Snowpulse Lite 35 Review

February 1, 2013
Snowpulse Lite 35
2Snowpulse-Light-35-side-view
3Snowpulse-Light-35-inflated
4Snowpulse-Lite-35-inflated
Snowpulse Lite 35 2Snowpulse-Light-35-side-view 3Snowpulse-Light-35-inflated 4Snowpulse-Lite-35-inflated
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
81
Pack Quality
7
Pack Features
7
Pack Fit
7
Safety System
9
Airbag System Durability
7
Value
4

The Good

  • Innovative lightweight materials used throughout pack.
  • Maximum trauma protection with unique airbag shape.
  • Ergonomic, comfortable and lightweight hip belt.
  • Lots of features for carrying all your gear.
  • Available in two torso sizes for a better fit.

The Bad

  • Single compartment without separate avy gear area (saves weight).
  • Little structural support for such a large pack (saves weight).
THE VERDICT

The Snowpulse Lifebag system offers the best trauma protection of any airbag, and the system can be used with either nitrogen (better for Europe) or compressed air (better for North America) canisters. The Lite 35 ski pack itself—while the lightest in our test—was acceptable but not as high quality as the other packs we’ve tested. It’s also the most expensive of the bags we tested, which put it a bit lower on our value scale.

FULL REVIEW

Safety System
Unlike any other airbag on the market, when the Snowpulse system deploys it cocoons around the head from both sides. This probably does help with the overall trauma protection (a leading cause of death in avalanches) but since I didn’t hurl myself through a glade of trees, I can only speculate. The system can use either the much lighter European nitrogen system or the U.S. compressed air standard, which makes any Snowpulse system the one you want to pack to Europe, where nitrogen gas refills are easy to find.

Pack Quality
This is the lightest pack we tested, which helped raised it’s score in overall pack quality.  The lightweight materials and design in the pack held up during our brief window of testing in Spring ‘12. Long term exposure to rough backcountry conditions will be the real test.

Pack features
The pack has a clever adjustable leg strap that stows away into its own hidden pocket—a nice touch. Like all these packs, there is a reasonably easy to use ski and snowboard carrier, and this pack is hydration compatible. There is great padding on hip belt and back, which will help cushion the load if you really pack all 35 liters. While the pack skimps on organizational compartments to save weight, the close fit and stable ride are undiminished.

Pack fit
The pack has a super nice, lightweight ergonomic hip belt but not very impressive shoulder straps. Still, there’s a good overall fit. The larger volume of this pack rides best when not overloaded. Bonus: The two frame sizes of this pack will help taller skiers dial in a good fit—essential for stability in downhill riding. Snowpulse gets extra credit for being the only one in the test to offer two different frame sizes.

Airbag system durability
Backcountry skiing can be hard on gear and the Snowpulse safety system is well protected and reliable, though the canister rests in a thin sleeve inside the main compartment. A little more padding on the sleeve would protect not only the canister, but your personal gear from the hard steel.

Value
This was the most expensive avy airbag in our Winter ‘12/’13 test. Given the high quality of the airbag system (which is similar or identical to the one in the Mammut R.A.S. 30), and the somewhat less impressive backpack itself, this pack presents a slightly below average value among competing avy packs.

 


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