3 Best Light Snow Shovels

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Hey there my skiing  and mountaineering enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best light snow shovels to clear the way with this year.  Whether cross-country or downhill skiing or even trekking in the back country or mountains during the winter, there is always the risk or snow drifts or even an avalanche.

In these instances, having the right safety gear can literally be the difference between survival or demise – including a snow shovel.  So if you are someone who likes to get away from the resorts for your snow filled fun, I have had a good look around and come up with three decent snow shovel options below.

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended light snow shovels

I will review these in more detail below. Still, if you want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

02/18/2024 08:17 am GMT

What are Light Snow Shovels?

Light snow shovels are tools designed for the purpose of removing snow from sidewalks, driveways and in this case, when it gets in the way or covers you when out in the back country. As the name suggests, these shovels are lightweight, making them easier to handle and maneuver making them suitable to add to your ski pack. They are typically constructed from lightweight materials such as aluminum, plastic, or a combination of both.

Light snow shovels are particularly useful for individuals who may have difficulty lifting heavy loads or who need to clear snow over a large area – such as in an avalanche situation. The ergonomic design of these shovels often includes features such as curved handles and adjustable shafts to promote better posture and reduce strain on the user’s back and arms.

Check out these: Avalanche Packs

light snow shovel - skiier digging in snow

What should you be looking for?

Buying an avalanche shovel is an important decision, as this tool can potentially save your life in a dangerous situation. There are several factors to consider when choosing the right avalanche shovel, including blade type, shaft and handle design, materials, and weight. Let’s explore these factors in more detail:

  1. Blade type
  2. Shaft and handle design
  3. Construction
  4. Weight
  5. Additions

Blade type

The shovel’s blade is the most crucial since it is responsible for moving snow quickly and efficiently. There are several different sorts of blades to pick from, including entirely flat blades, scooped blades, serrated blades and blades with holes.

Scooped blades are less prone to pour snow over the sides when shoveling than fully flat blades. Serrated blade edges can be used to break through the ice, while blades with holes can make snow anchors (along with the length of the supplementary line). Holes can make a shovel easier to carry as well.

Shaft and handle design

These attributes are also key aspects to consider when selecting an avalanche shovel and handles are classified into two types: T-grip and D-grip. 

  • T-grip handles are lightweight and work well for most individuals; however, they might be challenging while wearing mittens. 
  • D-grip handles are larger and heavier than T-grip handles but are more comfortable operating while wearing mittens.
light snow shovels - couple digging in snow

Construction

Generally, light snow shovels are made from either aluminum, plastic or carbon alloy – or a combination of each. They all have their advantages and can be helpful in various scenarios. 

  1. Aluminum is a lightweight and sturdy material that produces the ideal avalanche shovel. The narrow blade effortlessly cuts through snow and can withstand cold temperatures. These compact forms are suitable for use as a trekking shovel. 
  2. Plastic is a low-cost material, making it an economical choice. Nevertheless, the durability will be inferior to that of aluminum and alloys and there is a risk of damage when exposed to avalanche debris or gravel.
  3. Carbon alloy is the toughest of the bunch and may be utilized for various jobs. Carbon alloy blades frequently feature a serrated edge that may be used for cutting and sawing as well.

Weight

The weight of your shovel should always be considered when purchasing – especially as you will be carrying it around on your back or in your bag. They may also need to be carried for extended periods, and even if your shovel folds up into a compact size, the weight may become a burden with time.

Weight is essential not just for hauling your shovel; you also want a snow shovel that is simple to operate. A decent snow spade for trekking is a vital lightweight winter gear.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. Telescopic shaft: This quality allows you to adjust the length of the shovel, which is helpful when placing it in your backpack.
  2. Removable shaft: The idea here is to make the snow shovel more portable so it will not hamper your movement.
  3. Hoe mode: In this mode, the blade rotates around a 90-degree angle with the handle. This enables a user to swiftly move a significant volume of loose snow, such as in the case of a shallow avalanche burial.

Check out these: Avalanche beacons

FAQ

What are the key features to look for in a high-quality light snow shovel?

When searching for the best light snow shovels, look for models made from lightweight materials like aluminum, plastic, or a combination of both. These materials make the shovel easier to handle and maneuver without sacrificing durability. Wider blades can cover more surface area, making it quicker and more efficient to remove snow. However, the ideal blade width depends on the type of snow you’re dealing with and the space you need to clear. And finally, whilst light snow shovels are designed to be lightweight, they should still be durable and sturdy enough to handle regular use with a comfortable, non-slip grip is important for ease of use and to maintain control during snow removal.

Are light snow shovels suitable for all types of snow and ice?

Light snow shovels are best suited for removing light to moderate amounts of snow, particularly powdery or dry snow. They are not designed to handle heavy, wet snow or break up thick ice. In situations involving wet snow or ice, a heavier-duty snow shovel, snow pusher or ice chopper may be more appropriate. Keep in mind that using a light snow shovel for tasks it’s not designed for may result in damage to the shovel or increased strain on the user.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Backcountry Access Dozer 2T Shovel

The Backcountry Access Dozer 2T Shovel is a mid-sized avalanche shovel designed for professional rescuers and advanced recreationists who demand a reliable and durable tool. It is built with advanced features making it an excellent choice for anyone wanting a high-quality avalanche shovel. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Backcountry
  • Shovel shape: Flat blade
  • Handle design: T grip
  • Material: Heat treated, 6061 aluminum
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Auto-engaging spring pins
  • UIAA standard compliant
  • Limited 3-year warranty based on the manufacturer’s website

Why have I chosen it?

The ovo-concave shaft is designed to be ergonomic making it comfortable to use even for long periods. The low-profile, “stompable” blade is also a unique feature, allowing you to stomp on it with your foot to dig through hard-packed snow or debris.

One of the most significant features of the BCA Dozer 2T shovel is the smooth surface on the front third of the blade which allows you to create clean snowpit walls during snow stability tests. Additionally, the shovel’s flat “stomp edge” can penetrate almost anything by adding body weight.

BCA shovels also lie flat in your pack, leaving more room for other essential backcountry gear as well.


2. MSR Responder Snow Shovel

The MSR Responder Snow Shovel is an essential tool for any backcountry adventure and is designed to be lightweight yet durable, so it can handle any snow and ice conditions you may encounter. Its compact design easily fits into a backpack, making it perfect for those who are always on the go. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: MSR
  • Shovel shape: Flat blade
  • Handle design: T grip
  • Material: Hard anodized aluminum
  • Weight: 1.31 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • Telescopic shaft
  • Ergonomic T handle
  • Limited 3-year warranty

Why have I chosen it?

The MSR Responder Snow Shovel blade is made from 6061-T6 hard-anodized aluminum making it both solid and lightweight with a blade that features a flat chopping face and serrated edge that easily breaks snow and ice. The blade’s reduced scooping geometry and neckless design also make it easy to stash in a backpack.

The ergonomic T-handle of the MSR Responder Snow Shovel is meticulously designed to offer comfort and control in a compact and low-profile form and is easy to grip, even when wearing gloves. Additionally, the two-section, non-rotational telescoping shaft deploys quickly, allowing you to quickly adjust the length of the shovel to suit your needs as well.


3. Black Diamond Backcountry Snow Safety Shovel

The Black Diamond Transfer LT Backcountry Snow Safety Shovel is a high-performance tool designed to provide fast and efficient avalanche response in the backcountry. It is also an ideal choice for those who prioritize lightweight gear, as it is the lightest UIAA-certified shovel on the market, weighing only 500 grams. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Black diamond
  • Shovel shape: Blade with holes
  • Handle design: T grip
  • Material: Hard anodized aluminum
  • Weight: 1.24 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • UIAA standard compliant
  • Telescopic shaft

Why have I chosen this?

One of the standout features of the Transfer LT is its innovative riveted blade that is lightweight and thin, allowing it to slice through debris easily. Despite this, the blade maintains a large 550 cm2 blade volume, allowing you to quickly move a large amount of snow making it an excellent choice for those who want to move snow in an emergency quickly.

The two-piece aluminum telescoping shaft is durable and provides comfort for the user which is important when considering that this shovel may need to be used for extended periods.

02/18/2024 08:17 am GMT

Conclusion

There you have it, my three best light snow shovels. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul