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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

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

iunio Folding Shovel, Portable, Camping Multitool, Foldable Entrenching Tool, Collapsible Spade, for Backpacking, Trenching, Hiking, Survival, Car Emergency (Premium E-Tool)
  • 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: Off-roading, 4-Wheeling, SUVing, Backpacking, Expeditionists, Tent Camping, Pop-up Camping, RV Camping, Cadets, Hikers, Hunters, Fisherman, Gardeners, Gold Digger, Motorcyclists. This folding shovel is assembled practicability, functionality and security in it.
  • Extension Bars - Features a regular shovel doesn't even have, all in this convenient folding shovel: Shovel Board, Hexagonal Wrench, Saw, Bottle Opener, Nail Extractor, Hoe, Fish Scaler Tool, Emergency Whistle, Fire Bar. Extension Bar included: Except being an ordinary folding shovel, you can extend this shovel to a comfortable size for standing up digging. You can choose the length of shovel by adding less or more extensions according to your height.
  • Multifunctional - Ideal for camping, hiking, snow, self-defense, backpacking, fishing, hunting, gardening outdoor activities. Also great for anyone to use, gardeners, survivalists, hunters, hikers, campers. This Folding Shovel is also an ideal entrenchment tool for Field Survivalists, Disaster Recovery Staff, Truck driver.
  • Sturdy & Durable - The 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. This shovel has passed the durability tests and our destruction tests.
  • Portable & Compact - This 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 shovel folds up to small part. 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!!!

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

Folding Shovel, BANORES Camping Shovel Lengthened Handle and Larger Thicker Shovelhead Survival Shovel Multitool with Storage Pouch for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Fishing, Emergency
  • Thicken & Lightweight Survival Shovel: Enlarged and thickened shovelhead, the size is 7.08x6.30 inch. The thickness is 3mm, which is stronger than other camping shovels on the market. Hard and Firm, sturdy and Durable, no distortion. Hardness up to 48±.
  • Lengthen & Portable Folding Shovel: The shovel is only 9.84 inch when folded, which is lightweight and portable. When extended, the shovel can be up to 37.6 inches meet your any needs. Great for camping, backpacking, hiking, off-roading, fishing, emergency situations, hunting, gardening and more.
  • Thicken Extension Handle: The handle thickness is 7mm, and made of high carbon steel. It has high strength and wear resistance, which can prevent the surface from oxidizing and rusting, enough to withstand the harshest conditions.
  • All-in-one Multi-Tool: Including shovel, stick, wrench, cutter, saw, hoe, screwdriver, bottle opener, whistle, fire starter, ice piton, scraping fish scales, and compass. Perfect for digging, chopping, sawing, cutting, picking, hammering, and even bottle opening.
  • Shovel Lock Adjustment: Multi-Angle can be adjust and switch. The shovel head is folded at 45°and can be used as a hook; The shovel head is folded 90°, which can be used as a hoe; And when the shovel head is extended, it can be used as a shovel. Be prepared for any situation.

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

US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel
  • 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

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.

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.

Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • Assembling and dissembling the handle can take time

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Banores Folding Shovel

Survivalists demanding the best performance from their equipment should consider the 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.

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.

Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • Premium Price Tag

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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.

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.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • 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
Cons:
  • Not as many functions as other models

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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.

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.

Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • No multi-functional design

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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.

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.

Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • Not enough multi-tool functionality

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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.

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.

Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • Not enough multi-tool functionality

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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.

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.

Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • Not enough multi-tool functionality

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Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

This compact survival shovel comes from the trusted Gerber brand; if it’s good enough for Bear Grylls, it’s good enough for you. You get a short 16.25-inch overall length for plenty of leverage and a lightweight, compact carry.

This model features a carbon steel shovelhead with a pointed tip. The thread-locked handle ensures you get a stable tool to work with, and the large head on the handle shaft makes it easy to control the shovel.

Pros:
  • 16.25-inch overall length
  • Non-slip handle head
  • Tri-fold design
  • Threaded locking system
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Includes a carry bag
Cons:
  • No serrated edges

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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.

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.

Pros:
  • 21.3-inch overall length
  • Affordable
  • 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
Cons:
  • Carry bag looks cheap

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Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel, Unbreakable Tactical Shovel-180 Degree Folding Shovel-Camping Shovels - 23 in 1 Survival Shovel Multifunctional
  • 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
  • Mufti-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
Bestseller No. 2
BANORES Camping Shovel Axe, Multifunctional Folding Shovel and Survival Axe 19.37-38.97inch Lengthened Handle High Carbon Stainless SteeL with Storage Pouch for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Emergency
  • Thicken & Lightweight Survival Shovel: Enlarged and thickened shovelhead, the size is 7.08x6.30 inch. The thickness is 3mm, which is stronger than other camping shovels on the market. Hard and Firm, sturdy and Durable, no distortion. Hardness up to 48±.
  • Tough Hiking Axe – 3CR13 stainless steel camping axe is a mix of chromium and carbon, making it ultra-strong and rust resistant. The sharp blade makes mincemeat of both hard and softwood chopping projects. You can split firewood, hack off branches, use in self-defense, or break out of a vehicle with this tactical axe.
  • Lengthen & Portable Folding Shovel: The shovel is only 9.05 inch when folded, which is lightweight and portable. When extended, the shovel can be up to 38.97 inches meet your any needs. Great for camping, backpacking, hiking, off-roading, fishing, emergency situations, hunting, gardening and more.
  • Thicken Extension Handle: The handle thickness is 7mm, and made of high carbon steel. It has high strength and wear resistance, which can prevent the surface from oxidizing and rusting, enough to withstand the harshest conditions.
  • All-in-one Multi-Tool: Including shovel, axe, stick, wrench, cutter, saw, hoe, screwdriver, bottle opener, whistle, fire starter, ice piton, scraping fish scales, spear and compass. Perfect for digging, chopping, sawing, cutting, picking, hammering, and even bottle opening.
Bestseller No. 3
Mempa Multi-Purpose Folding Shovel 23-in-1 Ultimate Survival Tool
  • 23-IN-1 MULTIFUNCTION TOOL - Mempa’s Multi-Tool Shovel includes 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. Be prepared for any situation!
  • COMPACT AND PORTABLE - This shovel weighs just 1.94 lbs and measures only 9 * 6.5 * 1.8 inches when stowed, but extends to 29” in length when fully assembled, giving you the leverage you need to get tough jobs done.
  • BUILT TO LAST-Forged from Manganese steel and 404 stainless steel, Mempa’s Multi-Tool shovel is made to last and is constructed to withstand heavy duty entrenching and digging jobs. The lock system ensures the blade stays put at 0°, 90°, or 180° angles, keeping you safe and protected.
  • VERSATILE - Great for camping, backpacking, hiking, off-roading, fishing, survival, emergency situations, RVs, military, law enforcement, hunting, gardening, and more!
  • WARRANTY - We stand behind our products. Mempa’s Tactical Multitool Shovel is backed by a 1 year no questions asked warranty. You break it, we replace it.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Tyger Auto Shovel TG-SV8U3217 Military Heavyduty Folding Compact Tool with 16-in-1 Multifunction for Off-Roading, Camping, Outdoor, Survivalist and Emergency
  • Why TYGER ? US registered patent design shovel forged to last from military grade solid carbon steel and aerospace grade anodized aluminum tubes.
  • Comes with unique instant switch mechanism. Simply pull the slider to switch modes in seconds. Fast and Sturdy!
  • 16-in-1 multifunction for Off-roading, Camping, Hiking, 4-Wheeling, SUVing, Backpacking, Fishing, Disaster Recovery, Expeditionists, RV Camping, Cadets, Scouts, Military Personnel, Hikers, Camper, Hunter, Fisherman, Gardener, Survivalist, Truck driver, Motorcyclist. Be prepared for any situation!
  • Need extension? Extension handle (TG-SV8U3217EH) is available for purchase. Also, this compact shovel can be easily stored in your vehicle to help you dig out tires or break glass in emergencies. The included storage bag allows you to carry the shovel for any outdoor adventures.
  • 1 Year TYGER No-Hassle Warranty for manufacturer defect.
Bestseller No. 5
Folding Shovel, BANORES Camping Shovel Lengthened Handle and Larger Thicker Shovelhead Survival Shovel Multitool with Storage Pouch for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Fishing, Emergency
  • Thicken & Lightweight Survival Shovel: Enlarged and thickened shovelhead, the size is 7.08x6.30 inch. The thickness is 3mm, which is stronger than other camping shovels on the market. Hard and Firm, sturdy and Durable, no distortion. Hardness up to 48±.
  • Lengthen & Portable Folding Shovel: The shovel is only 9.84 inch when folded, which is lightweight and portable. When extended, the shovel can be up to 37.6 inches meet your any needs. Great for camping, backpacking, hiking, off-roading, fishing, emergency situations, hunting, gardening and more.
  • Thicken Extension Handle: The handle thickness is 7mm, and made of high carbon steel. It has high strength and wear resistance, which can prevent the surface from oxidizing and rusting, enough to withstand the harshest conditions.
  • All-in-one Multi-Tool: Including shovel, stick, wrench, cutter, saw, hoe, screwdriver, bottle opener, whistle, fire starter, ice piton, scraping fish scales, and compass. Perfect for digging, chopping, sawing, cutting, picking, hammering, and even bottle opening.
  • Shovel Lock Adjustment: Multi-Angle can be adjust and switch. The shovel head is folded at 45°and can be used as a hook; The shovel head is folded 90°, which can be used as a hoe; And when the shovel head is extended, it can be used as a shovel. Be prepared for any situation.

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.


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A Patriot, Life-Long Survivalist & now full-time editor at Vinjatek

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