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Weight (Full) ~510 grams

ABS Vario Base Unit Silver Edition



ITEM # VBU2013ST In Stock - Ships Immediately
Because the ABS Vario ships with a full nitrogen canister, a $30 hazmat fee will be added to your order. Must be shipped via ground service ONLY. Please allow 1-2 additional days for processing.

A bag that packs an “explosive” punch

Unlike other airbag systems Bent Gate offers, the ABS uses nitrogen instead of compressed air, argon, or carbon dioxide. It also ships with a full canister of nitrogen so you’re ready to ride without making any additional purchases.

Some other bags take up to 3 or 5 seconds to inflate. The ABS inflates nearly instantly. It uses an explosive primer to activate the system and inflate the bag. We’ve tested the ABS unit here at the shop, and the pack left a mark on our tester’s neck! Plus, with an explosive primer you can disarm the entire system by removing the trigger; this is a huge benefit if you plan to bring your pack along for any heli-drops.

The biggest benefit of this explosive system is how rigid the bag becomes when fully inflated. A rigid airbag helps to mitigate trauma experienced in a slide, not just the potential for burial.

Are two airbags better than one?

ABS seems to think so. The position of the airbags will keep an avalanche victim parallel to the surface of the snow, high above debris with a clear field of vision. The two airbags on the ABS unit have a capacity of 170 liters combined, which is 20 liters more than some of the other bags you may have read about. Plus twin airbags give you a fighting chance even if one of them rips and deflates in a slide. Redundancy is a good thing when it comes to your safety in the backcountry.

Pack options for DAYS

One of the coolest things about the ABS Vario is that you can switch backpack bodies as quickly as you can unfasten and refasten a zipper. The ABS unit is designed to be used with zip-on packs from a variety of manufacturers including Osprey, Salomon, and ABS.

Although you can make the pack bigger with a zip-on from ABS or a third party manufacturer, the ABS Vario base unit has enough room right out of the box for basic avy gear and maybe a sandwich.

System consumables

You’ll have to replace the trigger and the nitrogen canister after every use. A spare activation unit runs $180 from ABS and includes a left or right side trigger and a new nitrogen canister.

The canister has to go to Canada for a refill after it’s used. Refills run $50 and include a new left or right side trigger. With luck and good judgement on your side, hopefully you’ll never have to inflate the airbag on your back.

ABS Vario Base Unit Silver Edition

This is the “base unit” you need in order to take advantage of the versatility ABS built into their airbag system. Once you have this in your quiver, you’ll be able to easily zip on and zip off packs of various sizes, depending on how long you plan on staying out.

The Vario Base Unit works best when combined with a zip on pack specifically designed for it, like the ABS 15L, ABS 8L Ultralight, Osprey Kode, or the Salomon Quest 20. The Vario Base Unit is ready to go right off the rack with the stock cover.

The Vario Base Unit meets the requirements of the TÜV for extreme operational demands (PPE Directive 89/686/EEC).

Still have questions? Call the shop toll free and ask away. (877) 236-8428


  • ABS TwinBag system with buoyancy volume of 170 liters increases your odds of staying right side up and close to the surface during a slide.

  • A large, height adjustable activation handle ensures ease-of-access if the worst happens.

  • Zip-on cover comes stock, which means no additional purchase is necessary unless you need more storage space.

  • Light, elastic neoprene hip strap helps you achieve a perfect fit. Also helps keep you comfortable when carrying a full pack.

  • Ergonomic, adjustable chest and shoulder straps keep the pack stable on your torso when skinning up the slope.

  • Integrated leg strap ensures the pack stays put during a slide.

  • Water-repellent, padded back section keeps you comfortable

GEARED UP GALLERY Check out this product in action!

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