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Black Diamond Alias Pack with Avalung

aliasavalungBlack Diamond Alias Avalung Pack—a streamlined, lightweight, top loading pack with a life saving avalanche breathing device

Any backcountry skier already knows about the virtues of the Avalung, a breathing device designed by Black Diamond that can help you breathe in and potentially survive getting buried in an avalanche. The Black Diamond Outlaw pack with Avalung has a breathing tube, which is deployed from a zippered pouch in the left shoulder strap. The idea is to keep this tube handy when skiing avalanche terrain and in your mouth if you are skiing especially dangerous terrain (i.e. a touchy slope you fear might go).

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).

Unlike some of Black Diamond’s other packs featuring the Avalung (like the Outlaw and the Bandit), the Alias is a top-loading bag. This makes it both super lightweight (for all those gear gram counters out there), as well as providing super easy access to all of your stuff.

The pack has a pull cord making it easier to access and one main compartment where you can shove all your gear.
The bag also features a zipper pocket at the top for small items as well as a separate front pocket for you shovel, probe, beacon etc. The simplistic design may lack some of the bells and whistles of other ski packs, but it also keeps it lighter.

The dual compression straps keep your load tight and double as the sleeves for carrying your skis A-frame style. The removable aluminum stay can be taken out to reduce weight, while the foam back panel ensures a comfy carry.

The Alias also features an interior, insulated sleeve for your hydration bladder. It has an A-frame system that allows you to carry your skis when hiking (and even carries fatties quite It also has the Avalung—a feature you hope never to have to use, but that could save your life if you get stuck in a slide.

>>Check out more of the best ski and snowboard backpacks

The Quick & Dirty:
Where you can get one:
Buy Black Diamond Alias AvaLung Pack $149.99

Why it Rocks:

    • Integrated 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 port at the bottom right of the pack, extending the time available before an ice layer builds up and seals out oxygen
    • Breathing tube runs through the left shoulder strap and can be positioned such that the mouthpiece is readily available
    • Top-loading pack cinches down and covers contents, helping your gear stay put, even during a crash; zippered top pocket stashes accessories
    • Removable aluminum stay adds stability and foam back panel prevents pointy gear from poking you in the back
    • Shovel and probe organization pockets allow simple access to your essential equipment
    • Insulated sleeve helps prevent your hydration reservoir (sold separately) from freezing up; drinking tube routes through insulated right shoulder strap
    • Pack carries skis diagonally or in an A-frame configuration
    • As with avalanche beacons, the Alias AvaLung pack is not a substitute for wise assessment of hazardous avalanche terrain
    • Volume: 30 L ; 1818 cu. in.
    • Fits: 16-19 in. torso (S/M) / 18.5-21.5 in. torso (M/L)
    • Weight: 1.01 kg / 2 lb 3 oz
    • Materials: 420d Nylon Dot by Twill and 400d nylon

Seat-of-the-pants rating: 9 out of 10

If you are looking for a medium sized, top-loading, super lightweight ski pack with a built in Avalung and the ability to carry your skis than this is definitely the bag for you. Light enough to satisfy even gram counting gear junkies, with enough pockets and functions that make it an easy bag to use in addition to being lightweight, this pack has it all. Outter pockets for carrying your shovel and probe make your avy-tools easy to access in an emergency. And, while you hope to never use the Avalung built into this pack, it could potentially save your life and bring you a little peace of mind when riding the bnackcountry.

Looking to Buy? Here’s where you can get one:
Buy Black Diamond Alias AvaLung Pack $149.99