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The 10 Best Backcountry Avalanche Shovels & Probes of 2024

By: Jordan Berde: Ski Buyer | October 03, 2023

“Beacon, shovel, probe!” is a mantra that any backcountry skier should have memorized. No one has any business going into avalanche terrain without those essentials. But, beyond that, things get murky. A spade is a spade, right? Well, sort of. In the world of avalanche shovels, you’re always dealing with conflicting priorities. You want your shovel to be big and durable enough so that if the worst-case scenario occurs, you can move a lot of snow quickly and effectively. But, your shovel also needs to be small and light enough to carry comfortably in your pack with your other gear. That means that there’s no one “best” shovel. Instead, there are shovels that are better suited to different snowpacks and styles of touring than others. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best avalanche shovels.

New This Year:

The 2024 array of avalanche shovels showcases a discernible shift towards lighter designs, catering to the critical aspect of backcountry safety. This year, blades with holes have emerged as a smart innovation to shave off some weight, making the shovels easier to carry and handle during critical moments. This feature is particularly beneficial in regions like Salt Lake City and the Pacific Northwest, where deeper snowpacks demand efficient shoveling without additional weight burden. Individuals frequenting these regions might find the lighter designs beneficial when they shop for an avalanche shovel. These adaptations not only signify an evolution in design but a thoughtful response to the varying snow conditions encountered across different geographies. This lineup is about embracing innovations that enhance user convenience and adaptability, ensuring that adventurers are well-equipped to navigate and respond to the unpredictable nature of backcountry terrains.

BCA Dozer 1T Shovel

BCA Dozer 1T

The BCA Dozer 1T Shovel is North America's best-selling avalanche shovel and for good reason. It comes in a perfect size, a nice weight, and will last you a lifetime of use.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
595Extendable Handle$59.95

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BCA Dozer 2H Shovel

BCA Dozer 2H

The BCA Dozer 2H Shovel has been around the block. Also known as the granddaddy of shovels, the Dozer 2H features a super usable Hoe Mode for paddling chunks of debris without lifting.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
765Hoe Mode$79.95

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Black Diamond Transfer LT Shovel

Black Diamond Transfer LT

A superllight-but-not-super-wimpy shovel for fast and light touring pursuits, the Black Diamond Transfer LT Shovel is a new design crafted from 7075 aluminum with a unique riveted backup plate at the blade stress zone. At 405 grams, this is the lightest UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation) certified shovel on the market. Oh, and it's chartreuse. Beautiful.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
405Lightweight T Handle$99.95

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Ortovox PRO Alu III Shovel

Ortovox PRO Alu III

The Ortovox PRO Alu III Shovel replaces the top-selling Pro Alu II with only minor tweaks. It's still a great mid-sized shovel that's easy to carry, sturdy, has a hoe function and now is compatible with Ortovox's Pocket Spike for a bit of added security in icy terrain.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
770T-Grip Pro Handle$85.00

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Mammut Alugator Light Shovel

Mammut Alugator Light

The Mammut Alugator Light Shovel is the lightest shovel offered from Mammut. With a sharpened blade and an oval shaped telescopic shaft, this is a shovel you want to practice with and have at the ready.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
475Symmetrical T-grip$74.95

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Black Diamond Deploy Shovel

Black Diamond Deploy

The Black Diamond Deploy Shovel features a rapid-deployment design that saves you the hassle (and time) of having to connect various shovel pieces together before functional. Instead, simply slide out the handle to its extended length and dig! With a curved handle that nests within the anodized blade, the Black Diamond Deploy Shovel is simpler, faster, and takes up minimal space in your pack.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
700Hybrid D/T Handle$89.95

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Black Diamond Quickdraw Pro 280 Probe

Black Diamond Quickdraw Pro 280

The Black Diamond Quickdraw Pro 280 Probe offers a fantastic combination of weight, length, and stiffness for backcountry explorers. The dual QuickDraw speed ferrule system works faultlessly for smooth and fast deployment, the length is adequate for all but the deepest burials, and the durable aluminum and stainless construction is impeccable.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
320Dual Quickdraw Speed Ferrules$79.95

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BCA Stealth 240 Avalanche Probe

BCA Stealth 240

As the most compact BCA probe in the line up, the BCA Stealth 240 Avalanche Probe offers light and easy storage for the backcountry minimalist.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
250Stealth Quick-Lock$49.95

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BCA Stealth 330 Avalanche Probe

BCA Stealth 330

The BCA Stealth 330 Avalanche Probe is BCA's longest and burliest probe, designed for professionals and enthusiasts traveling in especially deep zones. Featuring laser-etched depth markings and dependable Stealth Quick Lock hardware, it's a worthy addition to your backcountry safety kit.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
350Stealth Quick Lock$89.95

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Ortovox Alu 240 Avalanche Probe

Ortovox Alu 240

The Ortovox Alu 240 Quick-Lock Avalanche Probe is a new 240 cm probe from Ortovox that's light, simple, and weighs just 200 grams. This is a good all-purpose spring and summer probe when snow depths are relatively shallow.

Weight (g)Highlight FeatureOriginal Price
200Visual Guide System$45.00

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The Selection Process:

Our ski buyers have an endless amount of knowledge on all things skiing stemming from years of experience in the ski industry in tandem with their countless hours spent on slopes everywhere from groomers to the remote backcountry around the world. evo's buyers assess all products coming to market, lean into this knowledge, and put together this selection of the best products. They have a unique perspective as they truly see everything offered across the category.

Jordan Berde

Jordan (she/her) is a Ski Buyer at evo. Before working in this role, she worked at the evo Denver store for two years, where she began as a bootfitter and quickly moved into Store Lead and then Store Supervisor roles. Prior to evo, Jordan worked as a bootfitter at other shops, a mountain bike instructor for kiddos in Colorado, a ski patroller in Alaska, and a liftie in Taos. She's an avid backcountry skier and ski mountaineer and recently summited Mt. Baker as a fundraiser for SheJumps, a non-profit committed to getting more women involved in the outdoors.

She started sliding on snow later than most (in her late 20s), but now she’s the friend getting up at 4 am to make sure she can get a dawn patrol lap in before work! Jordan is passionate about diversity and inclusion and making outdoor activities more inclusive to all genders, races, and ability levels. When she's not skiing, Jordan is likely on her mountain bike exploring all that Colorado and Washington have to offer with her wife. Some say she never stops moving…