Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Frame and shoulder straps are awesome.
Cons: Snow safety pocket is a bit small, pack hangs out far back.
Best Uses: Backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
The RAS (Removable Airbag System) airbag pack scored very well in our tests and is several hundred dollars less than many airbag packs on the market, but still $150 more than out Editors' Best Buy, the Backcountry Access Float 32. The RAS comes in some of the shortest torso lengths and features narrower shoulder straps, making it great for smaller users. This could for many folks more than make up for the $150 in difference between it and the BCA Float 32. This pack has tons of great features such as a goggle pocket, internal zipped key pocket, stowable helmet attachment and it is made with super durable materials and reinforcements. The Ride RAS is also the best airbag pack for carrying a snowboard. We do wish the safety gear pocket was a little bigger; folks with big shovels or long probes might struggle with this pocket.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Mammut system, like BCA systems, use compressed oxygen with the advantage being that most compressed air canisters can be refilled at several easy-to- find locations such as scuba or paintball shops or even some fire stations for $5-$20. You can also the cannister it back to Mammut to be refilled. Compare this with the ABS system that uses compressed nitrogen instead of compressed air. Nitrogen is less effected by temperature and will therefore preform better in colder temperatures than compressed air, but the big disadvantage is compressed nitrogen is much more difficult find a place to refill. Some backcountry shops offer a cartridge swap for around $40-$45. However, if you fly to some place (TSA doesn't allow you to fly with a compressed nitrogen cartridge) it can be difficult to find where to refill you nitrogen cartridge, requiring you to pre-send yourself the cartridge.
Comfort and Fit
The Ride comes in two sizes, helping to fit a greater range of people. Both sizes ran on the short side relative to the other airbag packs we tested. The shoulder straps are narrower and super articulated; we think the Ride RAS 30 is the most likely airbag pack to fit smaller women or narrower-shouldered men. Mammut uses high quality foam and an awesome articulation in the shoulder straps and waist belt, giving one of the better fits in our review. We also like the frame in this pack; it transferred the load to the waist belt fantastically.
The Ride looks like most like normal ski packs. It has a nice zippered internal pocket for keys or other easily lost items and a nice fleece-lined goggle pocket. The Ride RAS 30 is probably the best pack to carry a snowboard. For skiers it can easily A-frame skis to carry them, but there is no dedicated ski carrying loop on the top end for diagonal carry. The snow safety pocket is well laid out but it is a little on the small side. It will fit everything you need as long as your shovel handle or probe isn't too long. The RAS part of the pack or Removable Airbag System is great because it means you can drop around a pound and a half from your pack if you go out on a lower danger day, spring skiing or to use it as a more traditional pack in the summer.
This pack is tough: it features durable fabrics, well-placed reinforcements and larger gauge zippers. We also liked that it had not only the metal waist belt buckle that nearly all airbag packs use, but also had metal buckles on shoulder straps, taking one step further to make sure it doesn't get ripped off you. We also like the stowable helmet attachment.
The biggest thing we didn't like was how far out the pack stuck from our back. This and the small safety gear pocket were the things that kept it from winning an award.
Some other small downsides to the Mammut Ride Ras 30 are that it has no waist belt pockets and the airbag system eats into the pack volume. This pack only felt a little more spacious than the Patrol 24 but not nearly as big as the Snowpulse Lite 35 or the BCA Float 32.
At just under 7 lbs the Mammut Ride RAS 30 is in the middle of the road as far as airbag pack weights. It is around half a pound lighter than the ABS Vario 40 but around a half a pound heavier than The North Face Patrol 24 or the BCA Float 32. The Snowpulse Lite 35 is a pound and a half lighter but is far less durable.
— Ian Nicholson
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: December 1, 2012
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