Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Made in the USA" Gear Review: Voile T-Wood Avalanche Shovel- Winter Survival Shovel for Bushcrafters?

Voile's T-Wood Avalanche shovel is not only a great safety tool for skiers, it's also an excellent winter wilderness survival tool for bushcrafters. Aside from the obvious benefit of carrying a snow shovel to dig snow shelters, the inclusion of a "Saws-all" blade brings it up to a whole new level. With this saw, you can easily process firewood, cut snow/ice blocks or wooden poles to build shelters.
It features a tempered aluminum shovel, retractable aluminum handle and easily breaks down to fit into most backpacks. The T-handle itself is made of plastic. The saw blade is made of stainless steel and roughly 7" long. When not in use it easily stows away inside the handle (replacement saws are available directly from Voile).

(click to enlarge)


Weight- 1 lb.10oz./0.74kg
Length- 23.75in/60.3cm
Extended Length- 29.75in/75.6cm
Made in Salt Lake City, Utah USA

The Aluminum used in the shovel is certainly heavier than comparable plastic avalanche shovels, but what it loses in weight advantage it makes up for with increased strength. During our testing, we used the Voile to shovel out several teepee sites in deep snow as well as building snow mounds for insulation around them. We also used it to pick up and move hot rocks around the campfire several times. The Voile didn't even have a chip in the paint after all this, very impressive. 

We also tested the saw extensively. While the saw teeth aren't as efficient as those on a Bahco Laplander Saw (shown in the photo collage above), the ability to use it two-handed on a longer shovel handle increases the efficiency enough to closely match the performance of the Bahco. This longer handle also has the added advantage of being able to reach higher limbs on trees if you need to reach dry wood for kindling or branches for shelter/bedding material. 

(click to enlarge)

All in all this is an excellent survival tool to keep handy whether you're a skier, bushcrafter or backpacker and its durable construction should give you years of service. Highly recommended. 

To buy this product directly from Voile USA please click here

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

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