One of the most versatile and capable avy beacons on the market, the ARVA Neo BT is perfect for pros, but is also perfectly functional for less experienced explorers venturing into potential avalanche territory.
Runs lithium and alkaline batteries
Easy to use with gloves
Can be used for route planning with ARVA’s app
Lots of buttons
Bigger and heavier than other similarly featured beacons
Case isn’t ergonomic
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ARVA Neo BT Pro: first impressions
• List price: $420 / €330 (EU)
• Weight (including batteries, but not harness): 213g / 7.5oz
• Range: 80m / 262ft (digital); 90m / 295ft (analog)
• Antennas: 3
• Battery life: 350hrs
The ARVA Neo BT Pro has both digital and analog modes, and long and longer ranges depending on which mode you’re in. When there’s electrical interference, the beacon shows that. It also graphically represents any buried victims and allows you to flag them as you locate them.
The ARVA Neo BT Pro reverts to Transmit from Search if it detects a secondary avalanche. It also has a standby mode for rescuers who are probing or shoveling. It self-tests when you turn it on, so you always know your beacon is ready for use. And it has a group check function that’s simple to use. All valuable thing s to help keep you safe in avalanche terrain.
ARVA Neo BT Pro: on the slopes
The Neo BT, which is made in France where ARVA is based, is updatable via Bluetooth and ARVA’s app, which also let me customize my beacon settings, plan routes and do practice beacon searches.
When I was practicing, I could scroll between up to four buried victims, and the beacon gave me an indicator if there were more than four burials I needed to address. If I started off in the wrong direction or messed up my search grid, the beacon alerted me. It was a solid partner for achieving the best outcomes in a scary and stressful situation.
This transceiver has more buttons than most other beacons, but with a little practice, they became second nature. In addition to a Flag button, the beacon has plus and minus buttons on the face for scrolling.
The Neo BT can be conveniently updated with ARVA’s app and it comes with a five-year warranty. I didn’t love the form factor, which is blocky and large, but textured indents made it easy to hold onto, even with gloves.
Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.