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sorry I only just took real notice of this today: I have been e-mailing BCA for the last 12 months about this issue for Japan. I got a reply Jan 31: Here is what he said:



Thanks for the email. If you buy the cylinder in Japan from our distribution company Sonne then you can refill it in Japan because it has the proper certifications that Japan requires as a country. If you have purchased the cylinder in the US then it does not have the proper Japanese certifications and you will not be able to refill it it in Japan. Let me know if you have any further questions.



.......Customer Service Representative


sorry for the bad news and good luck.


Hey guys - so I am headed to Japan again this year (first time last year) and will be headed up to Asahikawa (central Hokkaido) and have decided to buy an avalanche backpack for the trip (and all future trips to Japan). I have been doing a ton of research on the different backpacks and manufacturers and thought I had narrowed my choice to the ABS brand - I picked at the tip of the iceberg that is TRAVELING with these canisters. My lord - I had NO idea it would be such a pain in the ass to (1) travel with these canisters, and (2) refill them if needed in different countries.


Man, I wish all these companies (ABS, BCA and Snowpulse) used the same connector and had only TWO canister options - one with compressed air and one with nitrogen! Anyway, it seems that ABS is a non-starter as there is nowhere to get compressed nitrogen cartridge in Japan, and more importantly, Hokkaido (guessing definitely not Asahikawa - a smaller city)? Is that correct?? IF so, that blows my mind.


So that leaves BCA and Snowpulse. I am leaning toward BCA but thankfully to this thread, am now aware of the different certifications for Japan vs USA BCA cartridges. Just so I'm clear - a Japanese certified BCA cartridge and USA certified BCA cartridge will BOTH work on a BCA backpack, right?


Currently, the only options seem to be: (1) Buy a BCA backpack here in the USA, and buy a cartridge IN JAPAN (IE: Not fly over with one), or (2) buy a BCA backpack IN JAPAN, with the cartridge.


I would of thought Hokkaido, given the abundance of snowboarding/skiing and snow, would have all these options available!!!

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