A solid and reliable backpack is just as important for safety while freeriding as a transceiver, shovel and probe — particularly considering the recent developments of specific avalanche backpacks. Naturally other aspects such as comfort, protection and practicality are all important aspects to consider when choosing a backpack fit for the backcountry.
After strapping on the Free Rider ABS backpack from Ortovox, the first thing you notice is comfort; the bag is super light and fits snugly. After further inspection, you will find a removable SPS PRO back protector embedded into the base-layer that molds to your back and feels oh so comfy. There are 24 and 26-liter versions and both come stacked with adjustable features that easily cover all the aforementioned bases. The tried and tested ABS Twinbags and shovel/probe pockets ensure safety. The ABS Twinbags have been thoroughly tested, are designed to the strictest safety standards and are even removable. The multiple straps, Velcros and clasps ensure that the bag fits perfectly and that skis, poles, helmets and other equipment can be attached in multiple different ways. Two other pockets allow enough space for lunch, liquids, extra layers as well as tools and goggles. And everything is designed for use with gloves.
These backpacks can be a bit scary. Just the thought of their purpose is enough to scare off some, but the minute you adorn the Free Rider, you instantly feel safer. Staring down chutes, cliff runs or just that perfect wide-open powder field becomes a much less daunting prospect and that kind of confidence only stands to boost your performance. Just knowing you’ve got a backup plan opens up a whole world of opportunity of deep-snow skiing.
There is little doubt why this TÜV certified backpack won Gold at the ISPO Awards, the designers and manufacturers at Ortovox simply know what a Free Rider needs.