ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST AVALANCHE PROBESCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST AVALANCHE PROBESAVALANCHE PROBES REVIEWSBLACK DIAMOND QUICKDRAW TOURBLACK DIAMOND PIEPS IPROBE IVOILE TOURLIGHTBACKCOUNTRY ACCESS STEALTHDAKINE SCBACKCOUNTRY ACCESS STEALTH CARBONBLACK DIAMOND QUICKDRAW CARBONHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST AVALANCHE PROBELENGTHWEIGHTMATERIALCARBONALUMINUMSTEELASSEMBLY METHODSKI POLE PROBESDEDICATED AVALANCHE PROBESPURPOSEDESIGNDEPTH MARKERSPROBE TIPDIAMETERPACKINGCOMPATIBILITY An avalanche probe is a piece of equipment you’ll hopefully never need to use, but it is one of the most important things you can have on you while skiing or riding the backcountry. These are used to find buried victims in the snow after they have been located with an avalanche transceiver. When you have only minutes to reach a buried friend, you’ll be glad to have the best avalanche probe available. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we want to make sure you are equipped with the very best safety gear before you set out into the backcountry. In this article, we will cover the most important features to consider when choosing an avalanche probe. For more of our top snow sports gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Skis | Ski Poles | Ski Bindings | Ski Boots Snowboards | Snowboard Bindings | Snowboard Boots Goggles | Helmets | Cameras | Bags Jackets | Pants | Socks | Gloves | Hats LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR AFELLOW SKIER?Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your skiing friends.From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone. VIEW NOW QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST AVALANCHE PROBES 1. BLACK DIAMOND QUICKDRAW VIEW AT REI 2. BLACK DIAMOND PIEPS I VIEW AT AMAZON 3. VOILE TOURLIGHT VIEW AT AMAZON 4. BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS STEALTH VIEW AT REI 5. DAKINE SC VIEW AT AMAZON 6. BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS STEALTH C VIEW AT REI 7. BLACK DIAMOND QUICKDRAW C VIEW AT REI COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST AVALANCHE PROBES PICTUREAVALANCHE PROBEBEST USEMATERIALWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTUREAVALANCHE PROBEBEST USEMATERIALWEIGHTPRICERATING Black Diamond QuickDraw TourOverallAluminum11oz (303g)$$4.9 Black Diamond Pieps iProbe IOverallCarbon/aluminum13oz (369g)$$$4.4 Voile TourlightBudgetTempered Aluminum9oz (266g)$5.0 Backcountry Access StealthBudgetAluminum9.5oz (270g)$4.6 Dakine SCBudgetTempered Aluminum10oz. (280g)$5.0 Backcountry Access Stealth CarbonCarbonCarbon7.6oz (215g)$$5.0 Black Diamond QuickDraw CarbonCarbonCarbon10oz (271g)$$5.0 AVALANCHE PROBES REVIEWS BLACK DIAMOND QUICKDRAW TOUR Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST USE: Overall MATERIAL: Aluminum LENGTH: 7’10” (240cm), 9’8” (280cm), 10’6” (320cm) WEIGHT: 11oz (303g), 12oz (342g), 14oz (385g) PROS: Integrated stuff sack, non-slip grip, tip larger than shaft for better sensitivity when probing CONS: Depth markers not laser-etched BLACK DIAMOND PIEPS IPROBE I Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST USE: Overall MATERIAL: Carbon/aluminum LENGTH: 8’6” (260cm) WEIGHT: 13oz (369g) PROS: Probe tip has an integrated receiver which picks up signals from avalanche beacons for faster rescue, deactivates compatible beacons once found for multiple rescues, quick closing latch, good grip CONS: Requires battery, limited range, expensive, heavy VOILE TOURLIGHT Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST USE: Budget MATERIAL: 7075-T6 tempered alum LENGTH: 8’6” (260cm) or similar model Voile Guide Probe in 10’6” (320cm) WEIGHT: 9oz (266g) PROS: Fast assembly, stainless steel cable, adjustment knob for cable tension CONS: None that we could find BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS STEALTH Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST USE: Budget MATERIAL: Unknown LENGTH: 7’11” (240cm), 8’10” (270cm), 9’10” (300cm) WEIGHT: 9.5oz (270g), 10.9oz (310g), 11.2oz (320g) PROS: Very fast release, strong tip, compact, good value for money CONS: Too long for some packs DAKINE SC Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST USE: Budget MATERIAL: 7075-T6 Tempered Aluminum LENGTH: 8’6” (260cm) WEIGHT: 10oz. (280g) PROS: Color-coded segments for easy depth reading CONS: None so far BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS STEALTH CARBON Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST USE: Lightweight MATERIAL: Carbon LENGTH: 7’10” (240cm), 9’10” (300cm) WEIGHT: 7.6oz (215g), 9.9oz (280g) PROS: Quick-Lock hardware for fast release with no loose cables, strong tip, compact, lightweight CONS: Relatively expensive BLACK DIAMOND QUICKDRAW CARBON Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST USE: Lightweight MATERIAL: Carbon LENGTH: 7’10” (240cm), 10’6” (320cm) WEIGHT: 10oz (271g), 13oz (342g) PROS: Durable, ferrules optimized for quick alignment, integrated stuff sack, non-slip grip, tip larger than shaft for better sensitivity when probing, slightly lighter than Black Diamond aluminum equivalent CONS: Expensive Gear up for snow adventures, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on Snow GearSent right to your inbox...GEAR UP HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST AVALANCHE PROBE LENGTH After locating the area where the victim is buried using an avalanche beacon, you’ll use an avalanche probe to pinpoint them so you can dig them out with your shovel. The chances of survival for people buried in more than 6.5 feet (2m) of snow is close to zero, so most probes are just a little longer than this range. Taking into account the part of the probe that you will be holding, probes generally come in lengths between 6.5-10.5 feet (200cm-320cm). Ideally, you should look for an avalanche probe that is between 8-10 feet (240-300cm). Probes longer than 10 feet might find victims buried so deep that their survival chances are extremely low. Probes shorter than 8 feet risk not finding victims buried under less than 6 feet of snow. The general reason for choosing a shorter probe is ease of transport. Check how heavy the probe is and how much space it takes up when folded. Usually, probes fold into segments about a foot-and-a-half long (40cm), but some probes are different. Check if your particular probe fits into an accessible part of your backpack. Probes for professional use are often longer, thicker and stronger. These are for recovery professionals who are trained in avalanche rescue and may be able to save people buried deep beneath the snow. They are easier on the back and less likely to break since they allow for a more stable grasp. Longer probes are also useful for measuring the snowpack when doing research or choosing whether to venture further into the backcountry. WEIGHT Since you will be carrying your avalanche probe at all times when skiing in the backcountry, you will want a probe that is as light as possible while still being effective. MATERIAL Avalanche probes come in carbon, aluminum and steel. It’s important to get a durable probe that won’t break upon being stabbed repeatedly into the snow. All three materials listed here are extremely strong and resistant to breaking, but each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. CARBON Carbon probes are the lightest of the three which make them practical to carry while you are skiing. They are more expensive than aluminum probes. ALUMINUM Aluminum probes are slightly heavier than carbon probes, which make them less convenient to carry but can actually be an advantage in harder snow. They are less likely to break than carbon probes. STEEL Steel probes are the most durable of the lot, but they are also the heaviest. They are usually favored by avalanche professionals who do a lot of rescue work. ASSEMBLY METHOD Probes can come as collapsible versions that fit into your backpack or as dual-function ski pole/avalanche types. You should choose a probe that is quick and easy to deploy. Ski pole probes seem practical because they double as ski poles, which reduces the number of things you have to carry. However, since ski pole probes require more assembly time, collapsible probes are a better choice. Whatever model you choose, make sure you practice until you can deploy it quickly and efficiently before setting out into the backcountry. SKI POLE PROBES These are assembled by removing baskets and screwing pole sections together. This takes an extra minute or two and will reduce the victim’s chances of survival. Ski pole probes are also shorter, and they are not as optimal for plunging into the snow. DEDICATED AVALANCHE PROBES Collapsible probes are usually composed of several metal parts attached by a cord or cable. The best ones assemble themselves in a few seconds with minimal effort on your part. Designs vary; this is a personal choice depending on what you are familiar with and comfortable using. PURPOSE The rule of thumb for avalanche probes is the longer, the better. However, not everybody wants to carry a clunky, heavy probe. Ski patrol and other professional rescuers tend to favor sturdier poles which are longer and more durable. The average backcountry skier will tend to use shorter, lighter poles. Within this category, people who plan to ski in conditions with heavier snowfall should lean toward poles on the longer side. People who ski in conditions with lighter snowfall can opt for poles on the shorter side (but still at least than 8 feet). DESIGN There are several other factors you might want to consider before choosing an avalanche probe. While secondary, these are also important. DEPTH MARKERS Depth markers are essential. They help you determine how deep a victim is and where to dig from. Depth markers are also useful if you are looking for more than one victim. You should always rescue victims buried under less snow first, as they have better chances of survival. Depth markers also make it possible to measure the snowpack, which is useful when determining whether conditions permit you to venture further into the backcountry. Laser-etched markings are better, as they don’t wear off. PROBE TIP Every second counts! The pointier the tip of the probe is, the easier it will slice through the snow. DIAMETER Generally diameter of the probe will depend on the material and other design features, but thinner poles are lighter, while thicker poles are stronger. PACKING Avalanche probes often come with carry pouches, but many people don’t use these because stopping to take the probe out of the bag wastes precious time. COMPATIBILITY Make sure your folded avalanche probe fits into your backpack. Some probes are designed to work in conjunction with other equipment such as air bags; check compatibility before buying. Conditions are unpredictable in the backcountry, and you should always be prepared. It is critically important to know how to use your probe and practice beforehand in real-life conditions until you are confident with all aspects of avalanche rescue and survival. Consider taking a course from AIARE or the American Avalanche Association. SNOW SPORTS RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSSNOW SPORTSTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. BASICS 5. SKIING 2. SNOW CLOTHING 6. SNOWBOARDING 3. ACCESSORIES 7. SNOWSHOEING 4. SNOW SAFETY 1. BASICS 2. SNOW CLOTHING 3. ACCESSORIES 4. SNOW SAFETY 5. SKIING 6. SNOWBOARDING 7. SNOWSHOEING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.