Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Refilling airbag cylinders with the Hill MK4 high pressure hand pump

It’s official!  Many of our customers asked about whether it was OK to use a high-pressure air pump to refill our airbag cylinders. Of course you can still have your cylinder refilled at most dive shops and many paintball shops, but if your travels take you to locations where refill is difficult or if your schedule is tight this could be a hassle. After testing, Mammut is recommending the Hill MK4 air pump to refill our airbag cylinders in such circumstances. 

The Hill MK4 high pressure hand pump can be used to refill Mammut airbag cartridges

All similar pumps use atmospheric air, run it through a drying chamber filled with some sort of desiccant, and then pump it into the cylinder.  Atmospheric air has water vapor in it and it’s very important to keep the air inside the cylinder DRY, for 2 reasons:  First, moisture can freeze at the very low temperatures created when suddenly discharging pressurized air and if it freezes it can create problems; and second, moist air trapped in a cylinder for any length of time can create long-term corrosion problems that could lead to leaks.  The reason we recommend this specific pump is because Hill is the only pump manufacturer we have found that is able to quantify the dryness of the pumped air to a level that is acceptable to use in Mammut airbag cylinders.
So, if you travel frequently, especially to remote locations or small towns where refill isn’t as easy as it is in a more urban area or to a remote lodge or basecamp with no electricity, one of these pumps might make an airbag a heck of a lot more mobile.  This pump functions like a bicycle pump, except at a much higher pressure.  If the gauge on the pump reads a different pressure than the gauge on the cartridge, then inflate until the CARTRIDGE gauge is in the green zone at room temperature (68F).  Expect the job to take 20-30 minutes.  Just remember to follow the refill instructions (link) and remember to change the dry-pack as recommended by the pump manufacturer. 

You can purchase the Hill pump HERE 
You’ll also need a quick-disconnect adaptor HERE 


  1. Dave--can I fill my cartridge from a CO2/Argon welding cylinder? Sounds weird, but I have one.

  2. Not sure I understand the question, are you wondering about filling WITH CO2/Argon, or would you be filling your welding cylinder with Air (from a compressor, at a dive shop, etc) and then filling the cylinder from that? You should not fill with CO2/Argon. However, it is almost certainly possible to fill FROM that tank if you can get it filled with DRY Air like you would find at a scuba shop.
    Hope that helps, if not send me an email to davef "at" and I can try to answer any questions you have.