Item # 716239
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Comments about Voile Telepro T6 Avalanche Shovel:
What makes a great shovel depends upon what it's going to be used for & what atributes are most important to you. Are you digging out your car, building kickers, carving out a snow cave or rescuing a member of your party buried in an avy.
In most cases a flat faced steel bladed spade with a long straight hickory handle would offer you the greatest strength & leverage for chopping into compactd snow, throwing it the greatest distance, offer the greatest reach & save your back from constantly bending over. Obviously this won't be practical for most vehicles much less your back pack.
So what would make a great backcountry/rescue shovel? The typical consumer looks at pack size, weight & cost. You may be interested in the following information gathered from the Canadian Avalanche Centre & American Avalanche Association websites along with the Austrian Alpine Club who conducted independent field testing of non-steel avalanche shovels that would fit in a normal size backpack.
1. Do not buy plastic shovels, they break. Aluminum is the best choice. But not all aluminum is made the same. Aluminum alloy 6061 with T6 tempered rating was highly recommended. This tempered alloy has high strength/weight ratio, excellent durability & is corrosive resistant even if the surface is abraded. Commonly used in bicycle frames, aircraft wings & fuselages.
2. Blade size matters. Larger blades move more snow faster but may exhaust users that don't have the strength to use during actual rescue mode. They also take up more space & will add weight. The size & weight increases didn't deter users because they cherish the higher performance. Buy the largest you can handle & pack. Blades sizes typically look like: 9x10, 10x10, 11x10, 13x10, 15x10 (inches). These type of shovels range in weight from 20 - 36 oz (1.25 - 2 lbs). Weight is related to over all shovel size & amount of material used (usually higher weight means more durability & strength).
3. Blade geometry includes: stamped in corrugations, curved sidewalls, punched holes, flat/pointed/serrated or scalloped leading edges, flat/sloped or rounded shoulder (top of blade). Field tests showed good functionality for: corrugation adding strength, sidewalls held snow in place, holes allowed use as snow anchor/rescue sled. They also observed that overly pointed leading ledges concentrated pressure to the point which lead to deflection & fatigue/failure when chopping avy debris. It was also noted that flatter shoulders allowed the user to transfer more energy stepping on the blade verses sloped or rounded shoulders which transfered less engergy & increased likely hood the foot would slip off the blade.
4. Shaft length & shape. Longer shafted shovels offer more leverage, throwing distance & less strain on your back. Shorter shafts offer more agililty as in building snow caves & usually pack smaller. Shafts come round, oval or trapezoidal, single sectioned or telescoping. They typically attach to the blade & shaft extension using spring pins. Oval & trapezoidal shafts make alignment simple verses round shafts that can rotate during alignment. Asymmetrical shafts exhibited more resistance while mounting or adjusting length while round shafts offered least resistance. Those who are concerned with round shaft alignment can remember that the handle & blade are always parallel to each other or an alignment mark with nail polish can remedy concerns. All 3 geometries offer excellent strength as long as the contact points over lap sufficiently. Operating lengths range from 26/34 to 31/39 (inches) for the telescoping units & as short as 22" for non-telescoping.
5. D shaped or T shaped handle. Both have their advantages. The D shape accommodated gloves or mittens better but are often 1-2 inches longer meaning the T handle pack smaller. Handle choice is more personal then functional.
6. Last thing is cost. There are so many choices out there. Decide what characteristics are most important to you, shop for shovels that meet them & you should find one that you can afford. The price of not having the right one when you need it the most is priceless.
I chose the Voile T6 because:
a. it's made with 6061 T6 aluminum
b. 10x15 inch size blade (1 of the largest)
c. telescopes from 31/39 inches (1 of the longest)
d. has deadman holes, curved sidewalls, flat shoulders & flat leading edge
e. it fits my pack
f. made in USA
g. mfg life time warrenty
h. lastly & surprisingly, it's low price
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