I am evaluating the acquisition of a backpack with an avalanche airbag. I have a good overview of the different technologies and of the products on the market.

However, I find no information from users about the typical life expectancy of such bag. Can I expect to buy a product with a similar life time as for normal backpack (with similar use)? Are some technologies or brands known to have shorter life expectancy?

I of course exclude the fact that the gas cartridge must be exchanged regularly and the case, when the airbag is triggered for a real avalanche.

2 Answers 2


I can't speak directly to avalanche airbags, but I do have some experience with Fire Shelters, I believe the same considerations apply.

Life expectancy of wilderness survival equipment is not measured by the calendar. It is measured by wear. Safety devices should be inspected at the beginning of every season and regularly throughout the season. One time use equipment like fire shelters and avalanche airbags spend time with you in the outdoors being subject to any number of hazards. Even just sitting in storage they can have failure events.

Rather than focusing on how long the device will live, focus on ease of inspection, testing and replacement.

Can you remove it from the carry/deployment device to inspect?

Are replacements for the expendables available that will fit into the carry/deployment device you are considering?


TLDR: Its going to depend on how it is used, but a maximum of ten years.

Periodic Deployment/Service Life

BCA recommends deploying your Float airbag at least once per year, both to make sure the system is operating correctly and to be sure the user knows how to operate the equipment efficiently. Put it on, pull the trigger, repack the airbag and refill the cylinder before the season starts. Your Float airbag is designed to undergo a minimum of 20 deployments and is warranted for three years. With occasional use and proper care, the system can be expected to last for 5 years. Under frequent use and with proper care the system may need to be retired before 5 years. The maximum shelf life is 10 years from the date of manufacture. Factors that may reduce the lifespan of the product are: abrasion, wear, prolonged exposure to sunlight, prolonged exposure to moisture, or harsh environments. The manufacturing date can be found underneath the cylinder sleeve in the main compartment.


The VOLTAIR™ Avalanche Airbag has a maximum lifespan of 10 years, regardless of use. The frequency of use, care and maintenance routine, and storage of the VOLTAIR™ will impact the actual lifespan and warranty coverage. To achieve maximum longevity and performance, follow the care and storage instructions found in the instruction manual. VOLTAIR™ batteries should function as expected for at least 3 years with normal usage and storage.



The JetForce System is certified for 50 full deployments. With normal use and proper care the typical lifespan of a JetForce Backpack is five years. The actual lifespan can be longer or shorter depending on how frequently you use it and on the conditions of its use. The maximum lifespan of a JetForce Backpack is up to 10 years from the date of manufacture, even if unused and properly stored. Factors that will reduce the lifespan of a JetForce Backpack: Falls, abrasion, wear, prolonged exposure to sunlight, salt water/air, corrosive chemicals, harsh environments or misuse of the battery. The typical estimated lifespan of your replaceable LithiumIon battery is three to five years. All Lithium-Ion batteries deteriorate with age.


  • 6
    If you deploy it 50 times in real avalanches, I would say you are doing something wrong!
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 17, 2018 at 17:27

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