Our Guide to Getting the Best Camp Shovel After 2015
When you think of survival tools, you probably think of knives and hatches. But a shovel can be just as useful. Whether you need to dig yourself out of a hole (literally), pick your way through ice, or simply remove snow from your car, a shovel can come in handy when you least expect it.
United Cutlery UC2979 M48 Kommando Tactical Survival Shovel with Sheath
Our favorite for 2017
SOG Specialty Tools & Knives F08-N Entrenching Tool
A great value option
Military Survival Folding Shovel and Pick with Carrying Pouch for Camping
A great multi-purpose model
But how do you even buy a survival shovel? How do you begin to compare models? Here’s what to consider:
- Durability: Like any other survival tool, you want to make sure that your shovel can withstand the abuses of a harsh survival environment. Look for models made of high carbon steel, which are strong enough to tackle the toughest of jobs.
- Versatility: Do you simply want a shovel that can remove snow from your car, or do you want a model that can also do other things, like saw or chop (i.e. a survival multi tool)? Many survival shovels are designed to tackle multiple tasks, so know how much versatility you want before comparing models.
- Quality: Naturally, you want the best quality shovel you can buy. One way to gauge the quality is to look at reviews from users. Models with primarily positive reviews are a better option than those that have a lot of “so-so” or negative reviews.
Buying a survival shovel may seem like a simple and straightforward task, but with so many models and so many features to choose from, it can easily become overwhelming. We’ve gathered five of the best models on the market, so you can find the ideal one for you.
These 5 survival shovels are durable, versatile and designed for survival/emergency situations.
United Cutlery Kommando Tactical Survival Shovel – United Cutlery’s Kommando tactical survival shovel is bizarrely versatile – it looks great, too. With a virtually indestructible handle, this shovel can get you through emergency situation and even tackle light chopping tasks if necessary.
The nylon handle is injection molded and infused with 30% fiberglass for extreme durability. The head of the shovel is made of 2Cr13 stainless steel that’s tempered and coated with black oxide.
The shovel point edge is sharp, so you can dig through tough surfaces. On one side is a partially serrated edge, and the other side features a concave chopping edge. United Cutlery includes a nylon belt pouch for safekeeping.
If you’re looking for a survival shovel that can do more than just dig a hole, the Kommando tactical shovel is a smart choice.
SOG F08-N Entrenching Tool – A best-seller in camping shovels, the F08-N from SOG is a compact, folding shovel (and pick) that’s easy to carry on the go. The entire shovel spans 18-1/4 inches in length, and features a serrated edge on one side that’s ideal for slashing and cutting.
The triangle handle feels great in your hand, and when folded up, the F08-N takes up no more room than a stack of paper plates.
SOG includes a nylon sheath, too, so you can protect your shovel while camping, hiking, fishing or hunting.
The great thing about this shovel is that it’s incredibly affordable, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another model that’s as compact, yet still practical. This is the best folding survival shovel – period.
AAA 4005 – The AAA 4005 sport-utility shovel is exceptionally lightweight, and can be broken down into three pieces for easy transport. Made from aluminum, the shovel is ideal for digging out of snow or digging light, loose dirt. While it may not be ideal for digging holes (the shovel tip isn’t pointed), it’s compact and lightweight enough to bring along if you’re expecting snow.
The handle’s length can be adjusted from 25” to 32”, so you can choose just the right length for the job. And at just 1.3 lbs, this shovel won’t weigh you down if you carry it in a backpack.
Foho Folding Camping Trench Shovel – A versatile folding survival shovel with a rugged design. The Foho Folding Camping Trench Shovel can dig, chop, saw, pick, cut, pry and hammer. It can open bottles, too, and act as a regular shovel. At the bottom of the shovel handle is a compass.
The handle is made of steel, while the body is made of high carbon steel. When unfolded, the entire shovel spans 420 mm.
The soft rubber grip makes it easy and comfortable to handle the shovel. And when you’re done using it, you can fold it up, and store it in the included carrying pouch. The pouch features a loop that can be attached to a backpack or belt, so it’s easy to take with you on the go.
Fobachi Military Survival Folding Shovel – Another multi-purpose folding shovel, the Fobachi military folding shovel is ideal for survival situations. With a body made of high carbon steel and a durable steel handle, this shovel can chop, saw, pick, cut, hammer, pry, and more. It can even open bottles, too.
Fobachi also includes helpful accessories, such as an extension pipe that can extend the shovel’s handle. A whistle, fire starter, sawtooth knife, thickened spade, and a verbal grip handle are also included.
The great thing about this model is all of the accessories on the shovel itself can be folded up to fit into the included carrying pouch. Like the previous model, the pouch features a loop that could be attached to your backpack or belt clip.
This is one of the most versatile survival shovels on our list, and it comes at an affordable price.
Buyers Guide – How To Choose From All the Survival Shovels On the Market and Find the Right One for You
Finding a survival shovel is no easy task, but there are a few key things that you should be on the lookout for if quality and durability are your top priorities.
- Folding vs. Fixed: Survival shovels typically come in either a folding or fixed design. Some fixed models can be broken down into separate pieces for easy transport, but may not be as durable or reliable as true fixed models. Folding shovels are usually compact, but may lack the durability you need in survival situations – or when digging a hole in a tough surface. Decide what type of shovel you want, and that will help you narrow your choices down.
- Multi-purpose, or Simple: Do you want a simple shovel, or a versatile survival tool? Some shovels come with accessories, like the last model on our list), while others are simple shovels that can do little more than dig a hole. Versatile models are usually the best option, and many of these models have serrated edges for chopping or sawing in emergency situations. Others come with accessories that can transform the shovel into a number of different tools – all of which can be helpful in the wild or even if you’re just working at home in your garage.
- Price: Your budget is a natural consideration when looking for a shovel. Cheaper isn’t always better. That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive model, but you should choose one that fits in your budget and offers the quality you’re looking for.