For information on our other favorite beacons, check out our Top 4 Favorite Avalanche Beacons.

The allure of the mountains can capture the imagination of any adventure seeker. It is one of the most exciting moments for every snowboarder and skier whenever a heavy snowfall is on the charts. This is the time to start readying the equipment, and this includes an avalanche beacon.

However, heavy snowfall increases the chance of avalanche, and it should be kept in mind that skiing involves a lot of risks and dangers. And although we cannot stop the natural forces that cause the snow to slide down the mountain, we can be on the safe side by equipping ourselves with the best tools and devices.

An Avalanche transceiver or avalanche beacon is a device that every skier must carry for survival. It will reduce or minimize the risk of snow burial and perhaps even death.

But while some gear use their weight as their leverage, beacons do not. A heavy and massive avalanche shovel can expedite quick shoveling. But you don’t need a large beacon to transmit or receive signals in the snow. The ARVA Evo is among one of the smallest avalanche beacons in terms of size.

In this comprehensive review of the ARVA Evo 5, we will learn about each and every tiny detail of this device, and find out if it is really as good as claimed by the manufacturer.

ARVA Evo 5 Avalanche Transceiver/Beacon Review.

Arva Evo 5 Avalanche Beacon Review

Product Name: Arva Evo 5

Product Description: The ARVA Evo5 has three antennas and a digital range of 50 meters. LED is a good size with backlit function in low light. The buttons on this avalanche beacon are glove-friendly. Important features in the Evo5 include mark function, group check, and multiple burial indicator. The beacon also includes a carry strap.

Offer price: $239.96

Features

  • Three antennas and a digital range of 50 meters. 
  • Large LED screen with backlit function. 
  • Flagging button and three-position slider that is glove-friendly. 
  • Multiple burial indicator functions. 
  • The software can be updated. 
  • Durability
  • Value
  • Features
  • Battery Life
  • Quality
  • Ease of Use
Overall
3.9

Pros

  • It is compact, and lightweight design makes it very portable.
  • This model is extremely easy to use as it does not come with a complex setting or complicated user interfaces.
  • Offers exceptionally good real-time victim marking.
  • It’s large LED screen allows the messages to be displayed in words.
  • It has a 50 meter range, which is more than enough for most skiers.
  • This beacon comes with two years warranty from the date of purchase. It does not include battery leak damage, removing the battery when not in use is advised.

Cons

  • Battery features could be improved. 
  • The auto-revert function is fixed. 
  • Send/search switch is not very smooth.  

If you’re familiar with the Arva Evo 4, you can expect something similar. But with a lot of advanced features. It has not been long since this device hit the market, but it has attracted a lot of attention in just a short amount of time. Let’s see what the new model, the ARVA Evo 5, has to offer.

Design.

When it comes to electronic devices, the first thing that most people notice is the design. On the other hand, some might say that the performance is what matters the most. The Evo 5 is packed with both.

It has a sleek, stylish, ergonomic design, and it performs incredibly well. It’s a small, lightweight avalanche beacon, which is very easy to use. In addition, it has a large LED screen, slider switch, and the central marking button makes it stylish and user friendly.

As is expected from any electronic device that’s built for convenient use, the Evo 5 is not a piece of big, heavy equipment. In fact, it’s one of the smallest avalanche transceivers. In addition to its small size, it’s also incredibly light.

Build quality.

We’ve learned that the Evo 5 has more appealing looks than the previous models, including the Evo 3 and Evo 4. But what about the built quality? When you thoroughly consider this snow beacon, it’s easy to notice that the manufacturers focus most on its design and ergonomics. However, this beacon does not have cheap materials. Moreover, there is no compromise in the built quality of the Evo 5. In fact, this model is extremely lightweight. That’s because it is made of heavy-duty lightweight plastic, which has been tested in real-life conditions.

Performance.

Just like the other Evo models, this beacon also comes with a very sensitive signal receiver. You will notice that it will show that it has received a signal, and it will show the distance and the direction, although there isn’t a transmitting beacon nearby. This happens because the Evo 5 can pick up weak signals that are beyond its effective range.

Some users may find this pretty annoying, but it’s not too bad, and it does not affect the performance of the device in any way. Once the device gets a strong signal, the beacon will start to direct you to the exact location where the transmitting beacon is coming from.

You’ll also love that the Evo 5 has the ability to pick up multiple signals coming from different devices. It can precisely locate and display up to three snow burial victims, which display as silhouettes. It first directs you towards the strongest signal, and once you get close to three meters, you can mark it with a small flag.

When the beacon detects multiple transceivers in the vicinity, you mark the first victim and move on. A distance of one meter away from that spot is ideal, so the beacon can guide you towards the next one. If you are familiar with avalanche beacons, you may know that the same technique applies to other avalanche beacons as well.

Another cool feature of the Evo 5, is its direction indicator which can display or show five different directions. This means the pointer is pretty much flexible, which makes the task of finding the exact location of the victims much easier.

Also, during the coarse-search, you’ll see the u-turn signal on the screen if the distance increases. This model does not have LED lights that blink when it transmits the signal. Therefore, if you are used to beacons that have flashing LED lights, it may take a while for you to get used to the new device. But thankfully, it doesn’t require a lot of time before you are familiar with the new beacon.

The Evo 5 does not produce any sound while it is searching for a signal, but you can hear a beep sound during coarse and fine searches. The volume is very similar to other beacons. It is not too loud and not too soft.

This avalanche beacon model does not have a motion sensor. In some ways, it makes the device pretty dumb as it has a fixed auto revert system that changes from search to transmit after eight minutes of search. This can be very frustrating as you’ll have to wait for eight minutes before it activates the default auto revert system. The device beeps four times before it reverts from search to transmit. You can stop this by pressing the flag button after the beep, but it is not always possible to do this.

User interface.

At the time of launching the Evo 5, the manufactures mentioned that they focused a lot on the design and ergonomics. A lot of people may think that it’s a part of their marketing strategy, but once you get your hands on this product, you’ll realize that it’s exactly as advertised. The user interface is great, and the controls are awesome.

Speaking of ergonomics, Arva did show that they’re well experienced at producing avalanche beacons. A beacon equipped with tons of cool and advanced features won’t make much sense if it comes with a learning curve. However, with this beacon, you won’t have to worry about using its controls. This is possible because it doesn’t have any complicated little buttons or switches.

The slider switch performs the functions of three switches. First, it acts as a power button. It also activates the search function. This cool three in one slider switch also has a lock button. If you press it, it switches from ‘send’ to ‘search’ and vice versa.

Suppose you’re wondering why the lock button secures the slider switch in place. You’ll have to press it to shift it to send or search. This feature ensures that you don’t shift the switch accidentally from its active position.

In comparison to other beacons, this model comes with a big display. Unlike many other models that show its messages in codes, i.e., two digits, Evo 5 displays most messages in words. Although the size of the text on the screen is pretty small, the fact that it does not use coded messages is awesome. Therefore, unless you have really weak eyesight, you’ll have no trouble reading the messages.

Battery.

This beacon works on the power of one AAA sized battery, which is great as you can always carry a spare battery, although you may not need it. The battery performance and longevity are okay, so you wouldn’t have to worry much running low on battery.

At startup, the device shows the battery percentage, and you can also force view it again by pressing the button flag. One particular feature that distinguishes this model from other ARVA beacons is that you can have access to the battery compartment without using any tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to take an avalanche safety course in order to use a beacon?

The answer is no. If you’re familiar with the avalanche safety rules, you probably already know how to safely use a beacon. An avalanche beacon can save lives when used correctly. You should get to know your equipment thoroughly before you move to the mountain and face a life-threatening situation. You should be able to operate it without even looking at the display. In addition, never forget to include a shovel, and always travel with a partner who is preferably an expert.

With that said, we always recommend that you take an avalanche safety course before you travel in the backcountry. Even if you know how to use your gear, knowing best practices can help you to not need it.

Do mobile phones affect the performance of transceivers?

The performance of transceivers can be affected by GPS devices, cellphones, communication radio, or any other electronic devices. Therefore, In search mode, your beacon may show irregular reading if any of those devices are in close range. Your beacon may also show multiple burials when you have a number of electronic devices nearby.

How do I check my beacon to see if it is functioning properly?

Checking your beacon is very important; you should always test it before each use. The best way to do this is by using your partner’s beacon. This way, your partner, too, can test his equipment. Check that your device has sufficient battery, and that it is receiving and sending the signals correctly. Also, make sure that the display and the keys are fully functional.

Are all beacons compatible with each other?

Unless you have a really old device that was manufactured in the early 1990s, your beacon should be compatible with any other avalanche transceivers. All modern avalanche beacons use the same frequency, 457 kHz. This means you can search for other beacons and also be visible to others.

Can the cold weather affect my beacon’s performance?

No, Avalanche transceivers are built to withstand extremely cold weather conditions. Even it’s LED display is well protected. In fact, LED screens become more efficient as temperature decreases.

Which one is a better option analog, or digital beacon?

There is little to no difference between an analog and a digital beacon. The only thing that differs between the two is that they have different ways of displaying the message. Most skiers would say that they love the digital beacons. This is probably because digital devices are a lot easier to read. But you can also opt for an analog transceiver if you have experience using it in the past.

What are some of the most important codes used by transceivers?

Some devices still use codes to display messages, and although you don’t have to memorize everything, you should at least know the basic ones. Below are some important codes and what they mean.

  • tr: transit mode
  • lb: low battery warning
  • SE: search mode
  • Ar: Auto revert mode
  • BP: Big picture mode
  • 99: battery percentage

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