When you go backpacking or climbing in winter, it is important to bring along an avalanche shovel or a snow claw for prepping tent sites or digging a snow shelter in an emergency. If you’ve in a group, a shovel can often be shared unless you are in an avalanche zone where multiple shovels might be needed to effect a serious rescue.
The Voile Telepro Avalanche Shovel is considered by many to be the best snow shovel available and is used widely by search and rescue personnel. It comes in 2 pieces, a telescoping handle with a D-shaped handle and a large aluminum scoop which can be detached for ease of transport. The D-shaped handle is easier to hold than a T-shaped one that you find on other shovels and the scoop is larger, making this a very efficient tool to use for camp prep or emergency situations.
Weighing 1 lb 14 oz, the Telepro comes in multiple colors with different options. An orange model includes pre-drilled holes which enable the shovel to be used as a snow anchor. This option costs $8 more than the version without holes. These holes also make a great beer bottle opener should you find yourself in a small town motel without twist off caps.
If you are doing a lot of high altitude winter climbing, you might also consider the Voile T6 Tech Avalanche Shovel which is 4 oz. lighter and has a built in snow saw that slides into the telescoping shaft. Building snow shelters using a saw can be a lot faster that carving them out with a shovel alone.
The Voile T6 Telepro Shovel is $43. This is a super tough shovel that is not limited to backcountry use: I’ve bought a second one for my wife to carry around in her car to dig it out when it snows.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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