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ARVA Airbag Tour 25 Ultralight Review

arva airbag tour 25 ultralight
  • Comfort
  • Features
  • Stability
  • Weight
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A cartridge airbag backpack for ski mountaineering that is lightweight but has the organised space to carry everything you need for a trip or even a day of freeriding. The weight remains low even with the airbag system. Volume may be insufficient if crampons or other glacier or mountaineering equipment needs to be carried.


  • Lightness
  • Space management
  • Breathability of the back
  • Recycled material


  • Absence of a compartment for shovel and probe

The Arva Airbag Tour 25 Ultralight Reactor backpack finally brings the airbag system to the fast & light ski mountaineering segment, due to its minimalist construction and low weight.

arva airbag tour 25 ultralight on test

Technical features of the Arva Airbag Tour 25 Ultralight

  • Capacity: 25 litres
  • Weight: 1600 grams (including airbag system)
  • ARVA Reactor airbag system
  • Front access to main compartment
  • Hip belt with two large mesh pockets for quick access
  • Two ice axe loops
  • Diagonal ski carrying system
  • Removable straps for carrying A-frame or diagonal skis, snowboards or snowshoes
  • Daisy chain system compatible with ARVA helmet holder
  • Easy access pocket for valuables
  • Ultralight shoulder straps with elasticated pockets for a 500ml flask or water bottle
  • Ultralight back panel with removable ventilated foam padding
  • Removable emergency whistle
  • Adjustable left/right leg strap
  • Materials: 330D recycled polyamide ROBIC REGEN lightweight and highly durable fabric
  • Manufacturer link
ski moutaineering test arva airbag tour 25 ultralight

Test mode

The nackack was tested over a number of days, split between ski mountaineering trips with elevation gain of over 1000m and freeride days with lifts in high altitude areas between 1700m and 3000m. Although I have studied the system, I have never accidentally activated the airbag.

Arva Airbag Tour 25 Ultralight est on powder snow

Arva Airbag Tour 25 Ultralight on-site test


Arva makes this backpack in one size. I am 185cm tall and the size is perfect for my back. It has also been used by shorter people (about 160 cm) who found the back too long.

 Arva Airbag Tour 25 Ultralight

Backpack loading and space management

The Arva Airbag Tour 25 Ultralight backpack has a single compartment for the airbag and two elastic straps to secure the probe and shovel handle. The shovel scoop, on the other hand, has no specific place and should be kept loose in this main compartment.

The 25 litres claimed by Arva are therefore a little risky if you have to carry additional equipment (in addition to any jackets, gloves, etc.) such as a harness, crampons and a few carabiners with lanyards.

In the event of an avalanche, when the speed of the rescue operation is crucial, the two elastic bands that hold the shovel and probe to the back make their use cumbersome and not easy, in the sense that they can waste precious time, since the part containing the airbag tends to block the escape of the parts in question.

inside of the arva backpack
The inside with the probe and the shovel

On the other hand, the two side pockets on the belt, one with a zipper and the other without, where you can keep bars/gel, gloves, but also skins in case they are not very bulky, are very convenient.

the open side pocket
The open pocket
the closed pocket
The closed pocket

For those who prefer to have a soft flask on hand without having to remove the backpack, there is a convenient pocket for it on one of the two shoulder straps.

flask pocket
The flask pocket

Uphill test

If there was no airbag inside, this pack could easily look like it was made for an ultra trail race, from the construction to the feel when you hold it.

The backpack is very breathable and very stable if you adjust the shoulder straps and belt properly. It really does feel like you’re not wearing it.

back detail
Back detail

The shoulder straps themselves are made from a lightweight, breathable material that does not become uncomfortable after several hours of climbing (which is often the case with some backpacks with lightweight shoulder straps). The side pockets allow you to carry everything you need while climbing, and the soft bottle holder means you never have to take your pack off.

front detail

Downhill test

Just as on the way up, on the way down it almost feels like there is nothing on your back. The safety loop is really minimal and you don’t feel it at all.

Closure detail and security loop

The lever for deploying the airbag, once unlocked (a very easy mechanism) is easily accessible in an emergency.

airbag lever


A backpack that makes lightness its strong point. Only downside is the lack of a separate compartment for shovel and probe, which would have made rescue maneuvers faster than it was intended. For the “fast and light touring” target audience, it is perfect.

arva airbag tour 25 ultralight

Recommended for

For ski mountaineers who are demanding about the weight of their gear, but also for those who have always found airbag systems too heavy. With the Arva Airbag Tour, there is no excuse for not taking an airbag backpack on every trip. Its compact size makes it ideal for freeride days on the lifts.

However, it is a pack designed for day ski mountaineering trips where there is no need to carry extra equipment or mountaineering gear.

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