ABS is no stranger, or newcomer to the ski/snowboard/snowmobile industries. Over the past twenty-five years, ABS has been developing and perfecting their system to better prepare backcountry users. ABS was kind enough to loan us some of their new technology called the VARIO bag to test and see what we though. Let me tell ya, this is one impressive unit. Being pretty versed with the Snow Pulse unit I am quite comfortable with compressed gasses and have deployed and re-packed close to fifty bags. The ABS system is definitely nothing to be scared of. This system is extremely easy to both deploy and re-pack!
Just a few weeks ago myself and our filmer headed out for the first time with the new VARIO units to shoot some footage of the bag in action… not that much action, just deploying the unit in a very controlled setting, NOT in an avalanche scenario.
One of the really cool things about the new VARIO bag is it is interchangeable. What do I mean by this? Well the “base unit” is made up of the shoulder straps and the actual air bags, while the pack can zip on and off. This gives the buy the option to buy a base unit, along with several pack options depending on the trip they are planning. The VARIO system has four pack options the 15L (light day bag), 18L (ultralite), 30L (most practical for day use), and of course no pack line would be complete without the 50L (pack everything you got!).
Keep your eye out! Sledshot.com will be posting video, more photos, and lots of info on the ABS bags in 2011!