studies on ABS packs by the Swiss Avalanche Institute have found that wearing an airbag can significantly improve your chances of survival. Since 1991, of 262 people who have deployed an airbag in an avalanche, 97 per cent have survived.

So I don’t need an avalanche transceiver?

A transceiver is more important than an airbag and should always be carried, along with a shovel and probe. You need it so that rescue teams can locate you in the event of burial, but also so you can assist in finding others.

How do I know my system is working? 

It’s recommended you perform a test release to familiarise yourself with the process and how it works before hitting the slopes. Then, once a year, your airbag system should be tested to ensure it’s working correctly.

How do I refill my cylinders?

Airbag systems tend not to come with the necessary gas cylinders (that are triggered to inflate the airbags), which you have to buy separately (from around £90 each). In general, they need to be refilled by an approved dealer (for around £20), although some can be filled at home or taken to other outlets.

Can I take it on a plane? 

Probably is the short answer. The International Air Transport Association says you’re allowed to carry an avalanche airbag pack as long as it meets its guidelines and is packed in such a way that it won’t be accidentally triggered. To be sure, check with your airline at least two weeks before flying.