FAQs - Float Avalanche Airbags

Float Avalanche Airbags - Important Links

Manuals & Resources

Please see individual Float avalanche airbag product pages for specific model videos.

Float E2 Models

Float 2.0 Models

Float 1.0 Models

Air Cylinders & Accessories

Air Travel Resources

Please download and print documents and carry them with you, attached to your cylinder for airport security!

FLOAT E2 AIRBAG PACKS (Alpride Capacitor System)

  • Travel with Alpride E2 airbag system - BCA Float E2 Alpride airbag engines are classified as capacitors with an energy storage capacity of 10Wh or less and are not subject to the provisions of the Dangerous Goods Regulations under U.S. Department of Transportation and IATA air travel regulations. Please download and print the Alpride E2 fact sheet to carry with the pack when traveling.

FLOAT 2.0 AIRBAG PACKS (Compressed Air Cylinder System)

FAQs - All Models

How does the Float E-2 electronic airbag system work?

The Float E2 is an electronic Alpride E2 airbag system that’s fully rechargeable and approved for airline travel. The Alpride E2 supercapacitor system stores energy that powers the compressor upon deployment. Supercapacitors store and release energy based on electromechanical properties rather than a chemical reaction like in rechargeable batteries. This makes supercapacitor performance much more reliable in cold temperatures. For the same reason, the energy stored in a supercapacitor releases faster when activated for deployment.

Are Float 1.0 and Float 2.0 avalanche airbags and cylinders compatible?

No. The Float 1.0 and Float 2.0 have different airbag systems and cylinders and are NOT cross-compatible. The Float MtnPro 1.0 Avalanche Airbag Vest uses the same float airbag system (150 Liter Airbag) as all other Float 2.0 models, however, it only uses the Float 1.0 cylinder. The smaller Float 2.0 cylinders are not compatible with the Float MtnPro 1.0 Avalanche Airbag Vests. BCA recommends testing your air cylinder and airbag once every season to ensure that everything is mechanically sound before heading into the field.

Where do I find the leg harness on the Float pack?

The leg harness is attached to the left side waist belt and stored in a sleeve.

How do Float avalanche airbags reduce avalanche burial depth?

Inverse segregation, more commonly referred to as the “Brazil nut effect,” is the science behind why avalanche airbags work. The turbulent movement sorts different shaped objects by size (similar to the way large Brazil nuts will rise to the top when a bowl of mixed nuts is shaken). Smaller objects are more likely to fall into the voids created by the turbulence, while larger objects move to the top. In addition to increasing your overall buoyancy, the Float avalanche airbags are designed to make a backcountry user “bigger” than the surrounding pieces of debris in an avalanche. The Floats use compressed air in the cylinder to fill the bag and make the user’s volume larger, reducing or eliminating burial depth and increasing your chances of survival.

How do I install the Float avalanche airbag system and accessories, such as a BC Link radio cord, hydration hose, and trigger?

Watch these videos to learn how to properly install the Float avalanche airbag system and accessories into the pack so that they do not interfere with airbag deployment. Watch these videos to learn how!

Troubleshooting for Float pack deployments
  1. Check the cylinder connection to the trigger pin and confirm that both the large and small metal threads are connected to the canister's trigger pin.
  2. Check the cylinder's connection to the QuickConnect/fan.
  3. Check the gauge to make sure there is air in the cylinder.

FAQs - Air Cylinders

How do I refill or exchange a Float compressed air cylinder?

There are several ways to refill or exchange your cylinder once it has been discharged. BCA has an extensive network of BCA-certified refill centers published on our Store Locator page. These include select dealers, SCUBA and paintball shops, and fire stations. BCA also offers a cylinder exchange program. This enables Float owners to exchange empty cylinders for full cylinders at the dealer’s location or at BCA instead of a certified refill station.

Do not attempt to recharge the cylinder at locations that are not authorized by BCA, as this process requires training, documentation, and parts provided by BCA. For a list of BCA authorized refill stations, please visit our Refill Center Locator Page.

The reading on my pressure gauge changes once I’m out in the backcountry. Should I be worried?

The pressure reading on your BCA Float air cylinder will always change with temperature. We use room temp 70° F (21° C) for standard pressure readings. If your gauge is ‘green’ at room temp, then you will get a full deployment all the way down to -22° F (-30° C).

How often should I refill and test a Float avalanche airbag cylinder?

BCA encourages practicing the deployment of your airbag at least once per year. Once you have discharged your compressed air cylinder, you will need to bring it to BCA, BCA Canada, or to an authorized BCA Float cylinder refill station.

Does my cylinder need to be hydrostatically tested?

Please see below documentation from 49 CFR 180.209. The key information: Any cylinder not exceeding 2 inches outside diameter and less than 2 feet in length is excepted from volumetric expansion test.

Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2011-title49-vol3/pdf/CFR-2011-title49-vol3-sec180-209.pdf

Therefore, BCA Float Cylinders do not require recertification after their initial factory hydrostatic testing.

Where can I find the closest air cylinder refill/exchange location?

Click here to find a BCA-certified refill/exchange center location near you.

How are avalanche airbag air cylinders installed? How do you repack after deployment?

Watch these videos to see how to install an avalanche airbag compressed air cylinder in the Float 2.0 and Float 1.0 airbag systems, and how to repack the airbag after deployment.

Can I transport a Float avalanche airbag cylinder on commercial airlines?

Domestic Air Travel: The best way to fly with your air cylinder is to empty it with the head detached. Discharge the compressed air cylinder before entering the airport. Unscrew the cylinder head from the cylinder and put both in re-sealable plastic bags. Carry them through the TSA security checkpoint so they are visible to TSA personnel. Afterward, the cylinder head can be screwed back on the cylinder by hand. When you reach your destination, locate a Float retailer or refill center and exchange or refill your empty cylinder. For a list of Float refill/exchange locations, see our refill centers store locator page.

It’s also possible to purchase a high-pressure floor pump that you can bring in your luggage. When you reach your destination, simply fill your cylinder manually. We suggest the Benjamin High-Pressure Hand Pump from Crosman Corporation. This can be found online through your favorite search engine.

International Air Travel: While the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has specifically approved avalanche airbags with pressurized cylinders for airline travel, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) does not allow them. If you are traveling in countries outside of North America where refills are not available, contact your airline in advance for permission to check through your pressurized Float cylinder. If permission is granted, then pack the pressurized air cylinder in your checked baggage with the IATA dangerous goods regulations printed out and clearly shown. Unfortunately, regardless of this document and verbal permission often times cylinders have been confiscated by airlines. If you are traveling to or from North America, then TSA will not allow your pressurized cylinder on board.

How do you store the cylinder and pack in the off-season?

You can store your cylinder connected or unconnected as long as it is open to the ambient air in a cool, dry, dark place away from direct heat, sunlight, corrosive substances, or any other resonable foreseeable causes of damage.

How do you prepare the air cylinder and avalanche airbag for air travel?

Watch this video to learn how to ready your Float cylinder for air travel.

Float Air Travel Documents

Download and print, carry with you, attached to your cylinder for airport security!

FAQ - Compare Float Model Features

Float Avalanche Airbag Recommended Use Chart
SidecountryBackcountry Day TripPatrolGuiding/
Float 12XXX
Float 22XXXX
Float 32XXX
Float 42XXX

Float Avalanche Airbag Recommended Activity Chart
Ski & SnowboardingSnowmobileUphill & Snowshoe
Float E2-25XXX
Float E2-35XXX
Float E2-45XXX
Float E2-25 TurboX
Float E2 MtnPro VestX
Float MtnPro Vest 2.0X
Float 12XXX
Float 22XXX
Float 32XXX
Float 42XXX
Float 15 TurboX
Float 25 TurboX

Float Feature Chart
Float E2-25Float E2-35Float E2-45Float 12Float 22Float 32Float 42
Alpride E2 Supercapacitor EngineXXX
Float 2.0 Compressed Air EngineXXXX
BC Link CompatibleXXXXXXX
Hydration CompatibleXXXXXXX
A-Frame Ski CarryXX
Diagonal Ski CarryXXXXXXX
Vertical Snowboard CarryXXXXXXX
Mounting Options for Most SnowshoesXXXXXXX
Ergo TriggerXXXX
Compression StrapsXX
Dual Zippered Shoulder StrapsXXXXXXX
Modular/Removable/Replaceable StrapsXXX
Adjustable Waist/Hip BeltXXXXX
Hip Belt Pocket(s)XXXXXXX
Hip Belt Tool LoopXXXXXXX
Dedicated Shovel/Probe CompartmentXXXXXXX
Helmet Carry - RemoveableXXXXXXX
Ice Axe Carry - InternalXXX
Ice Axe Carry - External LoopsXXXXXX
Fleece-lined Goggle SleeveXXXXX
Molded Back PanelXXXXXXX
Molded "Cooling Fin" Back PanelXXX
Back Panel AccessX
Back Stash ZipXXX
Curved Side Access ZipXXX
Side Stash PocketXXX
Leg Strap with Storage PocketXXXXXXX
Removeable Internal Compartment DividerXXX
Internal Support FrameXXXXXXX
Load LiftersXXXXX
Moisture Drain HolesXXX

Snowmobile Float Feature Chart
Float Turbo 15Float Turbo 25Float MtnProFloat 12Float 22Float 32Float 42
BC Link CompatibleXXXXXXX
Hydration CompatibleXXXXXXX
Dual Zippered Shoulder StrapsXXXXXXX
Diagonal Ski CarryXXXX
Dual Multi-Gear LoopsXXXX
New Ergo TriggerXXXXXX
Vertical Snowboard CarryXXXX
Adjustable Waist BeltXXXXXX
Molded Back PanelXXXXXXX
Waist Belt Tool LoopsXX
Compression StrapsXXXXX
Dedicated Shovel/Probe CompartmentXXXXX
Helmet Carry - RemovableXXXX
Waist Belt PocketXXXX
Ice Axe Carry - InternalXXX
External Shovel CarryXXX
Fleece-lined Goggle PocketXXX
Internal Support FrameXXX
Load LiftersXXX
Ice Axe Carry - External LoopsX
Back Panel AccessX