If you do not have time for the details, here are our top picks for folding shovels:
- SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel F08-N
- Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
- YOUNGDO Military Folding Shovel
- REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel
- Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel 22-41578
- Coleman Folding Shovel with Pick
- Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade 30-000075
- Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel
- CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel
- Coleman Folding Shovel
Human kind has been using shovels for almost as long as there have been humans. We only recently (relatively speaking) invented folding shovels. The best folding shovels are handy for anyone to own.
Folding shovels are shovels that fold. The definition is right there in the name. But that is not all they do. Folding shovels are also occasionally called tactical shovels or survival shovels. They have these names because they usually include a number of tools. This makes them the Swiss army knife of shovels.
- What is the best folding shovel?
- Features to look for when buying a folding shovel
- Top 10 Folding Shovels—Comparison table
- Top Best 10 Best Folding Shovels—Reviews
- 1. SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel F08-N
- 2. Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
- 3. YOUNGDO Military Folding Shovel
- 4. REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel
- 5. Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel 22-41578
- 6. Coleman Folding Shovel with Pick
- 7. Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade 30-000075
- 8. Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel
- 9. CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel
- 10. Coleman Folding Shovel
What is the best folding shovel?
When you are looking for a folding shovel, there are a lot of features to keep in mind. A few of these features will be more important than others. These crucial features are what make the top folding shovel products.
First of all, the top products will include multiple tools. We’ve already mentioned this feature in passing. Modern tactical shovels may include between ten and twenty total tools. These extra tools could be blades, serrated edges, bottle opener, carrying case, etc.
The more tools folding shovels has, the heavier and bulkier it will be. There is a trade-off there that you will have to consider. You may be fine with this though because you get so much more usability from your product.
Another crucial feature of the top folding shovels is durability. It doesn’t do you any good to buy a product that breaks immediately. Folding shovels are more expensive than regular shovels. You want to know that your hard-earned money is going to a good product.
Look for the materials used in the construction of the tactical shovel. We go into the types of materials to look for in the next section. Reviews are another good way to determine the durability of a product.
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Features to look for when buying a folding shovel
Now that you know the features that make the top folding shovels, let’s get into some more specifics. You need to consider the following features carefully before picking out your next tactical shovel. They will help you narrow down your choices.
The length of tactical shovels is not standard. You will find a large range of lengths. Of the ten products reviewed below, the open lengths range from 15-32 inches. That a huge range.
Open and closed lengths are two numbers to keep straight. The open length is the full length of the backpacking shovel. It is able to be used in this position. Close length measures the size of the product when it is folded. Obviously, the closed length will be smaller than the open length.
Open and closed length matter for a couple of reasons. The larger the open length, the heavier the shovel. Super long folding shovels use more material than smaller products. That will make them heavier.
Closed length is important because it tells you how easy it will be to store the product. Not all tactical shovels come with their own carrying case. Smaller closed lengths are easier to purchase cases for. Also, they take up much less room in a backpack.
The materials that make up your folding shovel directly influence its durability. High-quality materials will be much more durable than low-quality ones. These products will usually be more expensive. They don’t have to be, though. You just need to know what high-quality materials are and how to spot them.
There are two parts to a folding shovel: the handle and the blade. The blade is the part that takes the most use. For the blade, you should look for a thick piece of high-quality carbon steel. This is a stainless-steel variety. It will make caring for your tactical shovel much easier.
Often on lower quality products, the handle is made from plastic. Plastic is lighter. It is also more affordable. There is nothing wrong with plastic. If you want the most bang for your buck, though, consider a steel or aluminum handle. It will last much longer than the flimsy plastic products.
There are a lot of factors that go into a folding shovel’s weight. The size, type of material, number of extras, etc. all factor in. In general, the larger and the more extras a product has, the heavier it will be.
You should consider the weight of the backpack shovel. First, heavier products may be hard to use for the long term. You want to purchase a product that you can use. So, stay away from folding shovels that are too heavy and exhaust you easily.
A second reason for paying attention to the weight of the product is convenience. Heavier folding shovels will weigh more when you carry them. If you plan on backpacking with the shovel, that means a heavier pack. Even just carrying the folding shovel in a tactical situation could require a lighter product.
We recommend walking a line between heavy and light. You don’t want to purchase the heaviest product in the world. You should also stay away from the lightweight tactical shovels. Super lightweight products tend to lack durability.
Folding shovels comes with a wide variety of extras. These can be as simple as a carrying case. Or your tactical shovel could have twenty or more functions.
The most common extra tools are also related to digging. Thus, you may see cutting tools, a sawtooth edge on the blade, or a pick. The more elaborate survival spades will include non-digging related tools. These could be bottle openers, a hammer, or a knife.
We’ve already mentioned that extra tools usually adds weight to the folding shovel. It can also decrease its usability. But you get a lot of functionality for your buck. Consider how you want to use your camping shovel before you look for a product. This will ensure you find the product you need.
Ease of Use
It is not worth purchasing a folding shovel if it is going to be hard to use. The folding apparatus, especially, can be challenging on some products. There should be a lock that keeps the shovel from folding when it is in use. It should, also, fold easily without much work.
If there are a lot of extras on the tactical shovel, they should be easily accessible. You should not need an extra tool just to use your extra tools. That doesn’t make sense. Everything about your chosen folding shovel should be easy to use and accessible. The best way to learn this information is to read reviews and try out a product if you can.
Top 10 Folding Shovels—Comparison table
|SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel F08-N||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|YOUNGDO Military Folding Shovel||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel 22-41578||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Coleman Folding Shovel with Pick||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade 30-000075||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Coleman Folding Shovel||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Top Best 10 Best Folding Shovels—Reviews
1. SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel F08-N
Our top choice of a tactical shovel is the SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel F08-N. This folding shovel has it all and more. It is a portable military folding shovel. It comes with a wood saw edge and carry case in black.
The trifold design of the product allows it to compress from 18.25 inches open length to 10 inches closed length. This folding shovel will fit in any backpack or in a pocket. The high-carbon steel construction in addition to the carrying case makes this a super durable product. Keeping it dry and clean is a breeze. The F08-N should be your first choice of the pared-down folding shovel.
2. Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
Another great minimalist folding shovel is the Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel. This product has a carrying case and picks as extras. You just tighten the head at a 90-degree angle, and you have a pick instead of a shovel.
Like the SOG F08-N above, the Rhino Survival Shovel has a trifold design. You can fold the head and handle in. The open length of this product is a long 23 inches. Folded, it only has a length of nine inches! Rhino provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee as well. They stand behind their product so well because they believe in it. You should too.
3. YOUNGDO Military Folding Shovel
In the market for a smaller folding shovel? Then try the YOUNGDO Military Folding Shovel. It is affordable. It will also fit anywhere. The open length is 16.73 inches and the closed length is only 6.5 inches. No matter where you need it, the YOUNGDO Military Folding Shovel will be there.
Even though it is smaller, this product is still high-quality. It has an alloy steel electric casting nut. This type of nut is safer and more reliable than what’s found in the competition. The YOUNGDO Military Folding Shovel has 10-in-1 functionality as well. It can be used for shoveling, hoeing, cutting, planning, and more.
4. REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel
The REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel is a completely solid product. It is in the medium range of weight and length. The weight is 2.6 pounds. The open length is 22.8 inches and the folded length is 9.4 inches. It also has a trifold design.
Aluminum is used as the material for the entire product. This material keeps the folding shovel from being too heavy. REDCAMP has also included a carrying case sharpened edge, a serrated edge, and pick with their product. For a high-quality, portable, and usable medium-sized folding shovel you have to choose the REDCAMP Military Folding Camping Shovel.
5. Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel 22-41578
Another great small folding shovel is the Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel 22-41578. This Gerber is known for its folding shovels. They have been in business since the early 20th century. The 22-41578 illustrates why they have such a good reputation.
This Gerber folding shovel has a 16.25-inch open length and 9.25 inch closed length. It also only weighs 28 ounces, which is the lightest of any product on this list. You also receive a nylon carrying bag with your purchase. The push-button slide mechanism is sturdy and safe. It allows the tactical shovel to open and close without breaking its position.
6. Coleman Folding Shovel with Pick
Coleman is probably the best-known brand on this list. As a famous outdoor and camping brand, it makes sense that a Coleman folding shovel would be included on this list. The Coleman Folding Shovel with Pick is a little bit more expensive than others reviewed here. The tactical shovel is high-quality. You also will pay a bit more for Coleman’s name.
The Coleman Folding Shovel with Pick also comes with a carry pouch. It breaks down easily. The tempered steel construction is durable and high-quality. And the collar locks for safety. This product has everything you could want.
7. Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade 30-000075
Gerber is such a well-respected maker of folding shovels that we had to include another of their products here. The E-Tool Folding Spade 30-000075 does not come with a carrying case. You can order the sheath for this product from Gerber separately. It is part number 22-00026.
You will love the anodized steel construction. This is one of the most durable materials out there. Another great thing about this product is its long length. It folds to a 24-inch open length. The closed length is 9.37 inches. The 30-000075 locks open. You will always be able to use it safely. Plus, it has a serrated edge for more functionality.
8. Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel
The prize for the backpacking shovel with the most extras goes to the Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel. It is an impressive 23-in-1 product. It would take too much space to list everything this amazing product does. A few of the extras include a hoe, bottle opener, whistle, knife, fish scaler, emergency hammer, and flat-blade screwdriver.
Sahara Sailor also provides a lifetime warranty with their Survival Shovel. If you are ever in a survival situation, you need this product. It does it all. And, for an affordable price, all of its twenty-three features can be yours. Try one today.
9. CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel
The Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel may take the prize for most functions, but the CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel is the most affordable. A serrated edge and carrying case are included with this product. If you want a great, durable, basic folding shovel, this is the one for you.
The CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel has a trifold design. The blade is made from steel. The nut is made from aluminum allow. The screws are extra-large. These small features and materials add durability and usability to the product.
10. Coleman Folding Shovel
The final product reviewed here is the Coleman Folding Shovel. This tactical shovel is different than the other Coleman product reviewed above. It does not come with a carrying case. Plus, it has a 23-inch open length and a ten-inch closed length. Even with a longer length, the Coleman Folding Shovel only weighs one pound. It will not be hard to take with you anywhere.
Coleman makes their Folding Shovel from tempered forged steel. They also include a serrated edge for sawing. There are no other extras. Those people that just want a functional and durable survival shovel will love this product.
Still want to know a little bit more about tactical shovels. If the answer is yes, keep reading. We have answers to all your pressing questions below.
-What is the history of folding shovels?
The survival spade has a really interesting history. It begins with the Neolithic age. During this period, from 4900-1700 BCE (before the Christian era), humans were just figuring out how to farm. To accomplish this switch from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, they needed a tool. They began using a shoulder bone from different animals as a scraping tool. And, thus, the shovel was born.
Shovels have been an important tool in warfare for thousands of years as well. The Romans were known to carry shovels in order to dig trenches. The US government actually introduced a bayonet that was also a spade in the 1870s. While this versatile tool did not fold down, it was a precursor to today’s folding shovels.
The folding shovel as we know it today was not designed until after World War I. It was during this time that shovel handles began to be foldable. The shovel head is also folded down in some models. Foldable shovels were easier to store and carry. This made them ideal for soldiers.
In the century since World War I, more tools have been added to the foldable shovel. Using a single tool for many functions recalls that shovel bayonet from the late 19th century. So, now we have multifunctional and highly portable tools that anyone can use.
-Why do I need a folding shovel?
Our answer to the last question leaves an issue unsolved. Who is the folding shovel for? We’ve already mentioned one group: soldiers. Soldiers can get a lot of use out of a tactical shovel. Most of use are not soldiers, however.
Civilians should also consider investing in a good backpacking shovel. Backpackers and hikers, especially, could get a lot of use out of these products. Survivalists have to have a foldable shovel in their arsenal. You could even use a tactical shovel in your everyday life. Keep a folding shovel around just in case you need it. It is always great to have a multifunctional tool in reserve.
-How do I care for a folding shovel?
You will want to care for your folding shovel just like you do for any other outdoor tool. Even if you have a stainless steel shovel, it can rust. In order to keep rust from your tool, keep it dry. Water is the enemy.
It is okay to use your survival shovel in wet weather. Just make sure to wipe it down with a dry rag asap. Store it in a dry place as well. Regular cleaning with soap and water, with thorough drying time, is also recommended. Following these simple steps will keep your folding shovels working great for a long time.
As you can see, the best folding shovels are invaluable. They are a versatile tool that will work for many people. As a survival shovel, backpacking shovel, or tactical shovel, you can use the folding shovel for anything. Whether in your car, in the woods, or at home, a survival shovel is an extremely handy tool.
There are so many folding shovels out there, you are basically assured of finding the product that will work best for you. You just need to follow our buyer’s guide. Then choose from one of the ten products reviewed in this article. They are all great, durable, and will work for a lot of people. Now’s the time. Purchase your new folding shovel today.
Sarah Eberle qualified and became a member of the Landscape Institute in 1980. Over the last 26 years she has practised landscape architecture and garden design, running her own business in Devon.
During the 1990s, Sarah joined Hillier Landscapes as Design Director, where she is still a shareholder but also runs her own practice in Hampshire.
Sarah has an esteemed record in RHS shows, having won eight Gold medals, Best in Show and the George Cook award for innovation twice at Hampton Court. Sarah has also exhibited at Tatton Park and BBC Gardeners’ World Live.