To shovel or to claw?

I have used a number of different snow shovels while winter camping during the decades. None are perfect for everything. If you are serious about camping in the snow and building your shelter in the snow you need some serious stuff. If you bring it more as an emergency tool and for digging holes for your tent anchors you might be better of with a Snowclaw.

By Jörgen Johansson

The Snowclaw is a sturdy piece of plastic with two holes for your hands. The photo below shows it with my cup to give you an idea of the size.

The Snowclaw is my regular shovel for winter trips and has been for years. Nowadays I rely on my tent for shelter and rarely need to move much snow. If you have to do some serious digging the Snowclaw puts some strain on your wrists, so it is an emergency shovel and as such should work OK. I like the fact that it has no mobile parts. There are certainly lighter emergency shovels but I am not sure they will do a better job in a survival situation.

Since I always bring my tent during winter outings it will be an exceptional situation (tent broken) before I would need the Snowclaw for digging an emergency shelter. Instead I use it for digging a place for my feet when sitting in the tent opening, feet outside. Or digging a shelf for my stove while cooking in the snow. Or as a snow anchor for my tent. Or as a windscreen for my stove.