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Reviews > Snow Gear > Axes and Shovels > Lifeline Sport Utility Shovel > Owner Review by Doug White

February 10, 2015


NAME: Doug White
EMAIL: bakpack215atyahoodotcom
AGE: 33
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

Backpacking Background: I've been backpacking for several years. I have tested a lot of different systems to find what works the best for me. I pack as light as possible without sacrificing comfort and functionality. I enjoy backpacking in all kinds of weather including winter. I also do snowshoeing and year round mountaineering as well. I backpack in the Rocky Mountains just below treeline most of the time. My trips are normally at least a few miles (5 km) or more. Anytime I can get out and enjoy the mountains, even for a day hike, I do.


Manufacturer: Lifeline
The Shovel

Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$19.99
Listed Weight: Approximately 1.3 lb (590 g)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 3 oz (539 g)
Listed length (collapsed/extended) : 25 in to 32 in (63.5 cm to 81 cm)
Measured length (collapsed/extended): 27 in to 33 in (69 cm to 84 cm)
Measured blade dimensions: 9 x 14 in (23 x 36 cm)
Measured shaft diameter: 1.4 in (3.5 cm)

Other details: The shovel is offered in four colors per the manufacturer: Green, Red, Yellow, and Blue. The shovel is aluminum with a plastic handle that is riveted on. It is a three-piece design that can be fully taken apart and is assembled in a telescoping fashion. It can be collapsed to a shorter length for storage or packing options. The blade also has four holes that can be used as attachment points. The shovel pieces connect together via spring-pressured pins that pop out of one piece and secure to holes in the piece that it is being attached to. Each point where the shovel fastens together has two pins (one on each side) for a sturdy connection. The middle section of the shovel is tapered at its blade end and connects into the blade itself with the spring pins. The handle portion is slightly smaller in diameter than the middle piece allowing the handle portion to slide into the middle piece and then secure with the spring pins. When fully taken apart, the longest piece is 14 in (36 cm).
Using Shovel In Field


I have used this shovel on about 10 overnight trips in temperatures as low as 0 F (-17 C). I have used it in thick forested regions and at treeline. I have also used it on day hikes along with multi-day backpacking trips. Since I've owned the shovel, I carry it on all trips where I will encounter snow, even on day hikes. I have used it to dig down to about waist-level and have also used it in shallow snow. I have carried it in my pack both in a collapsed state and in a fully dis-assembled state in its three pieces.

My Experience

To start with, I like the shovel so much, that I keep it in my vehicle at all times. I live in an area where even in the summer at higher elevations, snow may be encountered. Any hike I take where there is even a possibility of snow, I carry this shovel. The shovel has served me well during my winter adventures. It feels very sturdy and I have never felt like I would break it. I will note that the aluminum does gouge easily if I try moving chunks of ice or accidentally hit dirt or rock. I normally carry the shovel on the side of my pack in its collapsed position and supported by my side straps on the pack. When I get to camp in the snow, it is normally the first item that I pull off my pack. I move it to its fully extended position and plant it in the snow so it's ready for work. While on my pack, I have noticed that the factory edges of the aluminum blade are pretty sharp, so I have added some Gorilla Tape to the blade where it contacts the strap on my pack to prevent the shovel from cutting my pack strap. I have shown this in the photos. I have noticed the shovel rattles and is a little noisy when carrying it in my pack. At this time, I have not had to use this shovel during an avalanche recovery, thankfully, so I can't comment on its ability to move a large amount of snow in an urgent situation.

The telescoping motion of the shovel is very smooth and I don't feel any binding.For what I considered a very cheap price, the shovel durability has surprised me now that I've used it several times. The handle has some grooves in it from the manufacturer that gives it a good grip even with gloves on. I love the weight of the shovel. It is very light in my opinion but still shovels the snow well and feels strong and rigid. The blade has enough depth and surface area that it carries and moves snow very easily for me. The blade digs very well in soft snow and wet snow. In harder snow, I have to cut out "cubes" and it takes a little more work. As far as the spring pins that connect the pieces together, I feel they are a great component as they are light in weight but still are durable enough for field use. They have held up well for me so far. The handle is riveted on to the shovel shaft and so far, I have had no play at this rivet. I don't feel this shovel is any harder to use than other comparable back-country shovels that I have used. It is a very comfortable shovel to use in my experience. The shovel has held up well for me since I've owned it. I will say that a buddy of mine had the same shovel and fell while descending a very packed snow field and when he fell, the blade of the shovel bent as the shovel was in its assembled position on the side of his pack. We attempted to bend it back, and the blade broke. So the shovel doesn't appear to be able to withstand full body weight falling on it.
Methods For Carrying
Gouges On Blade


Affordable, in my opinion
Moves a good amount of snow


Aluminum gouges easily
Noisy when carrying


This has been a great shovel for me. I really feel that backcountry shovels are somewhat similar in a lot of ways, so this particular shovel really has tremendous value for the affordable price that it is offered at. It's a big peace of mind for me to have this in my pack or in my vehicle where I can get myself or someone else out of a bad situation. It's staying in my pack for sure.


Product reviewed by Doug White.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Snow Gear > Axes and Shovels > Lifeline Sport Utility Shovel > Owner Review by Doug White

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