The Old Ride Short Removable Airbag Vs. the New Ride Short Removable 3.0
The Ride Short has undergone a few changes since we last reviewed it. In addition to new fabric and a sleeker new design, there is now an extra gear loop and a zippered pocket on the hip belt.
In the photos below, the latest version is on the left.
Summary of key differences:
- Sleek New Look — As seen in the comparison photos above, the Ride Short Removable 3.0 now has an updated design with a more sleek, polished look.
- Material Update — Abrasion-resistant triple Ripstop with a DWR treatment intends to increase the durability and weatherproofing of this bag.
- Additional Pocket — The new pack now features a zippered hip belt pocket.
- Gear Loop Added — You now have a single gear loop on the opposite side of the hip belt from the new pocket.
Hands-On Review of the Previous Ride Short Removable
While features are important fit should still be a strong driving factor when deciding which airbag pack to buy. If you happen to be a smaller framed/shorter torosed person then the Mammut Ride Short Removable is tough to beat as it is so nicely designed for this size of user.
The Ride Short Removable Airbag uses a single 150L bag that inflates above your head through a break-way zippered pocket. This size and shape is fairly typical among the current offering of avalanche airbag packs. There aren't any special features (like a second bag for backup or an ergonomic head and neck shape), yet it is effective.
The RAS: Removable Airbag System vs Other Modular Airbag Systems
On the left, a deployed RAS system on the Mammut Ride Removable. On the right, the RAS unit.
Mammut's RAS or Removable Airbag System is the least expensive modular airbags on the market. With the RAS, you can buy one airbag system ($450) and transfer it between multiple, less expensive packs ($260-$300). This is by far and away the least expensive modular system available.
The Trigger handle can be worn in either shoulder strap of this pack. Mammut uses a "T" shaped handle instead of the more common cone-shape. The advantage of Mammut's Folding "T" is when the trigger is not in use it flips side-ways and is overall lower profile when stowed. In our testing we don't think there is much difference regarding one being easier easier to grab between the two shapes. The only thing we noticed on this pack is the trigger rides a little higher than we would like which is more of an annoyance than a safety issue.
The trigger is fixed on the left side. In our opinion, the trigger mechanisms themselves are not a major factor to consider when purchasing these products. The Mammut Ride 3.0's trigger mechanism isn't our favorite, but it is dependable.
While compressed air (used with this pack) has slightly lower performance than nitrogen, the disadvantage is offset by the fact that re-fills are cheaper and easier to come by. Mammut's cartridges utilize a common fitting and can be refilled at locations such as scuba, paintball, and some outdoor gear stores for around $5-$20. If you have access to compressed air (for example, from a scuba tank or glass blowing set-up), you can buy an adapter from BCA and refill your own canisters.
Mammut was thinking ahead with regard to travel when they chose to use compressed air over compressed nitrogen. Flying with an empty compressed air canister is permitted by TSA and the FAA as long as it's in your checked baggage. A good idea is to hold onto the box that your canister comes in; when you fly, put it back in this box, as it will clearly identify what your canister is and help to make sure TSA doesn't take it away from you. I always go one extra step and make sure to put a note on mine, saying its empty and that it's for an avalanche airbag pack.
We were glad this model came with a helmet sling, and it worked fine; however, we liked several other models with stretchier helmet slings/holsters better as they were more forgiving and less finicky than this one.
The fit of this pack is why most people buy it. We didn't include many other women's specific airbag packs like the Women's Ortovox Free Rider 24 or the Women's Tour 32 + 7, partiality because those two packs are that much smaller than their male counterparts. So ladies and short framed men, if you have a hard time finding an airbag pack that fits you, then the Ride Short Removable Airbag could be your answer. As far as comfort goes, the Ride Short Removable Airbag 3.0 received top marks, earning an 8 out of 10. The pack panel uses a comfortable and supportive foam that feels great even when we didn't have many layers on.
This pack is built with smaller users in mind and was our favorite model for backcountry travelers under 5'5"-5'6". Not only is the back panel shorter than most models but the shoulder straps are shaped for shorter and narrower users as well.
The shoulder straps are nicely articulated and like the short frame, work well with narrower-shouldered people. Another feature that helped the Ride Short fit smaller people was the waist belt - a lot of waist belts are too big for petite people, but the Short Ride Removable should fit just about anyone. Other top scorers in this metric included the Arc'teryx Voltair 30 and Black Diamond Halo 28, though they are a larger frame size.
Showing the super comfortable back panel of the Mammut Ride RAS.
We felt that is was a over-all solidly designed pack with very functional easy-to-use features and a shape that was respectable easy to pack for a clam-shell design (a design shared by a majority of airbag packs). The Ride Short's snow safety pocket is well laid out, and decently sized; though it is a little on the small side. It will fit all your snow safety gear and a saw or skins, as long as your shovel handle or probe isn't too long (for the most part most 270cm length and under probes work as well as average or smaller shovels). 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. It is also one of the more weather resistant packs we tested with the only pack being more water resistant was the Arc'teryx Voltair 30.
Our review team liked the externally access avy-tools pocket which was just barely big enough to fit skins which was nice for helping keep the rest of the contents in the main compartment dry.
The Ride Short 3.0, along with the slightly bigger Mammut Ride Removable 3.0 is probably the best pack to carry a snowboard, being just a little bit better than the Backcountry Access Float 22. A-Frame fans will appreciate the Ride Short 3.0. There are some folks who opine that carrying skis in this fashion can affect deployment of the airbag, but this bag gives you the choice. The Ride Short 3.0 was a little below average at carrying skis diagonally did an okay but not great job, offering slightly awkward to use straps that allowed for the skis to slip down after long booters.
The Ride short looks like most like normal ski packs. It has a nice fleece-lined goggle pocket as well as a zippered internal pocket for keys or other easily lost items. We like this contender's small waist belt pocket which was great for snacks or a camera. Some small downsides though are that the airbag system eats into this pack's advertised volume (26L of usable space). The Mammut Ride short Removable only felt a little more spacious than the Backcountry Access Float 22 and fairly similar to the Black Diamond Halo 28. It does not feel nearly as big as the Arc'teryx Voltair 30, the BD Saga 40, or the Backcountry Access Float 32. Our testing team really liked the basic but functional and easy-to-use stowable helmet attachment and found it one of the better designs among models we tested. This pack is hydration system compatible and features a gear loop on the waist belt opposite the zippered hip-belt pocket, which was a great place to store gear so it wouldn't get pinched under the wearer's waist belt while clipped to our harness.
We found the back panel, in combination with the Y-shaped support, to be supportive yet allow for freedom of movement through the back panel and Y-shaped support stay offered a nice combination of freedom of movement and support. The Ride Short Removable did have one drawback - we didn't like how far out the pack stuck from our back, which made the pack feel more cumbersome than several other packs we tested, like the Black Diamond Pilot 11 Jetforce, the BCA Float 22, or the Arc'teryx Voltair 30.
This model moved with its wearer fantastically on the down. If you are a smaller torsoed user and spent time skiing with airbag packs that are too big or too long for you sliding downhill with this model will be an instantly noticeable improvement.
The shoulder straps fit most of our users okay - they weren't bad, but they weren't great. The rideability and the small safety gear pocket were the issues that did not allow it to win an award, taking home an 8 out of 10 in this category.
All of our testers found this pack to have one of the better all-around back designs regarding use-of-use and overall utility.
Overall Cost Breakdown
Airbag packs can be sold with or without the cartridge, which can make it confusing to compare prices. Verify whether or not the option you are looking at comes with the airbag system or base unit before buying, as not all do. With the Ride Short Removable, the pack is $600 and the canister is $190. Buying them together you will often see it priced to offer a small discount. The advantage of the RAS system is once you have the canister and the airbag system, each additional pack is only around $250-300. If you already own a system you can buy this pack "Ready" for
The Mammut Ride Short Removable comes with an airbag for $600 and the canister is another $190. However, once you have this setup you can buy other Mammut Airbag Ready models for $160-$260 if you want different packs for different applications. Here Susie Glass slays the Crystal Backcountry.
The Ride Short Removable Airbag 3.0 checks in at 6 lbs 6 oz, exactly the same as the standard Ride Removable Airbag 3.0. That is certainly on the lighter side of airbag packs on the market and is lighter than average for the 30-liter volume range, especially when you take into consideration it has a modular airbag system. That was nearly a pound lighter than our Editors' Choice the Arc'teryx Voltair 30 (7 lbs 9 oz) or Top Pick the Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce, which checked in at 7 lbs 8 oz.
The Mammut Ride Short Removable Airbag 3.0 is best appreciated by shorter-framed men and women, and kids. For these types of users this pack is a super versatile option that will perform well both for day tours as well as well supported hut-to-hut trips. Here Susie Glass packs up her Mammut Ride Short Removable 3.0.
The people who will enjoy the Mammut Ride Short Removable Airbag 3.0 the most are shorter-framed men and women, and kids who struggle to find an airbag pack that fits them. The Ride Short Removable Airbag 3.0 is a versatile pack that will perform well both as a day touring pack or for a lightweight hut-to-hut trip, but also rides well enough that it is a solid heli, cat and side-country pack.
This pack is an exceptional overall value. At $600, this pack is slightly less expensive than many other compressed air canister options, but significantly less expense than compressed nitrogen (ABS), or battery powered models. For example compare the Mammut Ride Short Removable to the battery powered the BD Halo 28 ($1100) or Arc'teryx Voltair ($1300). Addionally because you can buy Mammut's other Ready models you can buy 2-3 airbag packs for the price of one Fan-powered pack. It is pretty comparable in price to the BCA Float 32 and only marginally more expensive than the smaller volume BCA Float 22. We think when comparing the Mammut Ride Short Removable to the Float packs the price is close enough that features and fit will likely dictate most peoples decisions.
For backcountry travelers under 5'6" particularly with slightly narrower shoulders, this Model is likely going to be the best fitting all-around airbag pack for you. However even fit aside this pack has a solid design and has proven quite versatile all for a slightly lighter-than-average weight.
The Bottom Line
For folks under 5'6" particularly with slightly narrower shoulders, the Mammut Ride Short Removable is likely the best fitting all-around airbag pack for you. Our review team found this pack to be very functionally designed, lighter-than-average (8-16 ounces less weight than most other models) with a simple and effect ski-carry system, that still has nearly all the features that most folks want in a touring pack. Functionally this pack gives up almost noting, other than it doesn't fit most larger-than-average probes (300cm) and shovels, but uses comfortable fabrics, padding and is articulated nicely for narrower shouldered and shorter torso-ed users. The BCA Float 22 also works respectable well for shorter torsoed and narrower shoulder people but its use-able volume is what kept it from being our top pick for the best all-around airbag pack for shorter users as its volume is just a little on the small side for most people for an all-day touring pack.