Best Survival Shovel – Ultimate Buyers Guide (2022)

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A survival shovel, otherwise known as a foldable shovel or portable shovel, is a small spade-like tool that comes with a range of features and designs to make it both compact and practical. Survival shovels are designed so that they can be used not just for digging but also chopping, cutting, hammering and much more – this makes them perfect for anyone that enjoys camping or exploring in the great outdoors – hence their name! However, thanks to them being so practical, they are also the perfect tool for if you are completing work in your garden, as this one tool can be used for so many different things. 

If you are wanting to know more about survival shovels and whether they are going to be able to help you then you have come to the right place. We have included some of the best survival shovels available at the moment and the key features to look out for when you are buying! 

Best Pick Survival Shovel – Besroy Military Shovel

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In A Hurry? 

Ready to go exploring? Tired of having to carry around a tonne of tools when you are working in the garden? Here you will find all the essential information that you need to find the best survival shovel around!

Shovel Head

It is likely that the main reason you are purchasing a survival shovel is for the shovel head – otherwise you would probably just opt for some different tool instead. It is always worth checking the size and shape of the shovel head to see if it is actually going to be up to the task! 

Most shovel heads are going to be pointed in design to allow you to break into the ground quickly and easily. This also allows you to use the pointed edge to break through ice etc. Look out for arched design shovel heads as these are going to make it much easier for you to move dirt or debris that you are trying to shovel. Other models will come with a completely flat shovel head which means they will fold down to a much smaller size but they are going to leave you having to balance the dirty you are covering! 

We would definitely recommend making sure that your shovel head comes with varied edges including both smooth and serrated edges! This is the best way to make sure that you are going to be able to cut through a range of materials, from branches to pieces of ice and much much more. 

You also need to think about the size of the shovel head as this will determine the amount that you are going to be able to carry and how easy it is going to be to cut through different materials when you are using it as a saw. Some are going to be as small as around 15cm in length whereas others are closer to 25cm in length.

TOP TIP: It is always worth considering the thickness of your shovel head. A thicker shovel head is going to be more durable and able to work in tougher conditions but a thinner shovel head will be lighter and therefore more portable. 


The second thing that you need to check for is exactly what features your survival shovel is actually going to come with. Different models will come with different features and some may be more important to you than others. You also want to consider how many features you are getting for your money – some will come with three or four whereas others have over ten uses! It is worth mentioning that it is rare you will find a survival shovel that has all the features below, so make sure to check which ones are going to be important to you. 

  • Shovel (of course!)
  • Bottle opener
  • Ice-axe
  • Pick-axe
  • Saw blade
  • Emergency whistle 
  • Fire Bar
  • Hammer
  • Nail extractor
  • Hoe
  • Fish scaler 
  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Compass

TOP TIP: Some survival shovels will allow you to detach the shovel head and add other tips depending on the tools that you need at one time. This will make the tools much easier to use but is going to mean that you are carrying around more parts with you – making the bag heavier and increasing the chance of things going missing! 

Best Budget Survival Shovel – AA Emergency Shovel

AA Emergency Snow Shovel - For Car, Home and Travel - Compact and Tough for Winter and Adverse Weather
  • Shift some snow – clear your path, your driveway, your car wheels, use to spread salt or build a snowman
  • Easy does it - this snow shovel is lightweight and tough, with a solid steel blade and an easy grip handle; the blade can be fixed at various angles to suit the task
  • Space-saver – it folds for compact storage in its dedicated pouch, taking up no room in the boot of your vehicle or at home
  • In use - folded it is only 24 cm long and unfolded 59 cm, when in use simply screw down the collar on the shaft
  • Not just for winter - as we all know, snow doesn’t only appear in the winter

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Size and Weight 

Obviously the size and weight of your survival shovel is going to be important. They are also known as folding shovels, thanks to their clever folding design, which means that they can often be popular for people that need a shovel whilst they are on the move – but this means that size and weight are going to be even more important to you. 

Make sure to look at both the folded size and also the full size – ideally you want the folded size to be as small as possible but you still want a large shovel when it is opened so that you can work easily. Some shovels are as small as around 40cm whereas other models are up to around 150cm when extended. 

When comparing the weight of most survival shovels we found that they tended to range from around 600g up to around 1.2kgs for most models. 

TOP TIP: If you are concerned about your survival shovel being too small to get any proper work done then look out for extending survival shovels. These have handles that can be extended enough to allow you to use the shovel whilst you are standing instead of bent down! You will usually find that the handle comes in a number of parts that can be added or removed as needed. 

Build Materials 

If you want your survival shovel to be long lasting then you need to think about what it is made from, as you need materials that are going to be long-lasting, durable and able to withstand the impact from the work that you are planning on completing. 

The most essential parts of the survival shovel should be made out of metal. You will usually find that this is made out of some type of steel as this is going to be relatively light to carry round, but also strong and durable. Toughened carbon steel is going to be one of your better choices as this is going to be able to offer you extra strength! Powder-coated steel is going to be the best option for if you are wanting to reduce friction when you are digging allowing you to work more efficiently. 

The handle will sometimes be made from steel but other times you can find them made from aluminium. This is going to be even lighter than steel to make the tool more portable, but you will tend to find that aluminium is slightly weaker too! We did find some more traditional looking models that came with wooden handles rather than metal. Although these may look good they are going to be a heavier option for if you are wanting to carry your shovel around regularly. One thing that we do really like about the wooden handles is that they are going to be much better for reducing the shock when you are digging or using your survival shovel as an axe, for example. 

TOP TIP: If you do decide to opt for a steel survival shovel then just make sure to check whether it is going to be protected from rust and corrosion. Powder-coated materials are going to be your best options. 

The Best Survival Shovels 

If you need a survival shovel for what the name suggests and need to be able to rely on it in a range of situations then you are going to need to consider some additional features. Or maybe you are just wanting the best value for money! Here are some of the extra features we would recommend looking out for. 

  • Carry case – Some of the best survival shovels will actually come with a case or a small bag to be stored in. Not only does this help to avoid any damage to the shovel when you are not using it, but if you are carrying the shovel in a rucksack, for example, then it won’t be able to damage or dirty your other belongings. 
  • Handle – The handle of your survival shovel is really important in ensuring your comfort and efficiency when you are working. Look out for the size of the handle – most are going to be closed handles so check that they are going to be big enough if you have larger hands. You also want to check the material that the handle is going to be made from – ideally you want this to be metal so that it will be strong and long lasting. 
  • Comfort grip – As we mentioned above – ideally you want your handle to be made from metal, but this can make it quite uncomfortable to work with for longer periods of time or in extreme weather conditions. This is why we recommend looking out for models with rubber, silicone or foam sleeves over the handle to offer increased comfort and protection when you are working. 
  • Belt loop – Some of the smaller survival shovels will even come with belt loops so that you can easily carry them around when you are working or walking! 
  • Assembly – Make sure to consider how easy it is going to be to actually assemble your survival shovel. Some will simply fold out and click into place whereas others will need piecing together. You also want to look at the strength of the connection, as some connectors aren’t as strong and can be easily damaged when under impact. Threading locking systems made from strong materials are going to be your best option! 
  • Footpegs – Usually you will find that survival shovels are too small to have good quality footpegs, but there are some models that manage to incorporate footpegs so that you can work with greater ease when you are digging. 
  • Looking after your survival shovel – If you want your survival shovel to be long lasting then you are going to need to look after it. We would recommend making sure that the build materials are smooth and easy to wipe, such as chrome plated steel, as this can be cleaned and wiped down easily. You also want to look at the width of the teeth on the serrated edge to see how easy these are going to be to clean! 
  • Portability – Look at how your survival shovel breaks down to be carried and moved around. Some are going to have to be broken down into a number of pieces whereas others are going to come with a dual or tri-fold design so that the survival shovel is all one piece but that is folded down into three pieces to reduce the size. 

Best of the Rest

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Camping Shovel, YOUNGDO Military Folding Survival Shovel, Entrenching Tool Portable for Camping, Car Emergency, Backpacking, Outdoor, Hiking, Gardening and Trenching
4,141 Reviews
Camping Shovel, YOUNGDO Military Folding Survival Shovel, Entrenching Tool Portable for Camping, Car Emergency, Backpacking, Outdoor, Hiking, Gardening and Trenching
  • 【10-in-one Multifunctional Shovel】 Shoveling, hoeing, cutting, planing, picking, hammering, bottle opening, sawing, kitchen knife, nail pulling.
  • 【Ideal Camping Shovel for Outdoor Activities】A must-have for convenient for on-the-go adventurers. Ideal for camping, fishing, self-defense, hunting, snow shoveling, jungle wandering, cooking meal, exploring, traveling and hiking.
  • 【Compact and Portable Folding Shovel】Screw-type removable handle, easy to assemble. Lightweight (only 1.10 lbs) and amazingly compact, easily fit in your backpack or the trunk of vehicle.
  • 【Sturdy and Comfortable Military Shovel】Made of 420 alloy steel with surface oxidation treatment, the shovel is durable and anti-corrosive. Special non-slip design with delicate handle feeling to minimize hand fatigue.
  • 【Adjustable and Detachable Survival Shovel】With it's special screw locking device, you can adjust the shovel to any required angle, making it convenient to switch to other positions and serve various functions.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Camping Shovel - MOSFiATA 75cm Military Folding Shovel, 16 All in Function Survival Shovel with 2pcs adjustable non-slip aluminum tube, Suit for Outdoor Hiking, Hunting, Expedition,Garden etc
  • 【Sturdy & Durable Material】: The shovel head is made by 2.5mm thickened manganese steel, using the third generation of manganese steel integrated casting technology with high strength, high toughness, which is enough to withstand the hardest conditions. The body adpots anti-skid three-section aeronautical aluminum tube, ergonomic dynamic three-dimensional friction, easy to grip.
  • 【Multifunctional Folding Shovel】:Shoveling, knocking, chopping, sawing, cutting, igniting, opening bottles, chopping trees, shoveling mud, cut trees, hoe, broken windows, screwdrivers, serrations, etc. It can be used as a hammer, saw and screwdriver, digging, sawing, cutting, picking, hammering, corkscrew, shovel. It can peel animal skins, descale fish scales, and cut the rope. Magnesium whistle can whistle or easily catch fire. Emergency broken window.
  • 【Portable & Compact】: Small folding size with storage bag, it can be put into backpack, car or toolbox. Foldable, removable, easy to install. Easy to adjust to 3 different length, 45cm, 56.5cm, 76cm.
  • 【Applicable Occasions】: Very suitable for camping, backpacking, hiking, off-road, fishing, survival, emergency, hunting, gardening, etc.
  • 【Package include】:1×Shovel head, 2×extension rod, 1×broken window cone, 1×ten screwdriver, 1×magnesium whistle, 1×screwdriver, 1×shovel surface receiving bag, 1×extension rod receiving bag.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions

What warranty will I get with a survival shovel? 

The warranties that come with survival shovels actually vary quite massively so this is definitely worth checking for. We found that most survival shovel warranties ranged between one and five years. However, there are some manufacturers that actually offer a lifetime warranty – you really can’t ask for better than that! 

Can a survival shovel be used for general gardening? 

Technically, there is no reason why a survival shovel cannot be used for general gardening as it is going to have a number of tools and features that you are going to use when in the garden, However, due to their compact, portable design they probably aren’t going to be your best option for anything more substantial that you may be wanting to do in your garden. 

What is a survival shovel?

A survival shovel is basically a shovel with different tools included so that it can be used in a variety of situations. They tend to come with saws, axes, ice picks and a variety of other tools. Survival shovels tend to be used by walkers, hikers and campers which is why they are known as survival shovels because they will be able to help you in a wide range of situations should you get into trouble whilst you are out and about!

About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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