During an avalanche, time is of the essence and a minute wasted can lead to the delay of the avalanche rescue operation. You must know how to use your rescue gear efficiently.
The avalanche probe is a metal rod used in the backcountry to probe through the avalanche to rescue the buried victims and reduce the rescue time as short as eleven minutes.
The market has several different options to choose from that may confuse you.
In this article, we have enlisted the best avalanche probes of 2021 along with the review of each product.
My Personal Recommendation
One of the most reliable probes for avalanches, the TerraWest Core 240 Avalanche Probe, is my top recommendation for various reasons.
Despite the aluminum construction, it is incredibly lightweight and comes with a big probe tip that can easily cut through slabs of ice. Furthermore, it comes with a quick locking system which means that the probes can quickly lock into each other without being stuck.
All these features are significant, especially in times of distress. This is one of the major reasons why TerraWest Core 240 Avalanche Probe is one of the best probes in the market and my personal favorite.
Best Avalanche Probes in 2021
Black Diamond Quickdraw Probe Tour
The Quickdraw Probe is the lightest probe to be added to your pack from the Black Diamond series for the snow study tours in the backcountry. The scant weight of the probe is designed with null detriments to the features of the probe. The Quickdraw Probe is one of the fastest and easiest probes to be used available in the market in 2021.
The Quickdraw probe is widely used and preferred for backcountry skiing for its lightweight and easy-to-use features. The tip of the probe is designed using a gargantuan and durable alloy that allows digging a hole larger than the shaft of the probe with an impressive improvement in the sensitivity of the probe.
The Quickdraw probe is coated with non-slip constituents to offer a firm as well as a secure grip even with wet gloves. The probe features a speed ferrule that offers ultra-quick deployment of the probe with one pull of the cord. The Quickdraw probe disposition is quite hasty that integrates the stuff sack with the probe’s pull cord for one-pull readiness.
The probe also features a secure locking mechanism to firmly place the probe upon snapping with the highest visibility marking of 1cm to measure the burial depth. The Quickdraw probe weighs about 11.2 ounces with a length of 240 cm that comes in a fire red color.
TerraWest Core 240 Avalanche Probe
The TerraWest Core 240 avalanche probe is one of the finest probes for use in avalanche accidents. In avalanche accidents, time plays a crucial role in the rescue operation for the buried victims under the snow debris. The TerraWest probes are extremely lightweight and are quick in action whenever needed.
The quick locking technology of the probe enables the rescuer to deploy the probe in seconds and secure it in one place consequently. The probe measures about 240 cm and is made up of robust and durable aluminum weighing about 240 grams. The aluminum used to manufacture the probe allows cutting through the snow debris to rescue the victims buried deep inside.
The probe tip large enough to allow the rescuers to dug deep into the snow while cutting through the snow layers with ease. The TerraWest Core Avalanche probe can collapse as long as 40 cm in seconds with ease. This avalanche probe features a 10cm depth marker to determine the snow depth and the shovel to be used.
The probe is composed of six segments and is easy to pack in your ski or snowmobile backpacks. The TerraWest Core Avalanche probe comes in two colors.
Backcountry Access Sheath 300 Probes
The Backcountry access sheath carbon probes have the quickest and easiest lock feature to offer a sturdy deployment in times of urgency and need. The quick-lock feature prevents loose cables to cause hurdles during the hasty deployment process. The segments of the probe are designed for the top segment to stealthfully case inside the next segment of the probe.
The number of sections or segments is reduced from the probe bundle to offer a compact and easy to pack avalanche probe. The assembly and disassembly of the probe are also relieved due to the reduction in the number of probe segments. The depth markings on the probe are engraved by laser to determine the depth of the snowpack as well victim.
These measurements will help to determine the method of shoveling and the dimensions for the excavation process. They are highly durable weighing about 12 ounces with a measurement of around 300cm.
Ortovox Probe Alu 240 Light, Silver, 240cm
The Ortovox Probe Alu is the probe for all the winter adventure enthusiasts who are conscious of their weight. The probe weighs around 235 grams and is extremely lightweight that comes with quick launch straps and quick-lock assembly mechanisms. The probe also features an augmented adjustable screw to lock the tension effortlessly and swiftly.
The tip of the probe is large enough to dig a hole larger than the diameter of the probe shaft that ensures deep penetration into the snow by cutting through the snow layers. The compact size of the probe is achieved by the optimization of the probe segments and reducing the number of sections of the probe to smoothly pack into your ski backpacks.
The one-meter depth marker on the probe helps to govern the depth of the snowpack that regulates the methods of shoveling to excavate the buried victims in an avalanche. The probe features the latest visual guide system that determines the exact depth of the buried victim in the snow layers and accelerates the rescue operation.
The contrasting depth scale along with the colorful end segments on the probe helps to prevent wastage of time and saves the victim in the due time course. The neon orange color segment at the end of the probe indicates the approach of the victim in the snow layers. The ortovox probe is easy to open and assemble without even removing the cover from the probe.
Demon United Snow Probe
The Demon United snow probe is a 270cm avalanche probe best used to rescue the avalanche victims from the snow-packed backcountry terrains. The probe is made up of strong and durable aluminum that offers the finest quality avalanche probe in the market. The aluminum also lightens the overall weight of the probe and being compact is easy to pack in your ski backpacks.
The Demon United Snow probe is pretty easy to assemble and disassemble due to quick launch straps and a quick-lock assembly system. It also features the depth markers to determine the depth of the snowpack and regulate the shoveling methods to rescue the buried victim in the layers of the snow.
The Demon United Snow probe offers the best quality features in the most affordable price range.
How to Choose Avalanche Probe
The Avalanche probes are the only piece of safety equipment people often forget while avalanche rescuing or backcountry skiing. These probes help you identify the exact location of the buried victims in avalanche accidents with dimensions of the depth of the burial.
There are a few things one should consider before buying an avalanche probe. Some of them are listed below.
Length of the probe
The length of the probe is an essential consideration point while purchasing an avalanche probe. The length is determined basically on the determination of snow depth in the area you are residing in. Mostly it is advised to choose a smaller probe with a length between 240 and 300 cm as they are extremely light and easily packed.
However, the length of the probe should not be less than 2 meters. A shorter probe can tend to break on excessive use.
The longer probe offers a longer space between the hands that prevents the breaking of the probes. It also helps to prevent you from backaches while working with the probes for longer durations. They are designed using heavier gauge and material with durability.
The avalanche probes are made up of either aluminum or carbon and the choice depends upon your preference. The carbon probes are quite expensive while aluminum is more affordable as well as budget-friendly. However, the carbon probes are lighter in overall weight than the aluminum probes.
The aluminum probes allow you to dig deeper with high penetration mechanism to cut through the dense and tough snow layers quite effectively and efficiently. The aluminum probes are highly recommended as the snow debris is set up and is difficult to penetrate especially with carbon probes.
The avalanche probe should be easily deployed in seconds to prevent any wastage of time. The buyer should also know how to use the probe and its deployment techniques. The probes manufactured nowadays can be easily disassembled or deployed by one whipping action or by pulling out the string or cable.
It is suggested to practice at home the techniques of using the avalanche probes wearing snowmobile gloves before taking them out in the backcountry. If the bag bothers you while removing the probe it is advised to leave the bag at home.
The ski tourists prefer light, fast, and shorter vertical carbon probes since they cover long distances. The avalanche professionals prefer the long, strong, sturdy, and heavier aluminum probes to dig into the dense snow layers. Some also prefer to keep both types of probes in handy for different situations and conditions.
Thus the choice of the avalanche probe wholly depends upon your preference and requirement. To protect you from avalanche incidents, you should consider having an avalanche backpack.