After a long day on the trail, it’s time to set up camp. There are dozens of tasks involved with setting up, and you need to ensure you have the right tools to help you do the job.
Digging a firepit is one of the most important things you need to do when setting up camp. Building a firebreak and leveling the ground is hard work – you need the assistance of a survival shovel.
A survival shovel comes in handy around the campsite. Use it to dig out your firepit or dig your SUV out of a mud pit. There are plenty of reasons to carry one of these tools with you.
Without a shovel, you’ll have to resort to makeshift tools to help you complete your tasks. Trying to dig a firepit using your bare hands or a stick is not an option. With a survival shovel, you have a handy tool ready to help.
There are thousands of survival shovels available, each with different designs and finishes. In this post, we’ll look at the top models for your next camping trip or survivalist mission.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Survival Shovel Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Survival Shovel Buyer’s Guide
- 4.1 What Is the History of the Survival Shovel?
- 4.2 How Will I Use the Survival Shovel?
- 4.3 What Kind of Shovel Head Do I Need?
- 4.4 What Kind of Handle Do I Need on My Survival Shovel?
- 4.5 Multi-Tool Vs. Dedicated Shovel – Which Is Better?
- 4.6 Is the Shovel Compact and Lightweight?
- 4.7 Is the Durability of My Survival Shovel Important?
- 4.8 Will My Survival Shovel Come with a Sheath?
- 4.9 Does the Brand of My Survival Shovel Matter?
- 5 Survival Shovel FAQs
- 6 Survival Shovels – The Verdict
We selected the best survival shovels we could find for this review. If you don’t have the time to read through the entire post, you’ll get what you need out of one of our top picks.
These three models are the best in each class. We chose the best overall, premium, and budget model to suit your needs and bank account.
- Best Pick: iunio Folding Shovel
We selected this iunio model for the best overall survival shovel in this review. This shovel comes with multi-tool functionality, featuring ten tool-modifications to suit various tasks around the campsite. You get a shovelhead, bottle opener, ice-axe, pick-axe, and a saw blade.
- Premium Pick: Banores Folding Shovel
Survivalists looking for the best premium model in this review will enjoy the Banores folding shovel. This model features a durable shovel head made from toughened carbon steel. You get a lightweight and compact design, despite the thickness of the shovel handle and its quality.
- Budget Pick: Ames US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool
Campers and survivalists looking for the best budget deal in this review will get plenty of value from this Ames model. This model features a genuine US military-issue design with a collapsible handle and a lightweight design.
Survival Shovel Reviews
Now that you have an idea of our top picks let’s unpack them in further detail. We’ll also look at other shovels that deserve inclusion in our review.
iunio Folding Shovel
If you’re looking for the best overall survival shovel you can find, you can’t beat the value you get with the iunio model. This shovel features a 35-inch collapsible shaft, with a carbon steel shovelhead. The shovel head comes with a serrated side and a straight blade, allowing for chopping and sawing tasks.
- Portable Folding Shovel (35-inch Length) - It is designed and produced according to self-driving experiences of many experienced outdoor sports lovers and any kind of outdoor enthusiasts: RV Camping, Cadets, Scouts, Hikers, Hunters, Fisherman, Gardeners, Gold Digger, Off-roading, SUVing, Backpacking, Expeditionists, Tent Camping, Pop-up Camping. This camping folding shovel is assembled practicability, functionality and security in it.
- Extension Bars - Features a regular survival shovel doesn't even have, all in this convenient folding shovel: Shovel Board, Saw, Bottle Opener, Emergency Whistle, Fire Bar, Hammer, Nail Extractor, Hoe, Fish Scaler Tool. Extension Bar included: Except for being an ordinary folding shovel, you can extend this shovel to a comfortable size for standing up digging. You can choose the length of the shovel by adding fewer or more extensions according to your height.
- Sturdy & Durable - The camping folding shovel blade and handle are made of high-carbon steel which is high-strength and wear-resistant. The grip on the handle is made of rubber and this shovel has passed the durability tests and our destruction tests.
- Perfect Gift for Outdoor Enthusiasts - Ideal multitool gift for camping, hiking, snow, backpacking, fishing, hunting, gardening, travel outdoor activities. Also great for anyone to use, gardeners, survivalists, hunters, hikers, campers. This folding shovel is also a great entrenchment tool for Field Survivalists, Disaster Recovery Staff, Truck drivers.
- Portable & Compact - This tactical shovel folds up and fits in a high-quality tactical waist pack with a belt loop to carry at your side. It's easy for you to hang it on your belt to carry after the shovel folds up to small parts. iunio folding shovel lasts for life: Our shovels are built to last! You take care of our shovel and we'll take care of you! All replacement requests are supported by our awesome customer service team anytime!!!
The collapsible handle divides into four sections, allowing you to select your handle length to match your application. The interesting part about this survival shovel is the multi-tool functionality. With this model, you get ten accessory tool-tips, allowing you impressive cross-use of this shovel.
You get an anti-skid handle for total control over the shovel in demanding environments. There’s a pick-axe, ice-axe, bottle opener, and an emergency whistle in this tool’s handle. The portable and compact designs disassemble into pieces for easy storage in the carry bag included with your purchase.
- 35-inch collapsible length for easy transport and storage
- Manufactured with carbon steel for a durable edge on the shovelhead
- Multi-tool functionality with 10-accessories
- Anti-skid handle for superior control over the shovel
- Ideal for campers and survivalists
- Assembling and dissembling the handle can take time
Banores Folding Shovel
Survivalists demanding the best performance from their equipment should considerthe Banores folding shovel. This model features a collapsible handle design, including multi-tool functionality. You get a durable coated carbon steel shovelhead for durability, with chopping and sawing blades on either side.
- 28-in-1 Survival Tools:Features 28 tools in this convenient folding shovel set:shovel, flashlight,saw, axe, hoe, hexagon wrench, scissors, multi-function tools,bottle opener, screw set, compass,whistle,hunting knife,etc.
- Toughest Material: Reinforced shovel is made from hardened, heat-treated military solid carbon steel; sturdy enough deal with survival activities or car/truck emergency;it's military-grade thicken handle makes it a breeze to work with. Handle abuse and multiple amounts of impact without scratches or dents.
- Camping Axe:The hatchet is made from a strong mix of chromium and high carbon steel, making it super strong and rust-resistant. You can dismantle firewood, dismantle branches, This shovel has passed the durability tests and our destruction tests and will be standing the test of time.
- Extended & Portable Folding Shovel: 9.45 inches (about 24 cm) long after folding, light and portable. The extended back shovel can reach up to 40.1 inches (approximately 102 cm) to meet any of your needs. Very suitable for camping, backpacking, hiking, off-roading, fishing, emergency,gardening, etc.
- Easy to Assemble and Store: All parts are assembled in a box, very convenient to carry. When you need to use it, it only takes a few minutes to assemble; This survival gear set be prepared for anything; it is the best gift for husband, elders, and friends.
The shovel’s collapsible stock features a 7.2mm steel tubing thicker and more durable than other multi-tool systems. The deep threads don’t snag, and you get an easy assembly and disassembly every time.
This model’s multi-tool functionality includes a stick, cutter, wrench, saw, hoe, bottle opener, screwdriver, whistle, fire-steel, ice-piton, scraping fish scales, and a compass. That’s plenty of handy tools for survivalists, along with a camouflage carry bag to stash your gear.
- Ultra-thick handle design featuring premium-grade materials
- A textured grip on the handle for total control
- 37.6-inch extension length
- Lightweight and compact design for easy storage and transport
- Multi-tool functionality with nine functions
- Comes with a camo carry bag included
- Premium Price Tag
Ames US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool
If you’re looking for the best budget deal in this review,the Ames US GI model is a top choice. This piece of kit is original-issue US military equipment designed for use in the field. Soldiers rely on this tool to get them out of sticky situations, and they trust Ames’s quality to bring them back home safe.
- Steel Blade with Aluminum handle
- Genuine US Military Issue
- Black powder-coat finish
- Tri-fold Design Collapses for Easy Carry/Storage
- Sharpened Axe Edge, Serrated Saw Edge
The Ames US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool is a lightweight and compact model featuring an aluminum handle and a carbon steel shovelhead. As a result of the design. You get a lightweight and durable survival shovel that never lets you down.
The tri-fold design folds up in seconds for compact storage, and the threaded locking system ensures you get a secure structure when folding out the shovel. The shovelhead features a black, powder-coated finish for corrosion-resistance and reduced friction when digging, chopping, or sawing.
- Steel blade for rugged use
- Aluminum handle for lightweight carry
- Genuine US-Military issue equipment
- Black powder-coated finish
- Tri-fold design for easy assembly and disassembly
- Chopping and sawing functions on either side of the shovelhead
- Not as many functions as other models
Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel
If you’re looking for more of a traditional shovel design, check out this model by legendary knife makers, Cold Steel. With this shovel, you get a classic hardwood handle, which is great for absorbing the shock of digging in tough ground.
The shovelhead features design and construction with carbon steel for a durable cutting edge. You get footpegs on the top of the blade to assist with leverage when digging, and clean design.
- Weight: 26.6 oz
- Overall Length: 19.68"
- Handle: Hardwood
- Thickness: 2mm (Shovel Head)
- Sheath: Cor-Ex Sheath (Included)
The only issue we have with this model is its simplistic functionality. There is no sharpened or serrated edge for chopping or sawing. However, you get a premium tool that’s ideal for use around the campsite.
- Lightweight design weighing under 27-oz
- 19.68-inch overall length
- Hardwood handle for shock absorption
- 2mm thick carbon steel shovelhead
- Cor-Ex sheath included
- No multi-functional design
Smittybilt 2728 Matte Black Tri-Fold Shovel
This survival shovel features design and construction with heat-treated carbon steel for a robust and durable blade. The shovelhead comes with serrated and chopping edges on either side, and you get a fiber-reinforced handle for extra strength.
- Compact tri-fold design for easy storage
- 2-way multi adjustments
- Fiber reinforced nylon handle
- Carbon steel blade has double serrated edge that is heat treated for high strength
- Storage bag included
This model features two-way adjustment with a compact tri-folding design for easy storage and transport. The threaded locking system keeps the shovel secure when open, and you can store it in the carry bag included with your purchase.
- Compact design for easy storage and transport
- Tri-folding handle for easy setup and disassembly
- 2-way multi-adjustment
- Nylon fiber-reinforced handle
- Carbon steel blade for durability
- Comes with a storage bag for easy carry
- Serrated edges for sawing
- Not enough multi-tool functionality
TAC9ER Entrenching Tool Shovel
This model from TAC9ER is a great choice for a tri-folding model. You get a decent length with 23-inches for a folder, and the thread-locking system keeps everything in place until you finish your work. The ergonomic handle provides better leverage when digging, reducing operator fatigue in use.
- Dependable 15 in 1 Shovel - With the TAC9ER tactical foldable multitool shovel, you’ll be equipped for any emergency situation. Our camping shovel features an axe, hex driver, serrated knife, wire cutter, hoe, harpoon, saw, rescue knife, bottle opener, safety hammer, Phillips head bit, flathead bit, and fire starter.
- Built to Last - This rescue shovel is fashioned out of carbon steel and aircraft-grade aluminum, making it tough for the hardest jobs. The threaded lock system keeps this metal tactical shovel's blade in place to protect you while you work.
- Compact and Portable - Weighing 2.2 lbs and measuring 29" when fully assembled, this TAC9ER shovel is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Store it in the 9" x 6" nylon carrying pouch it comes with and add it to your backpack, car emergency kit, survival gear, and camping gear.
- Ultimate Shovel Tool - Our tactical shovel is designed for outdoor activities and emergency scenarios. Take it with you whenever you go camping, backpacking, off-roading, and fishing. Gardeners, survivalists, truck drivers, and members of a Disaster Recovery Team can also put it to good use.
- Buy with Confidence - TAC9ER is a US-based company and we stand behind our products. We offer free returns within 30 days and a 5-year warranty if you’re not 100% happy with your TAC9ER survival shovel. No questions asked.
The shovelhead on this model includes a pointed tip with saw and chopping tools on either side. You get a carbon steel design for added durability in the shovelhead and lifetime warranty.
- 23-inch overall length
- Tri-folding design
- Lightweight aluminum handle
- Serrated shovelhead edges
- Ergonomic handle with threaded locking system
- Comes with a carry bag included
- Not enough multi-tool functionality
SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel
SOG makes some of the most affordable and effective knives available. They continue that tradition with this survival shovel. This model features a tempered carbon steel shovel head that’s durable and long-lasting, with a powder-coated finish for corrosion-resistance and friction-free cutting.
- 18.25 INCH FULL LENGTH, 24.5 OUNCES: Lightweight foldable outdoor, hunting, military shovel is versatile to get the job done. E-Tool features a wood saw edge to cut or chop small branches and trees for kindling or fire building
- COMPACT AND PORTABLE: The multi-use shovel folds down to be barely bigger than your hand. 10 inches in length when folded, it takes up about the same space as a stack of paper plates. A needed tool that is easy to pack and takes up no space in your backpack, or camp kit
- HIGH-CARBON STEEL CONSTRUCTION: Super durable to handle the long list of jobs the shovel was designed to handle in extreme conditions. Dig through dirt, sand, gravel mud, and snow with the tempered steel blade. The triangular handle is strong and fits the hand well for optimal use when digging, trenching, cutting, or slashing
- 3-WAY FOLDING DESIGN: Hand shovel collapses into a portable outdoor shovel, emergency shovel, and hiking shovel. The rotating spade blade can be adjusted to act as a pick or hoe. Ultimate camp tool to dig fire pits, bury waste, or trench drainage lines
- SOG TACTICAL SHOVEL FOR LIFE: Take care of your folding shovel and we’ll take care of you; SOG shovels for digging are built to last, and we consider all repair and replacement requests
The SOG comes with a tri-folding design, featuring a threaded locking system for secure use. The shovelhead features a saw and chopping blade on either side, and you get a lifetime warranty with your purchase.
- 18.25-inch overall length
- Tri-folding design
- Lightweight reinforced polymer handle
- Serrated shovelhead edge
- Ergonomic handle with threaded locking system
- Comes with a nylon carry bag included
- Not enough multi-tool functionality
REDCAMP Military Folding Shovel
This Redcamp model presents you with an affordable option for your survival shovel. If you’re looking for a decent tool with plenty of functionality, this model is a top choice.
- Tough & Durable: Constructed of high-quality 40#Mn steel (shovel, pick) and Q195#Mn steel (handle). Features a reinforced 2mm thick blade and 2.5mm thick pickaxe, can easily dig gravel
- Compact & Portable: This shovel adopts a triple-folded design and stored in a compact carrying pouch. Weighs 2.61lbs/1.185kg. Package Size: 9.5''x6.7”/24cmx17cm, Unfold Size: 21.3''x5.32”/54cmx13.5cm
- Multifunctional: Can be used as a shovel, saw or hoe, equipped with bottle opener, hex wrench and nail puller. Suitable for digging, trenching, shoveling, sawing, chopping, etc.
- Occasions: You can keep this compact multi-function shovel in your car, backpack, survival bag or toolbox. Ideal for camping, hiking, trekking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, gardening or other outdoor activities
- REDCAMP GUARANTEE: Your 100% satisfaction has always been our top priority. That is why all of our products are backed by our unconditional 365-day manufacturer warranty.
You get a carbon steel shovelhead with a pointed tip, and a saw and chopping blade on either side. The shovelhead also features two hex-head wrenches, and there are footpegs to give you more leverage when digging.
This model features a tri-folding design with a thread-locking system, and you get an ergonomic, lightweight handle.
- 21.3-inch overall length
- Carbon steel design for added strength
- Multi-tool functionality
- Threaded lock design
- Tri-folding for compact storage and carry
- Black powder-coated shovelhead
- Ergonomic handle
- Comes with a carry bag
- Carry bag looks cheap
Other Best Selling Options
- AMERICAN OWNED, FAMILY OPERATED - Join the Rhino Family & Support a USA based Father/Son Business!
- ULTIMATE MULTITOOL - Fire Starter, Whistle, Bottle Opener, Saw, Hoe, Fish Scaler + More All-In-One
- COMPACT & PORTABLE - Full 31" Long Extended with Adjustable Handle Length - Collapsible to 7"
- MULTI-FUNCTIONAL - Shovels = Great Garden Tools, Backpacking Gear and Metal Detector Accessories
- GUARANTEED 5-STAR EXPERIENCE - If you aren't 100% Satisfied for any Reason We'll Refund Your Money
- Unbreakable Survival Shovel - This survival tool set constructed with military-grade solid carbon steel with aerospace-grade anodized aluminum tubes that make it sturdy enough deal with survival activities or car/truck emergency
- Multi-functional - This ultimate survival shovel incorporates 12 other functions and tools, including a shovel, hoe, saws, bottle opener, cleaver, whistle, knife, fish scaler, emergency hammer, flat-blade screwdriver, and 4 size wrench. These functions will ensure you survive camping with your kids
- Collapsible and Portable - This camping shovel can be folded and expanded by twisting lock for secure storage and carrying. A durable carry storage bag is coming with the package as camping gifts
- Not just camping - This tactical shovel is perfect for camping, hiking, gardening, backpacking, hunting, traveling, expedition, car emergency, and outdoor survival
- Satisfaction Guarantee - Lifetime warranty with 100% satisfaction and zero hassle returns guaranteed. With this military-level survival shovel, you have the last piece of camping and survival tool you will ever need
- 【A Wide Range of Uses】The Covacure survival shovel is a versatile tool that can be used for many purposes. It can be used for traditional uses such as digging holes, setting up tent stakes or breaking through soft and hard materials with equal efficiency because of the sharp edges. Additionally, it comes with additional tools such as a saw, inch ruler, wrenches, knives, bottle openers, hammer, screwdriver, whistle, break glass cone and fire starter.
- 【Bigger Shovel Head】 The camping shovel head is larger than others at 6.69in x 5.12inch and is made from 3CR13 material which provides a high level of wear and corrosion resistance. The twist-lock mechanism allows the survival shovel head to lock at 180 degrees for use as a shovel, 90 degrees for use as a hoe, pickaxe or hammer, and 45 degrees for use as a hook.
- 【Quality Survival Shovel Handle】The Covacure tactical shovel is constructed from premium aluminum alloy, which provides incredible durability. It also has a thick, sturdy handle for grip support. As a great outdoor helper, it comes with a small knife, flat-blade/cross screwdriver, can/bottle opener, whistle, break glass cone and even includes a magnesium rod for starting a fire. These tools are built directly into the handle.
- 【3 Different Sizes & Easy Carry】The Covacure shovel comes in three different sizes for different situations and body heights. You can assemble different numbers of handles to achieve 31.89 inch/81 cm, 24.41 inch/62 cm & 16.93 inch/43 cm lengths. The assembly is easy enough and it only takes a few seconds to adjust the length of the handle. The Covacure survival shovels are the perfect size for storing in your backpack with bag and cover.
- 【Attention】 lN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE LONG-LASTING PERFORMANCE OF THE CAMPING SHOVEL, WE ADD ANTI-RUST LIQUID TO THE SHOVEL HEAD, AND IT CAN BE USED NORMALLY ONLY AFTER WIPING IT CLEAN. If you have any questions about the product or are not satisfied with it, please contact us at any time. We offer you the best solution.
- Thickness: 2mm (Shovel Head)
- Handle: Hardwood
- Overall Length: 19.68"
- Material: Medium carbon steel
- Sheath: Not included Overall Length: 20.50" Carry System: N/A Weight: 1.60 lbs.
- HANDY AND LIGHTWEIGHT - AugTouf Folding Shovel - 18.1" Full Length x 4.7" Blade Width (Weights only 25oz). Ideal portable mini shovel as a Camping Gear, Gardening Tool, Entrenching Tool, Hiking, Backpacking and Car Emergency Essential.
- VERSATILE CASE & OCCASIONS - Come with a Heavy-Duty Nylon Case, which has Loop backside and Sponge inside. You can easily attach it to your belt/backpack or use it as a knee pad when shoveling.
- COMPACT & DURABLE - Made of 50# High-Carbon Steel Body, Heat-Treated 0.06" Thick Blades w/ Sawtooth, this tactical military shovel is rust-resistance & anti-deformation; Triangular large handle design is anti-slip and effectively reduce hand fatigue and wrist strain.
- EASY & FULLY FOLDABLE - 3 Fold Design compact E-Tool, AugTouf emergency shovel can be easily fold either straight or at a 90°angle. A must-have camping accessories for Entrenching, Shoveling, Digging, Sawing, Chopping and Hammering.
- HASSLE-FREE WARRANT - AugTouf offers a 90-day Hassle-Free Warranty Policy. If you have any question about this folding shovel or not fully satisfied for any reason, please feel free to contact us via Amazon for 100% refund or replacement.
Survival Shovel Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have an idea of the best survival shovel models, it’s time to settle on a suitable shovel for your survivalist needs. However, we understand it’s challenging rounding up your candidates for a short-list.
You need a model that works for you, giving you utility around your campsite or a survivalist mission. There are plenty of different designs and functions of these tools. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the right shovel to suit your needs.
In this section, we’ll look at all the aspects and functions of a survival shovel, giving you the information you need to make an informed purchase decision.
What Is the History of the Survival Shovel?
Let’s start with a throwback for the First World War. WWI was the first war “fought in the trenches.” Soldiers would dig long, deep trenches, securing their positions on the battlefield, giving them a vantage point over their enemies.
As a result, a shovel became standard-issue military equipment. Over the years, the trench shovel evolved in design to the collapsible, multi-functional models of today. The shovel is a vital piece of gear for any survivalist. In many cases, it’s more important than a knife.
Some multi-functional survival shovels contain up to ten built-in tools in the handle and the shovelhead. Having this type of versatility in a survival tool can come in handy. Many companies manufacture survival shovels and some of the leading brands in knife-making offer excellent models for your campsite or survivalist mission.
How Will I Use the Survival Shovel?
When selecting your ideal survival shovel, it’s important to understand how you want to use it around camp. What kind of tasks do you need to accomplish? Do you need multi-tool functionality? Some survivalists prefer multi-tool setups, while others prefer to rely on individual tools.
Do you need a shovel to help you get your car out of the sand when it sinks on the beach? Maybe you want a survival shovel to dig out a fire pit? Selecting the right model to suit your requirements is essential if you want to avoid wasting money.
What Kind of Shovel Head Do I Need?
When browsing for your ideal survival shovel, the first component you need to look at is the shovelhead. The shovelhead should feature a decent thickness of up to 2mm, with design and construction using carbon steel.
Carbon steel provides a durable and long-lasting edge to the shovelhead. As a result, it remains sharp for years, and it’s easy to put an edge on it yourself using a grinding wheel. Carbon steel has a hardened finish, making it the ideal choice for digging and scraping.
Most survival shovelheads feature design with a sharpened point and serrated edges. Some offer a serrated edge on the one side of the shovelhead, and a straight blade on the other. These configurations give you built-in functionality for chopping and sawing with your survival shovel.
What Kind of Handle Do I Need on My Survival Shovel?
There are three types of handles available for your survival shovel.
- The steel handle – Steel handles are a great choice for strength and durability. However, shock may reverberate through the handle when digging, making the task hard on your hands.
- The wooden handle – The wooden handle is a fantastic choice for shock absorption, with flex in the handle. However, it can splinter and snap, even if it features a hardwood design.
- The polymer handle – The polymer handle is lightweight and strong, making it an ideal choice for a portable survival shovel.
If you’re a camper looking for a long-lasting piece of equipment, the wooden handle is a great choice. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight tactical design, rather go with a polymer or steel handle with a collapsible design.
Multi-Tool Vs. Dedicated Shovel – Which Is Better?
When selecting the best survival shovel, you need to think carefully about how you’ll use it around camp. There are two designs of survival shovels – the multi-tool and the classic.
The multi-tool survival shovel comes with a collapsible stock, which screws out in two or three sections. The inside of the tubing is hollow and contains different tool-tips to suit various campsite applications. Some of the common tool-tips included with your multi-tool survival shovel include the following.
- Fire-steel – A fire-steel and scraper can help you get a spark in any weather, bringing fire to your campsite.
- Knives – Knife heads are handy for gutting fish and other hunting tasks.
- Fishing spear – Catch your dinner in the stream with a fishing spear that’s accurate and sharp.
- Wrenches and other handy tools – From hex-spanners to screwdrivers, choose tools you need around camp.
- Emergency whistles – Inform your team members of your location or attract the attention of search parties.
- Compass – Find your way in the wilderness, and never get lost again.
- Ice axe – Pick your way up the slope in snowy conditions.
- Bottle openers – Crack a cold one to end the day after a long hike.
When choosing a multi-tool option, it’s important to note that these models take longer to set up compared to a tri-folding design. Typically, the tubing lengths in the multi-tool handle feature threads to help you screw it all together.
If you’re out in the wild and digging a campsite, you might get dirt in the threads when tightening the tube sections to the shovelhead. As a result, you might end up stripping the threads, requiring refurbishment.
A tri-folding design might not offer the same versatility as a multi-tool option. However, it provides a durable, reliable folding format that’s resistant to environmental conditions. Look for models that feature a threaded locking system for secure assembly of the shovel.
Choose the model that suits your needs. If you’re wondering what real soldiers and military personnel use – it’s the tri-folding compact design with a polymer handle. However, chances are you’re not military, and you might get more benefit from a multi-tool system.
Is the Shovel Compact and Lightweight?
A heavy shovel is not something you want to haul around on a hiking trail or through dense vegetation.
In a survival situation, calories mean everything, and if you have to waste them on dragging around heavy equipment, you’re going to get in trouble fast.
Since most shovelheads come with a carbon steel design, they all have around the same weight for this part of the tool. However, the handle is where manufacturers cut back on weight. Polymer handles offer the best lightweight reduction on the shovel.
However, if you’re looking for the most compact shovel you can find, you’ll need a tri-folding design for best results. A compact design allows you to stow it away in your daypack, stash it in the trunk of your car, or tie it to your pack for quick access in emergencies.
Most shovels come with average weights of between 8-oz to 30-oz, depending on the tool’s design and functionality.
If you’re frequently going on survivalist-style missions, we recommend going with a lightweight design as possible. However, if you’re looking for a shovel for general camping use, a heavier model won’t be that much of an issue.
Is the Durability of My Survival Shovel Important?
When you put your life in the hands of your shovel, you want to know you have the right piece of equipment. While the uses of a survival shovel can vary, if you’re in a tight spot, you need a tool that delivers on its performance claims.
When selecting your ideal model, make sure it features a carbon steel shovelhead. This material is durable and long-lasting, providing you with a blade that holds an edge.
The last thing you need is for the chopping or sawing edge to dull after a few uses. That kind of let-down could cost you severely in a survival situation.
Some models feature a nylon blade that doesn’t require sharpening, but you might end up snapping or damaging it easier than a carbon steel shovelhead.
Look for models that offer a lifetime guarantee on the blade and craftsmanship. Those manufacturers who are willing to stick their necks out for their reputation will produce high-quality tools.
When selecting your ideal survival shovel, it’s important to go for a model with a treated shovelhead. The blade undergoes plenty of stress with chopping, digging, sawing, and other campsite and survivalist activities.
If you don’t have a coated finish on the shovelhead, it will start to corrode, rusting at the edges where the blades receive the most impact. Eventually, the entire shovel will discolor, and you’ll have to replace it.
A powder-coated or clear-coated finish on the shovelhead protects it from the impact of all environmental conditions. Powder-coated shovelheads provide a rugged, corrosion-resistant surface with friction-free chopping and sawing.
Will My Survival Shovel Come with a Sheath?
Your survival shovel is a handy piece of equipment to have on your survivalist mission or camping trip. Most of these models feature sharpened edges that substitute for chopping and sawing tools around camp. Therefore, they present a cutting hazard, even when folded.
You need a sheath or a protective carry bag to ensure your shovelhead doesn’t cut anything when not in use. Some models feature sheaths that cover the shovelhead only, while other models come with complete carry bags to stash away your shovel.
A sheath is a good choice if you want to stash the shovel in your bag and don’t want a bulky carry bag taking up space in your daypack. A carry bag is a good alternative to a sheath if you’re stowing the shovel in your car’s trunk. Choose the model that suits your carry needs.
Does the Brand of My Survival Shovel Matter?
Not really. There are plenty of high-quality survival shovels available from unknown outdoor gear brands. The key when selecting your model is to focus on the materials and design. As long as you have a functional design with high-quality materials, you should receive a tool that will last you a lifetime.
However, there are plenty of knife-making brands like Gerber and Cold Steel offering survival shovels. If you rely on the craftsmanship and quality of a specific brand, choose the model that makes sense to you.
Survival Shovel FAQs
Can I use a survival shovel as a weapon?
Yes. While it’s a somewhat bulky tool, the shovel’s sharp point and edges make for a persuasive weapon in a self-defense situation. Some models come with multi-tools specifically designed for self-defense.
Where’s the best place to keep my survival shovel?
We recommend keeping multiple shovels in your kit for everyday use. Store one in your car’s trunk to dig out a wheel, keep one in your bug out bag for emergencies, and store one in your regular camping or survivalist gear.
Is a spade a shovel?
No, most people use these terms interchangeably, but they are two different items. A spade has a flat shovelhead, while the shovel comes to a point at the blade’s tip. Shovels are suitable for minor digging tasks, while spades are suited to moving debris like soils around your flowerbeds.
Where’s the best place to get my survival shovel?
We recommend getting your survival shovel from Amazon. Amazon has free, fast shipping for Prime members, and you get the benefit of Amazon buyer protection on your transaction. If the shovel isn’t the model you had in mind, Amazon has an easy returns process.
Survival Shovels – The Verdict
By now, you should have a good idea of the right survival shovel to suit your needs. However, we realize its challenging to settle on the right model when you have so much choice, even if it’s in this condensed review. If you’re still on the fence with your purchase decision, why not rely on our top picks?
- The iunio Folding Shovel wins our top spot for the best overall survival shovel in this review. You get a multi-tool shovelhead that’s useful for all kinds of tasks around the campsite or in a survival emergency. The compact design makes it easy to carry with you, and the lightweight materials won’t add too much weight to your pack.
- The Banores Folding Shovel wins our top spot for the best premium model in this review. One look at this shovel, and you know it’s a premium tool. This model’s collapsible design contains survival tools in the handle, giving you access to a bevy of useful items for the campsite. The thick handle gives you plenty of strength and reliability, regardless of your task.
- If you’re looking for the best budget model in this review, you can’t beat the US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool value. This compact, lightweight tool was an original issue for the US army.
If it’s good enough to satisfy soldiers’ needs, it’s going to give you everything you need around the campsite. You get serrated and sharpened edges on the shovel’s sides, making it ideal for use as a multi-tool around camp.