When it comes to must-have snowmobile gear for mountain riding, owning an avalanche backpack is at the top of the list. Outside of owning one of the safest snowmobile helmets you can afford, avalanche safety gear like a backpack and an avalanche transceiver is of the utmost importance. Bottom line is, you’ll be thrilled you own one when you (hopefully never) need it.
You are likely here because you already understand the importance of having an avalanche backpack, but you have not made a final decision yet on which avalanche backpack is right for you. We get it, between cost, style, fit and feel along with so many other variables the decision is tough. That is why today we are here to tell you about the Klim Aspect 16 Avalanche Backpack. Throughout the remainder of this article we discuss the features and design of this backpack, how it works, the costs of owning, the difference between the Aspect 16 and the Atlas 26 and finally what we here at Sledheadzzz like and dislike about the Aspect 16 Avalanche Backpack.
Klim Aspect 16 Avalanche Backpack Review
If you are into snowmobiling you know Klim makes high quality products designed to keep you safe on the snow. That is exactly why they made the Aspect 16 Avalanche Backpack. This backpack was designed to fit comfortably while providing peace of mind. Yes, you read that right. This bag was designed to be reliable. Klim understands the risks of snowmobiling in mountainous areas where avalanches are prone to happen.
Not only was this backpack designed to be reliable it is also designed to be functional. Surprise, surprise, right? But seriously, this avalanche backpack was built to be more than just an inflatable airbag for you to use in the event of an avalanche. This backpack features multiple compartments for storing items you care to carry with you while riding. We carry things like snacks, water, saws, matches, etc. in these compartments. There is also a place for external shovel blade storage as well as an internal storage place for your shovel handle and probe with a drain. Certain zippers on this backpack are color coded for storage of avalanche equipment. Oh, did we forget to mention the molded goggle pocket? Yeah, it has that too. The Aspect 16 is a 16 liter backpack, hence the “16” in its name. There is no shortage of storage within this avalanche backpack.
Offered in 3 different color schemes, the Aspect 16 Avalanche Backpack is one of the more stylish backpacks of its kind on the market. You can choose between black with hi-vis yellow, black with blue or, our personal favorite, black with red. Typically style is not a huge concern with safety related equipment, but somehow Klim managed to pull it off. They made this backpack classy and clean.
This avalanche backpack, like any other backpack, has two padded, adjustable straps that go over your shoulders. With the pull cord for deploying the airbag on the right shoulder strap, but it can be switched to the left shoulder rather easily. The left and right shoulder strap have loops for fastening your radio to it. To secure the bag to your body ensuring it does not get separated from you at any time this bag also has a waist and leg strap as well as a chest harness. The leg strap is optional and if you choose not to wear it there is a place to store it within the bag.
Other features included in the design of this bag include an emergency whistle, molded back pad, heavy duty zippers, a moisture resistant tool pack with external attachment and S.O.S label with emergency instructions. Honestly we may even be missing some of the smaller features this bag includes. There are so many features added to this bag to make it one of the most durable and functional avalanche backpacks money can buy.
One of the many beauties about the Klim Aspect 16 Avalanche Airbags is that it is powered by the Alpride E1 Airbag System which inflates the 150 liter airbag in the event of an avalanche. There are no CO2 canisters or lithium ion batteries involved. You will have no issues taking this avalanche backpack with you on an airplane if flying to your riding destination. This airbag is deployed using a super-capacitor which powers a radial compressor. This super-capacitor is not affected by cold temperatures which makes this bag very reliable. You can recharge your airbags super-capacitor by using a micro usb in 20 minutes or by using two AA batteries in 40 minutes. It can be recharged as many times as needed without having any negative impact on its ability to keep a charge.
The Alpride E1 Airbag System weighs 1280 grams making the Aspect 16 the lightest electrical avalanche backpack on the market. Klim knows it is important to keep their products as light as possible as conserving your energy on the mountain is crucial for a successful day of snowmobiling. The light weight of this backpack makes it almost feel as if you are not even wearing a backpack and allows you to maneuver your snowmobile without it getting in your way.
How the Klim Aspect 16 Works
Prior to heading out for the day of riding you will power your Aspect 16 Avalanche Backpack on. Once on, the airbag equipped in this backpack is ready for deployment at any time. By simply pulling down the orange handle on your right or left shoulder your airbag will start to inflate. It inflates in a matter of seconds. Once inflated it remains inflated until you take it off and deflate it using the deflate switch inside the backpack.
There is not a set number of times this airbag can be deployed. Making it one of the most trusted airbags on the market. This airbag can be deployed and repacked an unlimited amount of times. With that said, each charge typically is good for two pulls. This is why they made the system rechargeable with AA batteries for if you are out riding and absolutely need to recharge after using it. We hope this is not necessary for you, but it is an option if you don’t stop for the day after experiencing an avalanche. Or if you are like us and accidentally deploy your airbag while helping a buddy dig his sled out of a hole you can rest assured your bag is still good for the day, you will just have to take a little longer of a break to repack it. However, repacking this airbag only takes about 5 minutes at the max.
Like any other avalanche backpack the Aspect 16 is made to keep you floating on top of the snow during an avalanche. As you may know, avalanches typically contain debris such as rocks and logs. The larger debris generally surfaces on top of the avalanche. This is why airbags help keep riders on top. By making us larger we are more likely to float.
Cost of the Klim Aspect 16
The Aspect 16 is going to cost you $999.99 USD, but you can save $200 USD by buying the non-current black and blue color scheme if you do not have a color preference. This airbag is a tad pricier than other non-electrical airbag options, but it is also packed full of features the other do not include. Our personal opinion of price when it comes to avalanche safety gear is that we would rather pay more money for products we trust.
Another way to look at the cost of this avalanche backpack costing a little more is that it is a one time cost. Other avalanche backpacks require CO2 canister refills which is not only inconvenient, but is an additional cost that you do not necessarily realize when purchasing. The Aspect 16 saves you time and money as it does not need CO2 or lithium ion batteries. It could also save your life!
Klim Aspect 16 vs Klim Atlas 26
Klim also offers the Atlas 26 Avalanche Backpack which is pretty much the same as the Aspect 16, just bigger. It operates using the same technology, but offers more storage and a larger airbag. It also has a rapid deployment spot for your probe so you can get your probe out fast without actually taking your backpack off and a place to store your avalanche beacon around your waist area. The Atlas 26 only comes in one color scheme which is black with red.
When worn the Aspect 16 feels more like a vest compared to the traditional backpack feel the Atlas 26 provides. The vest-like feel is nice as it feels like it takes more weight off your shoulders, but to each their own. The last difference between the two bags is price. Being the Atlas 26 is bigger and has a few more features it will cost you $200 USD more than the Aspect 16.
What We Like About The Klim Aspect 16
We like the reliability of this avalanche backpack the most. We have been using Klim avalanche airbags for years and have never had any issues with them. Thankfully we have never had to actually deploy them in an avalanche situation. We also like how easy they are to bring with us anywhere we go. These can be brought onto airplanes with no issues. This makes travel easy when we fly out to riding destinations where we will be renting sleds or riding with buddies and our sleds are already there.
The design and comfortability of these avalanche backpacks is also another reason we have chosen to wear them. They not only look good, they feel good. They are well padded and provide excellent support for your upper body while riding. There is nothing worse than a sore back when you are doing a day full of technical riding or just riding in general. There are a lot of reasons to like the Klim avalanche backpacks. Let us know what you like or dislike about the Klim Aspect 16 Avalanche Backpack in the comments below or message us on any of our social platforms @sledheadzzz. Ride safe this season!