ABS Avalanche Backpack VS Mammut® Protection Airbag System (C) ABS Avalanche Airbag/BumpyFilms

See here the new avalanche airbags 2016/17

ABS Avalanche Backpack VS Mammut® Protection Airbag System

Every off piste skier would like to have one equipment for everything! For me the perfect backpack size for off piste is 30 liter volume. In a 30 liter bag you have enough space for water, spare jackets, skins all the avalanche safety kid and more and you have the advantage to make it with the strips smaller and compact.

Anyway, so i had a look on the two big competitors this Winter:

Mammut® Protection Avalanche Airbag System 30 liter

Light Protection Airbag

mammut Light Protection 30

and ABS Avalanche Backpack vario with the 30 liter zip on.



 Advantage and disadvantage ABS Vario 30 VS Mammut® Protection Avalanche Airbag System 30 liter Light Protection Airbag

Ratio volume vs compact 

The ABS Vario 30 is huge! With the ABS Variobase and the 30 liter “zip on” this back pack is not for off piste skiing at all. Its made for carry willing “sherpas”. No compression strips around the backpack makes the rucksack very shaky. If the backpack is just half full the off piste equipment falls around the whole time. The actual backpack is far away from the center of gravity and will move you with heavy  weight in a backward leaning.

The Mammut Light Protection Airbag  has good compression system. Two stripes are covering the whole rucksack and you can make the backpack very compact. The weight of the backpack is very close to the center of gravity which is good for your skiing and walking comfort.

Weight ABS Vario 30 Vs Mammut Light Protection Airbag

The ABS Vario weighs 2,9 kilos and the Mammut Airbag weighs 2.1 kilos this is 28 % lighter. Just to compare it with other rucksacks, a “normal” 26 liter Ortovox off piste backpack has 1.9 kilos.

Outer material ABS vs Mammut

Well when we take here the first impression again this point goes to ABS. But i skied the last year the “Light Removable Airbag from Mammut which has the same outer material. And it was like, well lets try it and give it a go.

“When it brakes i just send it back and, nothing happened.”

I skied the Mammut Avalanche Rucksack the whole season (80days) and it was not breaking at all. Just with sharp ski edges you need to pay more attention.

Organizing pockets on the avalanche Airbag- ABS VS Mammut

Both off piste rucksacks have a extra bag for shovel and probe. Both Bags have the for me very important little pocket on top.

Packing ABS vs Mammut 

The Mammut backpack is a top loading system like a mountaineering rucksack. So it is much easier to put things inside a jacket or pullover is possible to have just underneath the top pocket.

Airbag systems ABS VS  Mammut® Protection Airbag System

Mammut has now the system integrated from the snowpuls backpacks from the last years. So now there is a balloon around the head and down to the chest. Let’s have a closer look:

ABS has the advantage from two inflating balloons so it has a redundant system compare to the Mammut. In case if one ABS balloon is getting damaged there should be always a second one which is working. ABS triggers the inflating system on a ballistic way. To trigger the bag you pull a handle. In the handle is a explosion the pressure pushes a little needle in to the cartridge. The pressure from the cartridge moves out the needle and the balloons inflate. It sounds complicated, it is complicated :-) Mammut uses a mechanic system a handle wire needle system inflates the airbag system. Anyway, i had many clients the lost in colt temperature the handle from the ABS rucksack…. or lost or forgot the handle. I even experienced that people triggered the rucksack just by taking of the handle. If the handle system is not fresh oiled this can happend.  The handle on the Mammut stays always on the rucksack and it is possible to put it in to a little bag to avoid a releasing by have it for example in the car.

The ABS has a huge advantage in terms of visibility with a triggered ABS rucksack. The balloons are on the back in the skier has good visibility to escape ( if the skier is a real freeride dude). I recon the average skier will prefer the full surrounded head protection.

Which Avalanche Airbag is the best for women?

The Mammut system is very difficult fitting in the chest part of the packback and the ABS is way to heavy for women. Anyway an alternative can be the

Light Removable Airbag system  from Mammut or just a smaller “ABS Vario Zip On” but the smaller Zip on has just 18 liters :-)

By the end a few videos from ABS and Mammut