Black Diamond Saga 40 JetForce

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A pack that plugs in? That was a first for our testers. Black Diamond’s JetForce fan-based system (no cylinders filled with compressed air or nitrogen) represents a fresh approach to airbag deployment. A rechargeable lithium ion battery powers the fan. By removing the canister from the equation, the Saga is easier to travel with and can be deployed at least four times on one charge.

The fan inflates the 200-liter airbag in four seconds, and automatically deflates after three minutes to create a potential air pocket in case of a burial. At 40 liters, this is the largest volume pack in the test, and is geared toward multi-day tours and the professional community (guides, patrollers, etc).

Testers were impressed by the pack’s sturdy build, though they said the waist belt and shoulder straps could use a little more padding. For a non snowboard-specific pack, the snowboard carry straps and buckles are pretty stout and cinch board-to-pack good and tight. Storage-wise, the airbag and components take up a fair amount of space in the main compartment. A separate snow tool pocket helps alleviate the volume crunch, as do additional pockets on the top and underside of the pack lid, and a single pocket on the right side of the hip-belt.

Overall, testers were intrigued by the JetForce fan-based system and found it fairly straightforward to deploy the airbag, as well as re-pack it. At $1,499.95, it’s the most expensive pack here, but in this case you get what you pay for.

Price: $1,500.00
Brand Name

Black Diamond

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RAD: Rechargeable, fan-powered airbag deployment. BAD: The 40-liter pack and JetForce system weigh in at seven pounds eight ounces.

Product Showroom




Good Wood


Bang For Your Buck




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RAD: Rechargeable, fan-powered airbag deployment. BAD: The 40-liter pack and JetForce system weigh in at seven pounds eight ounces.

Tested And Approved 2017 Presented by

Best snowboard gear of 2016-2017? We've got you covered. Going into winter, we want to know what gear can be trusted when put through the wringer. But testing over 500 boots, bindings, goggles, gloves, helmets, splitboards and powder boards, and other backcountry gear and accessories in every snowy corner of the country was a massive undertaking that the TransWorld staff couldn't handle alone. So we sent the latest developments in snowboarding goods to our team of testers spread across the country. With so many unique features in the lineup and different opinions from each tester—both compliments and complaints—there was plenty worth discussing. Some gear broke. Other pieces spoke volumes to functionality and durability. So here you have it: the most inclusive, all-encompassing gear test in snowboarding. If it's in here, it's been beat up and bent every which way – and tested, and approved.

Meet Our Testers:

Adam Broderick

As Gear Editor at TransWorld SNOWboarding, Broderick spent last season directing tests around the country when he wasn't testing gear himself. He administered the Good Wood board test, powder board test, and backcountry test, while leading the glove test and coordinating the others, plus editing all Gear Guide text. He is the point of contact for all things gear-related at TWSNOW.

Mike Horn

Mike Horn's first backcountry pack had bungee cords for snowboard straps. That's a far cry from the innovative gear he tested in his Crested Butte backyard this winter. Mike's been writing about snowboarding for a decade-plus, and he tends to get crusty when reviewing gear that's not quite up to snuff.

Devin Silverthorne-Lillie

A New Hampshire transplant, Devin's Ice Coast roots provide superior edge awareness, and with Breckenridge's Park Lane in her backyard, she practically falls from bed to her board. She put freestyle bindings on trial in and out of bounds—from frozen mornings to spring slush, backyard rail jams to sidecountry booter sessions.

Billy Brown

Billy Brown covered new tech for this year's guide. The California native grew up riding the terrain parks in South Lake Tahoe, but for the past few years his career as a freelance editor has allowed him to snowboard around the world—from heliboarding in Whistler to riding post-storm powder in Valle Nevado, Chile.

Alex Showerman

A freelance writer based in Vermont, Alex took his powder hunt on the road last winter. He schlepped freeride boots, backcountry boots—and enough shells, puffies, and base layers to open a small gear store—around the globe in search of snow in locales like Vermont, Wyoming, Colorado, and Iceland.

Morgan Tilton

Reared in the San Juans of Southwest Colorado, as soon as Morgan could walk her dad strapped her in, and Telluride Ski Resort became her babysitter. Over the past 13 years, snowboarding has taken her through Wolf Creek's whimsical powder days, USASA Slopestyle Nationals, and the cliff-riddled backcountry of Colorado and Wyoming.

Heather Hendricks

From the jagged peaks of Jackson Hole and the Canadian Rockies to the overt opulence of Aspen, the steeps of Alaska, and the striking faces of the La Sals, our contributing editor spent the season traveling to summits near and far. Heather toted along a bin full of boots and tested them all along the way.

Chris Brunstetter

From loitering shop kid to 22-year industry insider, Chris has spent most of his life in the snow and skate industries in Utah, even experiencing firsthand the rise and fall (and second rise and fall) of Forum. He tested freestyle boots and bindings in the man-made and natural parks at Brighton, Snowbird, and Jackson Hole.