Black Diamond Agent ski pack with Avalung
Black Diamond Agent with Avalung—The Black Diamond Bandit’s bigger brother, a streamlined pack with a little extra wiggle room
When Black Diamond first unveiled the AvaLung, they sent the backcountry skiing community into a frenzy. The new invention, which works by moving the CO2 you breathe out away from your mouth and nose to extend the amount of time you can breathe while buried. While it’s a device you certainly never hope to use, it could very well save your life if you are ever stuck in a slide.
While the Avalung certainly does not replace backcountry knowledge or common sense and can not prevent you from getting buried in a slide, it could possibly give you enough extra time for your friends or rescuers to be able to dig you out. Black Diamond promises you can be buried for over an hour with the Avalung and still survive. Without it, you can only last about 15 minutes. This precious time is often the crucial and deciding factor between life and death for avalanche victims.
While there are debates on the effectiveness of the Avalung (you have to get the mouthpiece in your mouth and have it stay there for it to work), this new technology has saved some lives, including Dan Morisey of my home state of Colorado who was buried by an avalanche and whose Avalung probably saved his life (read this interview with Morsiey about the Avalung).
Black Diamond has a variety of different styles and sizes of their Avalung packs, ranging from bigger bags meant for multi-day use to the tiny Bandit designed for quick out-of-the-gate trips at the resorts or shorter day-trips. The Black Diamond Agent is the Bandit’s bigger brother—slightly larger with more space for your gear, the Agent is still streamlined and small enough to wear comfortably on a chair lift.
The lightweight pack main panel opening is designed to give you super quick access to your shovel and probe in the event of an emergency. It also features a diagonal ski carry system with a cable that is sure to safely attach your planks. The Agent also has a tuck-away helmet sling for those longer hikes and there is a insulated hydration sleeve so your water won’t freeze in even the coldest conditions.
The Agent’s 20 L size gives you more than enough room for all of your avy tools (and even features a super nice organizer to help you keep it all organized and easy to access), while still being small enough that you’ll barely notice it when hitting the slopes.
The Quick & Dirty:
Where you can get one:
Buy Black Diamond Agent Avalung $199.95
Why it Rocks:
• AvaLung apparatus can increase the time you have to breathe if trapped in an avalanche; air is pulled in directly from the snowpack via a mouthpiece
• Exhaled carbon dioxide is directed out the exhaust tube, extending the time available before an ice layer builds up and seals out oxygen
• User must be able to get the mouthpiece inserted before avalanche debris restricts movement; snowpack or injury can prevent its use
• Apparatus is built into pack, with the breathing tube enclosed inside the left shoulder strap so the mouthpiece is readily available
• Exhaled carbon dioxide exits through a special port at the bottom right of pack
• Features large main compartment with sleeve for water reservoir (sold separately); drinking tube routes through insulated right shoulder strap
• Interior compartment features sleeves for storing avalanche probes; has room for shovel and related safety gear
• Ski-carry cable provides quick and secure diagonal attachment of skis
• Helmet carrying sling tucks away into front pocket when not in use
• Features comfortable shoulder straps and back panel; reinforced handle lets you grab and carry when time is critical
• As with avalanche beacons, the Covert AvaLung pack is not a substitute for wise assessment of hazardous avalanche terrain
Seat-of-the-pants rating: 9 out of 10
If you are looking for a great pack that you can strap on for quick out-of-the gate trips when skiing in bounds at the resort (and riding up chairs), but want a bag that’s a little bigger than the Black Diamond Bandit, than the Agent is the perfect pack for you. It’s big enough that you can take it along on all-day day-trips into the backcountry, yet small enough to allow you to comfortable ride up the chair lift with.
Lightweight and streamlined, with a diagonal ski carry system, avy-tool compartment with easy zippered access and the Avalung all make this a terrific pack for quick day-trips off-piste and skiing in the backcountry.
Looking to Buy? Here’s where you can get one:
Buy Black Diamond Agent Avalung $199.95