We’ve tested and reviewed the Scott Patrol E1 40L Airbag Backpack Kit and summarize the results below:
Pros & Cons
Reasons to buy:
- Although there are larger options, lighter options, and better designed options, no airbag pack combines these features quite as well as this one.
- The third party Alpride E1 airbag system is terrific, although it is available with other brands, as well, such as Osprey and Black Diamond.
- The E1 airbag system uses supercapacitor technology to power the system, which allows you to easily charge with a USB cord and/or AA lithium batteries.
- The E1 airbag system uses a fan to inflate the bag rather than a gas canister, and therefore allows for easy test inflations, without having to worry about re-filling a canister. (All you do is plug the USB charger in post-inflation.)
- The supercapacitor technology will usually allow multiple inflations on a single charge.
- The AA batteries allow the airbag to be away from a wall charger for an extended period of time (it continuously re-charges in the background.
- The supercapacitor loses energy at a very slow rate and is re-charged by the AA batteries.
- Since you can easily test the system every season (or more frequently) you can have higher confidence that it will work if needed.
- The backpack itself does a pretty good job of carrying moderately heavy loads.
- The backpack is made of durable materials.
- The entire airbag system can be removed from the pack, but it is a bit of a pain.
- There are a good number of internal pockets, which is a bit of a good thing and a bit of a bad thing.
- This pack is expensive but well worth the cost given its purpose.
- Scott appears to say that the A-frame carry system can be used even if the airbag is going to be deployed. This contradicts conventional wisdom but if it is true, is a real pro for the pack. Beware that we don’t know whether this is true.
Reasons NOT to buy:
- The E1 airbag fan system is moderately heavier than equivalent canister systems, but the trade-off is worth it for all but the most extreme gram counters.
- The diagonal carry system is terrible. It is designed so that the tails of your skis will almost invariably hit the backs of your boots when walking. (Although with some creative jury rigging with Voile straps, the top compression strap on one side of the pack and the bottom compression strap on the other side can be used as an alternative diagonal carry system that doesn’t interfere with walking.)
- The pack feels a bit “over engineered” with a lot of unnecessary pockets, compartments, large zipper pulls, etc., although this can be helpful in the field.
- The ice axe loops cannot be used when skis are in diagonal carry mode.
- The top ice axe attachment velcro loops can become detached from the pack when opening them.
- Hip belt pocket is small.
- Interior shovel/probe pocket oddly sewn into the pack. There is dead space in the bottom of the pocket that can’t be used for anything unless you rip out the seams.
- Although Scott claims the pack is 40L and can be used for “multi-day” trips, in reality the pack does not feel spacious and would be radically insufficient for most snow camping trips.
- When carrying a shovel and probe in the outer pocket, the interior volume of the main pocket is dramatically decreased, which is a common mistake some backpack manufacturers make. Instead, all pockets should be able to be filled fully without them reducing the volume in their neighboring pockets.
- The branding on the pack is aggressive with large “SCOTT” logos placed conspicuously across the product.
- The airbag system can only be turned on/off by opening up and accessing the middle of the main pocket of the pack.
- The airbag stays inflated for a long time after deployment, which means it may not help create an additional breathing space, unlike some other airbag designs, like the Black Diamond JetForce Pro which deflates after a set period of time in order to create a breathing space. It would be nice if the E1 did something similar.
- The crotch strap attachment mechanism to the hip belt is fiddly and makes taking the pack on and off a real pain.
- Shoulder harness occasional squeaks when carrying heavy loads.
- No side mesh pockets for water bottle and no hydration integration so you either have to jury rig it or take your pack off every time you want water.
- It’s not entirely clear, but the pack itself appears to be simply a white labeled version of a pack also made by Alpride, which might explain why Scott doesn’t seem to provide great customer support for the pack.
- The zipper for the airbag compartment tends to open by itself, and over time, it gets worse and actually becomes a major problem where it just won’t stay closed, rendering the pack nearly unusable. Because of this issue, it is recommended that you manually open the break apart zipper prior to testing the airbag, so as to avoid wearing out the break apart zipper with too many practice sessions.
The Scott Patrol E1 40L Airbag Backpack Kit is a more voluminous than average fan airbag system pack. While the backpack itself has some nice features, the real appeal of this pack is the Alpride E1 fan airbag system, which is also available from other brands such as Osprey and Black Diamond. The pack itself has some significant flaws, but for certain users looking for a specific set of features, this could be a good fit.