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Pieps Freeride Avalanche Beacon

freeridebeacon.jpgPieps Freeride Avalanche Beacon—A small and affordable beacon perfect for those who already know how search for a buried victim.

Finding the right avalanche beacon for your needs is crucial. While newbies to the world of Backcountry may be tempted by the low price on this beacon, the truth is that it should really only be used by those who know how to search for buried victims already or who have previous experience with This is the perfect beacon for you if that is the case. Small, compact and light, you’ll hardly even feel this beacon in your jacket pocket—but it could still potentially save someone’s life.

The main problem with this beacon is that is a single-antenna transceiver, meaning the Freeride cannot display a direction indicator that points you to the victim. Instead, you have to manually locate the buried victim using the distance indicator. While the single-antenna style is at a huge disadvantage to multiple-antenna transceivers that can give better directional information. In the Freeride, the arrow signal indicates only strength of signal rather than direction. The Freeride is also capable of finding multiple buried victims.

The quick & dirty:
Where you can get one:
Freeride Avalanche Transceiver by Pieps $199.95

Why it Rocks:

  • Digital 1-antenna transceiver with simple and clear operation – first transceiver in the size of a cell phone
    The PIEPS-Freeride has an elliptical receiving range up to 40 meters
  • Search-strip width: 30 meters
  • iProbe Support: Like the PIEPS-DSP the Freeride can also be deactivated temporarily by the iProbe and the searcher can focus on the next strongest signal. So PIEPS provides the first truly 100% perfect safety solution for multiple avalanche burials
  • Fall back function in case of a second avalanche
  • Weighing in at only 110 g weight (incl. battery); it’s small, light, dynamic and cool

Seat-of-the-pants rating: 6 out of 10
While this beacon definitely works and is notorious for its long standing durability and great price, the single antenna component definitely makes it not as useful for finding victims. While the Freeride will be a good transceiver for people who already know how to search without a directional indicator, it is not appropriate for people who are purchasing their first transceiver and don’t already have experience finding buried victims or those who have been using a multiple antenna transceiver. I am concerned that people will not understand the additional practice required to search using a single-antenna transceiver, and lost time when searching for an avalanche victim could mean a lost life. Basically, it’s not a great idea to skimp on price and give this as a gift to a novice.

Looking to buy? Check out these sites:
Amazon: Freeride Avalanche Transceiver by Pieps $199.95