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Ortovox LiTRIC Freeride 28L Review

This avalanche airbag is a cut above the rest when it comes to technology, features and utility
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Ortovox LiTRIC Freeride 28L Review (The feature-ladden Ortovox Litric Freeride is an innovative airbag that sets the market standard.)
The feature-ladden Ortovox Litric Freeride is an innovative airbag that sets the market standard.
Credit: Kaylee Walden
Price:  $1,350 List
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Manufacturer:   Ortovox
By Kaylee Walden ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2024
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 11
  • Utility - 30% 7.5
  • Airbag System - 25% 8.5
  • Weight - 20% 8.5
  • Comfort - 15% 8.5
  • Features - 10% 7.5

Our Verdict

The Ortovox Litric Freeride 28L is an exceptional avalanche airbag pack that we like more and more with every use. This pack is highly versatile and should be a top choice for most backcountry skiers and riders. This pack is sleek and stylish, with a sneaky number of features. But what really won us over is the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the airbag design. Ortovox Litric technology has been developed in-house over the past few years in partnership with Arc'teryx. We don't want our claims to come off as too bold, but this airbag system features top-quality technology, from the hip belt and leg loop attachment, to the twist-lock handle, to the easily accessible power button. To see how the Litric Freeride 28L stands out from the competition, read more about this year's best avalanche airbag packs.
REASONS TO BUY
Supportive waist belt
Lightweight and innovative airbag system
Smart trigger handle
Big rescue gear pocket
REASONS TO AVOID
No hip belt pocket
No A-frame ski carry
Adjustment straps are excessively long for small users

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $1,350 List
$1,350 at Backcountry
$1,300 List
$974.96 at Backcountry
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$669.95 at Evo
$1,300 List
$1,350 at Evo
$299.95 at Amazon
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Star Rating
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Bottom Line For everything you need and nothing you don't, this airbag has a comfortable fit, a smart feature set, and exceptional ride-feel. The more we use this pack, the more we love itThis comfortable, well-designed pack has an abrasion-resistant exterior which makes it perfect for mechanized skiingWith modular capability, this comfortable, capable and relatively affordable package gives you the versatility of two backpacks for the price of oneThis touring-inclined avalanche airbag pack wants to go fast and far, and has the right feature set to do soA reasonably-priced canister pack that is functional and reliable
Rating Categories Ortovox LiTRIC Free... Backcountry Access... Arva Switch Ride 18... Scott Patrol E2 30L Backcountry Access...
Utility (30%)
7.5
7.0
7.5
6.5
6.5
Airbag System (25%)
8.5
8.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
8.5
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Comfort (15%)
8.5
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Features (10%)
7.5
7.5
8.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Ortovox LiTRIC Free... Backcountry Access... Arva Switch Ride 18... Scott Patrol E2 30L Backcountry Access...
Volume 28 L 25 L 18 L and 32 L 30 L 32 L
Measured Total Weight (Including Airbag System) 5.6 lbs 5.8 lbs 5.8 lbs 5.7 lbs 6.4 lbs
Can Airbag Unit or Packs be Purchased Separately? No No No No No
Airbag System Ortovox Litric Alpride E2 Carbon Canister Alpride E2 Canister
Frame Sizes Available One size S/M, M/L One size S/M, M/L One size
Helmet Holder? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Snowboard-Specific Carry? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
A-Frame or Diagonal Ski Carry? Diagonal Diagonal A-Frame and Diagonal A-Frame and Diagonal A-Frame and Diagonal

Our Analysis and Test Results

We loved the Ortovox Litric Freeride 28L for almost every outing in avalanche terrain. Even though it doesn't have the most capacity, the volume is more than sufficient for most days in the backcountry — even those spring ski mountaineering days requiring extra gear. This bag packs well, partially due to the fact that the airbag supercapacitor is at the top of the pack rather than the bottom. It is also among the most comfortable options, primarily because of the wide and supportive hip belt and effective adjustment points.

Performance Comparison


It was a pleasure to pack the Ortovox Litric Freeride uphill -- and especially downhill. We think you'll enjoy it too.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Utility


Even without considering the advanced airbag technology, the Litric Freeride is an impressive backcountry pack. It has a large and easy-to-access exterior rescue gear pocket that can fit a large shovel blade and 300 cm probe, as well as snow study equipment if needed. It has an effective diagonal ski carry and full snowboard carry. The leg loop attachment is the easiest to use and the best design we've seen on an avalanche airbag pack.


Both the diagonal ski and snowboard carry (and the helmet carry) are stashed away in a small zippered pocket at the base of the pack. Not only is the helmet carry stable, well-sized, and easy to attach, but it's also thoughtfully placed at the bottom of the back of the pack, which helps to balance the pack upright when you set it down on the approach.

ortovox litric freeride 28l - we loved this well-designed and functional helmet carry. since it's...
We loved this well-designed and functional helmet carry. Since it's near the bottom, it also helps support the pack when you set it down. Also, note the concealed ice axe carry on the back panel.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

We could easily stash a backcountry radio with a mic in the top pocket and then securely attach it to the shoulder strap, which was a convenient feature. We also appreciated how sleek the outside of this pack is, without any excessive straps or material dangling off. The slightly rigid construction also helps the bag hold its shape nicely, contributing to how well it packs (and travels) overall.

ortovox litric freeride 28l - a separate stash pockets on the top of the external gear pocket was...
A separate stash pockets on the top of the external gear pocket was the perfect place to store a radio with an external mic attachment.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Airbag System


We were wholly impressed with the Ortovox Litric airbag system. At first, we wondered if having the unit at the top of the pack – as opposed to having it at the bottom of the pack, as most other supercapacitor packs do – would throw off the weight distribution. But it was hardly noticeable when we packed. In fact, this design lets us strategically pack heavier items at the bottom, as we would with a normal backcountry pack. Additionally, since the unit is located near the top, you don't have to dig around all of your gear to turn the pack on and off when it's fully loaded. This is supremely convenient, especially if you're trying to conserve battery, say on an extended hut trip. We also appreciate the simple on/off button and LED display, which confidently let us know that the pack is on.


The Litric system utilizes a single, small internal and rechargeable Lithium battery, which charges via USB-C in approximately 30 minutes. An LED light visible through a mesh window in the side panel makes it easy to tell when the pack is fully charged. If you're on a trip without power access, you can also recharge with a charging cord and an external battery pack.

ortovox litric freeride 28l - we loved how easily accessible the ortovox litric system is from the...
We loved how easily accessible the Ortovox Litric system is from the top of the pack without having to have a gear explosion to turn it on and off.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Initially, we were a bit skeptical that the trigger handle was always out, but we grew to really love the twist-lock design. An innovation in airbag technology, the trigger twists to the on position to pull the airbag when needed. When you want to stow it away, just twist it back to the locked position. It's far less fiddling than pulling a trigger in and out of a zippered pocket (especially with big gloves on) and gives you the extra confidence that you're not going to deploy your airbag accidentally.

The innovative twist-lock mechanism on the Litric trigger. Black means locked, orange means ready.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Weight


The Litric Freeride is one of the lightest packs we've ever tested – the airbag system and pack weigh an impressive 5.6 pounds. This is made even more impressive by the fact that Ortovox doesn't skimp on features or overall comfort to get there.


Not only is this pack impressively low weight, but it also packs in a ton of features. Double ice axe or pole carries are stashed on either side of the back panel. Thoughtfully, the ski carry shares a pocket with the helmet carry to shave a few ounces. It seems like Ortovox could have gone even lighter with the material, perhaps, but the more rigid shape of the pack helps keep its contents firmly in place on the way down, which in turn increases comfort.

ortovox litric freeride 28l - we reached for the litric freeride often, for it's lightweight and...
We reached for the Litric Freeride often, for it's lightweight and functional design, low profile, and excellent feel on the downhill.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Comfort


For such a lightweight bag, Ortovox hit the nail on the head for comfort with this avalanche airbag. The Litric Freeride was conceptualized with high speed, freeride-style skiing and riding in mind, and it really shines for feeling largely unnoticeable — especially on the downhill. It has a snug, comfortable fit that doesn't move around, even while you do. The back panel is designed to maximize airflow, which helped us keep from getting too hot on long climbs.


While the diagonal ski carry on the Litric Freeride isn't our favorite design, it's still effective; skis stayed put and didn't wobble while we were bootpacking. Part of the supreme comfort of this bag lies in the shoulder straps and waist belt. Both tighten down and distribute weight extremely well and keep things in place while you're moving dynamically. The pack is one size fits all, so smaller users found it to be slightly too long. But it fits a wide range of people very well.

ortovox litric freeride 28l - even though we often prefer an a-frame carry (as seen on our partner...
Even though we often prefer an A-frame carry (as seen on our partner in the back), the diagonal carry of this pack is plenty comfortable.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Features


Again, one would think that a pack so light would have to skimp on features, but not so with the Litric Freeride. It includes dual-carry bungees stashed away in small pockets to carry either two ice axes or a pair of splitboard poles, a fleece-lined goggle pocket, several external and internal zippered stash pockets, and good internal organization.


Although you wouldn't know it at first glance, the Litric Freeride is also a modular pack. If you want more versatility for different types of skiing, you can trade out many different pack sizes for the same base airbag unit. It also has the option to carry a solid snowboard if splitboarders would rather carry their board in one put together.

ortovox litric freeride 28l - we always appreciate packs that have integrated fleece pockets for...
We always appreciate packs that have integrated fleece pockets for our goggles or sunglasses.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

While it's a minor detail, we do wish that the Litric Freeride had one simple hip belt pocket, as it's a major benefit to be able to access certain essentials without taking your pack off. To scrutinize the pack even further, most of the adjustment straps on the pack were far too long for most users, including the waist belt, but especially the leg loop. When clipped around the leg of our 5'5" main tester, there were nearly 2.5 feet of slack past the loop!

ortovox litric freeride 28l - about to drop in with the litric freeride.
About to drop in with the Litric Freeride.
Credit: Kaylee Walden

Should You Buy the Ortovox Litric Freeride?


We recommend the Litric Freeride to just about any backcountry skier or snowboarder. Even for snowmobiling, the pack has a great fit and would be comfortable all day, even for dynamic riding. Since it's lightweight, it's likely not the most durable option for heavy mechanized use, like frequent helicopter, cat skiing, or heavy-duty snowmobiling. But for simple, human-powered adventures, it's tough to beat the combination of comfort and features included in this pack.

What Other Avalanche Airbag Packs Should You Consider?


If you're looking for something with a heavier-duty exterior, consider the Backcountry Access Float E2 25L for lift-accessed backcountry or other mechanized skiing. If you appreciate the modular capabilities of this pack and don't care as much about the electric fan, the Arva Switch Ride 18L & Tour 32L is a versatile package, albeit with a compressed air canister.

Kaylee Walden