It’s disconcerting how tricky some probes can be to deploy and lock into place, especially in a panicked rescue scenario. Not this one: Mammut’s new design ditches metal pins that can freeze or break in favor of a metal latch on the top pole section that requires less effort to pull into place and breaks down with a glove-friendly button. A carbon shaft makes the 280 Speed Lock stiffer for more accurate probing, while the metal, teardrop-shape tip has a distinct taper for decreased resistance in firm snow. “This is the fastest, easiest probe I’ve ever used,” said our Gear Editor after probing a windloaded couloir for unstable layers on Colorado’s Parry Peak (he deployed it in about 2 seconds). $100; 9.7 oz.