Voile Mini Shovel
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
If you are going winter camping and not carrying one of these (or a comparable model), you are not carrying an essential winter survival tool.
- Simple design
- Metal blade
- Low cost
- Well made
- None I have found.
The Voile Mini is one of several small snow shovels that anyone winter camping on snow should carry. This is not a full size shovel, but for all that I have done with it, it was the perfect size. I would take mine even on day trips. It is fairly light, has a metal blade, and is well made. The handle comes apart and fits back together easily. It can be used wearing gloves or mitts. I strap mine to the back of my pack so it is easy to get at.
You will see some shovels with Lexan blades; I would take the metal blade Voile over them any day. In California, or anywhere else where you can run into ice layers under snow, metal is, in my opinion, a much better choice than plastic. It is a very simple design; I have no idea how you could break it and about the only potential problem I see is losing the handle. If you keep it snapped together, that won't happen.
I bought mine at REI for snow camping in California and have used it to dig a platform for my tent, dig a snow trench for sleeping, dig out a kitchen in front of my tent and dig out my car after it sat in the parking lot at Badger Pass for a few days; you get the idea. You could also use the handle as a splint.
Not that you are likely to need it, but Voile USA has really good customer service.
Price Paid: $25
I have a 1990's version of this shovel and have about 18 years in with it. I have thrashed it using it to smash ice, shovel snow, break crust and even move gravel. It's not the lightest, but might be the strongest. This little fellow won't let you down.
Bought the newer version with the longer handle and built in snow saw and was impressed that the 2008 version is just as rugged with a better finish. Great product!
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
The Mini is the most compact shovel Voile offers and stores conveniently in your backcountry pack. Bigger shovels often hog up space inside your pack or don't even fit in a pack's external shovel pocket at all. The Mini, with its telescoping handle for extended reach and leverage, collapses into a tight little package, 23" tall and 24oz. Why choose a plastic shovel when you can get the strength of metal in the Mini' [Available in red only.]
Taking up little pack space, the Voile Mini Shovel can still move a mountain of snow
- Mountain Gear
The Voile Mini Avalanche Shovel is one tough shovel for its size. The most compact in Voile's shovel line, it is small enough for almost any backpack. The Mini is trimmed down version of the Voile Telepack avalanche shovel.
At only 23 in. long when packed, the Voile Mini Avalanche shovel fits easily in most backpacks. Tempered aluminum scoop is tough enough to handle regular use around camp. Telescoping shaft allows extended reach and easier shoveling; shovel extends to 30 in. long. Holes in the scoop let you use the Voile Mini shovel as an emergency snow anchor or rescue sled when combined with skis.