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Mammut Barryvox Review

A highly capable, well-designed beacon with an excellent range and easy-to-read display
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Mammut Barryvox Review (The Mammut Barryvox sets the standard for mid-level avalanche transceivers.)
The Mammut Barryvox sets the standard for mid-level avalanche transceivers.
Credit: Dom Rickicki
Price:  $385 List
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Manufacturer:   Mammut
By Ian Nicholson and Dom Rickicki  ⋅  May 13, 2024
80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Speed - 30% 7.0
  • Interface - 25% 9.0
  • Accuracy - 20% 9.0
  • Multiple Burials - 15% 6.0
  • Range - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Mammut Barryvox is the latest platform to build on a long lineage of Barryvox beacons. While the Mammut Barryvox S is the more advanced model, it's more than a bit misleading to call this baseline model the “basic” version – the Barryvox is still much more capable than many other mid-level beacons we tested. It's more fair to label it as a highly capable beacon that a novice user can easily operate. Excellent range, a highly accurate processor, and an easy-to-understand interface allow for speedy single-burial searches, while key multi-burial features will delight professional users. Although it is not as fast to process in a fine search as some other models, with some practice and refinement of technique, it did not take long for even first-time users to nail a search with precision. To see how the Barryvox stacks up against the competition, check out our avalanche beacons review.
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent range
Easy-to-use
Comfortable to carry
Top-notch multiple burial capabilities
REASONS TO AVOID
Slower to display changes in fine search
Requires a slower technique with multiple burials
Editor's Note: We updated this review on May 13, 2024, after updating our scoring metrics.

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Bottom Line Great for both novice or advanced backcountry skiers, this beacon offers top-level capabilities for the most common rescue scenariosAn easy-to-follow display and just the right amount of features make this the perfect option for most backcountry usersAn intuitive model that manages to pack in a host of user-friendly features, whose price point will appeal to a wide range of backcountry skiersBCA honors the 'simplicity is speed' mantra, including only the most sought-after features in this fast and intuitive beaconWith an easy to use interface and a very fast processor, this an ideal option for intro-level backcountry skiers and riders
Rating Categories Mammut Barryvox Black Diamond Recon X Arva Neo BT Pro Backcountry Access... Backcountry Access...
Speed (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Interface (25%)
9.0
8.0
7.5
8.0
6.0
Accuracy (20%)
9.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Multiple Burials (15%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Range (10%)
9.0
7.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Mammut Barryvox Black Diamond Recon X Arva Neo BT Pro Backcountry Access... Backcountry Access...
Manufacturer's Stated Max Range 70 m 60 m 90 m 55 m 55 m
Measured Range 55 m 40 m 62 m 42 m 42 m
Flagging Feature Yes Yes Yes No (Signal Suppression) No (Signal Suppression)
Digital or Analog Modes Digital Digital Both Digital Digital
Stated Battery Life (in "Send") 300 hours 400 hours Alkaline: 350 hours
Lithium: 450 hours
250 hours 250 hours
Number of Antennae 3 3 3 3 3
Measured Weight 210 g 217 g 214 g 215 g 165 g

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mammut Barryvox is the updated version of the older Mammut Barryvox Element. After extensive testing, we must say our entire testing team is very pleased with all of the new upgrades over the older Barryvox models. This new version has better multiple burial capabilities, is far quicker in the fine search than its predecessor – which is its most significant improvement – and offers superior range. The new Barryvox platform continues to allow for software updates and includes a self-check function upon startup.

Performance Comparison


mammut barryvox - this beacon works well for folks with some experience who are...
This beacon works well for folks with some experience who are looking for extra features, but don't necessarily need everything that a professional level rescuer might want.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Speed


The Barryvox features a solid processor that allows the user to search at appropriate speeds, even if it lags more in the fine search than other beacons in our test. During the coarse search phase, the Barryvox is able to process information essentially at the speed of skiing or walking slowly downhill. It isn't quite as quick to update distance or direction as the fastest beacons in our test, but it is far from slowing you down. During a fine search, however, the delayed-action response of the Barryvox feels like a lag, forcing you to really slow down, especially to perform a proper bracket. While the slower speed was never too much of an issue for finding a low point in adequate time, it was noteworthy.

mammut barryvox - the base model barryvox includes the same processor as its...
The base model Barryvox includes the same processor as its professional sibling, just in a more reasonably priced, user-friendly package.
Credit: Dom Rickicki

Interface


The Barryvox interface is classic and easy to work with. The three-way switch is easy to operate, even one-handed, and doesn't require any fiddling to lock it into place. Its few features are right at your fingertips, and it doesn't require an app to access or adjust any settings — in fact, it has no settings to adjust. Even though the Barryvox includes a smaller feature set than comparable models, that's a big reason why it is so easy to use.

mammut barryvox - it took some practice with the barryvox to work as well in the fine...
It took some practice with the Barryvox to work as well in the fine search as other models.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Notable Features


This model features a Revert to Send mode. There is an internal motion sensor, and if the beacon does not move for four minutes, it assumes a secondary avalanche may have hit the rescuer, and the device automatically switches back to Send. It is hard not to move during a rescue, and we never had a problem with it inadvertently auto-reverting, but it does include a very loud warning tone just in case you want to abort a revert back to send.

mammut barryvox - in group check mode, once the barryvox picks up a signal within one...
In Group Check mode, once the Barryvox picks up a signal within one meter, it will beep and display the word “GO”, indicating that your partners Send is working correctly.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

The Barryvox platform is known for having an excellent signal lock, so we recommend using the Group Check mode during trailhead checks. The group check directions are easy to follow, and the display even prompts you with the word “GO” once it picks up a properly transmitting signal. It was surprising how much this improved our efficiency in group checks, and it's little design touches like this that make the Barryvox such a pleasure to use.

mammut barryvox - the mammut harness is more minimalist than other brands, which makes...
The Mammut harness is more minimalist than other brands, which makes them very comfortable to wear.
Credit: Dom Rickicki

Accuracy


Through every search phase, the Barryvox led us right to buried targets without hassle. It locked into an accurate distance reading, even at maximum range, and rarely sent us in the wrong direction during a coarse search. The arrows are smooth to update direction, allowing you to follow a clean arc towards your target. During the fine search phase, we came within 25 cm of a probe strike on a target buried up to one meter deep each and every time. However, we did notice that the brackets in our fine search, on average, were slightly larger using the Barryvox than other beacons we tested. We also consistently observed a wide range of users, from novices to professionals, perform a fine search faster with other models.

mammut barryvox - the arrows on the barryvox display rotate around an 180-degree arc...
The arrows on the Barryvox display rotate around an 180-degree arc, a unique design that is particularly easy to follow.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Multiple Burials


The flagging function on the Barryvox is essentially identical to other high-to-mid-level beacons we tested. It never had a hard time marking a burial when only two beacons were buried close to one another and rarely had a difficult time with three. It is important to note that, unlike several top models in our lineup, it cannot go back or unmark a flagged beacon. This isn't a big deal in the slightest for most real-world scenarios, but in AMGA or ACMG ski guide exams and other professional-level beacon drills, it can be very helpful. In practice, the only downside to the Barryvox compared to similar models is that your fine search technique needs to be much slower when performing complex rescues.

mammut barryvox - for single burials, which are most common, the barryvox is quick and...
For single burials, which are most common, the Barryvox is quick and easy to use. But it still has the necessary functions to successfully conduct more multiple burials, too.
Credit: Dom Rickicki

Range


Mammut claims a maximum effective range of 70 meters and, thus, a search strip width of 70 meters. While range isn't everything, having a larger search strip width allows for a more efficient coarse search as you don't have to zig-zag quite as much. These marketing claims are verified with ideal coupling between beacons, which isn't entirely realistic. To achieve a more real-world measurement, we recorded the distances where a beacon first picked up a beacon and averaged those throughout our testing. The average range we measured for the Barryvox was 55 m, which is still one of the longest maximum ranges – and search strip widths – of any beacon in our review.

mammut barryvox - even though its a bit slower in the fine search phase, the barryvox...
Even though its a bit slower in the fine search phase, the Barryvox is one of the most accurate at any range.
Credit: Dom Rickicki

Should You Buy The Mammut Barryvox?


The Barryvox is a top-of-the-line beacon for backcountry travelers regardless of their experience. The beacon's easy-to-follow interface makes it a great option for those taking their very first avalanche course, and its highly capable features will serve advanced users for practicing multi-burial problems. Our only caution is that this beacon requires a bit more practice than other competitive entry-level units – if this is your first beacon and you want the absolute easiest-to-use model on the market, you should consider other alternatives. But as a beacon that you can grow with as you develop your skills, there is no better option than the Barryvox.

Barryvox vs. Barryvox S


The Barryvox is essentially the more fundamental version of the fully loaded Barryvox S. The two models share similar search, flagging, and group check functions. It's worth noting that not everyone will benefit from the advanced features of the Barryvox S – while the Barryvox is “simpler,” it will serve the vast majority of backcountry skiers and riders much better than the more advanced Barryvox S.

mammut barryvox - even though the barryvox s (right) is the choice among many...
Even though the Barryvox S (right) is the choice among many professionals, it isn't necessarily better for everyone. A complex beacon doesn't necessarily equal speed in a rescue, and most users will never use many of the Barryvox S's more advanced features.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

What Other Avalanche Beacons Should You Consider?


If you like the functionality of the Mammut Barryvoxbut want a beacon with smoother fine searching capabilities, you should consider the award-winning Black Diamond Recon X. If you're shopping on a budget or want one of the absolutely easiest-to-use beacons, check out the Backcountry Access Tracker S. Lastly, if you're an aspiring snow safety professional looking for a beacon to nail an upcoming exam, you may feel limited by the Barryvox feature set – instead, we highly suggest investing in the Mammut Barryvox S.

Ian Nicholson and Dom Rickicki