An essential part of your backcountry safety gear should be an avalanche shovel. If you have ever wondered what would you if a friend was swept away in an avalanche in the backcountry, a shovel will come in very handy. It’s a very frightening, yet common occurrence. Beyond avalanche rescue missions, a shovel can be used as a preventative tool, allowing you to check the stability of the snow for avalanche danger, thus helping you avoid catastrophe before it hits. You should know which ones are the best avalanche shovels on the market.
The action of shoveling avalanche debris is more of a chop and removal of debris than it is shoveling. A good shovel and strategic shoveling technique will be critical for a timely rescue. We are here to offer you the best choices based on avalanche shovels reviews, and we will offer you the best avalanche shovels for you. Let’s get to them!
How To Choose The Best Avalanche Shovel – Buying Guide
Since an avalanche shovel should be a necessary part of your backcountry skiing gear, you need to make sure that you choose the right one. There are a couple of factors that you should consider before purchasing one of the best avalanche shovels, including Material, Blade Size, And Shape, Handle And Grip, as well as Weight. Let’s get to them:
The material of the shovel is one of the best ways to narrow down your options when selecting the best avalanche shovel for you. If the shovel is made of inferior materials, it will break and become useless during a rescue mission. The material with the best strength-to-weight ratio for an avalanche safety shovel is metal. Aluminum avalanche shovels allow less deflection and are stronger, more durable, and more resilient than plastic shovels. Plastic may be lightweight, but metal allows for more successful snow removal
Blade Size and Shape
Shovel blades vary in shape and size depending on their targets. Smaller blades are easier to handle, but less efficient at chopping and moving large amounts of snow, while larger blades can move more snow, but take more strength to operate and may tire you more quickly. Keep in mind that it may be easier to increase your rate of shoveling with a small shovel, rather than to consistently underfill a large shovel when you’re tired
Your shovel blade should easily fit in your backpack. It should be strong and capable of chopping through hard and dense debris. Some shovel blades are flat, some are curved, and some models have serrated blades that help cut through snow and ice. When digging snow pits and making smooth walls, the shape and angle of the shovel blade is a factor to consider – a flat blade will help you create a smoother pit wall.
Handle and Grip
You should look for a shovel that feels good in your hands while digging, and fits inside your backpack. Anything on the outside of your pack is at risk of getting ripped off during a fall. Most avalanche shovels have telescoping shafts that will give you leverage options. Longer shafts give you more leverage for digging, while short shafts are more maneuverable in tight spaces. Shafts that are oblong or triangular in cross-section can offer increased rigidity and strength.
There are several common grip types. T- and L-shaped grips are often lighter and more compact, while larger, D-shaped grips are more comfortable to hold and be used with mittens. You should choose a shovel grip that works well for you and your hands. Some avalanche shovels offer the ability to configure the shovel as a hoe since there will be times when the most efficient way of moving the snow is to chop and drag it.
When touring, the saying goes “light is right”. However, never forget that your shovel is not the right place to cut back on weight. You need an absolutely dependable tool for effective digging and shoveling during a rescue situation. If in doubt, go a bit heavier.
Q: What Is The Difference Between A Regular And Avalanche Shovel?
Q: Why Do I Need An Avalanche Shovel?
Q: When Should I Use An Avalanche Shovel?
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Choosing one of the best avalanche shovels will do you wonders for your safety while you are on the slopes. The shovel you choose should be strong and capable of chopping through the snow. Keep in mind that debris from an avalanche is hard and dense, so pick a tough shovel.
There are many options that you can choose from on the market – some are flat, some are curved. They differ in material as well. Make sure to follow our guidelines and you will definitely choose one of the best avalanche shovels for you.