Backcountry Access has made it about as easy as possible to buy airbag cylinder refills. Still, you hesitate to blow off your balloon due to the hassle of getting a recharge, thus you miss out on practice that might help you avoid hesitation on the rip cord and the resulting crater (AKA avalanche burial).
No more. The guys in Boulder, Colorado are promulgating the use of an airgun “Benjamin” refill pump that does a fine job of refilling the BCA Float airbag cylinders. Albeit with a bit of work — you pay to play. We found the pump easy to operate (though time consuming and a bit strenuous), with a modicum of assembly required that I’d give a 3/10 wrench rating (e.g., you’ll need a metric spanner to remove a fitting you replace with the desiccant cartridge).
I’d imagine BCA and backcountry.com will begin selling these at some point. For now, you can get the Benjamin from Amazon.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.