New avalanche airbag: Black Diamond Jetforce

By dr.Gear on 22 October 2014 · 4

In recent years it has gone hard with the innovation in freeride land. When Dr. Gear rode powder back in in the 90s, he met hardly any other skiers and boarders in the backcountry. Nowadays, it seems that more people are riding off piste then on the groomers. And everyone is wearing an airbag. Dr. Gear hopes that this doesn't mean that riders doesn't want to invest in knowledge anymore, because ultimately it all starts with knowledge. Anyway, avalanche airbags are a good development, because they have proven their worth by now. This season, a new airbag makes its appearance.

Black Diamond, the brand of which Dr. Gear owns many carabiners, re-invented the avalanche airbag. Black Diamond (who also own the well-known brand Pieps) and Pieps have teamed up and developed an interesting new airbag. The result: Jetforce.

Why the Jetforce airbag?

Well you may think 'a new avalanche airbag?' But I just bought one! Could be, but from experience with multiple airbags (fortunately not in an avalanche itself, but with many days in the backcountry) Dr. Gear can tell you sometimes just hit a wall. If you want to check in your airbag when traveling by airplane for example. You'll have to put in a new cartridge when you arrive at your destination. Or you have to explain an airbag is a life-saving device and not a life-threatening device. Anyway Dr. Gear was triggered (pun intended) by the new technology in the new Jetforce airbag of Black Diamond.

How does it work?

To clarify the characteristics of this new airbag, Dr. Gear has lined up the four most important features.

1) 'Jet-ventilator'

This is the unique thing about Jetforce airbags. Instead of a cylinder with compressed air or whatever else the Jetforce has a fan which is powered by a battery. And yes, Dr. Gear was skeptical when he heard for the first time. But make no mistake, because that battery blows up a balloon of 200 liters (that's more volume than ABS and Mammut) in approximately 3.5 seconds and is designed to work in cold temperatures.

2) You can trigger your airbag multiple times

You can trigger your airbag around four times before you should charge the battery of the fan again. And quite frankly, even Dr. Gear is comfortable with that feeling when he's on a trip with no shop to be found for days.

3) Deflation after inflation

It looks like the economy. But now with a positive vibe in the news. After blowing for three minutes (the fan ensures that the airbag remains rock hard for three minutes), the fan changes direction, emptying the entire balloon in no time. Potentially, an air pocket might arise when you caught by the avalanche and underneath the snow.

4) No more bullshit at airports

This is a battery. No longer a 450 bar cylinder with air or nitrogen. That makes a difference when queuing for security.

All in all very promising features. Pieps technology that has been used in this backpack expresses confidence and it is clear that this is not a 'me-too' product. Anyway, now you want to know in what sizes they Jetforce airbags are available.

Packs Packs

  • Black Diamond Pilot 11

  • Black Diamond Halo 28

  • Black Diamond Saga 40

  • PIEPS Tour Rider 24

  • PIEPS Tour Pro 34

  • POC Thorax 11

The Jetforce is not going to be the cheapest backpack or avalanche airbag. The go for around $ 1,200 in the US of A. And for those riders who want to know what a fully blown Jetforce looks like... Morris sent me this video.

Should you have any questions about the Jetforce Airbag, feel free to ask them in the comments below. It's the beginning of the season and Dr. Gear still has time to answer your questions.


  • Derek
    Derek op 23 October 2014 · 19:50
    Obvious question, been debating and watching the new technologies develop and evolve over the past few years. Black Diamond, ABS or Snowpulse? Expensive long term decisions to be made. I do really like the Snowpulse protection of the bag around your head and coming towards the front of your body. However the Black Diamond just seems like it covers the most and isn't too low in any on category. Looking for safety first, function bag second with enough size, and comfortable shoulder straps. Thank you!
  • jazzman
    jazzman op 26 October 2014 · 19:51
    Looks really good!! the problem is that it is REALLY expensive, it goes for double the price of the others...
    It´s snow or never!!
  • telemikey
    telemikey op 28 October 2014 · 17:11
    Concept seems solid, though it depends on unobstructed inflow of air...

    Where is the air intake situated and how is blockage of the intake prevented? Any idea?

    Probably a no brainer but I expect that the airbag even manages to fill quite well against any external pressure? Or do you have to be on top of the avalanche whilst it is deploying/ filling?

    Good to see new concepts filtering in and giving the 'traditional' companies a run for their money.
    White room,Pillow lines,I rule
  • mitely
    mitely op 17 November 2014 · 20:21
    Very important point, when there is a software problem, the Bag can still blown up.
    (due to a seperate elctronic system)
    On the long term , the Jetforce is cheaper. For example, do dont have to buy every year one or perhaps two cartridges.
    @Telemikey, on the side of the backpack there is an ''opening'' , but the main ''opening'' is the backpanel. (with an ABS the Venturi Ventile is doing this job, and is working good as well.)
    In case of punkture , the Fan is so strong even with a cut, he can blow up the bag !!
    (in our shop we sad with 2 pers. on the bag, and the Bag was still blowd up. )
    @derek, Verry important with the P.A.S of Snowpulse is the right fit and size of the bagpack, if not the balloon is ''pulled'' backworth.


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