Inflatable Backpack Aims to Save Lives

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Inflatable BackpacksThere has been a major push towards using custom inflatables for safety and medical reasons lately. Just look at the last few months of posts in this blog and you’ll know what I mean. There was the development of an inflatable racing suit that protects drivers in crashes. Next, there was an inflatable tourniquet for Army soldiers in the field, followed by the development of an antimicrobial inflatable seal. It would seem that this movement is not ending any time soon, with another use for inflatables coming to the forefront.

According to KVAL in Oregon, a backpack that contains an airbag is making a lot of people feel better. In the wake of a tragic avalanche last week, inflatable backpacks are becoming a popular item for skiers and snowboarders:

“Starting next week, [an outdoor outfitting store plans] to have the kind of airbag that pro skier Elyse Saugstad credits with saving her life. Saugstad isn’t the first pro whose life was saved by an airbag or airpack. In January, professional snowboarder Meesh Hytner got caught in an avalanche in Colorado.”

These life saving backpacks are not a brand new inflatable invention like the aforementioned developments – they have actually been around for about a decade. The article says the inflatable backpacks are actually more prominent in Europe and have only recently been seen around the United States. However useful, they are relatively pricy for the casual skier or snowboarder:

“An airbag will cost you anywhere from $700 to up around $1,200. [An owner of a ski shop] said avalanche deaths are far more common in the backcountry than at ski resorts, so skiers who ride the lift probably won’t need to invest in one.”

How do you think inflatables should be used for safety? Do you have any great ideas for inflatable development in the future?