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Feb 04 2014

Review: Ortovox Tour 30+7 ABS pack

 

Orotovx Tour30+7. Lots of room, pockets, straps, and ABS.

Orotovx Tour30+7. Lots of room, pockets, straps, and ABS.

Once you decide to go with an airbag pack, it is a quick conclusion that you want the best system you can get, and the reality is, as of Winter 2014, the ABS system remains the premier system for a number of reasons. It has two airbags for a total volume of 170 liters, in a long configuration to help float the entire body. Plus you can add a remote trigger, and a ton of retail outlets to pick up replacement canisters.

When it comes to the pack itself, ABS has more licensees than anyone, so there are a number of pack makers to consider. Ortovox’ Tour 30 +7 is worth a close look. It is not a good pack for half day trips unless you’re always bring extra stuff just in case, but it is a good size for overnight hut trips where you routinely need the extra space.

M.A.S.S. – Ortovox spin on Vario

The Modular Airbag Safety System in the innermost compartment.

The Modular Airbag Safety System in the innermost compartment.
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At the heart of Ortovox line of ABS packs is their Modular Airbag Safety System, a set of tie-in loops on a portable, rectangular harness that hold the airbags, venturi valve, and tubes to connect it all, including the trigger cord. Although the idea is for the MASS to be transferable between various packs, once you’ve gone through the connection you may be less inclined to swap it much. As a piece of safety equipment the MASS needs to be tightly bonded to the pack it’s in or it may not work. Thus, attaching or removing is not a trivial procedure either. It is not a “no tools required” affair — it helps to have a pair of pliers to get the tabs through the tie-in loops. You also need to read the directions; sequence is important for proper assembly.

3x Clamshell Pack

Triple stacked clamshell accessed compartments make up the Tour 30+7.

Triple stacked clamshell accessed compartments make up the Tour 30+7.

Once you have the MASS installed, the system of compartments and straps are fairly self explanatory. Whether or not you like the combination of stacked clamshell compartments with double zips is a personal preference. Each compartment is relatively thin, but full length. Including the MASS compartment, the Tour 30 is essentially a triple stacked clamshell design.

The outer panel seems thin on first glance, yet is still roomy enough for a shovel blade and handle, plus other items you typically want fast access to, like a probe, skins, spare gloves, snacks, and a layer of clothing. To put all that in the outer panel is a snug fit, but that outer panel can expand via a circumferential zipper that yields an additional 7 liters of space – hence the plus seven in the name – when zipped out.

The buckle clasps on easily, requires finger dexterity to unhook.

The buckle clasps on easily, requires finger dexterity to unhook.

The obligatory small stash pockets and functional straps for lashing mountaineering tools to the back are there as well, using high strength hypalon straps with metal hooks for long term durability. On the waist strap a metal buckle is used, but this one has a metal button that hooks to the mating side with a safety latch that can be easily depressed with your fingers to unhook it, but is not so easily removed while wearing gloves.

The interleaved compartments will absorb a lot of stuff, but require more thought on what goes where to fill the pack out. When half full, which is about how it fills for a day trip, the zippers are not filled out and taught, making access to various compartments tedious.

Conclusion

If you want a lot of room and the ABS for safety, the Ortovox packs carry nice, and offer the option to swap the airbag system between different pack styles and sizes. As a day trip pack, the Tour 30+7 is a tad big. As something for bigger days, or overnights, Ortovox did a great job of moving the weight of the ABS system from the top to the middle of the pack, and made access to all the compartments easy.

Ortovox
Tour 30+7
MSRP: $1200 (w/MASS)
Weight: 7 lbs., 3 oz. (3.26 kg) w/MASS
Volume 30 liters, expandable to 37 liters.

Related Posts:
Overview of Airbag Systems

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