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.
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.
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.