Best Folding Shovels Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Anyone who spends time camping or backpacking will also want to own a folding shovel as they are great for pounding in tent stakes or building a fire. Most military personnel also have these tools as they are considered to be essential survival tools that will help you stay alive in the wilderness.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The materials used to make a folding shovel will determine how much it costs and how durable the tool is once you are using it. For this reason, you are going to want to look for tools that are made of high-quality materials rather than ones that use cheap and inexpensive materials. The better the materials are, the longer the shovel will last and the more durable it will be in the long run.
One of the things that you will want to consider when you are purchasing a shovel is what sort of material is used to make the blade. Ideally, you are going to want to look for one that is made of a high-quality carbon steel. High carbon steel is stronger and will last much longer than comparable materials. The thicker the blade is the stronger it will be as well so you will need to make sure that the blade isn't made of a cheap piece of metal.
After you take a look at the blade, you are going to want to look at what is used for the handle. Many manufacturers do not make the handle as durable as they should because it will help to cut down on the weight. For example, you may see the handle that is made of plastic rather than metal. Although plastic weighs less and doesn't corrode, it is not as strong as steel or aircraft grade aluminum. You should try and make sure that they are using quality materials when they build the shovel so that you get your money's worth out of it when you decide to use it. That way it is less likely to break on you.
Most of the time, you will want to keep this tool in your pack which means that it needs to be small and portable. In order for that to work, it is going to need to fold into a smaller size and it can't weigh too much either. If your shovel wasn't light and didn't fold, then you might as well bring a regular size shovel with you and call it a day.
Typically, you will see two different folding designs. One is a tri-fold design where it folds down into three pieces. There is also a two-piece design that doesn't fold down as much as a three-piece. In terms of portability, the three-piece design will fold down into a smaller size and be more compact than the two-fold design. However, the two-fold design can sometimes be more durable than the threefold because there are fewer joints in it.
After you decide on the folding design, you are going to want to think about the weight of the shovel. The weight can be directly tied to the durability so while it is nice to have a lightweight folding shovel, you will have to consider that less weight will mean thinner metal and a weaker design. You should try and at least get something that is made completely of metal but then you are going to need to find the right balance between weight and durability. If you are stronger, then you should err on the side of durability since it isn't going to be helpful if your shovel breaks when you need to use it. At most, a heavier duty shovel will only add one or two pounds to your pack.
Ease of Use
It's helpful to think about how well the shovel has been designed in terms of ergonomics. This will help to make it easier on your body when it comes time to use it in order to dig a hole or pound in some tent stakes with it. There are two areas in the shovel that are directly related to ergonomics which are the length of the handle and the grips on the handle.
In order to stay lightweight and compact, a folding shovel has to have a short handle. The downside of the short handle is that you lose leverage when it comes time to dig. It also means that you are going to need to get down on your knees since it's unlikely that you will be able to use it while you are standing up. This means that you have to work harder which is hard on your upper body and kneel down which is hard on the lower body. Some of these shovels have handle extensions that are available as an add-on that you may want to consider. Otherwise, it may be worth it to get one that has a longer handle.
The handle also needs to have some grips on it. If the handle doesn't have grips, then it may slide out of your hands while you are digging. Even if it doesn't slide out of your hands, you may end up developing blisters or you may have to wear gloves while you are using it. A high-quality shovel will have an ergonomically designed grip for you to use so that it is easy on your hands while you are digging with it.
10 Best Folding Shovels
1. Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade
This is a multi-purpose tool that is an important piece of equipment to own if you are camping or backpacking. It folds into a small and compact size so that it doesn't take up a lot of room in your pack. You can use it to dig holes or trenches, cut wood, or even pound tent stakes into the ground.
All of the folding points on the tool lock into place. This will improve safety because you will not have the tool to fold up in an unexpected fashion while you are using it.
The tool only weighs two pounds and is only a little over nine inches long when it is folded up so you will have no trouble carrying it with you.
You will find this item sold at a price that is higher than the average price. The higher price is due to the strong materials that make it last longer and more durable.
2. AMES US GI E-Tool
This tool is issued to the U.S. Military and has been built for that purpose. It is lightweight and folds on three different points which allows it to be compact when folded. This e-tool will also last for a long time because it is coated with black powder paint that keeps it from rusting when it gets exposed to moisture.
It folds in three areas which allows it to be compact and small. This will keep it from taking up too much room in your pack while you are traveling.
The blade on the tool is made of a high-quality steel. This helps to keep the blade strong so that it doesn't bend or crack while you are digging.
You will find this item sold for an average price. The price turns it into an excellent value because you will not have to pay a premium for a great tool.
3. FiveJoy Military
If you need something that will help you survive when you are outdoors, then you will want to look at this multi-tool by FiveJoy. This is a small and lightweight tool that screws apart and fits into a small pack. The pack has loops on it so that you can attach it to your belt or to your hiking backpack which makes it easy to carry.
The tool is made of a high-quality carbon steel. The steel has been formulated to be durable and resist rust which will help it last for a long time.
You can use it for a variety of different purposes. Some of those purposes include using it as a shovel, ax, or as a hammer. It also has a knife and a fire starter.
The FiveJoy is sold at a price that is much higher than the average price due to the fact that it is a premium tool that has a lot of functions.
4. IUNIO Military Portable
This is a great tool to own if you need something that will help you get you to get your car out of the snow or the mud. It also works great for camping and backpacking purposes since it folds up into a fraction of its size and is lightweight which makes it easy to carry around in your pack or vehicle.
The tool is sold with a pouch that has belt loops on it. The pouch is a great place to store the tool when you aren't using it and it attaches to your belt or pack.
The blade is made of a high carbon steel that is strong. This will allow you to dig into the stiff and compact dirt without having to worry if the blade will break.
This item is sold at a price that is lower than the average price which turns it into an excellent value since you will get a high-quality tool without spending much on it.
5. Pagreberya Compact Outdoor
This is more than just a tool. As a matter of fact, it's an entire survival kit that will give you all of the equipment that you need to stay alive in the wilderness. You can use it to dig a fire pit, chop some wood, and then even start the fire. There are plenty of other things that you can do with it as well.
It has a flint rod that is made of magnesium that you can strike in order to get a fire going. This can help ensure your survival while you are outside.
You can use the shovel head to dig holes, open a can or a bottle, or even use it as a wrench. This allows you to use the shovel head for different purposes.
You will find this item sold around the average price which makes it into an excellent value when you consider all of the different things that you can do with it.
6. Glock Entrenching Tool
This is a great item to own in any survival situation. You can fold up the blade and the handle telescopes so that it is compact and can be stored easily. The blade itself will lock into four different positions so that you can position the blade at different angles. This allows you to use the same tool for a variety of different purposes.
The tool has been designed to weight about half of what a typical entrenching tool would weigh which will help to keep your pack lighter and easier to carry.
Rather than folding, the handle telescopes which allows you to extend and retract the handle as needed. It is made out of strong polymer materials to save weight and makes the tool lighter.
You will see this item sold at a price that is higher than the average price. The higher price is due to the premium materials that were used to make it.
7. Gerber Gorge
Sometimes you need a hammer and other times you need a shovel. Then there are the times where you need a hatchet. This tool combines all of these tools into one piece so that you only have to carry one tool with you rather than three. Having fewer items means that you will save on weight and bulk in your gear.
The blade is made of a high-quality carbon steel so you can use it as a hammer or dig through the stiff dirt that is highly compacted and hard.
The handle has been ergonomically designed so that it will feel comfortable in your hands. This will help keep you from getting blisters or injuring your fingers will using the shovel.
One of the best parts about the Gerber Gorge is that it is sold at a price that is well below the average price which turns it into a bargain buy.
8. SOG Entrenching Tool
The SOG Entrenching Tool is so durable and dependable that it has been backed with a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer. This is a great tool to have for camping, backpacking, or to even throw it into your vehicle in case you get stuck in snow, ice, or mud. It folds down into a small shape so it's easy to store.
You will not ever need to purchase another entrenching tool because this one is backed by a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer so you can get it taken care of should it fail.
It's sold with a carrying case that is made of nylon and has loops. The loops allow you to attach the bag to your backpack or even onto your belt.
You will find this item sold at a price that is much lower than the average price. The lower price makes it into an excellent value since you get a lifetime tool without having to spend much.
9. Tabor Tool Folding Shovel
The Tabor Tool folding shovel is the perfect option for an adventurer. This tool can easily be stored away and out of the way for other essentials needed on that planned backpacking trip or ATV ride. As one of the most lightweight and smaller options, this tool is perfect for those who would like to put this shovel away and forget it is there until it is taken out and used for the purpose it was brought for.
Best known for its versatility, this tool can be used for many purposes. The tool is used for everyday purposes, such as shoveling snow, sand, and dirt. This tool, however, can also be set at a 90% angle and used to dig out a snow-covered vehicle or a mud-covered ATV. The triangular handle makes this shovel easy to control, getting the job done while using less energy in the process.
This folding shovel, weighing only 1.3 pounds, is the perfect option for someone who needs to carry this tool for longer distances or when walking with other equipment. The tool is folded into a 6" by 8" pouch, which contains a loop. This loop can be used to carry the shovel on either a belt or a backpack strap, leaving room in your backpack for other essentials that are needed on the adventure.
This military grade folding shovel can usually be bought for a lower price than other comparable shovels, making this option a more cost-effective option for most buyers.
This is a great option if you are looking for a low-cost camping spade. You can use it for different applications such as digging a firepit or to pound in your tent stakes. When folded, it only takes up ten inches of space so it's really easy to pack it along with you and keep in your gear for when you need it.
It has a tri-fold design that allows it to fold up into a compact size. When folded the entire tool only takes up about 10 inches of space so it's easy to pack.
The tool only weights a little over two pounds so it is easy to carry and will not add a lot of weight to your gear. This is highly ideal for backpackers.
You will find this item sold at a price that is well below the average price. The rock bottom price turns it into an excellent value because you will not have to spend a lot on it.