Black Diamond Jetforce Pro 35L Avalanche Airbag 2020 – 2021 | Review

The classic JetForce design sees some tweaks, creating an extremely refined avalanche airbag

Why we chose the Jetforce Pro 35L: Safe, durable, versatile

Weight (per ski): 3,060g
Sizes: S/M, M/L
Price: €1,140 

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Black Diamond changed the way we look at avalanche airbag technology with the first all electric airbag system in the original JetForce 1.0. Now, for the 20/21 winter season, they’ve continued this innovation in the all new Jetforce Pro 35L. How does an electric airbag system that gets a touch lighter, a lower profile design, and a Bluetooth connectivity for updates on the fly sound?

Now, it’s got to be said that all systems of modern day avalanche airbags are effective in reducing your chance of full burial in the event of a slide (these bags don’t remove the need for an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe to be carried about your person, mind). So, why do we like electric airbag systems then? Well, electric airbag systems come with a few handy tricks up their sleeve; handy tricks you won’t find elsewhere. 

First up is, of course, the ability to deploy the pack multiple times in one charge (compared to a single deployment from a gas canister). Yeah, you’re doing something wrong if you need to be deploying an avalanche airbag multiple times in the field but multiple deployments come into their own when you’re practicing how to efficiently deploy the pack.

“Electric airbag systems come with a few handy tricks up their sleeve; handy tricks you won’t find elsewhere”

It’s also a great feature if you find yourself at the bottom of a slope but still in an area where there’s risk of another slide (you’ll be able to repack the airbag and ski to safety with the ability to redeploy in case anything were to come down from above). Again, we’d always recommend you consult the avalanche manual if you’re getting yourself into trouble multiple times in one day. Or, alternatively, only go out with a guide until you’re more experienced.

The motor on the Jetforce Pro 30L remains pretty much the same, with the ability to fully inflate the 170 litre airbag in a matter of (3.5) seconds. This motor can also keep the airbag inflated, even when the airbag has a seven inch tear in it. Pretty impressive, if you ask us.

Once the motor has run through its deployment cycle, which keeps the bag inflated for three minutes, the system then sucks all of the air out of the airbag. In doing so, the JetForce Pro creates a potentially life saving air pocket around you and the snow from where the inflated airbag used to be – giving you and your companions some much needed breathing space when it comes to performing the rescue. 

Many of us aren’t lucky enough to live in the mountains, meaning we simply can’t keep inflating / deflating gas canisters every time we want to get on a flight and head to the snow. The LiPo battery found in the JetForce Pro is also airline friendly. The Mpora team have flown heaps with the original JetForce system, without even so much as a wink from airport security.

On the updates side of things, Black Diamond have looked to make their JetForce system a little more user friendly in creating a pack that’s a little lighter weight at 3,060 grams. While the weight has been kept to a minimum, durability has still been upheld – with a 210-denier fabric being used throughout the pack.

If you do somehow manage to tear through the front section of the pack, then you’ll be happy to know that these sections can be zipped out and replaced. This also ups the versatility of the pack, with options to zip on a 10, 26 and 36 litre versions of the pack, depending on your objectives. At 35 litres, this is the largest zip on available and, to be honest, we can’t ever imagine wanting more space in an airbag equipped pack.

While the stated four (minimum) deployments remain the same over the original JetForce, improvements have been made in how the bag is stored. By giving you the option to put the battery on a low voltage storage (sleep) mode, Black Diamond has increased the lifespan of the battery when you’re not using the pack in the off season. 

“The Mpora team have flown heaps with the original JetForce system, without even so much as a wink from airport security”

Finally, Bluetooth has been built into the pack, giving you the option to connect your smartphone to the pack and run any urgent software updates directly to the pack. You may think that this is a trivial feature, but remember all those Orthadox 3+ transceivers that had to be sent back due to a recall? Well, all that was needed was a simple software update – something which could have been done through Bluetooth connectivity.

Black Diamond has refined an already proven system in the avalanche safety market with the JetForce Pro 35L. With the ability to zip off different pack sizes, and built in Bluetooth connectivity, we can see this pack being the last one you’ll need to buy for a good few years.

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