Polycarbonate vs Aluminum

4:35 p.m. on November 16, 2001 (EST)
(Guest)

Okay teeming millions - what's your preference and why? Oh, just to be a bit clearer, I'm referring to avalanche shovels and not your other "preferences"......nuff said.

Have you got a favorite or a sour grape to share?

D

12:06 a.m. on November 17, 2001 (EST)
(Guest)

Aluminum

There is no comparison when chopping in the hard stuff. Lexan bounces, aluminum chops. All the shovels I have broke, it has been the handle. You definetly wear out aluminum shovels, but BEWARE of both aluminum and plastic--a slight nick on the blade and SSSSLLLIIIIIIT---you will slice a hole in your tent (yeah, yeah, yeah..don't use a shovel around a tent...).

Lexan are smaller--a plus for caves, but I would rather have a big blade. If I am on a trip with a partner, one giant blade, one medium and all is well.

On the safety side, I would rather have a partner in avalanche terrain have a metal shovel than plastic--they have better penetration--by far. Plastic shovel better than no shovel, though.

2:31 a.m. on November 17, 2001 (EST)
(Guest)

Re: Aluminum

if all you want is a lightweight shovel to haul around in case of an avalanche emergency, the small plastic will do, and it will be easier to hike around.

if you plan on using the shovel often (checking snow profile and winter camping), then the bigger aluminum blade is nicer-it moves more snow with each swing, and like Davis said, if you're trying to recover your buddy from a solidly cemented avalanche debris pile-you'll want that med. to large sized aluminum shovel.

Quote:

There is no comparison when chopping in the hard stuff. Lexan bounces, aluminum chops. All the shovels I have broke, it has been the handle. You definetly wear out aluminum shovels, but BEWARE of both aluminum and plastic--a slight nick on the blade and SSSSLLLIIIIIIT---you will slice a hole in your tent (yeah, yeah, yeah..don't use a shovel around a tent...).

Lexan are smaller--a plus for caves, but I would rather have a big blade. If I am on a trip with a partner, one giant blade, one medium and all is well.

On the safety side, I would rather have a partner in avalanche terrain have a metal shovel than plastic--they have better penetration--by far. Plastic shovel better than no shovel, though.

9:41 a.m. on November 27, 2001 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
408 forum posts
Plug for Lexan...

Quote:

Okay teeming millions - what's your preference and why? Oh, just to be a bit clearer, I'm referring to avalanche shovels and not your other "preferences"......nuff said.
Have you got a favorite or a sour grape to share?
D

I've had and still carry the same Life Link lexan bladed shovel since 'round '82 or so. Dug many a pit, many a tent site, a couple snow caves, etc etc. Never busted due to metal fatigue (like so many other partner's aluminum ones). It's like an old friend...

Has its limitations, to be sure...but, amazing how tough that shovel is. I don't overdo it chippin' in icey snow but in any avy debris I've ever dug in, worked pretty fine. Great for shoveling near a tent too, and for feeding the pot on the stove.

Small, fits in a fanny pack when disasembled. Always in my ski touring pack. INSIDE my pack. Not strapped to the outside where any small sluff might strip it off me...(some of you fellers need to buy a bigger pack for ski tourin' is what I'm sayin'...har har...).

That said, I do have a burly metal bladed one...for serious snow moving on trips where a partner doesn't already have a bigger shovel.

Bet I've seen a dozen aluminum bladed models bust due to fatigue cracks...

Brian in SLC

8:29 p.m. on December 6, 2001 (EST)
(Guest)

Dear Dil.

This is an easy one. Just whip out a shovel at a ski area and give a whack to the snow that's piled up around the edge of the parking lot. It's about the same consistency as avy debris, because it's been created by a similar process.

You will find that a plastic shovel is a joke (well, not so funny if you're buried). They bounce off. You will also find that the temptation to stick a shovel (any shovel) in and pry at the "snow" tends to wank the shovel.

To remove avy debris, chop at the snow for a while, then scoop out the bits. Don't lever a shovel at a time.

Last: I use my shovel as a stove base (keeps the stove from sinking into the snow). I worry a little about using a plastic shovel for that.

But them plastic shovels sure do have cool colors, and if all you want to do is shovel fresh powder...hey!


Quote:

Okay teeming millions - what's your preference and why? Oh, just to be a bit clearer, I'm referring to avalanche shovels and not your other "preferences"......nuff said.

Have you got a favorite or a sour grape to share?

D

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