Black Diamond Anthem AvaLung 28L ReviewOctober 13, 2013
- AvaLung helps you breathe (a bit) if buried
- Weighs only 3 pounds, 7 ounces—even with the AvaLung
- Comfortable on the up and down
- Stowable helmet- and ski-carry straps
- Compressible down to 15 liters
- Lacks a side-carry option for your skis, and is incompatible with a snowboard that does not split into two pieces
- Bottom strap within the diagonal ski-carry system (over your ski tails) can be tough to adjust, especially in cold weather with thick gloves on
Overall, this was the best backcountry ski pack of our Winter 2013-2014 test. Thanks to the AvaLung and overall functionality of this pack, as well as its relative low weight, I found myself using it more than any other backcountry pack in our test. The price is steep, but the quality can't be beat, and an Avalung is second only to an airbag in its power to save lives.
BD ski packs are known for their plate-like back panels, and the Anthem is no exception. Still, the panel breathed well and the pack fit snugly to my upper body.
The diagonal carry system for skis is excellent. However, it does not work for a non-split snowboard and it lacks a side ski-carry option.
The AvaLung is the major separating factor on this pack. But it also has an insulated water hose, a pocket and hook for a bladder, a shoestring cinch system for days when you don’t have a lot in the pack, an ice-ax loop, and a stowable external helmet-carry system.
The Anthem is remarkably lightweight compared to other packs in this class, especially considering the extra weight of the AvaLung on board.
Despite seeing more action than any other pack in the test, nothing on the Anthem showed even a hint of wear, which speaks to the unusually burly lightweight fabric.
At $270, it’s the most expensive pack we tested for this upcoming season. That is largely due to the AvaLung—but that extra security makes it worth the higher price.