You have health insurance, car insurance, and home insurance, so why not get a little backcountry accident insurance with the ABS Vario 30 Silver Edition Avalanche Airbag Pack? Just like all your other insurances, you don't really want to need it, but, in the event of an emergency, you'll be glad it's there to bail you out. Of course, an avalanche airbag doesn't guarantee safety in the backcountry, but they have been proven to help keep wearers on the surface of slides, increasing the chances that you'll stay alive to shred another day.
The ABS Vario system is a pretty awesome concept. It uses zip-on pack covers of varying sizes, letting you customize carrying capacity to suit your needs for the day. The Vario 30 is the perfect size for a day's worth of winter gear—puffy, shovel, probe, food, water, sundry gear—and has convenient features like a stashable helmet net, ice axe carrying system, gear loops, and hydration compatibility. If you're aiming to go lighter and faster, or looking to load up for longer trips, you can grab one of the many other Vario covers and never worry about dead space or a having to leave gear behind.
Lighter, narrower, and more ergonomic than the standard base unit, the Silver Edition base unit is designed to carry lighter loads than its burlier big brother, and has an elastic neoprene waist belt that moves as you do, keeping your comfortable from the skin track to the descent. A water-repellent padded back panel and ergonomic shoulder straps keep your load comfortable, while a spacious top pocket holds gear that you want to keep close at hand. All Varios have a sturdy diagonal ski carry and snowboard carry as well, along with a pocket for your shovel and probe.
With so many pack options, it's tempting to forget that the Vario 30 comes attached to a seriously sophisticated avalanche airbag system: the ABS twinbag system uses dual independent airbags on either side of the pack, which inflate within three seconds with the push of a button to help keep you on the surface of an avalanche. The trigger handle mounts to either shoulder strap, and punctures a nitrogen-filled steel canister to fill each airbag with 85L of life-saving flotation, while a leg loop and chest strap help ensure that the pack stays securely on your back, Once you've deployed the airbags you'll need to contact ABS to replace the trigger handle and canister, but you can quickly fold the airbags up, repack them in the side panel compartments, and quickly hook up the new parts and be ready to ride.