By the numbers, plastic shovels are supposedly as strong (or stronger) than steel and able to withstand incredibly low temperatures. Their big selling points are that they are lighter and cheaper than metal. The weight claims are a bit suspect as plastic shovels tend to be on the small side, which naturally makes them lighter, but also less functional. When it comes to cost, there is no denying they are less expensive, but is $30 really worth it?
The biggest issue with plastic shovels is that they fail catastrophically without warning. A metal blade on the other hand usually gives you some warning (if you are paying attention) in the form of bending or cracking, and can be nursed through an expedition and/or replaced before they have a chance to fail in the field.
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Category: 02 Gear