PIEPS Jetforce BT 25 Avalanche Backpack | Review

Multiple deployments, airplane friendly and automatic deflation – the PIEPS Jetforce BT 25 packs all the benefits of electric airbags

Price: £949
Weight: 2,980g


If you’re not fortunate enough to live in the mountains, it stands to reason that you’ll be doing a lot of travelling with your ski kit and, most importantly, your avalanche airbag. It becomes a pain over time having to deflate your canister, only to then find somewhere in resort and pay for the privilege of someone inflating the same canister you just deflated at home.

This is where the move towards electronic airbags stems from. There’s no need to worry about flight restrictions here, just bring it with you as part of your carry-on luggage (it’s the same type of battery as the one in your laptop). Another reason we like electronic airbags is that you can practice deployments easily at home (they provide multiple deployments in a single charge).

“The electric fan is able to inflate the 200 litre airbag to full capacity, even when there is a seven inch tear in the airbag”

One of the best things about this product is that the electric fan is able to inflate the 200 litre airbag to full capacity, even when there is a seven inch tear in the airbag. It achieves this by firing full power for five seconds after the initial 3.5 second burst that inflates the airbag to begin with.

After three minutes of inflation, the fan then reverts to deflating the airbag. This deflation has the potential to create an air pocket within the snow. If you’ve been pushed under, this additional air space will hopefully give your companions a bit more time to find and rescue you.

Because this thing packs the potential to power a fan to spin at 70,000rpms to inflate an airbag, and keep that airbag inflated for three minutes, whilst also holding enough energy in reserve for four to six more deployments, the bag does come with a rather portly battery. Yes, this battery does add a fair bit of weight to the airbag (bringing the pack up to 2,980g) but… did we mention the multiple deployments? Admittedly, you’re probably doing something wrong if you find yourself having to deploy an airbag one or more times per day whilst out skiing; be sure to read Bruce Tremper’s ‘Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain’ if that’s the case.

“This deflation has the potential to create an air pocket within the snow”

One final bit of chat. Allow us, if you will, to paint you a picture. You’ve been saving for years for your dream heliski trip. You find yourself in the chopper, soaring up to an untouched peak. Just as you’re getting out of the helicopter, you accidentally deploy your single use gas-powered airbag and there’s not a spare pack in the heli. Game, quite possibly, over. End of dream trip.

However, this isn’t the case with accidental deployments of the Jetforce system, as all you’ll have to do is deflate the airbag and stuff it back into the pack and you’re good to go – this also works for accidental chairlift deployments. Good for us mortals with, you know, a normal salary.

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