Gear Review: Backcountry Access D-2 EXT Hoe Avalanche Shovel
Total Weight: 2.1 lbs | 940 grams
Summary: The BCA D-2 Ext Hoe Avalanche Shovel is a super versatile and efficient hoe/shovel that’s ideal for any backcountry situation. It’s lightweight, packable, and has the potential to save both time and lives.
Every single backcountry traveler needs an avalanche shovel. There is no way around it. Shovels are necessary to dig snow pits, rescue stuck snowmobiles, create emergency shelters, build rescue sleds, and of course save lives in the event of an avalanche. Whether you’re rapping into couloirs, ripping low angle pow, dropping out of lift access gates, high marking your sled, or going for a ski tour, the Backcountry Access D-2 EXT Hoe Avalanche Shovel aka the Dozer is the perfect shovel companion.
It’s impressive how many different avalanche shovels are on the market. After shopping around, I picked up the Backcountry Access D-2 EXT Hoe Avalanche Shovel and I’m impressed. This is the most versatile and efficient avalanche shovel I’ve ever owned. It comes in one size and one color and it breaks down into two pieces to fit in to your backcountry pack.
At first the Backcountry Access D-2 EXT Hoe Avalanche Shovel looks like any old shovel, but it’s basically a snow safety Transformer. The D-2 EXT has the ability to be a plain old shovel with an extendable shaft, but it can also transform into a hoe, which makes moving snow efficient and fun. Let’s take a closer look:
- Shovel Mode: In ordinary shovel mode, the blade clicks into the end of the shaft and you’re ready to shovel – drive the blade, lift the snow, toss it. It’s simple and it works.
- Hoe Mode: In hoe mode, the blade clicks into the t-grip handle and you’re ready to toss snow. Drive the blade, pull the snow toward you with a powerful stroke and in one simple motion toss the snow far away. The hoe mode is proven to be more effective and faster than traditional shovel mode for moving large amounts of snow. It’s a key component to safer rescues and more efficient strategic shoveling.
- Blade: The blade is generously sized (10 in x 11 in) to efficiently move snow. Yet, it still easily fits into any backpack. Built out of 6061 aluminum the shovel is strong enough to break through debris (FYI – never ever buy a plastic shovel). It features a smooth back so you can dig the perfect snow pit and features a relief pattern to provide torsional rigidity. The blade features four holes which allow the blade to be used as a snow anchor or it could be rigged as part of a rescue sled if you’re clever. There is no neck on the “ferrule-less” blade which is a nice feature for packing, but also for strength.
- Shaft: The ovalized shaft clicks into the shovel with one hand. A small cap on the end keeps snow from entering the shaft. The assembled shovel is 24.5 inches/62cm. With one click, you can extend it to increase leverage or accommodate ape index as it grows to 31.9in/81cm. Along the shaft, a yellow grip must be moved around depending on if you are shoveling or hoeing. In Hoe mode, the shovel blade attaches to the non-yellow side of the T-Grip handle. There is a hole in the t-grip in case you want to sling the shovel and carry it solo.
- Grips: BCA designed the grips on the D-2 EXT avalanche shovel to work like leashless ice tools and it works great. This style of grip helps to improve shoveling techniques, stabilize the shovel, and increase efficiency of tossing snow. The texture is slip proof which adds a degree of safety as you won’t accidentally toss a shovel into the air (it happens). The slidable grip can go at the end of the shaft or in the middle when it is extended. It is possible to flip the middle grip around so it is backwards, I wouldn’t recommend doing this (or letting your friend mess around with your shovel).
- Weight: Officially the BCA D-2 Ext weighs 2.1 lbs | 940 grams. There are lighter shovels out there, but the versatility and strength of the D-2 make up for a couple of extra ounces.
- Learning Curve: BCA considered every aspect of the D-2 EXT Avalanche Shovel. It’s simple and easy to use, yet it takes a bit of getting used to switching between shovel and hoe mode. Once you get used to it, it’s no big deal, but requires a bit of practice.
- Price: The D-2 is spendy. But it is essentially a Mercedes Benz of avalanche shovels. You get what you pay for. The price of $89.99 isn’t that much when you consider that you and your partner’s life depends on it. Plus it will last a very long time.
- Warranty: According to BCA’s warranty page, avalanche shovels should have a 3-year warranty from original date of purchase. Warranty covers manufacturing and material defects.
Like any old avalanche shovel, it’s going to take a beating. After a season of hard use, my D-2 is still performing flawlessly. It lives right next to my BD QuickDraw Probe in my Mystery Ranch BlackJack Airbag pack. It’s ready for any backcountry adventure.
This thing is bombproof. It packs down to nothing. It has a ridiculous strength to weight ratio. It’s versatile. And most importantly, it makes shoveling faster in hoe mode. This shovel has the potential to save lives and you should buy one (find the best prices below). The Backcountry Access D-2 EXT Hoe Avalanche Shovel isn’ the only hoe out there, but it might be the best hoe on the market in my opinion. Mine lives in my pack and gets a work out all winter long. Try it and you’ll never go back to a boring old avalanche shovel again. Thanks for another cool tool BCA! __________________________________________
Backcountry Access D-2 EXT Hoe Avalanche Shovel Official Specs
- WEIGHT – 2.1 lb / 940 g
- BLADE DIMENSIONS – 10 in x 11 in / 25.4 cm x 27.9 cm
- HANDLE & SHAFT COLLAPSED LENGTH – 18 in / 46 cm
- HANDLE & SHAFT EXTENDED LENGTH – 24 in / 61 cm
- ASSEMBLED COLLAPSED LENGTH – 24.5 in / 62 cm
- ASSEMBLED EXTENDED LENGTH – 31.9 in / 81 cm
- BLADE/SHAFT MATERIAL – 6061 T6 Aluminum
__________________________________________ Find The Best Price To Buy The BCA D-2 Ext Hoe Avalanche Shovel: