This airbag pack has been updated for 2017. Keep reading to find out what's new!
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Hands-on Gear Review
Mammut Ride Removable 3.0 Review
Cons: Snow safety pocket is small, not as easy as other models to pack tightly.
Bottom line: A solid, no-frills design that brings exceptional backcountry utility and below average weight; it's complete with a modular airbag system.
The Mammut Ride Removable Airbag 3.0 pack scored well in our tests and is several hundred dollars less than many airbag packs on the market. It is still more than our Best Buy, the Backcountry Access Float 32, which retails for $550. This contender is available in some of the shortest torso lengths, and features narrower shoulder straps, making it great for smaller users. For many folks, this could more than makeup for the price difference between it and the Backcountry Access Float 32. This pack has tons of great features, such as a goggle pocket, internal zipped key pocket, and stowable helmet attachment, and it is made with super durable materials and reinforcements. The Ride is also the best airbag pack for carrying a snowboard. We do wish the safety gear pocket was a little bigger, as folks with big shovels or long probes might struggle with this pocket.
Product Updates - 2017
This airbag pack has been updated for 2017. Keep reading to find out what's new!
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Avalanche Airbag Pack Review
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Old Ride Removable Airbag Vs. the New Ride Removable 3.0
This avalanche airbag has undergone some changes since we last reviewed it. In addition to new fabric, there is now a zippered pocket on the hip belt and an extra gear loop.
Check out the comparison photos below, with the updated version shown on the left and the older version that we reviewed pictured on the right.
Here's a summary of the key differences between the new 2017 version and the older version we tested:
A Note from Mammut about Airbag Compatibility
"Our new Airbag 3.0 generation is NOT compatible with previous seasons of backpack models from generations 1.0 and 2.0. The Airbag 3.0 backpacks are also NOT compatible with the old Protection Airbag / Removable Airbag systems from generation 2.0 (from W 2011/2012 up to and including W 2015/2016).
The new Airbag 3.0 systems can be installed only in 3.0 backpacks from season 2016/2017 onwards!
However, the 2.0 cartridges remain unchanged and can be used with both the new 3.0 system and the older system."
The chart below outlines the overall scores of all airbags in our fleet. The total overall score possible is a 100, with this contender scoring an 86.
The Ride Removable Airbag uses a single 150L bag that inflates above your head through a breakaway zippered pocket. This size and shape is more or less the standard among avalanche airbag packs. It doesn't offer anything special like two bags for redundancy or a head/neck wrap shape for trauma protection, but it is still incredibly effective at its most important task: keeping the wearer on top of the snow, and there are exceptionally few cases of a single bag failing.
The RAS: Removable Airbag System
The RAS system (Removable Airbag System) available from Mammut is similar to the ABS Vario series in that you can buy one airbag system and a canister and move it among multiple packs that are all around $280. That compares with Mammut's PAS (Protection Airbag System) that offers an airbag that wraps around your head to both prevent trauma and increase the odds of having your head sticking out of the snow.
Unlike the ABS packs, the trigger is not interchangeable between shoulder straps and is fixed on the left side. The trigger mechanism is not as important a factor to consider when buying an airbag pack as are other features. That said, the trigger mechanism on the Ride Removable isn't the best, but is still highly reliable.
Mammut uses compressed air canisters in the airbag system. Compressed air, while slightly lower in performance compared with compressed nitrogen, is much easier and cheaper to refill. Mammut's cartridges use a pretty standard fitting and can be refilled at most scuba shops, paintball shops, and some outdoor gear stores for around $5-$20. If you own a scuba tank, have a glass blowing setup or anything else that uses compressed air, you can buy an adapter from BCA and refill your own canisters.
This is a big advantage of Mammut using compressed air over compressed nitrogen. TSA and the FAA allow you to fly with an empty compressed air canister as long as it's in your checked baggage. A good tip is to keep the box that your canister came in; then, when you fly, put it back in this box to clearly define what your canister is and help make sure TSA doesn't take your canister away from you. I go one extra step and put a note on mine, saying it's empty and that it's for an avalanche airbag pack.
The Ride Removable Airbag 3.0 comes in two sizes, this one and the Mammut Ride Short Removable which is extremely similar but offers a shorter fit and a marginally smaller volume (28L). This does a wonderful job of helping to fit a greater range of people. Both sizes run on the short side relative to the other airbag packs we tested. On the Mammut Ride Short Removable, the shoulder straps are noticeably narrower and super articulated; the Ride Short Removable Airbag 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 well. Other top scorers in the comfort category are the Arc'teryx Voltair 30, Black Diamond Halo 28, and Black Diamond Saga 40 - all of these contenders scored a perfect 10 out of 10 in this category.
The Ride Removable looks like most "normal" ski packs. It has a zippered internal pocket for keys or other easily lost items and a nice fleece-lined goggle pocket. 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 large 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 more step to make sure it doesn't get ripped off you.
Some small downsides to the Mammut Ride Removable Airbag are that it has no waist belt pockets and the airbag system eats into the pack volume. This pack felt a little more spacious than the Black Diamond Pilot 11, but not nearly as big as the BD Saga 40 or the Backcountry Access Float 32. Top scorers in this category include the Arc'teryx Voltair 30 (10/10), the Backcountry Access Float 32, and the Backcountry Access Float 42.
The Ride Removable 3.0 is among the best packs to carry a tradional snowboard, being just a little bit better than the Arc'teryx Voltair 30. For skiers who like A-framing their skis, the Mammut Ride Removable Airbag excels at this and is one of the few packs smaller than 40L to offer this feature (thought the Mammut Pro Protection also offers capability). While there is some debate as to whether carrying them in this style possibly affects airbag deployment, the Ride Removable Airbag gives you the option for those lower angle approaches or rocky booters. The Ride Removable was average at carrying skis diagonally, with a simple yet effective strap system that did an exceptional job of keeping the skis snug, keeping them from slipping down after long booters. Attaching skis was quick and easy.
The performance on the down is basically each pack's "rideability". We measured how we felt they carried and moved with us while skiing and snowboarding. We thought the back panel and Y-shaped support stay offered a nice combination of freedom of movement and support, but the Mammut Ride Removable Airbag did have one drawback. We didn't like how far out the pack stuck from our back. It made the pack feel more cumbersome than several other packs we tested. The shoulder straps fit most of our users okay, but they weren't great. The rideability and the small safety gear pocket were items that kept it from winning an award, earning it an 8 out of 10 for this metric. Contenders that came out on top in terms of downhill performance include the Arc'teryx Voltair 30, BD Halo 28, Backcountry Access Float 22, and Mammut Light Removable.
At around 6 and a half pounds, the Ride Removable Airbag is easily on the lighter side of airbag packs on the market. It is around half a pound lighter than either the Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce (7 lbs 7oz), Arc'teryx Voltair (7 lbs 9 oz), or the Black Diamond Saga 40 JetForce (7 lbs 10 oz) and still around a half pound lighter than the Backcountry Access Float 32. If you want an airbag as light as they come make sure to check out the Mammut Light Removable which at 5 lbs 6 oz is still a pound and a lighter, though it has less features.
The cost of airbag packs can be confusing because some manufacturers include the cartridge in the price and some don't. Some companies sell options without the airbag system or base unit, so make sure you know what you are buying. With the Ride Removable Airbag 3.0, the pack is $600 and the canister is sold separately ($190 for the canister). The advantage of the RAS system is once you have the canister and the airbag system, each additional pack is only around $250. The Mammut Ride Removable is significantly less expensive than packs featuring ABS or battery powered fans. For example the similar volume BD Halo 28 ($1100) and Arc'teryx Voltair 30 ($1300) are close to double the price and because of the ability to buy Ready models you can buy 2-3 Mammut airbag packs for the price of one battery powered pack.
The Bottom Line
While the Mammut Ride Removable 3.0 wasn't an award winner our entire review staff still think its an exceptionally solid pack especially for the price. While it doesn't have any particularly unique features, it does have all the features more people want in an airbag/touring pack all for 8-16 ounces less than many other models. We think it's one of the more comfortable airbag packs and we love that Mammut offers so many different models that are airbag "Ready" for around $250 that allows folks who want a quiver of packs to do so without breaking the bank.
— Ian Nicholson
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