Mammut Ultralight Removable 3.0 Review
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Mammut Ultralight Removable 3.0
|Price||$500 List||$1,200 List|
Check Price at REI
|Check Price at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$770 List||$750 List|
$699.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Super lightweight, affordable, nice ski carry system||Best airbag system on the market, utilitarian design, huge avy tools pocket, spacious main compartment, ability to carry skis diagonally and A-Frame, comfortable, durable, airbag zipper pops open way less than other models||Great overall pack design, affordable, good snow safety gear pocket, plethora of organizational pockets, canister doesn't take up extra space in the main compartment||Best-fitting pack for smaller users, awesome pack design, super comfortable, big snow safety tools pocket, great goggle pocket, well-executed back panel access||Tons of useful features, huge snow safety gear pocket, affordable, rides well for a large pack, half back-panel access, lots of pockets|
|Cons||Uncomfortable if not packed correctly, U-shaped access zipper isn't ideal, no avy tool pocket, small capacity||Only one frame size, compression straps must be unbuckled to unzip the pack all the way, one-way zipper, no goggle pocket, "stash pocket" isn't user-friendly, mediocre diagonal ski carry||One size, average weight||Mediocre helmet sling, no internal zippered pocket for keys, must access back panel to get to most of the pack, hard to maximize volume, waist buckle difficult to thread||Heavy, not great for smaller users|
|Bottom Line||For the right user/type of trip, this is one of the most lightweight models available, but you'll have to make some sacrifices in comfort||This comfortable pack features a functional design and our favorite airbag system||A great pack design with a basic but functional and reliable airbag, all at a respectable weight and a good price||This pack is designed for those with a short torso, narrow shoulders, or those under 5'4", and you'll be pleased with its well-thought-out design||A well-designed larger volume airbag pack that excels for patrollers, backcountry pros, or extended missions|
|Rating Categories||Mammut Ultralight R...||Osprey Soelden Pro 32||Backcountry Access...||Mammut Pro X Remova...||Backcountry Access...|
|Backcountry Utility (22%)|
|Airbag System (20%)|
|Downhill Performance (13%)|
|Specs||Mammut Ultralight R...||Osprey Soelden Pro 32||Backcountry Access...||Mammut Pro X Remova...||Backcountry Access...|
|Volume (liters)||20L||32L||32L||35L, 33L with system||42L|
|Weight with Cartridge (pounds)||4.4 lbs||6.5 lbs||6.4 lbs||6.5 lbs||7.1 lbs|
|Airbag unit or packs can be purchased separately/independently||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cartridge type||Compressed Air||Electric fan||Compressed Air||Compressed Air||Compressed Air|
|Approximate cost to Refill||$5-20||Not Applicable||$5-20||$5-20||$5-20|
|Volume of Bag(s)||150L||150L||150L||150L||150L|
|Frame sizes||One size||One size||One size||One size||One size|
|Can you fly with it?||Yes, domestically in the US when cartridge is empty; internationally when full||Yes, no cartridge||Yes, domestically in the US when cartridge is empty; internationally when full||Yes, domestically in the US when cartridge is empty; internationally when full||Yes, domestically in the US when cartridge is empty; internationally when full|
|Carry skis A-frame or Diagonal||Diagonal||A-Frame and Diagonal||A-Frame and Diagonal||A-Frame and Diagonal||A-Frame and Diagonal|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mammut Ultralight Removable 3.0 is one of the lightest airbag packs you can get. It sacrifices a lot in the way of features and ease of use, but for some users, these convenience downfalls are worth the minimal weight on the up track.
This pack has an exceptionally minimalistic design. While you can certainly use it for backcountry skiing and snowboarding, it takes a fair amount more effort from an organizational standpoint to squeeze it all in. The pack has only one access point; an upside-down "U" shaped zippered panel that rides against your back. There are no sub-pockets save for a hydration sleeve pouch that we ended up using to keep small items from getting lost. There is no special place for avy tools, so be sure to pack them first, so they don't ride against your back where the access panel is; otherwise, you will have to remove them every time you want to get at something else. Also, you need to be careful of how you pack this one so hard objects don't poke against your back.
There is obvious benefit to such a minimal design. If you can make this pack work and are diligent about only bringing minimal equipment, you'll use less effort on the uphill as a result of weight savings. However, it is hard to make this pack work for a majority of day tours. We have done it, but it can't be too cold or too wet, and you have got to go light.
You also can only bring small shovels and probes (mostly less than 270cm). However, we think for most folks considering buying this pack, that isn't a huge issue since they have likely bought into the lighter weight over ease of use.
Carrying Skis or a Snowboard
Despite its basic design, Mammut didn't cut any corners when it came to the Ultralight Removable 3.0's ski carry system. Like many airbag packs, this model can only facilitate diagonal ski carry, and we used it with skis as wide as 118mm underfoot with no issues. We found this pack's ski-carrying design fast, easy-to-use, and bomber. There is no A-frame setup for fear that the skis in that position will interfere with the airbag's deployment.
This pack is made of pretty lightweight fabric, so caution should be taken when strapping skis to it. We only strapped skis to this pack for two short-ish booters during our testing and didn't have a problem during that time, but we'd still be careful to not put holes in it.
This model uses the RAS or Removable Airbag System. As the name indicates, this system is removable, and you can transfer it to another Mammut RAS Ready-compatible backpack. In addition to selling their RAS airbag packs with an airbag included, Mammut also sells them in Airbag Ready versions, which is just the pack itself, often for half or less the cost of the full model. This makes them a great value because once you buy a full kit, you can purchase additional packs for a much lower price and simply transfer the airbag system into it.
We found it quite easy to transfer the RAS system between packs, and Mammut offers the greatest number of Airbag Ready packs to choose from and build your quiver. The RAS system has many overall design features similar to the Backcountry Access Float series. There's a single 150L balloon that fills with compressed air using a venturi valve to pull in air as it inflates. This balloon inflates above your head, but doesn't wrap around your head and neck (to reduce trauma) like Mammut's PAS or Protection Airbag System. The PAS inflates above and around your head and comes out of the pack's shoulder straps to help reduce trauma.
The Ultralight Removable 3.0's trigger can only be worn on the left shoulder. The left side is the location where most right-handed people should wear their trigger, as it allows them to grab it with their dominant hand. This isn't a total deal-breaker for left-handed users, but practice grabbing and pulling to ensure you can grab it with your right (and potentially non-dominant) hand.
Mammut uses compressed air in removable and refillable canisters for their airbag system. Mammut's cartridges use a standard fitting that can be refilled at most scuba or paintball shops for a low price. If you are traveling to remote places where there is a chance you may not find a place to refill your airbag, you can buy a Benjamin High Pressure Hand Pump and refill your canister anywhere by hand with around 20-30 minutes of effort.Travel Considerations
Compressed air canisters are not as difficult to fly with as people think. They have to be empty on domestic flights within the United States, but can full on international trips. (Crazy, right? Lead tester Ian Nicholson has done this several times, otherwise we wouldn't believe it either.) While flying internationally or domestically, whether full or empty, the canister must be in a checked bag. Every time we fly, we put the canister in the original packaging, which helps clearly define what your canister is so TSA has fewer questions. Our testers go the extra step of always adding a note saying that it's empty and that it's for an avalanche airbag pack.
The Ultralight Removable 3.0 is one of the lightest airbag packs we tested. The weight of the pack is 1.1 lbs (500 g), and a full canister weighs 3.3 lbs (1510 g) for a combined weight 4.4 lbs (2010 g) for the whole setup. This used to be far and away the lightest model, but now Mammut is getting some competition on their lightweight packs.
There are few other airbag packs with such a minimalistic design. Except for a hydration sleeve, this pack has no separate divider pockets for avy gear or additional items. The "U" shaped access zipper is a pain to use, and despite the pack's small size, it is slightly challenging to root through it. There are no hip belt pockets, no helmet sling, or any other features, really. This pack's primary feature is that it's super light.
The Ultralight 3.0 works well on the downhill primarily because it's so tiny. With that said, we don't think it rides quite as well as some other packs. It's so soft that if it's packed improperly, objects inside it will poke and jab at you through the pack panel.
As mentioned, be careful how you pack this pack. We had several instances where we weren't careful with how we packed, which led to random spots of pain/annoyance as objects easily poked through the thin back panel. The waist belt padding barely extends over the hips, though we didn't feel it was a big deal because the pack is so light and so small in volume that you don't need much in the way of padding.
Should You Buy the Mammut Ultralight Removable 3.0?
This pack is best for those who have other Mammut RAS airbag packs in their quiver and are now looking for the lightest airbag pack available. It's perfect for Ski-mo racers or for human-powered tours on relatively straightforward, short days in mild weather. It can work for an all-day tour, but we don't recommend this pack for most users. If it's cold or stormy, it's next to impossible to fit more than a light puffy and a shell in there with your avy gear, some food, water, etc. If you want a do-it-all model or a pack with pockets and organizational features, this isn't going to be the one for you, as its capacity is just too small.
What Other Avalanche Airbags Should You Consider?
For the same weight (4.4 lbs), you can get the Black Diamond JetForce UL, which offers far greater backcountry utility with an additional 6L of pack space. The JetForce has more organizational options, including a dedicated avy tools pocket and an internal mesh pocket for small items. The Mammut Light Removable 3.0 is over a pound heavier (5.63 lbs), but it's larger in volume and has a little more in the way of features. We also like the Black Diamond JetForce Pro 35 because you can purchase affordable zip-on "Booster" packs that allow you to change the size of your pack for different applications.
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