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ARVA Snow Plume Shovel

Brand: ARVA
Model: Plume
Shipping: FREE*
Availability: In Stock
Price: $74.95
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The ARVA Plume is one of the lightest functional avalanche saftey shovels on the market. With a 46cm (18.1inc) carbon fiber shaft and a sizeable 24.5cm x 25cm (9.6in x 9.8in) aluminum scoop, the Plume will actually move some avalanched-hardened snow. But since it weighs only 411 grams (14.5 ounces), you might not feel like you're carrying a true rescue device.

  • Full length carbon fiber shaft is strong and light, and is capped at the end to keep the snow out.
  • 1.5mm (0.06in) thick anondized aluminum blade will take some abuse while saving you grams.
  • Simple one piece shaft clicks into the blade quickly so you can begin digging without delay.
  • T-grip handle gives you leverage regardless of whether you are left or right handed.
  • Strategically located holes in the scoop can be used to build an anchor or rescue basket.
  • Improved with aluminum inserts for extra strength at the joint.
-> ounces
Shaft Length 46cm
Specs Verified Yes
Materials Carbon fiber shaft, anodized aluminum blade
Blade Dimensions 24.5cm x 25cm
Skimo Co Says
Usage Fast and light touring
Notes Redesigned with a longer handle and aluminum inserts for strength.
Bottom Line Superlight yet functional shovel.
Question from Zach Fletcher
Will the handle on this shovel fit into a Camp race pack?
Answer from jbo
Hi Zach, yes the shovel and blade fit into both the old Rapid 260s and the newer Rapid Racing packs. It's approaching the limit of the packs, so you can see a bump near the top from the handle within.
Answer this question:

by Jonathan S (used product a few times)
Overall: As the lightest available full-size metal-bladed shovel for backcountry companion avalanche rescue, the ARVA Plume definitely rates Five Stars. Might not be a good choice though for snowpit work in “firm” conditions given possible durability concerns. And the relatively long single-section shaft might not fit inside many packs.

Background on product familiarity: I bought the Plume toward the end of the 2013 season, so I haven’t used it much, but regardless, I think it should be reserved for emergency rescue use only.

First, the first impressions out of the box: Despite the impressively light weight, the blade is full size for companion rescue, and the shaft is pretty much the optimum length (even though the two nearest-weight competitors skimp significantly on their shaft lengths). The full-size plastic “T” handle is fine for gloved hands (and might work okay too for mittens).

The shaft end is nicely plugged and inserts reliably into the shaft. But I noticed some looseness in the connection on my 2012-13 model. This prompted me to check some of my other shovels, whose varying looseness I kind of noticed for the first time. Still though, something about the combination of the carbon fiber shaft and the loose fit concerned me more than on my other shovels. But after wrapping some tape around the base of the shaft, the fit is now just right: secure yet still very easy to assemble.

Second impressions, in use: The single-section shaft and full-size blade are perfect for shoveling. But the long shaft might not fit in many small packs. And the “neck” on the blade might also lead to packing complications. Many of my fellow NSP and AIARE avalanche instructors prohibit carrying shovels on the outside of a pack. For me, any setup that is secure yet readily accessible is fine, whether inside or outside. Usually a shovel shaft is easy to lash securely to the outside of a pack, but not a blade. So given the target demographic for an ultralight shovel like this, confirm first that you can carry it securely yet accessibly in your pack.

Third impressions, for long-term durability: The blade material seems relatively thin, and the neck weld is relatively short. For backcountry companion rescue with good technique (i.e., chop then lift, not pry!), I think the Plume should be fine. But for snowpit work that entails forcefully bashing your way through numerous nearly impenetrable crust layers – an unfortunate specialty of our “Arctic Maritime” avalanche climate – then I would be concerned about long-term durability from such cumulative abuse. If you are fortunate enough to tour exclusively in relatively soft snow, then you can probably rely on the Plume for all your shovel work. But otherwise, I would take the Plume only for when my sole intended purpose for a shovel is emergency rescue.
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