If you’re looking for a top-notch, multi-functional, and efficient survival shovel to help you multitask in the wild, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve looked at some of the most popular folding shovel options to determine which one is the best survival shovel for camping, fishing, hunting, off-roading and even gardening!
Our Top Picks: Best Survival Shovels
Ok, so you’ve landed on this article so you probably already know what a blessing a survival shovel is, and you want one!
Whether you’re going camping, fishing, hunting, or off-roading, a survival shovel will surely become your favorite little helper.
Whether you want to cut up a few branches for your campfire, get your truck out of the mud or help a friend in need, a survival shovel can help you with it all.
In this article, we discuss the 8 best survival folding shovels that you will find on the market. Tried and tested, we rated all of these products out of 5 stars based on the features we liked and their overall quality.
Further down, we talk about all the attributes that can help you chose the best survival shovel. Then, we cover some of the most common questions people have about this particular tool so without further ado, let’s begin!
Quick Answers: Best Survival Shovels
1. Gerber E-Tool Folding Survival Shovel (Best Overall)
We’re not going to beat around the bush here, we love our Gerber Shovel! It’s exceptionally strong, robust and durable. It can dig through the hardest ground and it does the job flawlessly. We had to give it a 5 stars out of 5!
The Gerber E-Tool is made from high-quality carbon steel. The handle features multiple locking mechanisms which make the shovel safe and easy to use.
At just over 2 pounds, it folds down into three parts to only 9.4 inches in length when closed. It fits well in compact spaces where a regular size shovel wouldn’t fit.
The serrated edge on the head is also one of the best ones we’ve seen. You’ll find it easy to cut through grass, plants, and undergrowth, hard dirt or for cutting into ice! The shape of the blade also helps the Gerber E-Tool did into the ground more easily.
The Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade may be a little more expensive than other survival shovels but it’s known to be one of the best on the market. We’ve been using ours for the last 5 years and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone wanting a strong and durable folding shovel.
It does all the basics amazingly well. Simply put, it’s a folding survival shovel that’s the best at being a shovel. This is hands down the best survival shovel for camping, hiking, hunting, off-roading and even gardening.
2. Tyger Military Folding Shovel
If you’re looking for a super-strong folding survival shovel for camping, recoveries, and general use, the Tyger Auto may be the one you’re after. It’s compact, lightweight and fits perfectly in the back of a truck. This shovel is so strong you can dig up holes and saw branches off just as efficiently as you can open a beer bottle.
The Tyger Folding shovel has 16 tools compacted inside it such as a shovel, hook, hammer, scale, knife, fire starter, fish disgorger, whistle, and hacksaw.
The switch mechanism on the Tyger is the fastest we’ve seen in a tactical shovel. All you have to do is pull the slider so that you can switch between modes. We truly liked how smooth the transition was and how easy it was to adjust it.
The shovel weighs 3 pounds and packs down to 12.2 inches by 7.7 inches. You can extend it to three different lengths. The size can be adjusted to 24.4 inches, 30.5 inches and 36.6 inches.
The shovel’s glossy anodized aluminum handle feels strong and easy to work with.
We put it to the test so we could see if it was as sturdy and strong as it’s claimed to be. And oh boy! It was! We chopped, we dug and sawed. It does exactly what its meant to do and does it really well.
3. Fivejoy Survival Tactical Shovel Multitool
The Fivejoy Survival Multitool Shovel features a unique lock adjustment. You can adjust the angle of the shovel to 30, 85, or 180 degrees. It’s lightweight and easy to carry in a backpack or on your belt! This shovel is the real deal. It’s sturdy, robust and all the tools work really well.
If there was one attribute we had to pinpoint as our favorite in the Fivejoy Survival Multitool Shovel, it would be its lock adjustment. You can adjust the angle of the shovel to 30, 85, or 180 degrees which makes it convenient for different uses.
Made of Carbon Steel and Aerospace-Grade Aluminum, the Fivejoy Multitool Survival Shovel is built to do all the dirty work, literally! We tried to ‘overwork’ the shovel so we could see if it could handle the hardwork and it did!
The Fivejoy folding shovel tool offers 16 functions such a shovel, an ax blade, a saw edge, a whistle, a cutter, a scale, a fish scale, a mighty hammer, and a paracord!
We found the Fivejoy survival shovel to be a great tactical tool for camping. You can conveniently dig trenches, light a fire, dig your car tires out of snow, ice or mud, or use the shovel head as a glass breaker in case of an emergency.
We love how light it is at 1.2 pounds. You can easily fold it and store it in your backpack or the trunk of your vehicle. You can also attach the included carrying case to your belt when you’re hiking or hunting.
4. Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel (Best Multifunction Tool)
If you’re going camping and you want to save as much space as you can, the Sahara Sailor Unbreakable Tactical Shovel is your go-to tool! It features 23 tools nicely packed up into 1! It’s high quality and an exceptional all-in-one solution.
The first thing that we noticed with this folding shovel is how sturdy and strong it feels. The military-grade carbon steel knife base and the aerospace-grade aluminum tubes are ideal for heavy-duty work.
The shovel has a small lock on the side which helps to expand and fold the shovel easily with a small twist.
The Sahara Sailor Tactical Shovel consists of a shovel, a saw, cleaver, knife, bottle opener, whistle, fish scaler, flat-blade screwdriver, 4 size wrenches, and even an emergency hammer!
We think that this shovel is perfect for not only camping but other activities as well like hiking, hunting, boating, and fishing. This folding shovel is also useful for in-car emergencies!
Though we loved every aspect of this versatile folding shovel, we weren’t happy that it came without an instruction manual. Since it has so many tools compressed into a single tube; it can be hard for first-time users to work out what everything is for and how to use it.
5. Rhino USA Folding Shovel (Best Value For Money)
The Rhino USA folding shovel is sturdy, lightweight, compact, and the best value for money in our book. If you’re going for a hike and you want a small bag of convenience with all the essential gadgets, then this one is for you!
The Rhino USA Folding Shovel is made from carbon steel and is powder-coated to make sure it can withstand harsh impacts. Furthermore, the sharp rugged saw teeth help to dig as well as cut something up too!
The full length of the shovel is around 23 inches. However, when you fold it, it becomes as small as 9 inches x 6 inches. Besides, it comes with a carry bag that provides easy and safe storage.
The shovel only weighs 2 pounds which makes it easy to carry around in a backpack.
The only downside is that it doesn’t come with instructions to show you how to lock the shovel in place. In saying this, Rhino USA have published a video to explain how it works. We’ve added it to this review 🙂
6. Iunio Folding Survival Shovel (Best Value)
The Iunio Hiking, Backpacking Compact Shovel is the best value for money you can get on the market. It’s well-built, sturdy, and lightweight. It’s great for any outdoor sports lovers and gardeners.
This 17 inches long foldable shovel has been engineered precisely to assist numerous adventurers. Whether you want to start a fire, pick out a nail, dig a trench or seek directions, the iunio Camping Shovel can pretty much do it all!
The blade and handle are made from high-quality carbon steel which shows incomparable strength and rigidity. The handle is encased in rubber which makes the grip painless and comfortable.
We liked how the Iunio shovel can fit in a small bag that can go around your belt loop.
A feature we didn’t like as much was the ice pick. The pick is a loose part that doesn’t fit into the shovel when in use. All other parts are stored neatly inside the shovel when fully assembled, but not the pick.
It would have been nice if the ice pick was a bit smaller to fit in the extension bar, or if the carrier bag had a compartment for it.
7. Harvet Multi-Function Survival Shovel
If you’re looking for a tough, and compact shovel that you can take anywhere and everywhere, you should definitely check out the Harvet Multi-Function Camping Shovel. It comes with all the essential tools you need in a survival shovel.
The Harvet Multi-Function Folding Shovel is made from stainless steel which helps to make it more strong, sturdy and helps to keep the rust away.
You can assemble the shovel with three different methods. The size can be adjusted into 15.27, 22 or 35 inches. Also, the tube can be bent at an angle of 45, 90, and 180.
You can use it as a shovel as well as a hammer, knife, saw, and a screwdriver. The blades including the saws are really sharp.
Given its compact size, we found it easy to carry and to store in the back of our truck. It could be a bit heavy for a backpacker though. It weighs close to 4 pounds and it could get heavy to carry around in a backpack.
8. Redcamp Folding Shovel
The Redcamp Folding Camping shovel is a simple, no-fuss folding shovel. Dig, Shovel, Hammer and Saw. The Redcamp Camping Shovel works really well. It’s sturdy and easy to use.
The shovel measures 22.8 inches when it’s completely extended and it weighs 2.5 pounds. It may be slightly heavy for just a shovel but it works efficiently nonetheless.
You can use it as a shovel, a pick, a saw, or a hoe. It’s made from Carbon steel, it’s strong, sturdy and can tolerate the toughest conditions. We liked that you can rotate the shovel at 90 degrees as well.
We were surprised by how easy it is to set up. You can fold up the shovel twice into a small package which makes it super compact.
The Redcamp shovel can dig into any type of ground regardless of how dry or frozen it might be. With its sleek and sharp blades, it can get to the base of the weeds in your garden and also get you out of trouble when you venture off-road.
The weight was the only negative we could find in this tool! Other than that, we are very happy with its construction and portability!
Buying Guide: Best Survival Shovels
If you’re confused about which survival shovel to buy out of these 8 then don’t worry! We made this specific section so that we can answer all your queries and give you an answer that can clear any doubt in your mind.
Advantages of a Folding Survival Shovel
If you’re searching for a folding survival shovel, you already have an idea of what it is and why you want one.
There are a lot of ways that a survival shovel can be useful. The points below are just some of the basic tasks that you can do using this tool.
A Survival or Tactical Shovel Can:
- Help you move rocks away from your campsite.
- Shovel snow out of your way.
- Pull out weeds from your garden.
- Start a fire while you’re camping.
- Call for help. Some Shovels come with an emergency whistle.
- Be used as a hammer.
- Cut branches or ropes.
- Scale a fish.
- Find your way in the woods.
- Open a bottle.
How To Choose The Best Survival Shovel or Tactical Shovel
Each one of us has different preferences, likes, and dislikes. In this section, we will try to help you establish all the important features to look out for in this multi-purpose tool.
We’ve searched the market and found that the following 6 attributes that can help you choose the best survival shovel for your needs.
Type of Shovel
You might have noticed from the above review section that each of the survival shovels come with different tools. While some tools like a whistle, blade, and hammer are common in a tactical shovel, other tools like a fish scale, a fire starter, a saw, and paracord are present in some more advanced survival shovels while not in others.
So before buying any survival shovel, you need to make a list of all the tools you would find useful to have. Categorize each of the components by how important it is for you. This will help you narrow down your search and help you choose which tools are important to you and which aren’t.
Another technique that can help you choose the tools you require can be by thinking about its purpose. Do you want it for camping? Gardening? Car emergencies? Figuring out the purpose of the device will massively help you decide which features you want in your survival shovel.
Material and Construction
The material of the blade as well as the tube holds paramount importance! You need a shovel that is strong, robust, and long-lasting and can work in any type of condition. Furthermore, you want a product that’s resistant to water damage, rust, and corrosion.
Some of the most effective, damage resistant and tough materials which are used to make shovels are as follows:
Carbon steel is usually used to make the head of the shovel and the knife. This type of steel is usually stronger than typical steel. Furthermore, it usually has a powder coating which helps to make it resistant to corrosion.
Stainless steel is heavier than carbon steel but works just as good. It’s also popular for its corrosion-resistance qualities.
Like you might have noticed, Aluminum is usually used to make the tubes or handles of the shovel. It’s famous for being a lightweight metal that is strong and sturdy.
Additionally, the handle of the shovel should ideally have a rubber casing. Many people prefer it since it gives you a blister-free grip of the shovel.
You must have read the word ‘Military-grade’ in our reviews. Military-grade types of equipment are made for heavy-duty work. Typically it’s resistant to rust, splinters, and water damage.
Ease of Use
Invest in a unit that’s easy and convenient to use.
Always note the length of the shovel when it’s in operational mode. You need a folding shovel that you can use without having to bend down or get on your knees. Furthermore, a well-griped, anti-slip, and comfortable handle should be your top priority as well.
You do not want a shovel that might slip from your hands when you’re digging a trench or cutting up some branches. Thus, a slippery handle can become hazardous!
We recommend that you buy a shovel that can easily be folded into a compact form. This will make it easy to carry it around. Furthermore, it takes little to no space to store.
Survival shovels that are adjustable to certain angles come in handy too. Most of the folding shovels on our list have this feature too. While some shovel heads might adjust only to 90 degrees, others can adjust to 3 or 4 different positions (30, 85, 180 degree angles).
Survival shovels are versatile. They come in every shape, size, and color. Thus, make sure you choose one that has the ideal size for your use. By size, we mean the size of the blade of the survival shovel.
- Bigger blades help to finish tasks quicker. So opt for a shovel that has a bigger blade.
- The standard length of a survival shovel is 20”. However, if you are tall, opt for the one that has at least 30” in length.
Since you will be carrying around this little yet useful tool whether you’re camping, hiking, hunting, or even gardening, it needs to be light in weight. It should also be easy to store as well as carry.
The ideal weight of a survival shovel is around 1-2 lbs. In addition, most of these tools come in a small carry bag that you can also attach to your belt loop.
Typically, since the shovel is foldable, you can easily place it in a small and compact place such as a backpack or the glove compartment of a car. You can also throw it into your travel bag or in the trunk of your car with other luggage.
Thus, buy a folding shovel that’s lightweight, and that comes in a carry bag.
Also see: Best EDC Backpack for Everyday Carry
Though you should give more importance to the features and the quality of a product rather than the price, we cannot ignore the fact that good-quality materials tend to be a bit pricier.
For example, a plastic shovel might cost you less than ten dollars, but it may not last for a long time. On the other hand, carbon steel shovels might be a bit more expensive, but they can last for years.
Frequently asked questions: Folding Shovels
Q1. Why Should I Get a Survival Shovel?
Whether you’re going camping, hunting, fishing, or off-roading, a survival shovel can assist you in many ways. You cut up branches for your campfire, start a fire, call out for help, and much more.
You can get an all-in-one tool that’s lightweight, compact, portable, and versatile. A survival shovel is the kind of thing you didn’t know you needed until you get one!
Q2. What can I use a Survival Shovel for?
Here are 5 useful ways to use a survival shovel:
Cut Branches – The saw portion on the side of a survival shovel’s head has a serrated edge. You can use it to cut branches for firewood or to build a shelter.
Start a Fire – In some survival shovels you will find that the handle portion unscrews and has a fire starter stored inside. All you need to do is strike the knife on the flint to create a spark, and get those s’mores roasting!
Dig a Poopy-Doopy Hole – If you do any wild camper or backpacking, you know that you don’t have a lot of choices when it comes to doing your business in the woods. Simply put, you need to dig a cat hole with a shovel and cover it up when you’re done. A survival shovel often comes with a trenching tool which helps make this process as painless as possible.
Break Ice – Some survival shovels come with an ice pick. In the winter you can break the ice on a lake the collect drinking water or for ice fishing.
Get Unstuck – If you like to venture off-road, there may come a time where you get stuck in sand, mud or snow. With a survival shovel, you can clear the tires and axles to free yourself up and be on your way.
Q3. How much weight can a survival shovel handle?
This really depends on the material used in the shovel’s construction. Some can handle the weight of large rocks, while others only have the capacity to scoop dirt, sand, and snow. If you plan on digging out rocks, look for a survival shovel made from military-grade carbon steel as these are among the strongest on the market.
Q4. Which survival shovel is the best on wet and dry dirt?
Wet dirt takes a lot of effort. It’s thick, heavy, and sticky. Whereas, dry dirt is comparatively much easier to dig out since it’s just soil. If you want to be able to dig out wet soil with the least effort, you should get a shovel that has sharp blades like the Sailor Shovel.
Q5. What is a trenching Tool?
A lot of survival shovels include a trenching tool. A trenching tool, as the name suggests, is for digging out trenches that are narrow flat-bottomed 4 inches wide, and up to 18 inches deep hole. A trenching tool comes in handy when you want to dig a cat hole.
Final Thoughts: Best Folding Shovel
A Survival Shovel is not only useful for performing various tasks around the campsite, it can help you survive in the wild. Whether you need to call out for help, cut up branches, or dig out the soil, this tool is a lifesaver!
If we look at the shovels we’ve reviewed here, we believe that the best survival shovel is the Gerber E-Tool Survival Spade. It does all the basics amazingly well and is simply the best at being a shovel. This is hands down the best survival shovel for camping, hiking, hunting, off-roading and even gardening.
We also really like the Tyger Multifunction Camping Shovel and the Fivejoy Survival Shovel Multi Tool. They’re also really well-made and they’ve proved to be great for sawing, digging, chopping, starting a fire, and calling out for help.
We hope you’ve found our article useful in choosing the ideal folding survival shovel for your needs. Happy exploring!