This is a review of the best survival shovel to help dig you out of any mess out there.
During my years of life in the woods, I’ve discovered the absolute necessity that is a shovel. When I have run into the trees to dig a cathole and had to resort to a stick, it ends up becoming a long and dreadful job.
From rocky beaches in Alaska to root-filled forests of North Carolina, I have always relied upon a strong shovel to do my digging.
There was a time that we left our shovel behind after launching out on the next leg of our adventure. After this incident, we all quickly realized what a huge mistake we had made, digging through sand and dirt with our hands.
Creating a fire pit and building latrines is a job that has to get done, but not one that you have to struggle to do.
Overall, I found the FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel to be the best shovel for survival.
This shovel isn’t just a shovel. It has an array of different tools that I see as essential to survival.
When you have to get a new piece of gear, you may as well buy tons of them in one. A shovel, yes, but also an axe, a whistle, a fire starter, a knife, a saw, and more.
The shovelhead is made from heat-treated high-quality carbon steel that is built to take a beating. There’s no bending of the shovel when you end up striking a rock.
The FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel conveniently folds down to a size that’s easy to bring around with you and pack up without ever noticing it is there.
At 1.2 pounds, you aren’t adding a whole lot more to your pack’s weight and you’ll get a huge amount of help from the shovel itself.
Another feature I really like on this shovel is the twist-lock to ensure that the shovel stays open when digging. You can then adjust the head to different angles for when you are working in different spaces.
This isn’t the only shovel out there though. You may be looking for something that’s more simple, with a straightforward design. Maybe you want a shovel that has a different style grip.
Our list has the best shovel for survival, the best straightforward shovel, the best folding shovel, the best high-end shovel, and the best shovel on a budget.
With this huge array of options, you’ll be able to find a shovel for just about any use out there.
Let’s dig up some of the answers and find the best survival shovel for you.
5 Best Survival Shovels: Our Picks
FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool – Best Overall
- Heat-treated, high carbon steel and aerospace-grade aluminum construction
- Multiple tools in one (knife, saw, whistle, firestarter, and more)
- Light weight of 1.2 pounds
- Adjustable angle that locks
- Get multiple tools in a compact and lightweight
- Carry the shovel with you easily in its included storage case
- Have comfort in your hand while digging
Now, out of all the shovels out there, I’ve picked the FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel as our top pick overall. This shovel is incredibly impressive in its build, both with the materials used and its design.
You get 16 different functions with a single tool, which makes this the ultimate shovel for survival. You never know when you are going to need any of those tools, but you will have them accessible.
The design incorporates a locking mechanism that allows you to lock the shovelhead at multiple different angles so it’s a lot easier to dig trenches at odd angles. It’s strong enough to lock the head and then use the whole shovel as a hook.
When most shovels that are this price are built to save money, FiveJoy has really given a fantastic product that is going to last for a long time.
The high-quality metals help make it both durable and lightweight. I’d carry this shovel with me anywhere I could imagine going.
Zune Lotoo Survival Camping Shovel – Best High-End Shovel
- 24 different tools in one shovel
- 10mm joint bears a massive load of 1060 pound
- Breaks down into five pieces for compact carry
- Stainless steel is molding to avoid any weak spots
- Get a shovel you know will last you for a lifetime, and is backed by the guarantee
- One shovel turns into a huge number of tools that will greatly increase your chances of survival
If you’re having some trouble believing that you can get quality without paying a high price, then check out the Zune Lotoo Survival Camping Shovel.
The craftsmanship used in molding this shovel is incredible. It lacks weak points in the design to make sure you can whack trees over with this monster shovel.
The 10mm joint between the shovelhead and the handle can hold up to 1060 pounds. Good luck trying to break that.
Not only is this thing a durable powerhouse, it has 24 different tools incorporated into its design. You can use this as a shovel one moment, and then a spear the next.
The shovel breaks down into five different parts to allow for easy and compact storage.
One great aspect of buying this shovel is the lifetime warranty that you get along with it. The manufacturer believes this product is worth paying a high price for, because there’s never going to be the need to buy another shovel ever again.
Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Shovel – Best Straightforward Shovel
- The simplistic design of the straight handle and shovelhead
- Hickory shovel handle
- Modeled after a shovel that has been known to work incredibly well
- Get a shovel that’s made for simple digging
- Don’t have a shovel that breaks at weak points in the design
The Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Shovel is a great choice when you just want something to dig trenches with. There isn’t much to this shovel other than its simple design and beautifully crafted hickory wood handle.
While I think this shovel is a great choice for survival, it is much better off to be at a basecamp or in your car.
The design isn’t made to be carried around with you, as it doesn’t fold up or compact down at all.
The design comes straight from a shovel that was put to the serious test of trench digging in the wars. That’s what you’re getting here.
SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel – Best Folding Shovel
- Impressively small size that’s barely bigger than your hand
- Folds in a 3-way folding design to get best compact size
- High carbon steel construction is hard and durable
- Comes with a carrying case
- Have a shovel that will last for a long time with a simple design
- Use the serrated edge to cut through tough roots
SOG makes a lot of the great gear that I carry around with myself on survival expeditions. They use quality materials but don’t end up charging you a lot for their end product. I love this about them and respect their dedication to every customer.
This shovel is simple. It folds up in three parts to make it easy to carry with you and fit into a small carrying case that comes with it.
It has a serrated edge to help you cut through roots while digging, but it’s just a shovel made to bring along and dig holes with. That specialization is what I look for in a good shovel.
Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel – Best Shovel on a Budget
- Slide mechanism with a locking push button
- Pick included on opposite end of shovelhead
- Handle is used as a great hammer
- This shovel gives you a lot of quality for a low price
- Use this shovel comfortably as multiple different simple tools
The Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel is my pick if you’re hoping to find a quality shovel and not spend much money on it.
The shovelhead is a simple and straightforward design with an impressively sharp edge to help break into tough soil. When you aren’t using the shovel it folds up to a small size that’s easy to carry with you.
The handle of this shovel has a rubber grip incorporated into it that helps protect it when you are using it as a hammer. This is great for tent stakes or any other hammering functions that you can think of.
The shovel locks shut easily when it’s in use and you can trust that it will be in good condition at the end of the day. Gerber has been making cheap but quality products for years and are well-known for doing a great job.
When looking for a survival shovel, you want something that is going to go everywhere with you.
Most survival scenarios involve being able to pack up and get out of town fast. A big bulky shovel is just going to weigh you down and be impossible to take with.
Most of these shovels fold up nicely and then fit into a travel case that protects the shovel and your gear.
These foldable shovels are great choices. As technology advances they become more secure when locked and you won’t have to worry about them giving in and folding while in use.
Finding a shovel that can be used for many different things is a huge benefit when using it for a survival situation. You want to get as many uses as possible from a single tool in order to save on space and money.
There are shovels that can be used as 24 different tools and some that are just a shovel.
Remember though, no shovel is just a shovel when you have to put your creative mind to the task of surviving.
I prefer shovels that are much more simple and carrying more specialized tools that can cover the rest of my bases.
The last thing you want is a shovel that will bend and break the moment you dig into hard soil or a rock.
In order to prevent that I often search for high carbon steel shovelheads. High carbon steel is much harder than other metals and will stand up to a lot of different abuses.
The other side of materials is finding something that is lightweight for portability. Some shovels use aerospace grade aluminum that will be strong, but is also lightweight.
This is a great mixture of metals because you don’t put the aluminum up against rocks, and your handle needs to be more lightweight and less durable.
Finding the perfect shovel for a survival scenario can be a bit tricky. It’s tempting to get the cheapest, or the most expensive. In reality it’s all about finding the perfect balance of material and use.
The FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel brings a great balance of use and materials to the table, which is why I consider it to be the best survival shovel out there.
I hope that this has helped dig you out of any hole of confusion and find your way into the trenches of survival with the proper gear. Good luck out there!