The more you venture into the mountains, the more your risk of getting caught in an avalanche. Carrying an avalanche air bag like the G3 Cabrio can help keep you a bit safer.

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The Verdict

There are many great avy bags out there, but the G3 Cabrio AR 30 stands out to us thanks to its compact, functional pack, and lightweight, dead-simple airbag system, The AlpRide Airbag takes up little room inside the pack and doesn’t need batteries to operate.

Great gear for hiking trips - G3 Cabrio Avalanche Airbag
Great gear for hiking trips - G3 Cabrio Avalanche Airbag
G3 Cabrio Alpride Airbag System
G3 Cabrio Alpride Airbag System

Overview

The G3 Cabrio 30 AR combines a lightweight 30-liter daypack and all the features you need with a full-size avalanche air bag that keeps you afloat in an emergency – without adding much weight or bulk. Operated by small, replaceable air cartridges, you can take this airbag on airplanes. The G3 Cabrio is a great option for a simple Airbag system and a good amount of space for the rest of your gear in the pack.

When to use

Every year more and more backcountry skiers are heading out with a backpack with an Airbag, and it makes sense. Anytime you’re heading into avalanche territory you should be prepared, and an Airbag backpack is becoming the norm.

Weight:2.96kg (5lb 15oz)
G3 Cabrio Airbag Avalanche Gear Pocket
G3 Cabrio Airbag Avalanche Gear Pocket
G3 Cabrio Airbag Helmet Pouch
G3 Cabrio Airbag Helmet Pouch

Pros

  • Sweet Daypack. Some avalanche bags have a good airbag system but don’t offer much in the actual pack. The Cabrio holds its own with a good amount of space to store the rest of the gear you’ll need on a day out in the backcountry .
  • Low-Profile AirBag. G3’s AlpRide air bag system weighs just 690g and doesn’t take up much useable space inside the backpack – about 1.7 out of 30 liters.
  • Air-Travel Friendly. The canisters the AlpRide uses are approved by the IATA for air travel, so the Cabrio can accompany on trips all over the world. The pack works as small carry-on, too.
  • Doesn’t use Batteries. We’ve heard that other bags with batteries are having issues in the really cold weather we’ve been getting recently, thanks to the Polar Vortex. The last thing you want is to find out that your airbag won’t work when you need it.
  • When packed right, super comfy and stable. The cabrio feels so solid when packed right, with no movement on the descent. This is great for a pack that can get pretty heavy.

Cons

  • Would love thumb loops. These are nice when you aren’t wearing gloves and don’t like it when sleeves slide around when moving quickly.
  • Slim cut means hard to wear around town for larger bodies. Consider going up a size if you are a larger body and plan to wear this around town as well.
  • Hipbelt. We just can’t seem to get this to tighten easily, and we have to remove our gloves to get our hip belt tight.
  • Small. 30L just isn’t enough to fit everything we want in a ski daypack. Even 33L or 35L would be an improvement.
G3 Cabrio Cartridges
G3 Cabrio Cartridges
G3 Cabrio Airbag with Ski Carry
G3 Cabrio Airbag with Ski Carry

Why carry an airbag?

Avalanche air bags are designed to keep you on top of the snow if caught in an avalanche – and not buried underneath. When caught in an avalanche, smaller objects are usually buried at the bottom of an avalanche, while larger objects tend to rise to the top. An airbag effectively makes you a larger object – increasing your chances of rising to the top.

Additionally, having a large padded bag on your back will do more than just keep you afloat in an avalanche – it can also help protect against trauma from being slammed into objects like rocks or trees, or even from the weight of snow piling up on top of you.

With all that said, of course, avalanche bags certainly aren’t a guarantee of safety. You always need to be aware of the risks when entering avalanche territory and be prepared to be responsible for your own safety.

The biggest issue we see in the backcountry is choosing more dangerous lines because you’re wearing an airbag. Sure, it helps if there is an avalanche, but getting caught in an avalanche still has a large degree of risk.

The G3 Cabrio: lightweight, fully-functional daypack

One drawback of many avalanche airbags and pack combos is that they tend to be bulky, and don’t leave much useable room inside the pack once installed. The Cabrio 30 AR Backpack doesn’t have that problem, however. The bag has a 30-liter capacity, and the air bag system only takes up about 1.7L of that space – leaving a solid amount of useable space. The system fits in an arch around the top of the pack and keeps a low profile.

With that said – we do wish that it was slightly larger. There’s just not enough room in a 30-liter pack for all the gear we’d like to carry, such as a first aid kit, snow tools, a puffy jacket, and a nice lunch. Even just adding 5L more liters – hardly a big ask – could make a big difference.

Carrying ski and climbing gear is easy; skis can be strapped on in both diagonal carry and A-Frame – something that not many avalanche bags can say. A-Frame can easily get in the way of the airbag when it’s deployed.

There are also plenty of options for stowing your climbing and ice gear, including a stowaway snowshoe or snowboard strap, and stow away straps for ski poles or an ice axe. There is also a separate pocket for stashing avalanche tools, and a mesh webbing designed for holding your helmet that stashes away inside the pack when you’re done.

We love being able to stash all these straps and holders away, as it means the pack stays sleek and keeps a low-profile. In a world of bulky packs covered in webbing and straps, we always appreciate a streamlined approach.

The Cabrio 30 weighs 1560 grams for just the bag and 2690 grams when the airbag system is installed.

We found the padded shoulder straps plenty comfortable, but – while the Cabrio isn’t a large bag – the frame can be too large for some. Those with a smaller frame may find the length too long.

XC skiing boots
XC skiing boots
Best equipment for XC skiing
Best equipment for XC skiing

Easy airbag system

The airbag in the Cabrio 30 is an AlpRide Airbag 2.0. At 690 grams, it’s one of the lightest airbag systems out there.

Unlike some other avy airbags, the AlpRide has no real moving parts – there’s no battery or electric fan. Instead, it uses a single gas canister to deploy. Which is great, because with no moving parts, nothing can break and very little can go wrong. All it needs to function is a full canister of gas.

The trigger is fed into the left shoulder strap, where it sits in pouch that can be zippered open or closed. Keep it open in avalanche country, but feel free to close it afterwards. There are three marked positions for the trigger, so you can find a position that’s easy to grab and access.

Each gas canister lasts just one deployment use, and they’re a bit pricey. But they are widely-available at a number of dealers across both Canada and the US, and you should haven’t trouble finding more when you them.

Bonus points: the AlpRide 2.0 is travel-safe and can go with you on an airplane, having received approval from the IATA and TSA. Yes – even for carry-on bags. though you may need to educate the agents on what’s allowed.

Final Verdict

The Cabrio G3 is a great pack: a comfortable daypack for days out ski touring, with stowable gear straps and the ability to carry skis both diagonal and A-frame. We wish it just a bit larger inside, and came it different colors – but we’re otherwise happy with it as a pack.

And though we haven’t had to use it, the AlpRide 2.0 system seems fantastic in theory. It takes up very little room in the packs, weighs little, and deploys with a single gas cylinder – no fans or batteries to worry about.

That this pack is travel-safe sweetens the deal.