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Often overlooked, the avalanche shovel is an essential piece of gear that can hold much more utility than just scooping snow. Each avalanche shovel comes with its own unique size, weight, grip, and special features (such as air-guitar-ability). To help distill this information, we’re going to break it all down to help you decide which is the right avalanche shovel for you.
What’s The Scoop?
It’s important to note that there are a few crossovers in features between each line of Voile shovels. All of our shovels feature pinholes on the blade for carabiners or rope, in case you need to fashion a rescue sled while out in the backcountry. In addition, all of our shovels feature a standard and a mini version, as well as two handle options (with the exception of the XLM).
The “T” Handle
This handle features the easily stowed “T” shaped grip commonly seen on most avalanche shovels.
The “D” Handle
This handle features an ergonomic grip to help increase leverage, a longer shaft, and it can easily be gripped by those using mittens.
Now, let’s break down each model in our lineup and find out which one is right for you!
Press the pin, twist the handle, Voila (or should we say Voile). The Hoback shovel features a standard mode and a hoe mode giving you options for your preferred method of shoveling. Along with that, the blade on the Hoback is flat giving you a nice surface for snow study while out in the field.
Shovels with a Hoe mode have become widely popular in the avalanche safety game in recent years. This is for the benefit of moving snow at a faster rate during any avalanche situation. Above all, if speed is your top priority, this is the shovel for you.
The Telepack and Telepro are essentially the same shovels except the Telepack comes with a “T” handle and the Telepro comes with a “D” handle. These are your classic, no-frills avalanche shovels. Made with telescoping handles, these shovels are easier on your back and allow you to move large amounts of snow with every scoop. In other words, If you’re looking for a simple, solid, industry-standard shovel, you should look into our Telepack/Telepro models.
Our T-Wood shovel is the ultimate backcountry multi-tool to have in your avalanche safety pocket. Equipped with a seven-inch saw inside the shaft, the T-Wood is essentially the Telepack with added versatility. Because of the saw blade, the T-Wood checks in a little heavier, but this shovel is for those who want added versatility, not shaving ounces. If you think you’ll be cutting tree limbs, a summit sandwich, or even doing some snow study, the T-Wood might be right for you.
If you’re a self-describe minimalist or “ounce counter” then the XLM is the right shovel for you. To shave as much weight as possible, the XLM comes with a mini scoop, thinner aluminum than our other models, and a non-telescoping “T” handle. In other words, if you’re trying to keep your pack as light as possible, you should check out the 1lb 2oz XLM.
So, what’s the right avalanche shovel for me?
The answer to that question comes down to what characteristics you prioritize in your backcountry gear. To help break it down even further, we have a chart here comparing all of the nitty-gritty details that separate our shovels.
|Weight||Length||Extended Length||Scoop (LxW)||Special Features||Price|
|Hoback D||1lb 14oz / 858g||30.2in / 76.8cm||39.2in / 99.6cm||11.7x10in / 29.8×25.4cm||“Hoe mode”||$85.00|
|Hoback D Mini||1lb 11oz / 769g||26.9in / 68.2cm||32.6in / 82.8cm||10×9.7in / 25.4×24.7cm||“Hoe mode”||$75.00|
|Hoback T||1lb 13oz / 817g||26.5in / 67.2cm||35.4in / 89.9cm||11.7x10in / 29.8×25.4cm||“Hoe mode”||$85.00|
|Hoback T Mini||1lb 9oz / 710g||22.6in / 57.5cm||28.9in / 73.4cm||10×9.7in / 25.4×24.7cm||“Hoe mode”||$75.00|
|Telepro||1lb 14oz / 858g||31.5in / 80cm||39.5in / 100cm||15x10in / 38x25cm||No frills. Classic avy shovel.||$58.00|
|Telepro Mini||1lb 9oz / 710g||28in / 71cm||33.5in / 85cm||13.5x10in / 34x25cm||No frills. Classic avy shovel.||$58.00|
|Telepack||1lb 11oz / 770g||26.75in / 68cm||35.5in / 88cm||15x10in / 38x25cm||No frills. Classic avy shovel.||$58.00|
|Telepack Mini||1lb 8oz / 670g||23in / 58cm||30in / 76cm||13.5x10in / 34x25cm||No frills. Classic avy shovel.||$58.00|
|T-Wood||1lb 14oz / 850g||27.5in / 70cm||36in / 91cm||15x10in / 38x25cm||7″ Saw in handle.||$75.00|
|T-Wood Mini||1lb 10oz / 740g||23.75in / 60.3cm||29.75in / 75.6cm||13.5x10in / 34x25cm||7″ Saw in handle.||$75.00|
|XLM||1lb 2oz / 500g||24.25in / 62cm||n/a||13.5x10in / 34x25cm||Ultralight.||$50.00|
If this chart doesn’t quite do it for you and you’d like to “try before you buy” you can always stop by our retail store in Salt Lake City to take one out for a demo.
If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to reach out through our contact page or on social media so we can help find the right avalanche shovel for you!
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