This BCA Float 22 is the ideal pack for side-country skiing and day touring in backcountry terrain. This pack is simple, sleek, and safe.


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BCA Float 22 - Avalanche Airbag Backpack Review


2012/13 BCA Float 22 backpack

Pack Tested: BCA Float 22, Avalanche Airbag Backpack  (color: blue and gold)

Reviewer: Miles Clark, Height: 6’1” (185cms), Weight: 170lbs (77kgs)

Number of Days Using Backpack: 32

Where Pack Was Used: Hakuba, Japan

There’s really no argument anymore. Before you go into avalanche terrain you need knowledge, a partner, a beacon, a probe, a shovel, and most recently: a backpack with an airbag system.

This BCA Float 22 is the ideal pack for side-country skiing and day touring in backcountry terrain. This pack is simple, sleek, and safe.

Simple, because it has only two pockets. A large one and a smaller one. The large pocket has room for your snow saw, goggles, sunglasses, skins, extra layers, water, and more. This larger pocket can unzip completely and fully fold open for access to the entire pocket and its contents. The smaller pocket can fit quite a bit but has quicker access so it’s a great spot for food, water, hats, gloves, shovel blade, sunglasses, and goggles. This smaller pocket has two vertical sleeves sewn inside to accommodate your probe and shovel handle making access to them quick and easy. The large pocket also has one small, zippered pocket built into it for can’t-lose stuff like keys and wallets.

Smaller/Outer pocket opened up with easy access to probe, shovel blade, and shovel handle visible.

This pack comes with a helmet carry pouch that can be attached to the outside of the pack and easily carries any ski helmet to the pack. I’ve used this helmet pouch a lot and it’s very useful.

The most important feature of the BCA Float 22 is the inflatable avalanche airbag system. The handle is located on the left shoulder strap and consists of a circular knob that is easy to grip. I did pull the handle and inflate the airbag once and you do need to give a decent pull to get it to go. This is good, as it helps insure you don’t end up accidentally pulling the airbag handle. The handle can be stashed away when not needed into a small zippered pocket located on the left shoulder strap. The airbag system is also fully removable if you’d like to use the pack for other activities (ie mountain biking).  Also, this airbag system is compatible with other 2012/13 BCA Float packs;  so you only have to buy one system for multiple sized packs.

Go to 3:10 of this video to watch a guy pull the knob and deploy the airbag on an Float 22

The backpack wears comfortably when hiking or skiing. It only ways 5.5 pounds making it one of lightest on the market right now. The shoulder straps and hip belt are padded and easily adjustable. There is an additional crotch strap that can be worn between the legs to ensure the pack stays on in an avalanche situation.

The BCA Float 22 has a diagonal ski carry system that consists of a loop of strap on the back of the pack in the lower left corner and a loop with a buckle on back of the pack on the upper right. This ski carry system is strong, quick, easy, and efficient. There is a snowboard carrying system that is sold separately.

BCA Float 22 avalanche airbag system handle, located on left shoulder strap

Waist belt pocket is $$$. I love hip belt pockets. This one is located on the right hip belt and is large enough to fit many snacks plus a small camera or it’ll even fit a small video camera. This pocket is fantastic for anything you want to be able to grab and stow quickly.

The final aspect to review is the overall look and style. The pack I used comes in two shades of blue with gold highlights at the zippers. The bag looks slick and it by far one of the sexier looking avy airbag packs on the market.

The BCA Float 22 lookin’ sexy in Japanese pillows.  photo: Zach Paley



Price:  $606.11 at (click this link to have look:  bca float 22 at (one of the most affordable on the market)

Compressed-Air Cylindar:  2,700psi (186bar), can be filled at the 165 BCA authorized refill stations

Airbag: 150-Liter, single-chamber

Weight: 5.5lbs (2495g) entire system, 4.2lbs (1905g) pack, airbag, engine, no cylinder, 2.45lbs (1111g) pack only, no airbag, engine, nor cylinder

Backpack Volume: 22-Liter (1343 cubic inches)

Warranty: 3 years

Torso Length: 17-22 inches

Bag Height: 19 inches

Bag Width: 10 inches

Bag Depth: 5 inches

Detachable Helmet Carrying Pouch:  Yes

Diagonal Ski Carry System:  Yes

Snowboard Carry System:  Sold serparately

Waist Belt Pocket:  Yes

Refill Stations:

How Airbags Reduce Burial Depth:

For 360 degree view of BCA Float 22, click here:  BCA Float 22 360 view

Avalanche Gear

  • EC

    Did you have any problem taking the air cylinder onto an airplane? By what method did you transport the air cylinder to Japan?

  • 123456.....9

    I thought there was not any such thing as ” sidecountry ” . Now I’m confused….What you guys really believe in?!!! ….for fuck sakes….

  • Heckler

    So, are you done with claiming that an Air bag pack will save your life and is all anyone needs?

    Miles, you posted some questionable information in the past. Why should anyone put trust in what you are saying now?

  • kyle

    I have the alpine trekkers I use them for day trips and side country they are pretty awesome for the price and easy to use. they work grate for climbing but if you have to ski down a small slope take them off for the decent as they do not seem stable for lateral movement ie downhill turns would brake them. if you complain about the weight then you are simply a wuss and should not be climbing mountains. after I use them I like to make sure all of the screws and such are tight so I don’t brake them on the next trip. if you don’t mind the fact that you have to take them off to ski and back on to climb then they are awesome. if you ski costal snow they may rust from the salt in the snow. but they are cheap and most of the parts could be found in a hardware store for replacement. I like to ride resort a lot too and also don’t wont to worry about braking expensive touring bindings. so when you hike up take them off and ski you get a more solid feel from your alpine binding. bottom line best access to the backcountry for 180 skins and avi gear

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