We spent hours researching snow shovels before making what was not an insignificant purchase in the lead up to our motorhome ski adventure in the Alps – and you might be surprised to learn, it wasn’t a snow shovel because… you don’t need a snow shovel.
We chose the Spear and Jackson Agricultural Grain Shovel for a load of well researched reasons and it didn’t let us down. Apart from being a little scuffed and the cutting edge burred in places through blunt force trauma, 133 days for hard labour and it’s still in perfect operational order. Something that can’t be said for the metal edged plastic version that had two outings in the UK this winter.
In short, we’d have been in a right royal mess had we not had it with us and it was christened even before we reached our first ski resort, digging a shiny new Jeep out of a snow pile it had embedded itself into – driver and passenger thankfully unhurt (although a bit miffed).
Reasons for choosing the Spear and Jackson grain shovel:
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- This grain shovel is significantly more robust than it’s plastic rivals (and many of its aluminium competitors) without being that much heavier. It comes in at just under 1.5 Kgs and really, anything much lighter than that isn’t going to have the power and rigidity you need to hack through compacted snow and ice. And there’s the important bit – you are most likely going to need to cut through ice at some point on your motorhome ski trip. Mountain temperatures fluctuate, often melting ice around your wheels during the day and then encasing them in ice overnight – which means, when you come to roll off your ramps, you’ll find them trapped. Short of pouring boiling water over them (and who has spare gas for that?) or hair drying them out (if you’re unlucky, you’ll have had enough of that defrosting water pipes!), you’re going to need to chip them out with your shovel.
- Plastic gets brittle in the cold and a bit of heavy work might just be too much for it. Your aluminium head will stand up to ridiculously low temperatures and isn’t affected by the constant up and down, even day after day on long trips.
- The wooden shaft on this shovel is a few millimetres thicker in diameter than most of its competitors giving you confidence when you’re slamming it into solid surfaces.
- It’s not too tall – at 1240mm tip to toe, it was easy enough for me to use at 5’4″ without making it back-breaking for James 5’8″.
- The face is not so wide that you can’t lift the thing when it’s laden – we saw a lot of people piling their 70 cm wide snow shovels up and then only being able to push the snow away rather than chuck it in the pile which is often your only option. This shovel is 38cm at its widest point.
- Plastic handle – essential! Don’t accidentally buy a shovel with a metal handle – there are times you’ll need to grab it without gloves on and if it’s been outside in the snow, that’s going to be painful!
- It’s a good price. You can pay up to £50 for one of these grain shovels but you don’t need to. Spear and Jackson are quality names in agricultural equipment and are a company with beginnings in the Sheffield Steel industry – where they still have their headquarters today. If it’s good enough for hardy British farmers, it’s good enough for us.
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- It’s nice to its nickable. The mountains a pretty safe places in the winter in our experience so we mostly left it out under the motorhome and no harm came to it – we did however here the descriptive ting of our shovel being used on neighbouring plots occasions all but that’s all ok!
- It doesn’t fold away away like some snow shovels and that means it’s a bit more of an arse to transport
- You’ll be shovelling everyone else’s snow and ice when their shovels aren’t up to the job