Best Survival Shovels

Survival Shovels - Reviews & Guides For 2024

Our Top Survival Shovels

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Survival shovels buying guide

Looking for a multi-tool to help you out in different activities during outdoor trips? Stop searching. Survival shovels are heer to the rescue.

From setting up the camp to opening tight cans, these shovels can be used for anything. They are powerful and, with combination to other accessories, can help you out in any challenging situation.

However, selecting the right tool requires an in-depth study of all the characteristics. With several options available in the market, you can not invest your money in a low-quality product.

A comprehensive buying guide provides you with all the essential information that defines the usability and performance of the product.

You don’t have to look into various sources for correct information. You can quickly analyze the pointers and sort out the best option for your trip.

But before diving into this immense pool, let us have a brief introduction to the product to have a better understanding of the mind.

What do you mean by Survival Shovels? Why do you need them?

If you enjoy different outdoor adventures, you will definitely need a survival tool that comes in handy in difficult situations. A survival shovel is an essential tool that you can use for hiking, fishing, camping, and more.

It has a smaller size than the regular shovels so you can carry it easily. However, these shovels are sturdy enough to help you in any survival-related conditions.

With these shovels, you can set up your camp and move rocks from the campsite. Besides, a survival shovel will help you remove snow from your way, dig a hole for fire or sanitation, and effectively move your tent or car.

A survival shovel is also handy for gardening so that you can pull out the weeds from the garden. You can use the shovel to chop branches and vegetation to get on your way in the jungle, and it can be a great weapon to keep the wild animals away from your way.

Moreover, you will be amazed to know that these shovels have their usefulness when it comes to minor repairing, scaling a fish, or opening a bottle.

Uses of Survival Shovels

  1. Digging

You can dig up a cat hole or trench during your camping or hiking with the help of a survival shovel.

  1. Weapons

Besides digging, you can use the shovel as a weapon to keep away with animals. The sharp edges help to cut and stab effectively.

  1. Funerals

You can use this shovel to dig up a big grave where you can bury a dead body.

  1. Sanitation

By using a survival shovel, you can easily dig up the ground at your campsite to create a camp latrine.

  1. Covering tracks

With the help of a portable survival shovel, you can easily cover the human waste so no one can track you easily. It will protect you from hungry wild animals.

  1. Stave of infections

If you dig holes with your hands, there will be a chance that you may get bitten by insects. A survival shovel can protect your hands from the cuts and further infection.

  1. Start a fire

You can use the shovel to dig up a hole for a fire at your campsite.

  1. Paddles

A survival shovel can be used as a paddle to cross a small river or pool in emergency situations.

  1. Break ice

You can consider the survival shovel to break and scrap the ice while you are hiking or climbing on a snowy trail.

  1. Move your car

If your car is stuck into the ground or mud, you can use the survival shovel to move the wheels out trouble-free.

Things to look into while selecting the best product


Different survival shovel models come up with various additional tools. Most of the shovels are commonly designed with a hammer, whistle, and blade.

You can also find several tools such as a fire starter, a fish scale, a saw, a Paracord, etc. in some shovels. These are some special tools which are not available in all units.

So, it is imperative to decide which tools you need for your outdoor adventures before you are going to buy a survival shovel. This is the best way to narrow down the choices so that you can get precisely what you want.

Besides, you should think about the purpose beforehand to make sure the shovel you choose can meet all your requirements. These shovels can be used for several purposes like camping, climbing, gardening, car emergencies, and more.

If you decide your purposes correctly, it will be easy for you to select the features you need the most.


The shovel head is one of the most vital parts of the survival shovels. So, you must check the quality of the materials used in making the heads while you are buying the shovel.

It will be better to choose a durable material like heat-treated stainless steel or reinforced nylon so that you can have a sturdy and robust shovelhead.

Shovelheads made up of metals are heavier, but they can be a good choice for entrenching. But you have to sharpen them frequently, which is not required for nylon-made heads.

Some shovelheads are designed with serrated edges, which can be used to open a bottle or cut through branches and roots. Also, some shovelheads can be locked at many angles.

However, it entirely depends on your needs, which type of shovelhead you want, and you should choose your units accordingly.


Survival shovel handles are made of different materials. You need to choose the right material to get a sturdy and durable handle.

If you choose a wooden handle, it will be able to deal with a heavyweight. Due to its robustness, it can be an effective choice for any heavy works.

On the other hand, having a shovel with the folding handle is very easy to carry. Foldable handles offer more portability so that you can pack them without any hassles.

However, you have to be careful about the joints of the folding handles as they are prone to wear and tear.


When it comes to buying a survival shovel, you must check its durability in the first place. You may need to pay a little more to get the best quality survival shovel, but it will be worth its value.

The durability of the survival shovels is determined by the quality of the material used in designing the shovels. You should always search for strong materials such as carbon, steel, aluminum, etc. to maximize durability.

Though these shovels come up with better durability, you need to sharpen the edges on a regular interval. How often you should sharpen your shovel depends on some factors like frequency of use, type of work, etc.

If the shovel is built with nylon, you will not need to sharpen it from time to time. But for metal made shovels, you need to hone the edges for more durability.


It will be imperative to check the weight of your survival shovel before making your purchase. These shovels are usually lightweight, so they are convenient to carry. However, the weight may differ from one model to another.

If the shovel is too heavy, it will not be portable enough, so you can not carry it easily. Therefore, you can look for a survival shovel that weighs within a range between 6 and 8 ounces. You can consider it as a standard weight.

Usually, the weight varies depending on the materials used in constructing the shovels. Some shovels are capable of moving large rocks where some others are suitable for scooping and digging soil and snow.

If you want a shovel for heavy use, you should choose a durable and robust material that can handle heavier weight.

Material and Construction

Material is one of the critical factors that must be taken into consideration while choosing your survival shovel. The shovel should be constructed in a way that it has a proper balance of weight and strength.

Choosing a robust model that is also resistant to water and corrosion will ensure its durability and longevity. Some common but powerful materials used in survival shovel construction are given below:

  1. Carbon steel

Usually, the shovel head is designed with carbon steel, which is actually stronger and more rigid than regular steel. Also, it comes with a powder coating that makes it corrosion resistance.

  1. Stainless steel

Stainless steel comes heavier, so if you are looking for a heavy shovel, you can choose this material. Moreover, survival shovels made of stainless steel are extremely resistant to corrosion.

  1. Aluminum

Aluminum, typically, is used to construct the shovel handles. Though aluminum is lightweight, it is strong and sturdy enough to deal with heavier weight.

  1. Comparison

It is all about your personal choice which material you want to have. Both Stainless steel and Carbon steel have some different features.

Stainless steel contains a good amount of chromium that provides shine and increases the corrosion resistance properties. On the contrary, carbon steel has more carbon in it so that you can expect better durability.

So, you should figure out first what you need for your work and then pick up the material which suits your requirements the most.

When it comes to choosing the handle, you can go for a rubber casing to make sure you will have a blister-free and non-slip grip.

Most of these shovels are constructed with "military-grade" materials, so they are strong, durable, and resistant to water, rust, and splinters.

Ease of Use

It is needless to mention that you should buy a survival shovel which is easier to use.

The length of the survival shovels is very crucial to consider because it will decide whether you need to bend or not while using the tool.

Also, you should look for a well-built and comfortable handle that is resistant to slip and ensures a tighter grip.

Having a well-gripped handle means you will be able to dig a hole or cut through branches without any hassles. If your shovel handle is non-slip, it will be less hazardous to use.

Moreover, choosing a folding handle will help you to carry it comfortably. It will not take much space so you can pack it in a compact size.

You will find some foldable shovels offering more functionality. The head of the shovel can be adjusted to different angles to use them according to your convenience.


Without considering the price, you can not make a good purchase of your survival shovel. Generally, people pay more attention to the quality and features of the products.

But, you should check the price tag with equal importance. If you want to get the best survival shovel, you will have to spend a little more money on it.

It is no brainer that a shovel designed with the highest quality materials will be a bit expensive.

For example, if you are choosing a plastic shovel, you can buy it within $10. But, you should not expect higher durability from it. Conversely, a shovel made up of carbon steel will be costlier, but you can easily rely on it for long-lasting performance.


Survival shovels are available with a wide range of sizes. But one thing to keep in mind that the size of the shovel you are buying should serve your purpose effectively.

If you need a shovel for simple use, you should go for a smaller size. But, when you are buying a survival shovel for various purposes, it will be wise to search for an adjustable handle.

It means having the right size of the survival shovel has a significant impact on its performance. One thing you should remember that size refers to the blade as well as the shovel.

By using a bigger blade, you can complete your task very quickly. So, it will be wise to look for bigger blades.

Additionally, a 20" survival shovel is considered as a standard size shovel. Nevertheless, taller people can select a model which is not less than 30".


When you are about to buy a survival shovel, you should go for a smaller size. It will help you to carry the tool anywhere you want.

If you select a lightweight unit, it will be very convenient to carry. So, you can keep and store it with you during climbing, hiking, camping, hunting, and gardening.

People are more likely to choose their shovels within 1to 2 lbs to make sure they are incredibly portable. Also, some units are available in small bags, and you can attach them to your belt to carry them effortlessly.

Usually, these shovels come up with a foldable design, so they are also straightforward to pack. It is relatively easy to keep your survival shovel in the backpack or the glove compartment of your car.

Furthermore, you can pack the shovel in a compact size to carry it inside the travel bag, or you can keep it in your car trunk.

Therefore, buying a survival shovel that is lightweight as well as foldable can be a better choice to carry the shovel comfortably.

Folding vs. Fixed

Commonly, you can find the survival shovel units either with a folding design or fixed.

There are some fixed models that can be divided into separate parts so you can transport them easily. However, they are not as durable as the true fixed design.

Also, folding shovels do not offer higher durability, although they are compact in design. You may find a lack of functionality if you consider a foldable shovel in extreme survival conditions.

Moreover, it may become difficult to dig up a hard surface just with a foldable shovel. It is, therefore, totally, your choice which type of shovel you need to complete your task with efficiency.


Another very essential factor is the versatility that you should never overlook while scanning the survival shovels. You should decide beforehand whether you need the bare-bones military-grade shovel for lighter tasks or you want extra features.

If you have a clear idea of your purpose, it will help you to narrow down your choices. When you need a shovel just to dig up holes, move your cars from the mud, etc. a sturdy and simple shovel can serve your purpose.

So, looking for a versatile design is a good decision that will help you to use the shovel in different ways. A survival shovel designed with serrated edges is handy to cut through roots and branches.

Also, it helps as a repairing tool so that you can fix minor damages. Some extra accessories will turn the shovel into axes, saws, hammers, fire starters, etc.

All of these features can be very effective in helping you to survive in extreme conditions during your outdoor trips.

Extra tools

There are some survival shovel models which are equipped with some additional tools. A survival shovel can be used as a different tool. You just need to pick up what you require for your task.

If you need an all-round camping shovel, you can easily search for a multi-tool survival shovel.

You are allowed to use the survival shovel as a fire starter or bottle opener according to your needs. Also, a survival shovel can be a better option to dig out the car wheels in case they are stuck in the mud.

Moreover, you can consider the shovel as an efficient ice pick or a saw that will help you to chop the cumbersome branches and roots.

Lightweight or Heavy-duty

Along with several other factors, you must also check whether your survival shovel is lightweight or heavy-duty. Which type of survival shovels you need should be determined by your purpose.

If you need to carry the shovel for a long distance, it will be wise to go for a lightweight model.

A lager shovel, on the other hand, is an ideal choice to keep in your garage. It will help you in heavy-duty yard work effectively.


The main aim of using a shovel is to dig up holes or cut through the roots and branches. Moreover, it can help you to pull out weeds or effectively remove the snow.

Therefore, it is vital to maintain the sharpness of the edges. All the good quality shovels are sharp enough to complete all these tasks without any issues.

With the sharper edges, a survival shovel can work more efficiently than a regular shovel. This is why you should check the sharpness regularly and sharpen the edges frequently.


Without having a tight grip, you will not be able to hold the shovel handle properly. When you are digging up a tough ground, a slippery handle can be very problematic to control.

With a view to that, many shovels are equipped with fiberglass handles to make sure you will get a firm and comfortable grip.

You can also look for a handle with rubber coating. It ensures a non-slip and firm grip.

Experts-Tips on buying Survival Shovels

There are some additional factors to keep in mind while searching for the best survival shovel for your outdoor activities. You can check the below-given list to know about those unique elements.

  1. The first and foremost thing you should check is the quality of the construction material. You should always go for the standard materials for a durable survival shovel.
  2. It is highly recommended to discard thin and film blades. You can choose an edge, which is a single solid piece.
  3. The blade should be designed with stainless steel or carbon steel, and an oxide covered coating is required to protect the edge from corrosion and rust.
  4. When it comes to selecting the handle, you should go for the metal one instead of plastic because you will get more durability from the metal handles.
  5. You should check the grip as well for ease of use.


  1. What handle’s length is best for digging purposes?

Longer handles are the best option to opt as they provide better leverage and more power.

  1. Should I opt for a lightweight shovel or heavyweight?

This depends upon the use of a shovel. If you are looking for a travel-friendly option, then select the one with lightweight. If you are not going to carry the tool a lot, then opt for a heavy-duty option.

  1. What is the benefit of selecting a shovel made of military-grade material?

They are quite robust and durable. They have a substantial threshold against rust, water damage, splinters, and regular wear and tear.

Summing Up

Survival shovels act like a master-key that can save you from different challenging situations by unlocking several doors to deal with them.

In this extensive guide, you will find all the essential characteristics that will help you funnel down the best option. Skim through them and select an elite product for your outdoor journey. / - © Copyright 2020