ARVA has been designing and developing avalanche safety equipment for backcountry enthusiasts to safely explore the mountains for over 35 years. From avalanche transceivers to beacons, shovels, probes, backpacks, back protectors and accessories, ARVA’s main focus has always been to provide a safe and fun experience in the mountains. Since releasing the very first French transceiver in 1985, ARVA has continually strived to innovate and provide the best mountain safety products on the market by working closely with mountain rescuers.
The ARVA 4000 was the very first product from the brand at a time when the backcountry skiing market had yet to emerge. Skis were still very skinny and very long, but the start of ARVA’s story is also the start of ski touring’s story. In a matter of three decades, the performance of products and categories of equipment has exploded but ARVA’s image has remained the same: develop high-quality safety products with innovation top-of-mind.
For the 2023 season, ARVA has a couple new products worth noting that we at FREESKIER feel our readers would appreciate most. The new Tour 25 Switch and Tour 40 Switch backpacks are ideal for ski touring because they are comfortable, lightweight and practical packs for every backcountry travel day and also include the brand’s REACTOR airbag system, and the NEO BT PRO is the brand’s first transceiver with bluetooth capabilities to connect to the ARVA’s proprietary app. Keep scrolling for in-depth reviews of these unique ARVA offerings.
Tour 25 Switch & Tour 40 Switch
While the Tour 40 Switch backpack can extend to 50 liters—making it the ideal choice for really big or multiple days in the backcountry—the Tour 25 Switch provides just enough storage space for an epic day in the mountains while maintaining an incredibly light weight for premium comfort and packability. Both packs have dedicated external safety equipment pockets that provide quick and easy access to your shovel and probe when you need it and a helmet-carry system to ensure you never leave behind a vital piece of your kit.
In addition, the SWITCH system is in fact a modular system. Which means you can unzip the pocket in front, and change it for another one. For instance, if you have the full Tour 40 switch airbag backpack, but would like to carry only 25 liters for shorter excursions, you can use the Tour 25 cover, and zip it in instead. ARVA has specifically created a bundle purchase option for this reason, allowing you to buy one airbag system with both covers to best suit your particular needs.
Both packs feature ARVA’s REACTOR airbag system should you need an extra boost of flotation in an avalanche situation as well as left and right adjustable crotch straps to lock you into the bag. A removable 70-gram waist belt comes with both packs and offers even more storage space with a large zippered pocket as well as a mesh pocket that is ideal for quick access to snacks and sunscreen. Both packs have the ability to carry two ice axes as well as skis diagonally or in an A-frame but the Tour 40 Switch is the only one of the two that can also carry a splitboard. Whether you’re just going out for a day trip or planning a multi-day traverse, the new Tour 25 and Tour 40 Switch packs are the ideal choice for any and every backcountry adventure.
NEO BT PRO
With an 80-meter search strip width and bluetooth capabilities to connect to ARVA’s proprietary app, the NEO BT PRO is the avalanche transceiver of choice for avalanche professionals and new backcountry enthusiasts alike. Experts genuinely appreciate the analog mode of this transceiver due to its automatic calibration and the ability to search and mark multiple burials is an added bonus for every user. This beacon offers up to 350 hours of battery life in transmit mode with alkaline batteries and up to 450 hours with lithium batteries.
Whether you’ve been a backcountry user for over a decade or this is your first season exploring out of bounds, the NEO BT PRO’s three-antennae system improves the chances of detection during a burial and adds precision to a fine search and a U-turn alarm clearly lets the rescuer know when they are searching in the wrong direction.
By far the most notable feature of the NEO BT PRO is the beacon’s ability to connect to the brand’s app via smartphone. The ARVA app offers a wide range of services, including setting up and updating the transceiver, planning a trip and even practicing rescue skills. The NEO BT PRO and ARVA app are the first of their kind but after three years in research and development, the brand believes it has developed a unique product offering that will only help users improve their transceiver skills.