I was just informed that our group is going to have a Gam-off, technically known as a Gamow Bag.

While I have never seen one such thing and so I don't have any experience with them, I browsed the internet about it for a while. A few questions:

  • Do they have a high-altitude operating ranges like sleeping bags have?
  • How much do they cost?
  • How much do they weight?
  • Is it okay to drag someone off the snow in a Gam-off? (Looking at the structure), or are they just meant for keeping the cold victim safe and warm while Evac is arranged?
  • On a funnier part, Can that it be used as a shelter rather than bivouacking?
  • 1
    Gamow bags are not used to treat cold (hypothermia). They are used to treat AMS, a completely different condition, although the two are commonly found together.
    – user5330
    May 30, 2015 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


These are emergency kit - specifically to help those suffering health problems due to altitude. As I understand it they are used within the climber's tent or bivouac, which provides the shelter required, and they provide an environment that matches a lower altitude, through pressurising the bag, allowing altitude sickness to be alleviated.

So, looking at your 5 points:

  1. no. They are for use at altitude
  2. not a good question for SE. I'd suggest editing it out - a web search comes up with suppliers who have a range of costs and specifications
  3. there are different versions. The one in the picture below weighs in at 12.7lb
  4. They are not specifically for keeping the victim safe and warm - but yes, they are designed such that the victim can stay inside the bag until they are at a lower altitide.
  5. No. It will shelter a victim, but should not be used as a replacement for shelter.

enter image description here

  • 3
    The victim goes inside the Gamow bag. Someone has to stay outside pumping it, 24/7 till the victim has recovered or been evacuated to lower altitude. Without the pumping circulating fresh air, the victim will use all teh oxygen and suffocate - so not really a great shelter.
    – user5330
    May 30, 2015 at 7:51

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