In joining the growing number of backcountry brands with airbag offerings for skiers and riders, Arc'teryx wanted to design a backpack specifically around its own airbag system, rather than stick an airbag onto an existing pack.
Coming out fall/winter 2016, the Voltair airbag system can be deployed multiple times, unlike compressed air cylinder airbag systems, thanks to a 22.2V Lithium-Ion Polymer rechargeable battery. It's field rechargeable with a special adapter for portable power sources, solar panels, and wind turbines.
A centrifugal blower fills the 150-liter balloon with "more initial pressure than any other battery powered avalanche airbag system on the market," says Arc'teryx. And it continues to add air after deployment to offset potential small tears or punctures from hard objects like trees and rocks.
The Voltair features an "always available" manual trigger handle. It also has a one-handed, wire gate leg loop/harness system that secures the airbag to your body, much like a climbing harness, to keep you attached to the pack in an avalanche situation.
The Voltair also has its own check engine-style light that comes on after 50 deployments, after which "we want to see it back," says Pete Hill, Senior Designer at Arc'teryx. The brand will then review the Voltair's data logs, reset the system, and return it to the user.
Hill walked us through the Voltair avalanche airbag during Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2016.
The fully seam-sealed pack comes in 20-liter and 30-liter sizes and is made with waterproof N400r-AC² nylon 6 ripstop body fabric with WaterTight zippers for top and side access. It has dedicated compartments for shovels and probes and also ice/mountaineering tool loops. Skis and snowboards can be carried diagonally with front lash ladders and straps.
The Voltair, available fall/winter 2016, is made in Arc'teryx's Canadian manufacturing facility.
Arc'teryx Voltair 20L
- Weight: 3,235 g / 7.1 lbs
- MSRP: $1,650 (inclusive of bag, battery, and power)
Arc'teryx Voltair 30L
- Weight: 3,465 g / 7.6 lbs
- MSRP: $1,700 (inclusive of bag, battery, and power)