5 Best Camping & Folding Shovels of 2018

Jul 28, 2018 | Camping, Reviews

Camping is tough, and that’s part of what makes it so rewarding for the roughly 40 million Americans who enjoy it. It’s not for everyone, it takes a special kind of person to leave behind the comfort, convenience, and safety of city life to test themselves against the unknown challenges that nature offers.

Let’s take a look at some of the best camping shovels for any situation you may find yourself in. On top of that, we’ll include options for any budget, because there’s really something for everyone. First, let’s take a look at some introductory thoughts about packing for camping in general, and then we’ll dive right into the different types of shovels and how to choose the perfect one for the job.

Top 5 Survival Shovels

NameWeightMaterial 

Ultimate Survival Technologies

3.2 oz

Stainless Steel

Check Price

Gerber

2.6 lbs

Powder coated steel

Check Price

Fivejoy

4.8 lbs

420 high carbon steel

Check Price

Pagreberya

2.9 lbs

High carbon steel and aviation aluminum alloy

Check Price

Bully Tools

5.3 lbs

12 gauge steel blade

Check Price

Ultimate Survival Technologies

Weight

3.2 oz

Material

Stainless Steel

Check Price

Gerber

Weight

2.6 lbs

Material

Powder coated steel

Check Price

FiveJoy

Weight

4.8 lbs

Material

420 high carbon steel

Check Price

Pagreberya

Weight

2.9 lbs

Material

High carbon steel and aviation aluminum alloy

Check Price

Bully Tools

Weight

5.3 lbs

Material

12 gauge steel blade

Check Price

1. Best Overall

U-Dig-It Collapsible Trowel Tool

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

The U-Dig-It by Ultimate Survival Technologies is a well-reviewed, sturdy little trowel that folds in half and fits in your pocket. It’s useful for digging a trench around your tent to avoid having all of your belongings soaked in a storm, and it’s good enough to dig out small rocks and to help level the ground before you pitch your tent.

It’s very affordable, and while being sturdy enough, it’s not the most heavy-duty item you’ll come across. None the less, it serves its purpose well. Still, if you’re serious about this, you’ll want to look at our next option because it’s a lot heavier duty, and something you can really rely on when the going gets tough. Best case scenario, you won’t need it. But, what if you do?

Pros and cons

  • Compact
  • Perfect for Hiking
  • Lightweight for camping
  • Some have reported receiving Chinese made imitations. If you do, send it back to get one from the USA.

2. Best Value

Gerber Folding Shovel

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

The Gerber E-tool has a serrated edge so that you can use it to help clear out brush, while also digging up larger rocks. It’s a bit larger than the U Dig-It, but not by a lot. Folded up, this Gerber shovel is still less than 10 inches long, and feels a lot stronger and more durable. You can use it to saw through the undergrowth, grass, and plants. It will also help you get through tough dirt. It weighs a little bit more at two pounds, but if you’re doing any even remotely serious digging, you’ll be glad you took it along.

You can find entrenching tools for as low as $10, and at roughly five times that price, this one isn’t the cheapest out there – but you get what you pay for. You don’t want to be out in the thick of it, wishing you’d spent the extra few bucks as you sit there with a shovel that can’t handle the job.

Pros and cons

  • Serrated edge
  • Collapsible
  • Trusted brand
  • A bit too heavy for backpacking

Medium-Size Multi-Function Camping Shovels

Now, let’s take a look at a couple of options that are a bit more versatile. There are pros and cons to camping with multi-tools.

  • On the one hand, by combining certain things you can save space.
  • On the other hand, having functions you don’t need can add extra weight and sometimes these extra features are just kind of forced in, while not actually being quality versions of whatever they’re meant to be.

For example: Having a compass built onto the handle of a shovel can be kind of handy to have, but if you actually need to navigate, you’d much rather have a higher quality and more reliable pocket compass. Instead of walking around carrying your shovel in-hand to use a compass worth pennies instead of high-end and better-calibrated one like you’d get from a stand-alone unit. You could possibly even opt for a survival watch instead, which is lightweight and some feature compass options.

The Gerber we just featured is somewhat versatile. It has a serrated saw edge, but other than that there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles. If you want some bells and whistles, here’s a cheaper light option and a heavier more expensive option.

3. Best in Multi Tool

Fivejoy Backcountry Survival Shovel

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

This folding shovel by Fivejoy has so many add-ons it’s crazy. It comes packed with a Shovel, Axe, Hoe, Saw, Hammer, Rescue Knife, Wire Cutter, Bottle Opener, Fire Starter, Whistle, Glass Breaker, and lastly a Paracord. Essentially everything you would need to survive a zombie apocalypse, or camping with your family.

The shovel is ergonomic and only weighs, 1.4 lbs. Don’t worry, we thought the same thing, how is that possible. We put it to the test, and the heat-treated carbon steel is very strong and can surely take a heavy beating. This is one of our favorite multi-tools and for good reason. It also has the become a staple in our bug out pack. We’ll be honest though, we rated the “multi-tools” below the other two true fold-able shovels because you can easily fit the above options separately and save space. Most survivalists and even hikers will pack a hunting knife which is likely better than the packaged rescue knife.

Pros and cons

  • Great multi-tool with tons of uses
  • Lightweight for backpacking
  • Can be used as a hoe as well
  • A few people report that the handle is lack-luster

4. Best for Hiking

Pagreberya Camping Shovel

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

The heavier-duty option is made by Pagreberya, has much better reviews, costs about 3/4 of the Fivejoy, and is worth every penny.

This tool includes a shovel (of course), which has a larger serrated edge, a ruler, a pivoting head so that it’s great for digging at different angles.

The handle unscrews to reveal a wide range of extra tools hidden inside such as a screwdriver, a multi-function saw knife, a bottle opener, an emergency whistle, and a magnesium rod to help start fires.

None of these extra features take up a ton of space since they’re all built in. The shovel would be the same size even if it didn’t have them. It can also be used as:

  • A wire cutter
  • An axe
  • It has a hex wrench
  • It’s a very versatile tool, but it may be overkill depending on what your needs are

Pros and cons

  • Cheap, cheerful and surprisingly well built
  • The sheath is hopeless! Factor in the cost of early replacement if you purchase this blade.

5. Best with Long Handle

Bully Tools 12 Gauge Spade

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Next up, let’s go over one more option. If you’re looking for a real workhorse, and don’t care about weight or size or all the extra features, and need to do some serious digging at the campsite, you might as well just go with a full-size garden shovel. It will work the best. It’ll make the job so much easier. Bully Tools 12 Gauge Shovel with Fiberglass Handle This shovel by Bully Tools is right up your alley if you’ve got a lot of digging to do, and aren’t low on space.

It’s got a long fiberglass handle so you get great leverage while digging, but it’s not going to slow you down with unnecessary weight. This shovel includes a limited lifetime warranty. It’s not super practical if you’re backpacking, but if you’re loading up the car or truck or camper, and you’ve got some extra space for it, it’ll make life a lot easier.

Pros and cons

  • A superb tool that’s built for hard work
  • You’ll pay to own something so special

Deciding on a Camping Shovel

At the start of this article, we really wanted to emphasize that choosing the best shovel for camping is really a matter of circumstances and personal preference. Now, you’ve been presented with 5 different options to meet a variety of needs and budgets. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

If you can afford a better tool, buy a better tool. Not only will it last longer, it will be easier to use and a better overall experience.

If you’re on a budget, it’s better to have something instead of nothing. Also, if you’re not putting yourself in any really dangerous situations, and just doing some leisurely camping, you may not need something as durable or reliable. If you absolutely need something you can count of, however, make sure you invest accordingly.

There’s a certain romance to really roughing it in nature. But if you aren’t experienced, don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s no shame in having the right tools at the right time, not everybody has to be Les Stroud from Survivor-man.

Conclusion

Let’s quickly go over each of the shovels that we recommended in this article. Which is the best survival shovel to pick? It depends…

Budget options

The U-Dig It Folding Shovel (Small) – Very small and affordable, good for light work.

Gerber Entrenching Tool (Small) – Very high quality, folds up nicely, also a great value.
Higher-end choices

FiveJoy Folding Shovel (Medium) – Extremely versatile and lightweight. Quite possibly our favorite shovel reviewed.

Multi-shovel by Pagreberya (Medium) – The more versatile shovel on the list, includes a lot of tools. Great if you need them, not so great if you don’t.

The Bully (Large) – Just a classic shovel for serious digging, very reasonable price, well-reviewed, and high-quality.

Clarence McCall

Editor for Survivalgearexperts.net

Recent Site Acquisition
Recent Site Acquisition

Recent Site Acquisition

In an attempt to grow our blog and audience more, we have acquired the Varmint Hunter Magazine to grow Survival Gear Experts to the fullest. People finding our site through theirs, don't fret! Our blog and content is already geared towards what you are used to...

Read More

Survival Gear Experts

Sign up for our newsletter to get new reviews each week.