A good survival shovel is just about one of the most useful multi-tools you can take along on an outdoors trip. It will help you set up camp and un-set it, make your way through the wild, get ahead if climbing rough surfaces, open up cans and bottles, get rid of nails, handle the fire, fix up your car or small appliances etc.

This can all vary depending on the exact features of the tool you choose, but there’s no denying your need for one if you’re planning a camping or hiking trip. To help you get the best survival shovel for your needs, we’ve prepared this list of the top-rated folding shovel options. Take a look and pick the best one for your needs.

How To Choose A Survival Shovel – Buying Guide


Now that you know how the best 10 survival shovels look like and have an overview of their features, here’s how you can decide which of those features you need and how to choose the best folding shovel for your needs.

Related Review: Folding Shovel


First of all, think of answering yourself the most basic question, that should be at the beginning of your buying process: what are you going to use it for? If you tend to go mostly on winter camping trips, you need a tactical shovel that will be able to dig through frozen ground and which doubles up as an ice pick. If you go on light camping trips with minimal luggage, you could probably benefit more from a survival multi-tool shovel that can also help you create a fire, open bottles and so on.

Shovel Head

When shopping for the best survival shovel for your needs, pay attention to the material the head is made of. You’re looking for something extra durable, like reinforced nylon or heat-treated stainless steel (such as the one used for the Soviet-style military tactical shovel). If the shovel head is made of metal, it’s heavier and easier to use for entrenching, but it will need sharpening from time to time, whereas the nylon-based ones won’t.

Also, the edges of the shovel head can have different features. A serrated edge has an all-round usefulness so you should look for this regardless of your specific needs.


A sturdy wooden handle can carry the weight needs to help you operate the camping shovel more effectively. However, a folding handle means you get a portable shovel which can come in handy when packing light. Usually, folding shovels make up for the minus weight they sometimes carry through increased sharpness.

Size And Portability

As far as size goes, any survival shovel is not as big as a regular shovel. Usually, a standard backpacking shovel is around 16 inches long. They are all meant to be portable, so regardless of whether they are compact and folding or not, you can carry them on your belt with a pouch and a loop, protected by a sheath. All of the models featured on our list qualify for this kind of portability.


A reliable tactical shovel shouldn’t be too heavy, since the whole point of having a good portable shovel is to be able to carry it around easily. A standard weight to expect from such a tool is between 6 and 8 ounces.

Extra Tools

As mentioned above, some survival shovels come with a variety of extra tools incorporated. If you’re looking for an all-round useful camping shovel, then it would be worth looking into such a survival multi-tool shovel. Bottle opener, fire starter… you name it. If you already carry these separate tools around (for instance, if you go adventuring with an off-road car), then maybe look for a tactical shovel which can be more useful for digging your wheels out when they’re stuck in the ground or which can be used as an ice pick and so on.


All of the best survival shovels are built to last, but some (the ones made of stainless steel) should also be sharpened from time to time. Depending on how often you use it and for what kind of jobs, the sharpening will need to be performed more or less often. The nylon-based type of tactical shovel won’t need to be sharpened and may keep its edge better. All great brands guarantee a lifetime use of their products, so if you go for a model featured on the list above, durability won’t be an issue.



Q: What Is a Survival Shovel?


A survival shovel is a tactical tool originating in military history, with a design which has proven its usefulness in a variety of outdoor situations. It’s great for camping, hiking, gardening and other survival-related situations, and it can even come in handy for industrial purposes. Its edges are perfect for chopping roots while digging and trenching, for setting up camp, for helping your car get out of a tight spot during off-road adventures and so on.    

Q: Why Do I Need a Survival Shovel?


If you like adventuring in the great outdoors, a reliable camping shovel is about the best survival tool you can have on hand. It’s relatively small and easy to carry around (compared to a regular shovel), but really sturdy and helpful in a variety of situations you will encounter while hiking, camping, climbing etc.

It will help you set up camp, dig a fire hole or a sanitation hole, help move your car or tent, chop through cumbersome vegetation, do minor repairs on your equipment, fight wild animals and so on. Few other tools are as needed during outdoors adventures, to take a look at your top of the best survival shovels above and pick the best one for your needs. You’ll thank us later.

Globo Surf Overview

We hope our guide with survival shovel reviews has helped you understand better the different features of these tools and how to choose one that fits your needs. There’s no such thing as the best folding shovel for everyone, since it all depends on the types of outdoor adventures you are likely to go on. Now that you know which tool will help you make yourself at home anywhere, you’re ready to take on the wilderness. Happy camping!

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:

Have you used a tactical shovel so far, and if so, what for? Do you use a survival shovel around the house for yard work or do you use a camping shovel only when you go on a trip? What’s a fun situation in which a compact shovel helped you get out of a tight spot? Do you have any advice for our other readers looking for a best pick? Share your thoughts with everyone in the comment section below!

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!