Black Diamond Jetforce Tour 26L Avalanche Airbag Pack – Updated Airbag
We have been using the Jetforce 40 for the last few years – see the detailed review here. The newer Jetforce Tour 26L uses an updated airbag system. This Alpride E1 system allows for multiple deployments on a single charge.
Jetforce Tour 26L Overview
Black Diamond worked with Swiss company Alpride, to use their E1 system in the Tour pack. This is not the same Jetforce system we tested in the Saga 40 a few years back and the Halo 28 Jetforce. I will do my best to go over the features, similarities, and differences of each. There are quite a few interesting things going on with the Tour under the hood!
Alpride E1 System
This new system features supercapacitors to store and deliver the charge needed to quickly deploy the airbag. These supercapacitors are pretty nifty, as they are not affected by temperature. Yep, no need to worry about freezing batteries. That is a big plus. This also allows for airline travel with this system (no lithium batteries or air canisters).
Recharging the System
They claim that you can get 2 deployments on one charge. We tested this theory and can confirm. It is recommended to wait 40 minutes if recharging using two AA batteries. We went rogue and did a second deployment in under 10 minutes (because we are inpatient LOL). It was noted that it did deploy, just a tad slower than the first deployment. Both were successful operations though. The unit uses two double AA batteries to fully recharge the E1 system in the field. The unit can also be recharged with a mini USB cable.
My MacGuyver thought here is to just bring a 10,000ma USB charger in the field for backup. This would charge the Jetforce system in 20 minutes (officially – according to BD and Alpride). This way the user could get comfortable deploying the Jetforce over and over. Practice, practice, practice. That is how you learn.
Lightweight – Lighter than Saga 40 by 2lbs!
The tried and true Jetforce 40 that I love is almost 2lbs heavier than this Jetforce 26L. Obviously, it is a bigger backpack and has more zippers, pockets, and metal. But still, that is almost 2lbs. There were several times when that almost 8lb (naked) Jetforce gave me a challenge. The Tour 26L comes in at 5lbs 13oz in size M/L. The Alpride E1 is claimed to be the lightest system out there.
It is also the lighter weight materials used in the Tour 26L. The 210D Nylon is much lighter than the combo of 840D Ballistic Nylon, 210D Ripstop Nylon and 315 Cordura used in the Jetforce 40. This is a plus in some ways. Although we did notice some fraying of material on the backpack straps.
Comparisons – Jetforce 40 vs Tour 26L
How the Tour 26L Performs on the Mountain
This is where the Tour pack really shines. It rides well on the user. It is not as cumbersome as its bigger brother. It sits well on the back and feels comfortable. Though, I find that 26L is too small for me to carry the usual backcountry kit. I like 35-40 liter for my backcountry packs. If you can get all your gear into a pack this size, then it could be ideal for you.
There are not a lot of pockets on the pack. Granted, there is the shovel and probe pocket, main pocket, hip pockets, helmet pouch, and an internal little pocket. Not as many as some other packs, but enough to keep you organized.
Review of Tour 26L Jetforce
This pack is lightweight, functional and dependable. The fact that you can literally use it as much as you want, is what I love about this technology. I have read to many avy reports where the user did not properly activate the airbag system. There is no substitute for good judgment in the backcountry. Practice is how we get better with the tools that we have. I would highly recommend any of the Jetforce packs below and recommend that the user practices using it till they can do it in their sleep. Just like beacon skills, put in the time and hope to never have to use it.
Black Diamond Jetforce Tour 26L MSRP $1199
Black Diamond Jetforce Halo 28L MSRP $1199 (on sale for $899!)
Black Diamond Jetforce Saga 40L MSRP $1249 (on sale for $936!)
Thanks to my good friend Joey Lakein for his help with this write-up. We met 3 years ago at an AIARE Level 2 Course and have become great friends since.
Joey is known for his infections, positive energy, and charm. As well as yodeling in Yiddish and making the best Kosher chicken schnitzel this side of Brooklyn. Heres to you Yoseph!