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Polar Express
January 28th, 2010, 08:11 PM
My take on the BCA Float 30… so far.

Since the BCA pack is new, and we’re early on the list of folks that have received theirs, I thought I’d submit a review. I chose these packs for several reasons.

1) An additional level of Avy safety
2) Design allows for training and practice
3) Cost - $500 USD to the consumer
4) Personal history with BCA products

I have been very pleased with the products I have seen and owned that BCA makes. I had every reason to believe these packs would meet that same high quality standard. The customer support has been fantastic. I first saw their product at the Puyallup WA, snow show in Oct. 2009. I got to handle and test pull a demo. The demo was pretty well used, I’ll bet I heard it deploy 50+ times during the time I was there. That’s a lot, and the inflation process and bag showed zero signs of decreased performance or wear. A couple weeks later, I placed an order through SnowBigDeal for 2 packs; one for my wife, and one for me.

Some background:
My first pack was the BCA Stash, and worked well. Just didn’t have enough room for my liking, as I got deeper into this addiction, er, I mean, hobby. I handed the stash pack to my wife, and found a DaKine Pro II for a killer buy. I have been happy with the DeKine product for size and function.

Initial impression
When we first pulled them out of the box, they felt light for all the components contained. They also feel well-made in your hands. I saw no hanging threads, no short sewn seams. The area the airbag is stored/contained in is pretty rigid, its stuffed in there pretty good, and held closed with a constant Velcro seam. That forms almost a perimeter framing of sorts for the top half of the pack.

Storage volume and weight:
I have attached some photos of the DaKine product on my back; full of the gear I have been carrying. I then loaded the new BCA with the same gear, (actually, added 2 pair of goggles) and have taken similar photos. I tried to show relative size, and such, and how it ‘rides’ on my back.

The BCA product clearly has more storage room than the Pro II. I have yet to actually organize the contents to efficiently use the space, I just crammed it in there, and there is still quite a bit of room. When comparing the packs ‘loaded’, the Float 30 actually feels lighter than the DaKine on my back, I suspect that is due to the previously mentioned pack rigidity.

Deployment
I have deployed them several times already, in the house, and on the sled in the garage. I have found you really want to give that cord a definite ‘yank’. My wife and I discovered that the force needed to deploy the bag is less if you have your pack straps nice and tight. In her test pull, she did not have the straps very tight, and when she ‘yanked’ on the handle, the shoulder strap moved easily, and it was more difficult to deploy the bag.

During the first (and only) test fire on one of the Float 30s, I noticed a hissing sound coming from a seam in the bag. I won’t bore you with details, but I am very impressed with the attitude of both SnowBigDeal and BCA in this matter. To some this manufacturing defect might be a negative, and while that is a serious issue in a potential life-safety item, that underscored the importance for a test fire once it has arrived to the consumer. I consider it an overall positive, because of the great customer support I have received. In less than 24 hours, I have a tracking number for the arriving replacement Float 30 pack, with the request that I return the leaking unit with the enclosed shipping label.

How if fits
I am 6’2” tall, and about 210 #s. Here are some photos of what the pack looks like on my back, in my home. In an attempt at accuracy, I did put on my protective vest and my normal riding jacket. I began with some comparison photos of the DaKine product, as many know the size and shape of them already.

DaKine Pro II on my back (full of gear)
http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/mishL84_08/backpack%20pics/P1282013.jpg
http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/mishL84_08/backpack%20pics/P1282010.jpg

BCA Float 30 pack on my back (with same amount of gear, plus 2 pair goggles)
http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/mishL84_08/backpack%20pics/P1282016.jpg
http://i472.photobucket.com/albums/rr82/mishL84_08/backpack%20pics/P1282017.jpg

There is room to add more items, and I intend to change to the Ortovox Grizzley shovel, I really like that ‘claw’ feature for digging quickly. I will post some more pics when I get that shovel and get the configuration of my pack contents arranged to my liking. It is not designed to carry the shovel on the outside of the pack, but there is a dedicated shovel pocket.

I should note that I have not had a chance to test this on the snow, and ride with it yet. I’m recovering from arm surgery, and won’t be able to ride for a few more weeks, thus I have the time to bore you all with this kind of a review.

So far, I’m pleased with the product, and very pleased with the customer service attitude shown me by BCA and my retailer, SnowBigDeal.

If anyone lives near me, and wants to check one out, let me know and we'll hook up.

PE

Shibby!
February 1st, 2010, 02:22 PM
Deployment
I have deployed them several times already, in the house, and on the sled in the garage. I have found you really want to give that cord a definite ‘yank’. My wife and I discovered that the force needed to deploy the bag is less if you have your pack straps nice and tight. In her test pull, she did not have the straps very tight, and when she ‘yanked’ on the handle, the shoulder strap moved easily, and it was more difficult to deploy the bag.



Check with the manual, I know with my ABS bag it mentions it has about 10 years use, with 10 deployments (one deployment/year). After that the material degrades from being under stress and is suggested it's replaced.

Not saying you shouldn't test fire it, but if you think it's easily refillable and bang it off every day, chances are it'll stress something.

BCA Canada
February 5th, 2010, 01:11 AM
We are the reps for BCA at the snowmobile shows and deployed our prototype bag 200+ times at the shows this past fall. No failure at all; very impressed with material. Our engineers have tested the material extensively in extreme cold and heat;the quality of the production bag is extremely high.

Shibby!
February 11th, 2010, 09:30 AM
We are the reps for BCA at the snowmobile shows and deployed our prototype bag 200+ times at the shows this past fall. No failure at all; very impressed with material. Our engineers have tested the material extensively in extreme cold and heat;the quality of the production bag is extremely high.

Oh great, thanks for the information.

So you guys can answer why it's taken so long for the bag to be released then?

BCA Canada
February 16th, 2010, 09:02 AM
Oh great, thanks for the information.

So you guys can answer why it's taken so long for the bag to be released then?
Being the first year of production, we have encountered a few hiccups, one being that the chosen airbag fabric was changed early in production (wrinkled too much in -40+C slowing deployment). That set us back as new fabric needed to be tested etc. Actually, we've produced the pack in 18 months from conception; unheard of in the industry. We're shipping now and will continue to as the packs are assembled in Colorado. Next season plans are to have them in stores by early fall.

sledneck48
February 16th, 2010, 04:19 PM
Quick Question about the BCA pack
When deployed does the cylinder have to be exchanged for another full one
or can it just be refilled by a local shop with a dryer equiped compressor like an autobody or paintball shop

Shibby!
February 16th, 2010, 05:18 PM
I have now seen a few people with the packs out on the hills. Look to be a nice alternative to the airbag market.

Hopefully everybody gets theirs quickly!

burnt toast
February 17th, 2010, 09:42 PM
I received my pack today very nice.

sledneck48
February 20th, 2010, 11:16 AM
Got mine yesterday
Very impressed

SnowXTC
February 23rd, 2010, 01:32 PM
Well I was impressed with the bag this weekend. It is not light. I packed with the same stuff that I had in my heli-pro and it is a noticable difference, but not really noticable on my back. My shoulders did hurt a little more. I am still looking for that middle ground on where it feels good on and is easy to put on and take off.

The only real complaint I have is the waist belt. With all my gear on (layers, tek vest, beacon, jacket) I cannot reach over with both hands to fasten the waist belt. The non-adjustable side either needs to be adjustable or to be about 3 to 6 inches longer. Also, the adjustable side loosens up too easily. The buckles are also sharp on the edges. I am going to lengthen the non-adjustable side on mine. I can get it undone with one hand, but need the hubby to fasten it for me.

Other than the issues with the waist belt, it is a great pack and holds a lot.

I bought an extra canister with mine and deployed it the day I got it and scared the hell out of the dog. It worked awesome and was firm for about 15 minutes, it then started slowly losing air. I suppose with snow on it, it may lose air earlier and a little quicker. I would expect this to be completely normal and actually what you want to happen. If I am buried, I want to be supplied with some air. I realize this is not the primary intention of the bag, but definitely a secondary plus.

I was surprised the bag was yellow and not orange. I would think that orange would stand out more on the snow, but BCA Canada has explained that. I also found the trigger to be a little short and really had to force it to come out of the trigger cover so that I could screw it onto the trigger. Getting the quick connect on is not easy either, you have to work it to get it to close the connection. Push the two together really hard.

The pack has a ton of room, but only slightly more than my Dakine Heli-Pro, however it is a lot bigger than my Heli-Pro.

Thanx again SnowBigDeal.

Oh ya, I forgot to mention, make sure you have gloves on when you pull it. It takes a little bit of force and the cable is thin and can cut your finger.

I have since had the canister refilled for $2.00. He had to use the larger tank with the paint ball filler to get the 2700 PSI. I have ordered o-rings and grease from BCA. I will always have a new o-ring in the canister if it is going on my back. Total cost for a refill and new o-ring will be about $2.40. That is affordable as I am sure that a few of my so-called friends will happily test it for me while it is on my back.

jwood99
March 4th, 2010, 11:28 AM
I just received one and test fired it, I am now looking for a place around Lloydminster to get it refilled just wondering if anyone has some suggestions

Alberta Boy
March 9th, 2010, 02:29 PM
I just received one and test fired it, I am now looking for a place around Lloydminster to get it refilled just wondering if anyone has some suggestions

There has to be a dive shop or paint ball store/center around there... a google search would help you out... here you go

Paintball Games and Supplies in Lloydminster, Alberta > 411.ca (http://www.411.ca/directory/Alberta/Lloydminster/Paintball-Games-and-Supplies.html)

katarakt
September 30th, 2010, 01:31 AM
Hi! I'm from europe and wanted to know if the 2010 float 30 has no snowboard carry system, is this really true and that the new 2011 float 30 will have this? And how much will the price expand for the new float 30 if so?

Without such a carry system it´s useless for most people and i hope the new one will still stay at the price of 500$ so i'm going to buy that one. If it will be much more i won't buy it. All those ABS systems out there are way too expensive.

Other question, would it be available in europe? If not i can buy it in the US, no problem.

Shibby!
September 30th, 2010, 08:13 AM
Hi! I'm from europe and wanted to know if the 2010 float 30 has no snowboard carry system, is this really true and that the new 2011 float 30 will have this? And how much will the price expand for the new float 30 if so?

Without such a carry system it´s useless for most people and i hope the new one will still stay at the price of 500$ so i'm going to buy that one. If it will be much more i won't buy it. All those ABS systems out there are way too expensive.

Other question, would it be available in europe? If not i can buy it in the US, no problem.

What's the price of safety? Unfortunately that's what you have to ask. Some of those more expensive ones (ABS) have very proven track history AND snowboard attachments.

That being said, I think because of the shape / features of the airbag on the Float, it will never have ski/snowboard attachments. It's physically impossible.

I bought the ABS Vario last year because the Float wasn't out, and I don't want to be a test subject. From this day I think I made the right decision.

At the end of the day something is better then nothing.

katarakt
September 30th, 2010, 12:41 PM
What's the price of safety...do you want to pay 50.000$ for it? We don't talk about the price of safety, we're talking only about equipment and more than 500 is simply too much, thats it.

Btw. i found info on google now that the new one has ski/snowboard attachments.

glengine
September 30th, 2010, 01:12 PM
Hi! I'm from europe and wanted to know if the 2010 float 30 has no snowboard carry system, is this really true and that the new 2011 float 30 will have this? And how much will the price expand for the new float 30 if so?

Without such a carry system it´s useless for most people and i hope the new one will still stay at the price of 500$ so i'm going to buy that one. If it will be much more i won't buy it. All those ABS systems out there are way too expensive.

Other question, would it be available in europe? If not i can buy it in the US, no problem.

I'm glad to hear that it has a snowboard attachment for yah. But how do you figure that without it would be useless for most people. Maybe in europe but not here in canada, There are a very large number of sledders and a large majority dont pack snowboards. I was told from BCA one of my suppliers that the price went up by about 100.00

katarakt
September 30th, 2010, 01:36 PM
Ah ok, but i don't know why they haven't integrated such a simple attachment in the very first generation because there are way more snowboarders and skiers out there as the other market in canada has so they lost the biggest market anyway ...but with the new float with integrated ski/snowboard attachments the manufacturer will be very lucky, i'm sure thy will sell thousands more.

So, you say 600$ for it? Meanwhile i found the new one and it costs about 700 !! 200 more ..crazy for this simply 2011 update :eek:

http://www.snowbigdeal.com/servlet/the-470/BCA-Float-30-Avalanche/Detail

jaredszakacs
September 30th, 2010, 01:54 PM
What's the price of safety...do you want to pay 50.000$ for it? We don't talk about the price of safety, we're talking only about equipment and more than 500 is simply too much, thats it.

Btw. i found info on google now that the new one has ski/snowboard attachments.

glad to know your life is only worth $500 or less these bags are great and the abs ones are great there is no price on safety you should go out and make your own bag then if $500 is to much to pay to help save your life!! And rendering it useless to most people cause it doesnt have a snowboard carrier is very wrong here in canada most of us dont pack boards or skiis and when we do we usually have racks built on the tunnels to help with that so that we have a properly functioning pack to Save OUR LIVES NOT THE BOARDS

rmkredneck
October 1st, 2010, 07:02 PM
here here i will second that