How to choose avalanche safety equipment

The mountains are a fantastic playground for outdoor sports enthusiasts. However, it's important to have the right safety equipment to cope with hazards such as avalanches. In this buying guide, we give you the keys to choosing the right safety equipment: probe, shovel and avalanche transceiver.

Why buy avalanche safety equipment?

It's crucial to always be prepared for the risk of avalanche, no matter how small it may seem when you're out in the mountains. Never overlook the possibility that a snowfall could sweep away you or one of your companions, and having the right equipment could mean the difference between life and death.

What you need:

  • Probe: allows you to pinpoint the exact location of a buried victim once the approximate area has been detected by the ARVA.
  • Shovel: essential for digging quickly through the snow to free the buried person.
  • ARVA (Appareil de Recherche de Victimes en Avalanche - Avalanche Victim Locator): used to search for and locate victims using transmitted and received signals.

How to choose your probe

The probe is an essential part of your mountain safety equipment. Here are a few points to consider when buying a probe:


We recommend choosing a probe at least 240 cm long, to give you sufficient range to penetrate the snow cover and locate the buried person.


The probe material must be both strong and light. Aluminum probes are preferred for their rigidity, while carbon fiber probes are lighter but also more fragile.

Locking system

A good locking system allows the probe to be deployed quickly and easily. Elastic cable systems are preferred for simple, effective deployment.

How to choose your shovel?

The shovel is another essential piece of avalanche safety equipment. To help you make the right choice, here are the criteria to consider:


Plastic shovels are generally lighter, but also less sturdy when faced with hard or compact layers of snow. Instead, opt for a metal shovel (steel or aluminum) that combines lightness and sturdiness.

Telescopic handle

A shovel with a telescopic handle will give you a better grip and make snow removal easier.

Ergonomic handle

It's important that your shovel handle is comfortable and ergonomic, especially for prolonged use.

How to choose your avalanche transceiver?

The ARVA is an electronic device for locating avalanche victims. To choose the right model, you need to consider the following points:

Frequency and compatibility

ARVAs must operate on the international frequency of 457 kHz to be compatible with each other. Check this frequency when you buy your device.

Range and autonomy

Signal search range varies according to model and weather conditions (rain, wind, etc.). A minimum range of 40 meters is recommended, with an autonomy of around 200 hours in reception mode.

Number of victims detected simultaneously

Depending on the model you choose, you can search for one or more victims at a time. Choose ARVAs that can detect several people at the same time, to make rescue easier. Don't neglect safety when you're out in the mountains, and always use the right equipment. Preparation and risk awareness can save lives in the event of an avalanche.