You can see our other recommendations on our list of the Top 4 Avalanche Shovels.
There is something inexplicably enchanting about the snow-capped mountains. It calls daredevils to explore its slopes with every intimate detail. Alternately, even those who are not free-riders cannot escape its beauty, and everyone loves to capture it through their lens.
But as beautiful as the white snow can be, it can be just as cold and unforgiving. If you know anything about the alpine landscape, it is not for the faint of heart or the underprepared. The extreme cold conditions, coupled with an unpredictable landscape, is almost like a landmine. In addition, avalanches are quite common. Although they may not be as massive as the ones you see in the movies, it can be as dramatic.
Moreover, avalanche snow can harden very rapidly. It can be as hard as rocks making it almost impossible to dig, especially with a substandard shovel.
The battle of blade size vs. weight vs. durability.
There are many fantastic snow shovels on the market. Some of them excel in being the most lightweight, while others have the best blades in terms of size and design. Some shovels will also have the best combination of the right blade size, lightweight component, and outstanding durability. But of course, these snow shovels are a rarity. Similarly, some avalanche shovels compete for the most durable feature.
These are the shovels that will serve you well in a situation where you have to dig and shovel a lot of snow. Avalanche snow can be difficult to work with, but alpine areas with heavy snowfall will also require robust shovels. Working with dense snow can be extremely demanding on your back as well as your gear. And one of the worst things that can happen in the backcountry is your tools and gear breaking or giving out. Apart from the incredible inconvenience, this situation can hamper your rescue operations and seriously compromise your safety and others’ as well.
Among the snow shovels that can easily compete for the most robust and durable trophy is the G3 SpadeTECH Shovel. It is one of the most sturdy and reliable snow shovels that we have tested. It withstands heavy beating in the dense snow as well as avalanche snow. Because of its robust construction, it is unrivaled in durability.
In addition to its second-to-none ability to take a beating, it also has other excellent features that we will talk about in this review. The brand has been consistent in producing high-quality snow gear, and the SpadeTECH Shovel is just one of their best offerings.
So let us find out what this shovel has to offer. Don’t skip the FAQ section towards the end. It has additional information about the G3 SpadeTECH Shovel and the brand in general.
G3 SpadeTECH Avalance Shovel Review
Product Name: G3 SpadeTECH Shovel
Product Description: The G3 SpadeTECH Shovel comes with a heat-treated aluminum blade. A telescopic shaft that is also collapsible and TIG welded connector tube constitutes its other parts. The blade has a rounded edge with slots for rescue sled construction. Parts of the D Grip also include the dry stash compartment and a loop for ice-ax while the handle is a T-grip.
Offer price: $47.96
- 6061 aluminum blade and shaft.
- TIG welding in the connector tubes.
- The shafts are fully collapsible.
- T-grip handles but can be swapped with a D-design.
- The dimension of the blade is 10 x 8 inches.
- Excellent quality of the blade.
- Great for digging and paddling snow away from the excavation site.
- Effortless for packing as well as using.
- Lightweight and very reliable construction.
- Not very suitable for heavy shoveling.
- Limited options for international shipping.
The G3 SpadeTECH Shovel has been making a lot of noise among the free-riders in the backcountry. Let’s begin with the design of this shovel.
The G3 SpadeTECH Shovel has a compact and light design. In profile, it has a flat geometry. This is in stark contrast to the other snow shovels from the brand. But this flat design has a performance advantage which we will talk about later.
One of the first design components about the SpadeTECH shovel is the rounded blade. It also has a low-angle profile as well as a slotted design. The blade in this shovel is just the right size. With a rich red color scheme, there is no way you can overlook its cool aesthetics.
The SpadeTECH features a fully collapsible shaft. This compact feature makes the shovel suitable for use in open as well as tight spaces. Besides, people who are on the taller side will appreciate the extendable handle. The collapsible feature makes it effortless to pack this shovel in the backpack.
A fantastic feature that we loved about this shovel is that its blade and shaft are fully interchangeable with the AviTECH shovel, another outstanding shovel from the brand. Since AviTECH has a totally different profile, you can interchange the blade and shaft according to the profile you prefer.
One other design component that makes this shovel a standout is the tubing. By rotating the push-pin on the top part of the shaft, you can convert it into a more compact shovel. This can come extremely useful when you are in a tight spot. Moreover, on the rare occasion that the first tube breaks, the second tube can replace it. We mention this because many times during an avalanche burial rescue operation, it is not uncommon for your adrenaline to overpower even the most robust shaft.
The handle in this shovel is a T-grip, which is great. However, you can also transform it into a D-grip handle, so it is very versatile in this regard. You can easily swap the handles by getting a D-grip from any hardware store. But we must say that swapping the D-grip on this shovel made it a bit difficult to use while wearing gloves.
Material and construction.
The blade and the shaft of the G3 SpadeTECH consist of 6061 aluminum. In addition, the aluminum in the blade is heat-treated. It is made of 6061 T6 aluminum. This combination makes this avalanche shovel incredibly sturdy and reliable. Moreover, this metal series is well known for its lightweight property, so the shovel is lightweight too.
It is worth mentioning that the two tubes of the shaft are TIG-welded. TIG or Tungsten Inert Gas is used to produce high-quality welding. This is why it is the preferred method of welding in structural applications. Aluminum that has this method of welding is among the most durable. This means that the SpadeTECH is unmatched in terms of durability.
Overall, the construction of the SpadeTECH is fantastic. In addition to using high-quality materials, everything from the geometry to the carefully thought-out features make this shovel a standout. The craftsmanship also adds to the quality and the durability of the shovel.
Keeping up with the premium quality materials, the G3 SpadeTECH shovel is a star performer in the snow. The flat profile of the shovel makes it perfect for paddling snow down a slope during a rescue operation. Paddling the snow is becoming an increasingly popular method of excavation during an avalanche rescue.
Of course, you can also use it for shoveling and digging as well. This shovel consists of 6061 aluminum and adds an element of reliability that is a coveted feature in a snow tool. The blade of the G3 SpadeTECH measures 10 x 8 in, which is a good size for a snow shovel. Since it is also treated, this snow shovel is incredibly lightweight and sturdy at the same time.
The rounded blade comes in especially handy while handling dense avalanche snow. Its flat profile and the rounded edges are just the ideal tools for digging hard-glaciated snow. It can also handle avalanche debris and snow crust like a champ. You will love using this shovel for digging out a platform or digging out snow pits as well as excavating during a rescue.
The collapsible shaft is another great feature that influences this shovel’s performance. Not only does it make it easier to pack and transport, but it also works double-time. Moreover, the ability to use the shafts interchangeably in case one of them breaks is something that most shovels cannot boast about. When collapsed, the shaft measures 22 inches, which makes it very easily fit into backcountry backpacks.
What facilitates the performance and convenience is the T-handle. It offers excellent grip even while wearing gloves or mitten. If you prefer the D-handle, you can also swap it out without any problem. Understandably, the shovel’s overall weight will be a few ounces heavier when you transform it into a D-handle. However, it is not a significant weight that will hamper the performance or its handling. The G3 SpadeTECH shovel is definitely a great choice of alpine tool.
What is the advantage of a shovel with a flat geometry?
Shovels with a flat geometry are not uncommon, whether they are regular or avalanche shovels. These types of shovels do not have any angle between the tubes and the blade. In addition, the blade may have a concave design. They have a number of advantages, which includes:
- The considerable size of the footplate makes these shovels great for stomping technique. This means that you can use a lot of pressure while working with dense and consolidated snow.
- The flat geometry of the shovel also makes it great for paddling snow. As the name suggests, Paddling uses a paddling motion to move the excavated snow away from the area. This is a especially useful technique during a rescue operation as you can move the snow away from the slope a lot quicker.
What is the difference between the SpadeTECH and the AviTECH shovels from G3?
The SpadeTECH and the AviTECH are two fantastic shovels from the brand G3, Genuine Guide Gear. However, between the two shovels, there are some considerable differences.
- One, the SpadeTECH has a flat geometry and is designed primarily for paddling snow. On the other hand, the AviTECH has an angled geometry, which makes it perfect for lifting snow or debris.
- Two, the blade of the SpadeTECH has a rounded edge that is ideal for digging consolidated snow. On the contrary, the AviTECH has flat edges on the blade, which makes it great for shoveling snow and avalanche debris.
- Three, the SpadeTECH has a smaller blade while in the AviTECH shovel, the blade is much larger.
What does it mean that the connector tube is TIG welded in the SpadeTECH shovel?
TIG welding or Tungsten Inert Gas welding is an arc welding process where welding is done through a non-consumable tungsten electrode. This welding method does not require the use of traditional methods such as manual metal arc and gas. It is also called GTAW or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.
This method of welding results in high quality welds, and is very common in structural applications. One of the primary industries where TIG welding is used in aerospace. It is also common in the tubing of bicycles. The products that have this type of welding are highly resistant to cracking as well as corrosion. It is because of these properties TIG welding is also used for canisters for burying spent nuclear fuel.
The shafts of the SpadeTECH shovel have TIG welding, which makes it incredibly reliable. In addition, the tubes are also lightweight and very durable.
How do I change the blades between the SpadeTECH and the AviTECH shovel?
The two shovels are completely different models with a lot of differences between them. However, the brand owners decided to make the blades of these two shovels interchangeable, which is fantastic.
This is due to the fact that the two shovels have almost identical tubing shafts. Interchanging the blade is pretty straightforward. Just remove the blade from one of the shovels and fit it into the shaft of the other shovel. And the shovel is ready for use.
If you choose to use the collapsed shaft in either of the shovels, you will need to rotate the pushpin before you attach the blade. However, this can be done without any learning curve, so you can do it without any problem.
Both these shovels are available in two options – short shaft and extended shafts. In addition, the handles can be swapped in between T and D grips.