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Black Diamond Deploy 3

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Black Diamond Deploy 3 snow shovel

It's a great portable collapsing aluminum snow shovel, that definitely more than pulls its own weight, while still being very robust and easy to use. Advertised primarily as a lightweight avalanche rescue shovel, it also functions very well for a winter camping, shelter building, and as an emergency backup in a motorized vehicle.

Would definently recommend, especially for those looking for an extremely light and compact shovel for backcountry use.


  • Compact
  • Made from lightweight aluminum (565 grams)
  • Collapsable (43 cm collapsed, 63 cm extended)
  • Durable
  • Easy to use and "deploy"


  • Fairly costly
  • Could have a slightly longer handle
  • Uses a T grip instead of a D grip, can't use mittens

Included in this review is a short video of me constructing a one-man Quinzee with this small shovel. This should help illustrate just effective this small lightweight shovel really is at moving snow and building snow shelters.

The Black Diamond Deploy 3, is a very easy to use, always works as expected, and can be deployed even with thick gloves on. The 3 in the name "Deploy 3" is used in reference to the overall blade volume with it being 0.3 gallons for the Deploy 3, along with 0.7 for the larger and heavier Black Diamond Deploy 7.

It's very small and made from lightweight aluminum. Making it great for those looking to go deep into the backcountry without being weighed down, while still having the durability of a full metal construction. It's a very sturdy shovel and when extended it has absolutely no movement at all in any of its parts or at the point of connection that many cheaper collapsing shovels often suffer from. 

Ultimately, I think it's a great little compact shovel that definitely gets things done, especially for winter camping or as a "just in case" shovel for backcountry skiing.  Whereas if I were a serious first responder dealing avalanche rescue scenarios I'd probably want to opt for something a bit larger and marginally heftier.


I've been using it for years, for winter camping and for shelter building, along with keeping it in the trunk of my car, as part of my winter emergency kit. I also intend on using it in the future as part of my backcountry skiing / snowboarding avalanche kit.

I've owned it for over 10 years now and have used it on countless winter camping trips. Have built many different winter camping and survival shelters over the years with this shovel and it's still in tip top shape. It will forever be an auto-include on all my winter expeditions, strapped to the outside of my pack.

- Cheers

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $69.99 CDN

I have used this shovel for two trips into the White Mountains early this year (January and March). It does well chopping through hard snow, with no worries of it breaking or not being up to the task. It collapses into a small package and straps easily to the outside of my pack.

This is a lot of shovel for 20 ounces. A good piece of gear, and although I never dreamed of paying $60 for a shovel, I'm happy with the purchase.

Price Paid: ~$60

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Price MSRP: $59.95
Current Retail: $69.95-$89.95
Historic Range: $40.78-$89.95
Reviewers Paid: $60.00
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