Addressing the two primary drawbacks of avalanche airbags—weight and cost—Ortovox has produced a winner in the Ascent 30 Avabag. With a much smaller and lighter (removable) airbag system taking up less space in the pack, and a huge front-entry zipper, there’s plenty of room for essential features like a separate shovel/probe compartment, ski and snowboard attachments, ice-axe carry, and helmet net.
I found that the pack carries weight better than most, with a molded-foam back-panel and well-proportioned waist and sternum straps. Finally, at $720, the Ascent 30 isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s hundreds less than many competitors.
Lighter, cheaper, with good features and all-day comfort: sold.