You can see our other recommendations on our list of the Top 4 Avalanche Shovels.
If you have any level of off-roading experience, then you understand how valuable a shovel can be. It is one of those tools that are extremely versatile during alpine and backcountry adventures. But as any seasoned avy expert will tell you, just any shovel will not suffice. You need the right shovel to help you make a quick rescue or make a quick escape from potential hazards in the snow.
The best experts in the alpine business cannot predict the behavior of the snow. There is no telling how the snow will behave and what kinds of situations you will encounter. This is why having the best avalanche shovel with the right features can be a potential life-saver. Although you cannot predict how the snow will treat you, you don’t have to be at the mercy of the snow gods. You have absolute control over your gear, so you can choose only the best pieces of equipment to be a part of your backcountry arsenal.
Why having the best shovel can make all the difference.
There are some gadgets and tools that need some practice to make the best use of it. It is truly said that some gadgets are only as good as its operator. In this regard, a snow shovel is an exception.
There are certain shoveling techniques that can expedite rescue operation. However, you do not need to be a specialist to use a shovel efficiently. It is a very forgiving tool, so it can be used by amateurs and experts alike.
Nevertheless, just like a regular shovel cannot replace a snow shovel, any avalanche shovel cannot be your companion in an emergency. This is precisely why using the best avalanche shovel is your best choice.
Among the many brands that produce outdoor and mountain gear, Demon United is one of the key players. Compared to other brands, they are relatively new in the industry since they came into the picture in 1999. But in spite of being new to the field, they have produced some of the best outdoor gear available over the years. In particular, their snow protection gear range is excellent.
The Escape Ally Shovel is one of their best shovels. Keeping their products in line with their motto, Keeping You From an Early Grave, these tools facilitate and assist you in quick excavation during a rescue operation and save precious time. The Demon company is known for its premium protective gear and other products in mountaineering sports. Similarly, their products also come with a premium price tag. However, their products are also top-notch quality, and the craftsmanship is outstanding.
So does the Demon Ally shovel measure up to the expectations that you have from the brand? Or does it fall short of their premium products? We find out everything in this comprehensive review. We also weigh in on the pros and cons so you can make the most informed decision.
There is also a FAQ, where we attempt the most important questions related to this shovel and the brand. Take a look at that section as well.
Let’s start the review.
Demon Escape Ally Avalanche Shovel Review
Product Name: Demon Escape Ally
Product Description: The Demon Escape Ally Shovel has forged aluminum for the shaft and the blade. The shaft and the handle accommodate the snow pick and the thermometer. The snow pick and the wood saw combo has L-shaped handle. A telescopic shaft assists in collapsing the shaft into a compact shovel. The blade of the Ally Shovel is wide at about 10 inches.
Offer price: $69.99
- Collapsible and telescoping shaft.
- Forged aluminum shaft and blade.
- A thermometer and snow pick encased in the shaft.
- Blade measures 10 inches in width.
- The extended length is 42 inches, and the collapsed length is 31 inches.
- A telescoping shaft that is collapsible.
- The blade has a broad and sturdy design.
- Reliable and strong construction.
- Comes with additional accessories.
- Easy to pack and transport.
- Comes with a premium price-tag.
- The lock of the snow pick interferes with the spring in the handle while locking.
- Limited options for international shipping.
In terms of design, the Demon Escape Ally is outstanding. It features a collapsible shaft, which is fantastic for packing as well as transporting. In addition, the telescoping shaft allows you to customize its height according to your preference. It measures 42 inches when fully extended and this is something that you will not find in most shovels. Its collapsed length is 31 inches, which is about the full length of some snow shovels.
The wide design of the blade is another feature that you will love. At about 10 inches in width, this blade is made for shoveling without any restrictions. It is just about the perfect shovel for camping or snow sport.
Another design component that strikes you about this shovel is its handle. It is almost a hybrid of a T-design and L-design. This unique arrangement comes from the fact that it holds an ice pick with an L-shaped handle. In addition to the ice-pick, there is also a wood saw inside the shaft.
However, you might find that the locking mechanism in the handle can be tricky in some shovels. The blade of the saw is a decent size that sometimes interferes with the spring in the handle. But we also noticed that this was not a common problem as it was limited to just some shovels. A tip that we would like to suggest is that cutting a few centimeters off of the saw seems to work like magic. During our tests, we cut off about ¼ inch from it, and the wood saw no longer interfered with the spring in the handle’s locking mechanism.
The shaft of the Demon Escape Ally also holds a secret that you will love and appreciate. It holds a thermometer, which is a fantastic feature that will come in handy when you are out in the cold.
In addition, the different parts of this shovel can be broken down into four parts that makes it great for packing. However, the handle is quite long on this one, so it is a good idea to measure the size of your backpack.
In terms of aesthetics, this shovel features a sleek black body. The shaft is the part you will find a sticker emblazoned on it. In pictures, this sticker looks like an orange/red graphic print. However, slight differences in the color of the sticker can happen when the shovel arrives at your doorstep.
Material and construction.
The Demon Escape Ally features forged aluminum shaft and blade. For the uninitiated, forged aluminum is known for its robustness and ability to withstand grueling conditions. This is the reason why forged aluminum is used in making surgical tools, hammers, and wheels of race cars, among others. So you can bet your bottom dollar that this snow shovel is unrivaled in terms of reliability and durability.
The saw and the snow pick are also made of good quality materials. But of course, it cannot replace a regular saw so you cannot use it as your primary sawing tool. Another use you might get out of the snow pick is clearing the ice from your pieces of equipment after a particularly cold night.
The overall construction of the Demon Escape Ally shovel is nothing short of excellent. Most shovels that have a telescoping ability are not the most strong or reliable. However, the build quality on this one is fantastic, so you will get a lot of use out of this shovel.
If you thought that the Demon Ally Shovel is all about features and design, you would be pleasantly surprised. You will love using this shovel on the snow or at home in the backyard.
The broad blade is the perfect tool for shoveling, leveling, and digging out a pit for the night. If you need to use this shovel for cleaning after cutting down a tree or cleaning the debris around your home, it will not disappoint you.
You will also love the considerable length of this shovel’s shaft. While working with a short and compact shovel, your back can take a beating, especially if you are on the taller side. However, this is not the case with the Ally shovel. It has a comfortable length, which makes it a pleasure to use even for extended periods. This is another reason why it makes a perfect shovel for rescue operations.
Moreover, the snow pick and the wood saw is a fantastic addition that will come in very handy in a lot of situations. The saw can be used for cutting wood, provided it is not a considerable size. The addition of the snow pick also makes this shovel a great tool for snowmobile kits.
The handle on this shovel is not large. In fact, it may even be smaller than in other shovels, and especially in comparison to its considerable size. But on the positive side, the materials used in the handle makes it comfortable to hold and offers a good grip even with gloves on.
One issue about this shovel that might concern you is that the paint on the blade will chip with use. However, chipping paint is not an isolated case with Demon Escape Ally shovel, and it also does not affect the performance in any way.
Is demon a reputable snow gear brand?
Demon United has been producing ski and protective gear for gravity sports since 1999. They are known for their great customer support and premium-quality products. Some of their best-selling products include:
- Knee and elbow pads
- Protective Men’s top
- Wrist guard and gloves
- Repair and tuning kits
- Tools and hardware including their iconic shovels
How many shovels are available from Demon United?
Demon United carry three shovels in the tools and hardware category. These are:
- Demon Escape Elite Shovel – It is a favorite shovel from the brand and is a favorite of athletes and professionals. The Escape Elite is a fantastic alpine as well as mountaineering metal companion.
- Demon Escape Ally Shovel – Escape Ally is one of the most versatile shovels from the brand and is a best seller both on online and offline platforms.
- Demon Digger Shovel – The Digger is specially designed for digging and excavating purposes. However, it also works for shoveling and leveling purposes too.
All three shovels have some common features, which include:
- Fully collapsible construction
- Forged aluminum body
- Telescoping shaft
What makes Demon Escape Ally such a versatile snow shovel?
There are very few snow shovels that are as versatile as the Escape Ally Shovel. And it is due to a combination of different factors. These factors include:
- A broad shovel design that works equally well for shoveling, leveling, or digging.
- A fully collapsible construction that breaks down into four parts. This facilitates effortless packing and transporting.
- Adjustable height of the shaft through telescoping features.
- Addition of a thermometer and snow pick as well as a saw in the design. These accessories can come in very useful during alpine or mountain expeditions as well as camping.
- Excellent construction and use of sturdy materials for reliability and durability.
Any tips for shoveling during a rescue mission?
If you have any experience with companion rescue during an avalanche burial, then you know that the right shoveling technique, as well as the right shovel, can make all the difference.
- For any rescue operation, first, take a good look at the angle of the excavation corridor. If you can position yourself and your team on a slope, it will be much easier and quicker to get to the buried person.
- If you have a couple of friends or team members, maintain a distance of at least 80 cm or 31 inches between each person. This way, you will not have any major problems removing the snow. However, if you are solo, it is a different case altogether.
- At the beginning of the shoveling process, you can shovel the snow and throw it to the sides. However, as you reach a certain depth of about 30 cm or 11 inches, the snow should be moved to the next person and so on.
- You and your team members should shovel the snow in the same direction. This technique expedites the excavating and shoveling process.
- The snow from the avalanche is not soft or fluffy, so you cannot shovel it straightaway. It is best to chop the debris into movable chunks to make it easier to shovel.