You can see our other recommendations on our list of the Top 4 Avalanche Shovels.
You may need to venture into the snowy hills for any number of reasons. Regardless of if you’re a researcher or just a thrill seeker, there is one piece of equipment that will need to be standard in your pack. That is an avalanche shovel.
An avalanche shovel is an essential snow tool. It is also an indispensable tool when you are racing against time, digging out a companion buried in the snow. In many ways, this seemingly mundane tool can be the only thing standing between life and death.
Now, that might sound overdramatic, but there is no guarantee that everything will be fine in the snow. The chances of running into an avalanche are always high. Therefore, an avalanche shovel is a non-negotiable tool for anyone heading into the backcountry.
Why do you need an avalanche shovel?
An avalanche shovel is the tool of choice for digging in the snow. However, there are other areas where this versatile tool can come in handy, and these include:
- Excavating a person buried in the snow.
- Digging out a sled that is stuck in the snow.
- Checking whether the snow in a particular area is stable or not.
- Another unconventional use of an avalanche shovel is using it as a chopping board while cooking in the backcountry.
But apart from its versatile use, a snow shovel is perhaps the most powerful tool in any backcountry kit. The shovel is also, without a doubt, one of the bulkiest tools in a backpack.
Although a shovel is an essential tool for any activity in the snow, finding the right shovel can be quite elusive. For one, amateurs in the field wrongfully assume that the best ones are expensive. Others think that the most reliable avalanche shovels are massive in size. But of course, this is not the case, and only serious freeriders understand the features that define a reliable snow shovel.
Black Diamond has been a key player in outdoor products for many years. In particular, their shovels are a favorite of many backcountry adventure lovers, including professionals. Among the most popular ones are the Evac and Lynx, which are a hit among the professionals and athletes. However, there is a relatively new shovel from the brand that has been kicking up a lot of interest among those who frequent the countryside. And this is the Transfer 3 Shovel.
So, in this comprehensive review, we dissect this avalanche shovel and what it has to offer. We also weigh in on the pros and cons so you can make the most informed decision about this shovel.
Don’t forget to check out the FAQs about Black Diamond shovels towards the end of the review.
Black Diamond Transfer Shovel Review
Product Name: Black Diamond Transfer 3 Shovel
Product Description: The Black Diamond Transfer 3 avalanche shovel is a sturdy telescoping avalanche shovel. It is excellent in terms of strength, durability, and portability.
Offer price: $54.95
- Anodized aluminum blade for added strength and durability.
- A collapsible and telescoping shaft for added convenience.
- The detachable blade that weighs 692 g.
- High-profile blade design for shoveling maximum snow.
- A hybrid handle that offers maximum grip and convenience.
- Lightweight and compact design.
- Excellent quality and construction.
- Easy to pack and use.
- Very reliable and durable.
- Reasonable pricing.
- Blade edges are sharp, so you need to watch out while packing.
- The collapsible shaft may not be very smooth in some shovels.
- Options for international shipping are limited.
The Transfer 3 Shovel is lightweight but reliable. These are the qualities that define the best avalanche shovels. Although it is a relatively new shovel from the brand, it has quickly established itself in the industry and has become a favorite of professionals.
Let’s discuss what it has to offer.
The Transfer 3 shovel has a lightweight design. It is not bulky by any degree, and this is evident in the perfectly sized blade. The high-volume profile of this blade allows it to hold the maximum snow in relation to its size. This becomes invaluable when you are stuck in tight spaces or in the unfortunate circumstance of having to dig out a buried companion.
In addition, the flat edge of this shovel makes it a fantastic tool for getting a clean surface on a snow pit. The detachable feature of the blade is another excellent design component. Although this might seem insignificant, the addition of these unique features is what sets this shovel apart from others. Moreover, it makes the shovel very convenient to use and pack.
The telescoping shaft is also a nice touch. Apart from making it very transport friendly, this feature is excellent for tackling deep pits with ease. In addition, the collapsible shaft makes this shovel very portable. It measures a mere 21 inches when collapsed so it will easily fit into any decent backcountry backpack.
Another notable design in this shovel is the hybrid D-T handle. The D-grip handle offers maximum comfort while the T-handle is king when it comes to grip, so you get the best of both worlds with this handle. You will have no problem using this shovel as it has an excellent grip and is glove/mitten friendly. A hybrid handle also has the advantage of being very user-friendly for both right and left-handers.
The Transfer 3’s shaft and handle feature Fire Red and Grape blue on the handles and the shaft. This does nothing for the overall performance of the shovel, but it is a nice touch, nevertheless.
Material and construction.
When it comes to the materials, the Transfer 3 really shines. The shaft and the blade are made of aluminum, which means that it is reliable and sturdy. However, the star of this shovel is the blade.
It features anodized aluminum. For the uninitiated, this is a process that forms a protective layer on the blade’s surface. This makes the shovel’s blade resistant to corrosion and general wear and tear. So you can bet that Transfer 3 is also unrivaled when it comes to durability. In addition, this feature also renders the shovel very strong and reliable, which is what you want in your gear, especially in the backcountry.
The use of aluminum in the construction is also what is responsible for its low weight. This avalanche shovel is incredibly lightweight, so it poses no problem during extended use and packing. Talking about weight, when you detach the blade from the shaft, it weighs a mere 692 g. With such minimal weight and footprint, you will barely feel it in your backpack. Minimal weight may not sound like a big deal in theory. However, when you are in the cold with a massive backpack weighing down on you, you will really appreciate that the shovel is so light.
The overall craftsmanship on this avalanche shovel is top-notch. The attention to detail from the Black Diamond is clearly evident in this shovel. Moreover, the use of high-quality materials in this shovel’s construction also adds to its plus points.
When it comes to performance, you will love the Transfer 3 in the field. It cuts through avalanche debris and hardened snow effortlessly. In fact, the edges of this shovel’s blade are sharp, so you need to be careful while packing. We mention this because some users have experienced the blade’s edge cutting their backpack while packing it.
The design of the blade also makes it great for stomping it with your feet. If you have any experience with digging, using this technique can make the process even faster.
The shaft’s ability to telescope also proves very useful. Many people have a problem with a shovel shaft that is too short while digging. This will not be an issue while using this one. With an extended length of 31 inches, it will not break your back even if you are six-feet or taller.
However, the collapsible shaft needs some time to function smoothly. When it first arrives, the shaft in some shovels will not be as smooth. But they get better with use so you should not have too many problems with it.
On top of its fantastic performance in the snow, this shovel comes at an unbeatable price, which is the cherry on top. If you are looking for a working shovel that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you can’t go wrong with this one. Along with its lightweight and ease of use, its excellent price also makes this shovel a superb choice for beginners. But of course, it also works for those who are experts in the snow business.
Do I need to disinfect the shovel?
In pursuance with the safety guidelines of COVID-19, Black Diamond recommends cleaning gears and pieces of equipment. The instructions about cleaning and disinfecting tools and other equipments is to prevent the spread of the virus. Therefore, disinfecting with isopropyl alcohol as well as warm water and non-detergent soap is a must for PPE.
Non-PPE pieces of equipment such as headlamps and trekking poles may also need disinfecting. However, whether you choose to sanitize these tools or not comes down to personal choice.
However, a snow shovel does not fall under the PPE category, so it is not mandatory to disinfect it. Nevertheless, if you want to sanitize it for personal safety, it is totally doable. Black Diamond recommends using isopropyl alcohol and disinfectants for the purpose.
Can I use Transfer 3 shovel as my first shovel?
Yes. The Transfer 3 is an excellent beginner shovel. It has beginner-friendly features that make it an excellent choice for a first shovel. These beginner-friendly features in this avalanche shovel include:
- A telescoping shaft that is also collapsible, which makes it very convenient both for packing and use.
- A lightweight design that does not require a lot of effort while transporting.
- A good-sized blade with a high-volume profile that facilitates quick shoveling.
- The blade is sharp, which cuts through avy debris with ease.
In addition, this avalanche shovel is also an excellent tool for experts or veterans who need backup tools in their avy gear. However, if you choose to use the T3 as the primary shovel, it will not let you down. It is reliable and lightweight, and the performance is excellent while digging or shoveling.
Where can I use this avalanche shovel?
The primary use of this avalanche shovel is for shoveling and digging snow. It can also be used for excavating during a rescue operation. In addition, it even acts a fantastic tool for checking the stability of snow packs for potential hazards while climbing. You can also use the shovel for leveling sled paths if the need arises.
These activities are common in mountaineering and alpine expeditions. Therefore, Transfer 3 makes a great and reliable companion for your snow or backcountry activities.