Best Survival Shovels In 2020 Reviewed

What differentiates a survival shovel from any other shovel? A survival shovel may be the ultimate survival tool. The head of this shovel can be placed in a variety of positions for accomplishing a number of uses. These uses include digging, prying, bracing, shoveling, just to mention a few.

The shovel is probably the oldest tool used by mankind. It has been an exclusive tool for digging for the majority of history. This tool makes it easier to dig irrigation systems, troughs for sewers, foundations, and many other jobs that require digging.

This review of the 10 best survival shovels will help you to decide which digging tool is right for you.

In our opinion the 10 Best Survival Shovels Reviewed in 2020 are:

  1. SOG Folding Survivial Shovel - Elite E Tool folding Shovel
  2. SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel
  3. Glock Entrenching Shovel with Saw and Pouch
  4. US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Survival Shovel
  5. Gerber E-Tool Folding Survival Shovels
  6. M48 Tactical Shovel Entrenchment Tool
  7. Smittybilt Tri-Fold Survival Shovels
  8. Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel
  9. FOBACHI Military Survival Folding Shovel
  10. Schrade Stainless Steel Telescoping Survival Shovels
Table Of Contents

Survival Shovel Comparison

RANK
Picture
Name
Rating
#1

SOG Folding Survivial Shovel

SOG Folding Survivial Shovel - Elite E Tool folding Shovel

Durability: 99
Materials: 98.5
Grip: 99
Size: 99
Use: 98.5
Average: 98.8

#2

SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel – Entrenching Tool

SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel

Durability: 98
Materials: 97
Grip: 98
Size: 98
Use: 97.5
Average: 97.7

#3

Glock Entrenching Tool with Saw and Pouch

Glock Entrenching Shovel with Saw and Pouch

Durability: 97
Materials: 96
Grip: 95
Size: 97
Use: 96.5
Average: 96.3

#4

 US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel

US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Survival Shovel

Durability: 97
Materials: 96
Grip: 96
Size: 95
Use: 95.5
Average: 95.9

#5

Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade

Gerber E-Tool Folding Survival Shovels

Durability: 96
Materials: 95.5
Grip: 95
Size: 94.5
Use: 94
Average: 95

#6

M48 Tactical Shovel Entrenchment Tool

M48 Tactical Shovel Entrenchment Tool

Durability: 95
Materials: 94.5
Grip: 95
Size: 94
Use: 94.5
Average: 94.6

#7

Smittybilt Tri-Fold Shovel

Smittybilt Tri-Fold Survival Shovels

Durability: 94
Materials: 93.5
Grip: 94
Size: 94
Use: 93.5
Average: 93.8

#8

Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

Durability: 93
Materials: 92
Grip: 91
Size: 93
Use: 93
Average: 92.5

#9

FOBACHI Military Survival Folding Shovel

FOBACHI Military Survival Folding Shovel

Durability: 92
Materials: 91.5
Grip: 92
Size: 91
Use: 91
Average: 91.5

#10

Schrade Stainless Steel Telescoping Shovel

Schrade Stainless Steel Telescoping Survival Shovels

Durability: 91
Materials: 90.5
Grip: 90
Size: 91
Use: 90.5
Average: 90.6

Survival Shovel Reviews

1 SOG Folding Survivial Shovel - Elite E Tool folding Shovel

SOG Folding Survivial Shovel

Durability 99%
Materials 98.5%
Grip 99%
Size 99%
Use 98.5%
Average 98.8%

This is a survival shovel with a serrated edge. It is an Elite E-tool that is 26-inches long and is capable of 4 locking positions. This survival shovel behaves similar to a backhoe, trenching,  camp, snow, and spade shovel. The telescoping handles reduce down to 10.2 inches.

Camping Gear that is Multi-Purpose 

This survival shovel has a wood saw built in the handle which allows you to cut small branches. You can also use this tool like a hoe by angling the blade in an effort to break apart dirt and rocks.

Emergency Shovel for the Vehicle 

This emergency shovel has a nylon sheath, this shovel can be folded down and fit into. This is the perfect addition to your gear for backpacking.

Cost & Value 

The value of this survival shovel is much more than monetary. This SOG shovel will become your multitool for life. Tools made by SOG are constructed to last with a policy to take all replacement and repair requests as a serious consideration.

Pros:
  • This Shovels completely collapsible
  • Has a wood saw and hoe
  • Lightweight and folding for hiking/backpacking
  • Perfect for emergency vehicle use
  • All your tactical survival needs are considered
Cons:

2 SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel

SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel – Entrenching Tool

Durability 98%
Materials 97%
Grip 98%
Size 98%
Use 97.5%
Average 97.7%

This survival tool is a folding, entrenching shovel that is 18.25 inches long. It comes with a wood saw and a tactical shovel carrying case. It is the ideal tool a survivalist is going to need when they are off the grid.

A Little Larger Than your Hands 

This Survival Shovels not much larger than your hands when it is completely expanded. Yet, you will get a lot of work out of it. You can dig out of the sand or show when out camping or you can use it in your garden.

3- way Folding Design 

This little shovel can fold into three designs-  portable outdoor, hiking, or emergency shovel. It is the perfect tool to take along on your road trips or camping and won’t be too cumbersome to store.

Cost & Value 

You are going to find the value of this little shovel much greater than its costs. It is constructed of durable high-carbon steel. It is so small it can be transported in your backpack or on your belt.

Pros:
  • Small, compact, and lightweight
  • 3-way folding design
  • Constructed of high carbon steel
  • Built to last
  • Considerate of all repair and replacement requests
Cons:
  • Metal may bend after extreme usage
  • Not standard entrenching size

3 Glock Entrenching Shovel with Saw and Pouch

Glock Entrenching Tool with Saw and Pouch

Durability 97%
Materials 96%
Grip 95%
Size 97%
Use 96.5%
Average 96.3%

This is a versatile folding shovel that has a variety of functions and a multitude of properties. Weighing in at half the weight of the standard E Tool.

No Welding or Rivets 

There are no welding or rivets on this entrenching tool. This provides for greater strength and long lasting durability.

Telescopic Handle 

This tool has a high-impact, resistant polymer telescopic handle which provides outstanding ruggedness and strength.

Cost & Value 

You will be impressed by all this little entrenching tool has to offer. With a lockable, folding blade it can be positioned in four ways. You are going to find this tool very versatile and worth every penny spent on it.

Pros:
  • Four position, lockable blade
  • Telescopic handle that is extendable
  • There are no welding or rivets
  • Versatile with a multitude of functions
  • Handle made of high resistance polymer material
Cons:
  • Handle may bend
  • Locking blade doesn’t stay locked

4 US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Survival Shovel

 US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel

Durability 97%
Materials 96%
Grip 96%
Size 95%
Use 95.5%
Average 95.9%

This entrenching shovel made by US GI has been constructed with the military in mind. It is a genuine military issue created with only excellent workmanship and materials. This shovel is strong and guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Steel Blade With an Aluminum Handle 

The blade of this E-Tool entrenching shovel is made of steel with an aluminum handle. It also doubles as a saw, mattock, shovel, or ax.

Tri-fold Design

The shovel has a design that is tri-folding. It can collapse for ease in storing; folding down to a mere 9 inches and expanding out to 24 inches.  

Cost & Value 

You are going to be pleasantly surprised when you see the price of this little wonder tool. All the chores this tool can do will amaze you. It has an axe edge that is sharpened as well as a serrated saw edge. For a genuine military issue tool, you would expect a lot of higher prices

Pros:
  • Aluminum handle and steel blade
  • Genuine US Military Issue
  • The finish is a black powder coating
  • Design is tri-fold
  • Collapses simply for ease in storing/transport
Cons:
  • Mechanisms come loose
  • Doesn’t have extra locking mode

5 Gerber E-Tool Folding Survival Shovels

Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade

Durability 96%
Materials 95.5%
Grip 95%
Size 94.5%
Use 94%
Average 95%

This E-Tool made by Gerber is strong and steady made out of the highest quality materials for a dependable product. It provides extra digging power with a serrated blade on one edge.

Lightweight and Portable 

It Weighs in at a little over 2 pounds and only 9.37 inches in length when in the closed position. Making this a very simple tool to pack in and out when camping or hunting. You can take it to work or keep it in the shed. Whatever you plan to do with it, you will love its compact size and ease at fitting anywhere.

Locking Mechanism 

In an effort to ensure the user’s utmost safety, Gerber installs a locking mechanism that keeps it stabilized when open. This ensures you are safe when you put pressure on it when digging.

Cost & Value 

This little entrenching tool is going to give you a lot of value for the cost you pay. The Gerber name dates back to 1939 and has been provided quality products ever since. Not only to the American market but globally as well.

Pros:
  • Tough and lightweight
  • Shaft is anodized
  • Excellent for off-road emergencies
  • Locking safety mechanism
Cons:
  • Not good to use with saltwater and beach sand
  • Can be difficult for some to fold/unlock

6 M48 Tactical Shovel Entrenchment Tool

M48 Tactical Shovel Entrenchment Tool

Durability 95%
Materials 94.5%
Grip 95%
Size 94%
Use 94.5%
Average 94.6%

The M48 Tactical Shovel comes with an axe blade and sheath. It is a field tool with a variety of functions and is so much more than just a shovel.

The Ultimate Tactical Shovel 

This entrenching tool can also double up to become a weapon for defense if needed. The nylon handle is injection molded with 30-percent nylon and fiberglass for reinforcement.

Ideal for Outdoor Activities 

The perfect tool for doing light chopping and digging when camping. It can also be used as an emergency tool. It has a belt pouch made of nylon that has reinforcements.

Cost & Value 

The M48 Tactical Shovel has a head made of tempered 2Cr13 stainless steel that has a coating of hard, black oxide. This tool is going to prove itself to be well worth the cost. All the things this tool does to make your outdoor activities easier will prove its value.

Pros:
  • Excellent tool for self-defense
  • Head is tempered 2Cr13 stainless steel
  • Sharpened shovel point edge
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Ideal for camping or other outdoor activities
Cons:
  • May break easily
  • Slightly heavy for an E Tool

7 Smittybilt Tri-Fold Survival Shovels

Smittybilt Tri-Fold Shovel

Durability 94%
Materials 93.5%
Grip 94%
Size 94%
Use 93.5%
Average 93.8%

Smittybilt makes this tri-folding shovel to be completely functioning. It is a collapsible Military-grade tool with simple to grip handles.

Two-way Multiple Adjusting 

The body of this tool is made from a sturdy black powder coating. It also has two edges that are serrated for cutting or sawing. When fully open it is 26 inches long and folds down to only 9 inches, making storage simpler.

Carbon Steel Blade 

This Smittybilt 2728 Matte Black shovel has blades of carbon steel. The edges are double serrated and treated with heat for extra durability.

Cost & Value 

You will be pleasantly surprised when you see the price of this shoveling tool. This little tool has everything you need for your next camping or outdoor event. It even comes with a bag to store it in.

Pros:
  • Design is tri-folding for simple storage
  • The blade is of carbon steel
  • Edges are treated with heat/double serrated
  • Nylon handle is reinforced fiber
  • Includes a storage bag
Cons:
  • Not constructed durably
  • Folding mechanism no lasting

8 Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

Durability 93%
Materials 92%
Grip 91%
Size 93%
Use 93%
Average 92.5%

The Gerber Gorge Folding shovel has a mechanism that is push-button sliding. This is the ideal tool needed for outdoor activities as well as chores around the home.

Designed for Portability 

The folding down design of this shovel is the ideal portability element. It goes from an expanded size of 16.25 inches down to a mere 9.25 inches. This guarantees ease in storage and transporting. The handle also has a telescopic joint which folds down for added portability.

Performance is Versatile 

This folding shovel by Gerber is the ideal tool for a number of chores. You can use it to shovel away snow from around your vehicle’s tires, or to build mountain bike trails. It also functions as a hammer, perfect for securing stakes for a tent. This shovel is an excellent addition to any vehicle or home survival kit.

Cost & Value 

You will find the cost of this folding shovel surprisingly low. This shovel offers the consumer an excellent value far greater than monetary. You will love the comfort of the rubberized ergonomic, glass-filled, nylon overgrip. In addition to a versatile shovel, you also get a nylon bag for storing it in

Pros:
  • Functions as a hammer
  • Push-button slide designed mechanism
  • Durable carbon steel blade
  • Nylon drawstring storage bag included
  • Handle is ergonomic
Cons:
  • High price for the quality

9 FOBACHI Military Survival Folding Shovel

FOBACHI Military Survival Folding Shovel

Durability 92%
Materials 91.5%
Grip 92%
Size 91%
Use 91%
Average 91.5%

This military survival shovel by Fobachi comes with a pick and pouch for transporting it while camping, backpacking, fishing, or hiking. It is the ultimate tactical tool/entrenching/emergency vehicle tool.

Multiple Functions 

The Fobachi survival shovel can be used for digging, chopping, sawing, hammerings, prying, cutting, picking, shoveling and even a bottle opener.

Plentitude of Accessories 

This military survival shovel comes with plenty of accessories to aid in survival off the grid. This includes a whistle, fire starter, sawtooth knife, life hammer, thickened spade, extension pipe, and a handle made of rubber.

Cost & Value 

You are not going to be disappointed with all the value you get with this military survival shovel. It even includes a pouch with a loop for easy transport attachment to a backpack or belt.

Pros:
  • Multiple functions
  • The body is of a high-carbon steel
  • Steel handle
  • Many useful accessories
  • Original military issue E-Tool for entrenching
Cons:
  • Spear knife wasn’t made well

10 Schrade Stainless Steel Telescoping Survival Shovels

Schrade Stainless Steel Telescoping Shovel

Durability 91%
Materials 90.5%
Grip 90%
Size 91%
Use 90.5%
Average 90.6%

These survival shovels made by Schrade is stainless steel and telescoping. It is 16.6 inch long with a 7.4-inch shovel length. Ideal for hiking or any other outdoor activities you plan to take part in.

Pleasing Dimensions

When this shovel is fully collapsed it is 10 inches long. When opened up it extends to 16.6 inches–20 inches at complete capacity. Surprisingly, it is very lightweight at only 1 pound, 15.7 ounces.

Strong and Reliable 

These are two very important features to look for in a survival shovel. This one has a blade made from 3Cr13 S.S and has a T-shaped handle, which is black PP. It also has a polyester sheath that makes it convenient and rapid to get to.

Cost & Value

You are going to love the sense of security you get out of having this shovel on hand. You will be prepared, with edges that are sharpened. The whole unit collapses easily so you can store it away for transporting or later use

Pros:
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Polyester sheath gives rapid, simple access
  • Strategic handle design guarantees no slippage
  • Reliable 3Cr13 S.S blade
  • You are always prepared
Cons:
  • Handle makes a rattling sound

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Best Survival ShovelsDurability

When you buy a survival shovel you want to ensure it has been built to last. You want to feel secure in knowing should you be in an emergency situation your shovel will be sufficient. If you have a stainless model you will need to sharpen it from time to time to maintain its durability.

What makes a shovel durable is being made out of forged, stamped steel blades. Forged steel makes the most durable of shovels. In addition, what makes it even more durable is when it is tempered.

Material

The material your survival shovel is made with is what makes it so durable. The type of material determines whether it is a survival or tactical shovel that becomes an entrenching tool. This makes the shovel useful for digging.

Some shovel blades are made with stainless steel or high carbon steel. Often the blade is covered with a black paint coating, this prevents corrosion from occurring. If the blade is made with a solid sheet of metal it will be stronger than a thin sheet. This will keep it from bending when applying pressure digging.

The handle of your shovel should be metal or hard plastic. Metal is most durable, but if you want a lightweight shovel plastic is best.

Grip

When you are trying to dig your way out of a tight spot, you are going to need equipment that has a good grip. Shovels that have a fiberglass handle give the ultimate in comfort, allowing you to focus on the job at hand.

Size

The size of the survival shovel you purchase is another feature that is important. A shovel with a rounded tip permits the user to get into tighter areas. Some shovels with a round point have sharpened edges, this makes it easier to break up any tough dirt clumps you come across.

Use

A survival shovel has many uses. It can be used to dig a vehicle out of a tough spot if you get trapped in soft dirt or mud. It can also be used to dig a hole for a fire, or to throw dirt on a campfire you want to extinguish.  This type of shovel is very efficient for loosening up the soil, mud, and even snowy terrain.

Other Factors to Consider

Portability

We are all aware of the importance of a portable survival shovel. It is imperative that you are able to transport the shovel wherever you go easily. A folding shovel may seem odd to you, however, if you are able to fold it up you can easily store it in a backpack.

The weight of a survival shovel also affects the portability of it. The metal pieces on a shovel are obviously more durable; however, plastic makes it weigh less.

Expert tips/advice

Things to consider when buying a survival shovel

When you are looking to purchase a shovel for outdoor activities, there are some elements you need to keep in mind. Below is a list of some of the things to look for when buying your survival/tactical shovel:

  • The first thing and most important is what material it is made from the quality in which it is constructed.
  • To prevent bending under pressure, ensure the blade is one solid piece; avoid shovels that have a flimsy, thin metal blade.
  • Make sure the blade is either high-carbon steel or stainless steel that has an oxide covered paint to prevent rusting/corrosion.
  • Now, look at the handle. A metal one is more durable than plastic.

The next thing to think about is how easy the shovel to use is? The easier to use shovels are simply a straight handle attached to the blade. Sometimes a T or D grip is installed, this makes the shovel more user-friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best survival shovel?

A: There are a number of survival shovels that are considered to be the best. For example, these are a few of the best survival shovels:

  • IUNIO Military Portable folding survival shovel
  • US GI original E-Tool Survival Shovel
  • SOG Folding Shovel
  • Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated Edge Survival Shovel
  • Smittybilt 2728 Matte Black Survival Shovel

Q: Why do you need a shovel for camping?

A: You will find that a shovel is an essential item when camping because it can be used to place your tent accurately. If you need to dig a rain trench around the tent. Also to dig up any rocks in the way of placing the tent. Don’t forget, when nature calls and you are far off the grid, you are going to need a shovel to dig a hole and cover it.

Q: What is a tactical shovel?

A: The best tactical shovel can also act as a weapon for defense. A tactical shovel point is sharpened. There is a partially serrated edge on the other side and an edge that is concave on the other. The best tactical shovel can be an ideal camping tool as well as a weapon if need be.

Q: How much does an E Tool weigh?

A: The average entrenching tool weighs 650 g or 23 ounces. It is 630 mm or 25 inches long.

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SOG Folding Survivial Shovel

SOG Folding Survivial Shovel - Elite E Tool folding Shovel

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