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Oct 17 2013

First Look: Mammut’s Light 30 airbag pack

 

At just over 6 pounds, Mammut makes carrying an airbag pack more bearable.

At just over 6 pounds, Mammut makes carrying an airbag pack more bearable.

Saving weight has always been a primary goal with packs. Afterall, the plan is to carry a bunch of stuff on your back without breaking it. Keeping the weight of the container down is part of the puzzle.

This gets more difficult when you’re talking about an airbag pack. The main reason you’re buying it is for the insurance the airbag provides, and you bear the cost every time you heft it. Mammut does a stellar job of minimizing the weight with their Light 30. The main savings occur with the fabric, a thin but strong Cordura-like fabric with an aramid reinforced nylon panel on the outside that deflects abrasion with a smooth surface, and won’t run if punctured; excellent protection against steel edges or branches.

Architecture

The Light 30 looks and acts like a mid-sized top loader with a lid that seals the top and provides two chambers, a mesh lined one inside, the other accessed from the outside for doo dads. Big enough for some goggles, but not the moon sized variety. For quick access to stuff at the bottom the Light 30 has a side-zip down the main compartment with a snap closure at the top to keep the contents at the top from spilling out when you zip ‘er down. A two way zipper might be preferred, but that would certainly add excess weight, especially since you would want it to be a waterproof zipper, which is significantly heavier.

Le Airbag

3D view of the Protective Airbag System(trade).

3D view of the Protective Airbag System®.

In the main compartment the airbag system is tucked and clipped in to the top of the pack with webbing straps, so you can remove the protective airbag system. Since the Light30 uses Mammut’s PAS®, two arms of the airbag run inside the shoulder straps so you get some protection around your upper torso and it makes the straps rather soft and cushy to carry. The canister slides in to a sleeve along the port side and simply screws to the interface which has the trigger and dump valve already connected. It’s a bit more idiot proof, just don’t forget to use the key to cock the safety release open for actual use. As Rochus says, “You will figure it out.”

Compartments

A look inside Mammut's Light30.

A look inside the Light30.
click to enlarge

Two sleeves on the front and back of the main compartment help with organizing your gear. The outer panel makes a great place for stashing a shovel blade, telescoping handle, probe, skins, stuff you want fast access to from the top. All the straps you need are located on the sides and back for lashing your skis A-frame style, or a snowboard on the back with reinforced hypalon anchors to resist being cut by sharp edges. All the webbing comes with nib-nabs for controlling those annoying loose ends.

Suspension

Light 30 has the typical airbag stuff - metal buckle, leg loop, trigger in the shoulder strap, plus PAS.

Light 30 has the typical airbag stuff – metal buckle, leg loop, trigger in the shoulder strap, plus PAS.

To save weight there isn’t a lot of framing or suspension added to this pack. At 30 liters you’ll probably have it fairly full most days, adding some rigidity to the whole pack. Though it lacks a chassis, the inside panel against your back has molded foam, allowing for some ventilation and a soft frame of sorts.

Summary

Overall, it’s an airbag pack that compliments a minimalist attitude with essential conveniences and Mammut’s PAS® insurance. Though there aren’t any statistics, having an airbag that conforms to more body area gives a tad more assurance. For a pack large enough to carry a days worth of gear, either on a hut-to-hut trip or a long day tour, this is one of the better packs available.

Mammut
Light 30 PAS®
MSRP: $900
Weight w/o cartridge: 2120 g / 4 lbs., 11 oz.
Weight w/cartridge: 2750 g / 6 lbs, 1 oz.
Volume: 30 liters

Related Posts
Overview of Airbag Pack Systems

© 2013
 

  • Håkan MacLean

    I’ve been waiting for a review of this airbag for ages, googling it almost every day :). Stoked to see one finally out!
    Would it be too much to ask to post some more pics of it? I’m interested in seeing the details like how the lid looks (is it raisable?), side zip, compartments inside/outisde etc… you talk about an “outer panel”. Is that a zippered pocket on the backpack or simply an “open” pocket inside the bag?
    Also pleasantly surprised to see you writing that A-frame ski carrying is ok as Mammut only mentions diagonal on their home page.

  • Dostie

    As you wish. At 30 liters you need to be careful what you bring, but you can fit the essentials.

  • Håkan MacLean

    Thanks for taking the time!
    I take it the lid is not “raisable”?
    I had just about decided to buy this bag when I read about the new BD Jetforce… almost which I had never read about it :)

  • Dostie

    Correct, the lid can not raise or lower. It is sewn in place so it can only open or close.

    BD’s Jetforce sounds awesome, but there’s a side effect we don’t yet know about and it won’t be on the market until next year. If you need an airbag this year, next year will be too late.

  • Justin Wilcox

    When they say the volume is 30 liters, is that the remaining volume (not including space the airbag takes up)? How would you compare this in volume and carrying comfort to the BCA Float 32? I have the Float, and I think it carries horribly. Back panel is not rigid at all, hip belt does take any of the weight etc… Are you going to be looking at the Mammut Pro Protection as well?

  • Dostie

    What year is the Float32? The predecessor, the Float 36 carried okay, but packing it was not intuitive – it required completely re-thinking my normal packing routine. I think all the packs with an airbag at the top carry sort of odd, because the weight is up high. The PAS system is better because it makes the shoulder straps cushier to carry more weight, and also contains some of the weight of the airbag itself. The Float32 undoubtedly suffers from weight up high. The other options are twice the price.

  • Justin Wilcox

    Its the Float 32 from last year, as far as Im aware its unchanged for this year. I think the back panel is not stiff (or contoured) enough so it kind of just hangs there and the hip belt is not able to help at all. What about the volume of the Light 30?

  • Johannespreekt

    Great review thanks!!

    You speak about the framing, is there enough in it that you still carry the weight on your hip? And for the freeride days when you only have a shovel and probe in it, is the framing good enough to carry a snowboard in those days? Or would you say look for another bag if you want good weight carry because of a less perfect back due to injuries?