The Gear Loop is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(The Gear Loop) - Much of the focus on avalanche safety surrounds airbags, which act like the safety devices found in cars, but rather than cushioning impact, they inflate in the event of an avalanche, helping to drag the skier, snowboarder or mountaineer to the surface in order to improve chances of being discovered.

But now, fellow Scandinavian brands Db and Safeback have partnered to integrate the innovative Safeback SBX system into a well-balanced and user-friendly avalanche vest - a system that provides oxygen in the event of burial. The system is designed to combat the problem of oxygen deprivation after burial in avalanches, which has been the cause of death for 70 per cent cases worldwide, according to Safeback.


Db, an expert in snow gear and luggage, has provided its knowledge in performance clothing for the slopes, while Safeback won the ISP Award in 2022 for its innovative mountain safety apparatus.

The SBX system consists of discreet control unit, clean air outlets and a T-shaped activation handle. In the event of an avalanche, the wearer pulls the handle and system kickstarts a fan that sucks in air.

Db/SafebackDb and Safeback Backcountry Avalanche Vest photo 2

The SBX uses the air in the snowpack as the victim’s fresh air supply, continuously pumping up from the rear of the pack to the breathing area via two tubes for the duration of burial. According to Safeback, this air diffuses through the porous crystal structure of snow, delivering fresh oxygen to breathe in, and pushing away the CO2 that has been exhaled.

Cleverly, the system does not require the use of a mouthpiece, making it easier for a traumatised victim to remain breathing for up to 90 minutes, which is how long the batteries will last.

Db/SafebackDb and Safeback Backcountry Avalanche Vest photo 3

Safeback says the activation handle is ready for integration with a second activation wire, meaning avalanche airbags and SBX can be activated with a single pull.

Db’s expertise in luggage and clothing has now seen this system neatly integrated into a discreet vest.

SafebackDb and Safeback Backcountry Avalanche Vest photo 5

"We were iterating on a powder vest to encourage skiers and snowboarders to always consider carrying avalanche gear, no matter how deep the days," explains Hunter Nordhauser, Senior Designer at Db. 

"When Safeback came to us, integrating the SBX unit into our Backcountry Vest gave Db more justification to create a lightweight avalanche safety solution, while providing complete freedom of movement for the rider."

SafebackDb and Safeback Backcountry Avalanche Vest photo 4

The two companies claim this is the first system of its kind to actively supply air to snow burial victims, extending the survival window after burial in an avalanche or tree well without requiring a mouthpiece. This vest will be among the first-ever packs launched with this system, although there has been no official launch date or price mentioned yet.

Writing by Leon Poultney.