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Gear

Winter Lab: Avalanche Airbag 101

Compressed air, venturi valves, horse collars, fans, argon, TSA rules, cable pulls. The lingo alone can spin your head, so let us set you straight.

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No matter what airbag pack you’re looking at, the vast majority, if not all of them, use a venturi valve to help inflate the bag. The valve essentially sucks in outside air to fully inflate the bag. Each bag is also repackable, and stores into it’s own compartment. When you pull the trigger, the zipper or Velcro pops, and the airbag inflates.

But beyond price, pack volume, pack features, and aesthetics (like color), there are 3 main differences. Here’s what you need to know.