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Icebreaker Apparel
How to Buy an Avalanche Probe

It’s nearly impossible to determine the exact location of an avalanche victim using only a beacon;  a probe is needed to pinpoint where you want to start excavating snow. Knowing where to dig can be the difference between seconds of digging and minutes of digging, which may make a critical difference.

Shaft Material
Carbon is ultralight and makes a great choice for weight-obsessed backcountry skiers. Aluminum’s durability makes it a solid pick for those who dig many test pits or prefer more traditional materials for their safety gear.
Length
Probes generally range in length from 190 to 320cm (75 to 125in) when fully extended, and 15 to 18 inches when collapsed. A short probe is lightweight and easy to pack. A longer probe might be heavier and bulkier, but it gives you peace of mind knowing you have enough length to pinpoint a victim in a deep burial.
Depth Marks
Almost every probe features length measurements printed on the shaft. These measurements are handy for gauging snow depth when you’re digging test pits or doing quick spot-evaluations of the snowpack.

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