Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchase Advice

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Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchase Advice

ADmiKe
Looking into buying Beacon/Shovel/Probe in near future.  Starting to shop around.

Looking for advice.  Don't need anything fancy, as I primarily resort ski, but have been getting into the BC thang, primarily as a holiday-crowd avoidance tactic/variety from resort skiing.

What's best unit for a flatlander who makes the occasional BC/sidecountry move, and also doesn't have bottomle$$ pocket$?

Used gear a bad idea?  Obviously a shovel is a shovel, a probe a probe etc.  Does a beacon require any calibration at any point in it's life?  Does it have a service-life?

Thanks

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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

Coach Z
buy the shovel from a car parts on line dealer as a collapsible emergency aluminum shovel - it will be identical to the Avy one but $100 less.  I think I got mine for $19.95.

"It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport."
Artic Explorer Fridtjof Nansen
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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

JTG4eva!
Mike, given your progression into touring and backcountry skiing, don't do what I did.  As an entry, primarily to satisfy silver Slides status, I picked up the Pieps Freeride beacon a while back.    You can still find it, or maybe a similar single antenna entry level transceiver, and not spend more than $200.  However, if you are truly going to spend any time in real avy terrain you will need a good three antenna transceiver with better capability.  The extra hundy or less for the better unit it the right way to go.

This year I picked up the Ortovox 3 plus.  One of the guides I skied with out in Tahoe said that's the unit she wants, much better than the Trackers they used.  I know Coach is a big shop local advocate, but the Ortovox 3+ Safety Kit I purchased online can be had, with very good transciever and a decent shovel and probe, for between $300 and $400 shipped, if you don't mind ordering online.  eXXposed, who I have purchased from (shipping is slow, though) has a good price.  Barrabes is priced better, but I've never used them.  Can't go wrong with that setup.

If you are buying individual items....if I was looking at a shovel, knowing and wanting what I do now, I'd pick up the Ortovox Beast Saw Shovel, $79.  A shovel is not, necessarily, a shovel.  As I spend more time in the backcountry, so that I can dig my own pits and evaluate snowpacks, I'm looking to expand my equipment beyond the standard beacon/shovel/probe.  A snow saw is a piece of equipment you will find yourself needing, eventually.  The Beast Saw has a handle that is also a saw.

Not having used a probe I don't really know how deficient my Ortovox Light PFA is.  I think some probes might have better measurement markings, which would serve well identifying the depths of layers in the snowpack when evaluating a pit.

I guess what I'm saying is.....think ahead, because you are already all-in!  If you go entry level now you will spend to upgrade in the future.  Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.....

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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

tjf1967
screw the beacon and probe.  Buy yourself a green egg and have that puppy fired up when we get out of the slides!!

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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

K man
I've used a lot of beacons.  We rented for years when on BC trips out west.  For the casual user, ease of use is best.  The BCA Trackers are easy to use and one of the least expensive.  When in transmit mode, they all send the same signal.  The more expensive multi antennae ones are much better on search mode for multiple burials, which is key when guiding or skiing with a large group.  But I will say again, they all work the same on transmit.  So it comes down to your budget and future BC ski adventures.  

Avitar=Left Gully, Tuckerman Ravine
No Fat Chicks, Just Fat Skis
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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

ADmiKe
In reply to this post by tjf1967
tjf1967 wrote
screw the beacon and probe.  Buy yourself a green egg and have that puppy fired up when we get out of the slides!!
Ya know what you're right...F**K it! I'll see you on Slide out Friday morning with the cheeseburgeeeees!

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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

JTG4eva!
In reply to this post by K man
K man wrote
I've used a lot of beacons.  We rented for years when on BC trips out west.  For the casual user, ease of use is best.  The BCA Trackers are easy to use and one of the least expensive.  When in transmit mode, they all send the same signal.  The more expensive multi antennae ones are much better on search mode for multiple burials, which is key when guiding or skiing with a large group.  But I will say again, they all work the same on transmit.  So it comes down to your budget and future BC ski adventures.
The transmit focus is great.....if your primary concern is being found.  Of course, limiting your ability to find doesn't make one the best backcountry partner.  At least that's how I started looking at it once I got into the real shit.  There's a reason BCA developed the Tracker 3, a 3 antenna unit capable of locating multiple burials, same as the Ortovox 3+.  

Ease of use is a good point, but again, you have to ask yourself what use.  Fact of the matter is you really shouldn't be in avy terrain alone, period.  So when with a partner/group, if your only concern for easy of use is "turn on and transmit so I can be found".....well, I felt selfish with that reality, so I upgraded.  Fact of matter is that the cheaper one antenna units, that do work the same as any other in transmit mode, are not anywhere near as user friendly in search mode.  My last trip to the backcountry we did a beacon test (find the buried target) and my Ortovox 3+ cut the find time way, way down as compared to the Trackers.  Also, the folks on my last outing who were given Trackers had some trouble switching modes.  Hold the button down too long or not long enough and it didn't do what they wanted.  That was in a non-emergency test situation.  When the shit hits the fan how's it going to go, when seconds can end up meaning life or death?  The Ortovox 3+ is much more user friendly in terms of switching mode.

From my perspective, the extra $75 one might spend on a better unit is well worth it for the proper equipment for a very serious activity.  Hopefully one will never need the added search capability, but if that moment strikes do you really want to be without it???

At least that's my thinking.....

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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

PeeTex
Sign up for a 2 day level 1 avi course, once you understand the risks and have seen some of the equipment and talked to real experts then decide. I own 2 peips DSP pros, BCA stealth 240 probe and B1 shovel. All of this stuff will do you more harm than good if you have not taken the coarse and been trained.

The BCA shovel is very light weight and fits nicely in my pack

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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

JTG4eva!
Pieps DSP Sport looks like a decent option.  While it may not have some of the bells and whistles of the DSP Pro, Tracker 3, or Ortovox 3+, it is a 3 antenna unit with multiple burial capability.  It can be purchased on Amazon for $260 delivered.  The Tracker 2, $275 on Amazon, looks very similar in functionality to the Pieps Sport. The Ortovox 3+ is on Amazon for as little as $214.25 (vendor I've never used) or $273.95 (vendor I have, and trust).  Pieps Pro and Tracker 3 run a little north of $300 on Amazon.

The better units aren't much of a price premium over the $200 Tracker DTS, and you get a whole lot more functionality.

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Re: Beacon/Shovel/Probe Purchace Advice

ADmiKe
Looks like Pieps DPS Sport + BD Shovel and Probe $299 from certain places

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