Last Updated: May 11, 2021

Best Survival Shovel in 2021

A survival shovel doesn’t always come to mind when you’re packing essentials for a camping trip into the outdoors. But, once you own one and see the benefits, you’ll never leave home without one again. A survival shovel is one of the most useful tools you can take along and it can get you out of trouble in a way that not many other tools can.

A survival shovel will help you dig a latrine, make a fire pit, channel moving water, setup, and unset camp but it’s not only useful around camp. You can dig out your car if you get stuck, avoid flooding, make pit traps, and more. There’s a wide range of survival shovels on the market and some come with some extra tools and features that make them even more useful.

Our Top Picks

We have put this review together of the best survival shovels on the market so you can find the best survival shovel for you. Most of them fold up to save space and come with extra features, we hope you find them useful.

Top Product Overview

Smittybilt 2728 Matte Black Tri-Fold Shovel R.U.T. Recovery Utility Tool
  • Tough
  • Compact - folds to 9 inches
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iunio Folding Shovel and Camping Axe Tool Kit, with Carrying Bag, Multitool Spade, Survival Hatchet for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Entrenching, Car Emergency
Best Shovel Multi-tool
  • Shovel & multi-tool
  • Length adjustable handle
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SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel – Entrenching Tool 18.25 Inch Foldable Shovel Camping Shovel w/ Wood Saw Edge and Tactical Shovel Carry Case (F08-N),black
  • Very compact
  • Lightweight
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US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel
  • Heavy duty
  • Survives longer than most
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GERBER E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated Edge [30-000075],black
  • Great for digging hard areas
  • Excellent serrated edge
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Rhino USA Survival Shovel w/Pick - Heavy Duty Carbon Steel Military Style Entrenching Tool for Off Road, Camping, Gardening, Beach, Digging Dirt, Sand, Mud & Snow. (Folding Shovel)
  • Tough
  • Adjustable head angle
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WF WU FANG Survival Shovel Multitool, Camping Shovels High Carbon Steel Folding Shovel, Outdoor Military Tactical Shovel with Storage Pouch for Hiking, Backpacking, Emergency, Garden etc
  • Multi-tool
  • Very versatile
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Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel [22-41578]
  • Light
  • Portable
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FOBACHI Military Folding Shovel and Pick with Carrying Pouch, Multi Purpose for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Gardening - Tactical Army Entrenching Tool, Trench Shovel, Survival Steel Spade
  • Two spade angles
  • Multi-tool
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Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Camp Shovel Tool for Camping, Survival and Outdoors, Special Forces Shovel
  • Light
  • Strong
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Our Favorite Survival Shovels


Best On A Budget

Smittybilt Tri-Fold Shovel

Smittybilt 2728 Matte Black Tri-Fold Shovel R.U.T. Recovery Utility Tool

The Smittybilt Tri-Fold Shovel is a great choice when it comes to survival shovels. The blade is made from heat-treated carbon steel making it extremely tough. It’ll punch through the hard ground with ease and get you out of a tight spot when you need it.

The head comes with two serrated edges on one side that helps you break ground and cut through any roots you may find in your way. The handle is as robust as the head thanks to the fiber-reinforced nylon, this is key when you need to dig in hard places, the last thing you want is the handle snapping.

The tactical shovel folds up to 9 inches and when packed in the included carry bag it’s easily packed in the back of your car or in your backpack. The tri-fold system is very robust and you don’t need to worry about it failing when you most need it.

The only drawback is that the joints on this folding shovel loosen easily and you’ll have to tighten it up quite often.

Overall, it’s an awesome survival shovel at an amazing price.

Pros

  • Tough
  • Compact - folds to 9 inches
  • Durable
  • Perfect for camping/offroad
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Loosens often

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.6 lbs
  • Dimensions: 11 x 6.9 x 2.8 inches
  • Material: Carbon steel
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Best Shovel Multi-tool

Iunio Folding Shovel

iunio Folding Shovel and Camping Axe Tool Kit, with Carrying Bag, Multitool Spade, Survival Hatchet for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Entrenching, Car Emergency

The Iunio Folding Shovel has been made to military-grade specifications and will have you back no matter the situation. It’s also not just a shovel and comes with an array of extra features that make it more of a multi-tool.

The head is made from high carbon steel making it tough and very durable. It’ll be quick and easy to set up camp, dig a latrine, or quickly dig the car out of a sticky situation. The length of the handle is adjustable and comes in a few parts so you can find the most comfortable digging length to suit you.

The extra features that come with this survival shovel include a hexagonal wrench, saw, bottle opener, nail extractor, hoe, fish scaler tool, emergency whistle, and a fire Bar.

All of these together with the shovel and handle fold up into a neat carrying case that you can either clip to your belt or slip into your backpack. It breaks down to a very small carrying size making it perfect to tag along on any outdoor adventure.

The only negatives around this folding shovel multi-tool are that the compass can stick and the handle can loosen, meaning you may have to stop to tighten it. Luckily, they have extremely good customer service and will sort out any queries and complaints you might have.

Pros

  • Shovel & multi-tool
  • Length adjustable handle
  • High-grade tool
  • Light
  • Compact
  • Durable
  • Good value

Cons

  • Compass can stick
  • Handle loosens

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 7.7" X 5.3" X 3.1inches
  • Material: High carbon steel
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SOG Folding Survival Shovel

SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel – Entrenching Tool 18.25 Inch Foldable Shovel Camping Shovel w/ Wood Saw Edge and Tactical Shovel Carry Case (F08-N),black

The SOG Folding Survival Shovel is one of the most compact shovels on the market and folds down to the size of your hand and is therefore very portable.

It folds down into three sections with ease and pops back up to make a very reliable survival shovel. The whole thing is made from carbon steel to give you the ultimate durability and the head features some extras too.

The head of this folding shovel has a wood saw blade on one side and a rotating spade shovel blade to use as a pick or hoe. That’s a lot of versatility in one shovelhead and it’s ideal for camping, digging snow, sand, and just about anything else you might want to dig up.

This tactical shovel folds out to 18.25 inches which is great for camping and portability but maybe a little small for heavy digging. The head can also bend, so it’s certainly better for softer ground.

Overall a neat, compact, well-priced survival shovel.

Pros

  • Very compact
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Multi-purpose head

Cons

  • Short
  • Can bend

Product Information

  • Weight: 25.4 oz
  • Dimensions: 12 x 9 x 3inches
  • Material: High carbon steel
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US GI Military Shovel

US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel

The US GI Military Shovel is ideal for heavy-duty work as it’s designed for military tasks such as entrenching. The head/blade is made from steel and is coated with a black powder finish.

The head can be locked into multiple angles from 45 t0 180 degrees making it an incredibly versatile tool. At 45 degrees it’s an ideal grappling hook, at 90 a seat or pick, and at 180 a heavy-duty shovel. There is also a sharpened axe and saw edge on the head to help you get through roots and chop some wood if you need to.

The bolt that allows you to change the angles is very tight on arrival and will need some lubricating. It’s also recommended to sharpen the blade on arrival too as it’s a little blunt out of the box.

The shovel folds into three parts making it very compact and perfect for taking along in your backpack. Overall it’s an excellent survival shovel that is better at heavy-duty work than most on the market.

Pros

  • Heavy duty
  • Survives longer than most
  • Multi-purpose head
  • US Military issue
  • Compact
  • Multiple head locking angles

Cons

  • Serrated edge not so useful
  • Lubricate & sharpen on arrival
  • No carry case inlcuded

Product Information

  • Weight: 2 lb
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.1 x 2.9 inches
  • Material: Steel
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Best Overall

Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade

GERBER E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated Edge [30-000075],black

The Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade is a little expensive when compared to most survival shovels but it is known to be one of the best out there.

The thing that makes this survival shovel a bit better than the rest is that it does all the basics exceptionally well. Gerber has made a survival shovel that’s the best at being a shovel.

To start, its made from exceptionally high-quality carbon steel. It’s exceptionally reliable, robust, durable, and perfect for digging through hard ground.

The serrated edge on the head is also one of the best around and you’ll find it easy to cut through roots that might get in your way. The serrated edge is so good, it’s also great at cutting branches or clearing a path through the bush.

The handle features multiple locking mechanisms that ensure you’ll suffer no injuries while using the shovel for any task. It folds down into three parts and is super portable at only 9.5 inches in length.

This is the perfect survival shovel for all occasions and is especially ideal if you’re venturing into harsh environments.

Pros

  • Great for digging hard areas
  • Excellent serrated edge
  • Durable
  • Quality steel
  • Added safety mechanism
  • Light
  • Compact

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No sheath included

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.25 lb
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 6 x 2.13 inches
  • Material: Carbon steel
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Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel

Rhino USA Survival Shovel w/Pick - Heavy Duty Carbon Steel Military Style Entrenching Tool for Off Road, Camping, Gardening, Beach, Digging Dirt, Sand, Mud & Snow. (Folding Shovel)

The Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel is made a father and sin company out of California that wants you to have the best experience with their products. It’s always nice to support home grow family businesses and they even give you a lifetime guarantee.

This survival shovel is made from high-quality carbon steel. It’s tough and very versatile. The shovel head features a sharp serrated edge for getting through routes and clearing paths. It can be adjusted to any angle from closed to 180 degrees with the simple twist locking mechanism.

The adjustable angle feature means that the shovel can be used as a grappling hook, hoe, pickaxe, a seat, and a shovel. There is a folded pickaxe built in that you can easily slide out when locking the head at 90 degrees. This can come in especially useful when trying to break hard ground.

The folding shovel folds up into a neat 9×6 included carry case, perfect for slipping into your backpack and putting under your car seat.

Overall it’s a great shovel that’s American made and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Pros

  • Tough
  • Adjustable head angle
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Versatile
  • Light
  • Compact

Cons

  • Not for heavy work

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.2lb
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6 inches
  • Material: Carbon teel
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Wufang Camping Shovel

WF WU FANG Survival Shovel Multitool, Camping Shovels High Carbon Steel Folding Shovel, Outdoor Military Tactical Shovel with Storage Pouch for Hiking, Backpacking, Emergency, Garden etc

The Wufang Camping Shovel is a bit of a ninja when it comes to being a tactical survival shovel as its tubular handle design allows it to store a lot more survival tools up its sleeve. But before we get into the extras, how does it do as a shovel?

The head is made from high alloy steel that’s very hardy and tough. It has a serrated saw blade on one side to get through roots and branches, while the tips are diverted to help you break up hard soil.

The handle is adjustable in length thanks to the tubular design, this means you can customize your height for comfort. Within the handle are all kinds of extras and working from the top down, here is what you get: a compass, glass breaker, double head screwdriver, magnesium rod flint, bottle opener, knife, and a fish scaler.

This camping shovel has so many functions, it’s quite hard to keep track of, and you might think it would be heavy or awkward to carry around but it’s not. The whole setup packs down into an included carry case that’s 10X7 inches and only weighs 2.65 lbs.

Pros

  • Multi-tool
  • Very versatile
  • 16 functions
  • Durable
  • Comes with a pouch

Cons

  • Not for heavy work

Product Information

  • Weight: 2.65 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.1 x 2.6 inches
  • Material: High Alloy Steel
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Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel [22-41578]

The Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel is another well thought out and easy use tool from Gerber. It’s light, portable, and perfect for camping.

The shovel head and shaft are made from durable carbon steel that’ll help you get through the soil quickly and easily. It is a straight spade and doesn’t feature a serrated saw edge for getting through roots or clearing branches.

The handle comes with a rubber grip to ensure nothing slips while you’re working and it also makes long hours of digging a lot more comfortable. The handle also has a hammer feature to help you bash your tent pegs in with.

The shovel folds up into a neat nylon pouch, is light and easy to carry. The only major drawback is that the joining bracket where the head meets the shaft is a little thin. This makes it a little vulnerable to heavy work.

Overall a great military folding shovel for camping, but not much more.

Pros

  • Light
  • Portable
  • Hammer function
  • Great for camping
  • Ribber grip
  • Durable

Cons

  • Joining bracket is thin
  • No serrated edge

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.67 lbs
  • Dimensions: 13.8 x 5 x 2.9 inches
  • Material: Carbon Steel
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FOBACHI Military Survival Folding Shovel

FOBACHI Military Folding Shovel and Pick with Carrying Pouch, Multi Purpose for Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Gardening - Tactical Army Entrenching Tool, Trench Shovel, Survival Steel Spade

The FOBACHI Military Survival Folding Shovel is another survival shovel that doubles up a multi-tool. It’s also one of the lightest and most compact in the review, making it extremely portable.

The shovel is made from high carbon steel and the shovel head features a bottle opener and a serrated saw edge for cutting through roots or branches. The head can also be held at a 90-degree angle and combined with the foldable pick makes the shovel a pickaxe.

The tubular design makes the handle length adjustable for comfortable digging and also stores a multitude of handy tools including a fire starter, whistle, life hammer, and a sawtooth knife.

The shovel packs away into a tiny pouch and weighs just 1.48 lbs. The only drawbacks are that the handle loosens during use and you may want to tape it up if you need to use it for a long period of time. Other customers have described it as a little small, but that’s also a benefit.

Pros

  • Two spade angles
  • Multi-tool
  • Portable
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Light

Cons

  • Small
  • Handle loosens

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.48 lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Material: Carbon Steel
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Cold Steel 92SF Special Forces Shovel

Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Camp Shovel Tool for Camping, Survival and Outdoors, Special Forces Shovel

The Cold Steel 92SF Special Forces Shovel was inspired by a soviet standard-issue military shovel. It’s the only non-folding survival shovel in the review but is exceptionally durable.

The head is made from medium carbon steel and comes 2mm thick. This means it’ll stand up well to heavy work and there is room for continuous sharpening so your blade can be as sharp as you need it to be.

The handle is made from hardwood and is strong. It’s also easily replaceable if it wears out.  The only drawback to this shovel is the lack of extra functions and that it doesn’t fold. It won’t neatly fit inside your backpack but it’s easy enough to clip or slot down the side somewhere.

Overall a very reliable survival shovel, but it is just that, a shovel with no extras.

Pros

  • Light
  • Strong
  • Durable
  • Replaceable handle
  • Easy to sharpen

Cons

  • Doesn't fold
  • Sheath not included
  • No extra functions

Product Information

  • Weight: 1.60 lbs
  • Dimensions: 21 x 6 x 2 inches
  • Material: Carbon Steel
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What To Look For

What will you use it for most? 

The first thing to think about when buying a survival shovel is, what will you use it for most? Once you know this, it’ll be easy to find the right shovel for you. There’s a big range of shovels out there from multi-tools, pickaxe options, angled heads, and just straight-up shovels.

If you plan on taking it along on soft camping trips, then a basic foldable shovel will do. If it’s an emergency shovel for taking into snowy mountains, you may want the pickaxe option included. If you’re backpacking for a week, then perhaps the space-saving multi-tool option will be best.

The Shovel Head

The shovel head is without question the most important part of the shovel. It needs to be durable, tough and made from the right materials. All the survival shovels in the review are made from steel or carbon steel, which is an excellent material and will serve you well.

It can also come with extra’s such as a serrated edge to cut through roots or a bottle opener. Some models allow the head to lock at different angles to increase the shovel’s functionality. Again, it’s about working out what you’ll use the shovel for most and buyi9ng according to your most important need.

Handle

The only differences in handles are the material they are made from or of they fold or not. A foldable handle is ideal for portability but with every fold or joint, comes a possible weak spot. A straight wooden handle gives you a bit more robustness, especially for heavy work.

Weight

Think about carrying the shovel in your backpack and then check the weight of the ones you prefer. All the survival shovels in this review are light and portable but the weights are all a little different.

Extras 

Some of the survival shovels in the review are also multi-tools and can come with a range of extras, from a fire starter to a pickaxe. If you plan on using your shovel for any kind of work that’s not heavy-duty, then it’s worth considering one with some extras.

Our Favorites

Here are our top survival shovel choices from the review.

The best survival shovel on a budget is the Smittybilt Tri-Fold Shovel. For under $20 you’ll get an exceptionally durable and compact shovel that folds down to just 9 inches. It’s perfect to have in the car or on your backpack for any adventure.

Smittybilt 2728 Matte Black Tri-Fold Shovel R.U.T. Recovery Utility Tool
457 Reviews
Smittybilt 2728 Matte Black Tri-Fold Shovel R.U.T. Recovery Utility Tool
  • Compact tri-fold design for easy storage
  • 2-way multi adjustments

The best survival shovel multi-tool is the Iunio Folding Shovel. Not only does this come in at an amazing price, but it’s also a lot more than just a shovel. This guy features a hexagonal wrench, saw, bottle opener, nail extractor, hoe, fish scaler tool, emergency whistle, and a fire Bar.

The best of the best is the Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade. This survival shovel has been made to the highest specifications and does all the basics exceptionally well. You couldn’t find a more reliable and safe shovel for your adventures.

GERBER E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated Edge [30-000075],black
708 Reviews