7 Best Camping Shovels (Buying Guide)
A camping shovel makes tons of essential tasks possible that newcomers to camping might never have considered. With the right shovel, you’re able to turn over embers in a campfire in the fire pit, dig a latrine, and bury organic waste to prevent animals sneaking into the campsite at night. Beyond the standard digging tasks, a shovel can also do some quick chopping, cutting, and hammering. It can really cut down on the amount of gear you need to bring along with you while simplifying all the most toilsome campsite work, especially useful if you’re going primitive camping.
The qualities to look out for when choosing a shovel are size, weight, and utility. Whatever length of time you plan to be outdoors, the best shovel will be lightweight and fold into a small shape for maximum portability. A camp shovel with extra features like a hammer or a firestarter is ideal because they’ll slim down your pack size. As far as design goes, the handle should be made of durable material that won’t take damage from normal use, and the blade of the shovel should be made of a strong metal that doesn’t weigh too much.
For longevity, make sure the shovel is made of an alloy that won’t rust or has at least been treated to make it rust-resistant. Many shovels are great in some areas but weak in others, for example having a nice enough blade but a handle made of shoddy material that causes discomfort after sustained use. We’ve looked at a wide variety of camping shovels to find seven that sit at the perfect intersection of comfort, use-value, and portability. Check out our list below to find the tool that suits you best!
Why Do I Need A Camping Shovel?
Many camping tasks are transformed if the right tool is available. Relighting a campfire is much easier if you use a shovel to evenly spread the charcoal around the fire site, and a shovel is very useful to stoke and extinguishes the flames. If you cook over a fire, you’ll find a shovel useful to adjust the logs without having to move your cooking apparatus.
For assurance against the accidental spreading of a fire, try digging a fire trench, and always make sure to bury the remains of the fire when you leave. Camping near a water source is even more enjoyable if you know how to use a shovel to dig a small drainage trench, and you can also ensure rainwater will flow away from your tents. You’ll be amazed how a simple shovel changes the way you camp!
For the more seasoned campers, check out some of the models below that have added tool attachments. No need to carry several different tools with you anymore! Some of these models have additional axes or fire-starting features that will simplify your camping tasks without robbing you of the satisfaction of hands-on labor. Most new models feature up-to-date ergonomically designed handles that go a long way preventing soreness and fatigue while you’re working.
Real adventurists who camp year-round should consider an all-weather shovel as a central and essential part of their tool pack, especially those camping on their own. Sand, snow, and dirt vary from one another and your shovel must be designed to handle any type of material. Some shovels are even built to be attached to a long stick for a DIY fishing spear or fire poker.
A shovel is an absolute camping essential and a clear sign of a true enthusiast. If you want to get down in the dirt, make sure you bring the right tool along with you. We’ve taken a look at seven shovels with various features and design elements and selected our favorite. Read through our list to get a good idea of what to look for in a shovel on Amazon, so you can be ready to get your hands dirty!
Best Camping Shovels – Overview
1. FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool RS
- COMPACT SIZE, OVERSIZED POWER - You won't find a tougher folding shovel than the FiveJoy RS Military Shovel. Made from ultra durable, water and rust resistant heavy duty carbon steel, this multitool was built to last as long as you do. 20.6" long, with a 5.7" wide and 7" high shovel head offers EXTRA surface area for entrenching, digging sand / snow / mud / dirt / chopping ice / branches. At only 2.16lbs in weight, it's perfect to fold up and include in your emergency bag and bug out bag
- ALL-IN-ONE SURVIVAL TOOL SET - This is the one tool true survivalists and preppers MUST HAVE in their arsenal for taking on the outdoors. Use the multifunctional tools for basic functions such as a Shovel, Hoe, Axe, Saw, Hammer. Unscrew the connecting tubes to reveal the hidden Rescue Knife and Saw, Emergency Whistle, Bottle Opener and Fire Starter. The hollow handle and extension tubes also make great places to store emergency items.
- VERSATILE - Amazingly lightweight and portable, this sturdy folding trench shovel is convenient to store in car/ vehicle for snow days and unexpected emergencies (dig out your tires, or break glass). Attach the carrying case to your belt for easy access while on the trail. Add extension tubes for increased length and leverage.
- INCOMPARABLE QUALITY & DESIGN - Thoughtfully engineered slip and sweatproof handle optimizes comfort, control, and leverages with all glove types to minimize hand fatigue. Comfortable and ergonomic to use as a recreational garden shovel, camping shovel, or on your backcountry and cross country trips. A unique lock structure makes it simple to alternate functions. Spade can be used 30°, 85° or 180° angle as hook, hoe or shovel.
This ingeniously designed tool comes with tons of really useful design features and it’s handle length is customizable with three lengths on offer. Unfortunately, the handle extensions are sold separately, but it is nice to have the option available. The FiveJoy comes packed with multifunctional tools like a hoe, ax, saw, and hammer. The handle is hollow and all you have to do is unscrew it to access the hidden rescue knife, sawing, emergency whistle, bottle opener, and fire starter.
To get a better picture in your mind, think of the fire starter as a strip of a rough material that you can strike with another object to spark fuel for your fire. The hollow handle also offers some space to store small emergency items. The handle is well-designed and sweat-proof, making it comfortable and easy to use without slipping from your hands. Another nice feature is the unique lock structure, which allows use at 90° or 180°, like a hoe or a shovel respectively.
The FiveJoy is a rough and tough multitool shovel. It’s really durable, made out of water- and rust-resistant heavy-duty carbon steel. It has an extra surface area on the shovelhead, which makes it a great entrenching tool, and makes digging that much easier. It folds up for easy transport and it’s not too heavy for a shovel at just over 2 pounds. They’ve designed this tool to last a long time, and they have a one year warranty for manufacturing flaws.
It’s good for campers, preppers, survivalists, and anyone else who will have to work in the dirt on a camping trip. With its many extras, this shovel is super convenient and well worth keeping with you. It may even eliminate the need for some other tools if you’re trying to pack light. At $69, it isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but its versatility may make it appealing at the price for someone looking for an all-in-one shovel.
- Many additional features
- Two angle options
- One Year Warranty
- Mid-range price
- Handle extensions sold separately
2.TABOR TOOLS Folding Shovel
- MULTI-FUNCTIONAL. This super-compact e-tool is suitable for camping, hiking, adventure, garden, and other outdoor activities. Can be used as an extraction shovel for SUV 4X4 off-road vehicles. The military-style entrenching shovel can be used either straight or at a 90° angle. It comes in a convenient carrying pouch with a loop, so the shovel can be attached to a belt or backpack. Weighs only 1.3 lb.
- SERRATED EDGE DESIGN. The sharpened edge is for digging and the serrated saw edge cuts through roots, compost, mud, sand and snow. This tool can dig tires out of dirt if your car becomes stuck. Overall length when unfolded is 19” providing plenty leverage for tough digging.
- LIGHT-WEIGHT AND PORTABLE: You can fold up the shovel twice into a small portable package. When completely collapsed, this shovel fits into a 6” by 8” green carrying bag. It fits in the glove box, so you can keep it in your car, backpack or toolbox; this tool will get you out of any tight situation!
- DURABLE MATERIALS: both the hardened steel shovel and the pouch are made of durable military-grade materials which are here to stay!
Without a doubt the main appeal of this tool is it’s compact size when folded, making it a really portable shovel. It offers the standard straight-angle shovel mode and also adjusts to a 90° angle for use as a spade. It has a sharpened side for digging and a serrated saw edge for cutting through roots or anything else you might find while you’re working.
This foldable shovel fits into a 6×8 inch carrying pouch, which makes it ideal to keep in your car for digging out tires or in your camping bag or garden shed. The carrying case is included with the shovel and has a loop so you can attach it to a belt or bookbag, or hang it on a hook for storage. It weighs a scant 1.3 pounds, so for anybody looking for a lightweight easy-to-carry shovel, this one might be for you.
Handle length is important for shovels because that’s what determines the leverage and makes digging much easier. The Tabor Tools shovel has a 19” handle which offers great leverage in any situation. It’s very durable, being constructed of a hardened steel blade, and the carrying case is made of military-grade material, so both should last a long time with regular use.
The price is under $15, which makes it ideal for someone looking for either an emergency shovel or a small tool for brief tasks. It doesn’t have as many additional features as other models, but since it’s so lightweight and small you can easily carry it along with other tools. The Tabor Tools shovel is probably best for someone looking to add to their existing collection, while someone looking for more versatility is likely better suited with a more robust model.
- Small, lightweight
- Carrying case included
- 90° angle adjustment
- Few additional features
- COMPACT WITH MULTIPLE USES: Our Collapsible Shovel Multitool is so versatile that it can be used for camping, gardening, hiking as well as for survival and emergency purposes. Digging holes and fire pits, sawing off thin branches, starting fire, open beer bottles, shoveling snow away, cracking ice with the pickaxe, breaking glass, digging the wheels of your car out of mud or snow. No problem with this camping shovel.
- 10 FUNCTIONS IN 1 SURVIVAL SHOVEL: Of course it’s a great and sturdy camping shovel but you will also find two saws, a fire starter, a glass breaker, a pickaxe, a whistle, two bottle openers and a knife. Our folding shovel also comes with 59” (150 cm) Paracord.
- CARBON STEEL & SMART DESIGN: The multifunctional trenching shovel is made of high quality carbon steel for extra durability. It has a comfortable rubber grip handle to facilitate your gardening, shoveling or digging tasks. Entire shovel can lock into a full 180 degree angle or if needed a 90 degree angle.
- FOLDABLE: The shovel is 23.5” (60 cm) when unfolded. It can be divided into 3 parts. The shovel blade and pickaxe can be folded towards the handle which allows the entire spade fit into the 9” x 5.5” x 1.4” (23 x 14 x 3.5 cm) included carrying pouch. The pouch can be attached to your belt or hung onto your bag to bring this survival gear with you on your hike.
The Friendly Swede Folding Survival Shovel (FSS) is packed out with tons of nice additional features, including two saws, a fire starter, a glass breaker, a pickaxe, a whistle, two bottle openers, and a knife. The pickaxe is especially useful to break the ground before you start digging. It breaks down into 3 pieces for great portability, although it can sometimes be unwieldy to deal with 3 separate pieces.
Luckily, it does come with a carrying case so you can carry all 3 pieces together with relative ease. The glass breaker is an ingenious little bit of design; even though you might think you can break glass with anything hard, it’s much neater and efficient to use the tool designed for that purpose, and you might even want to have such a tool in the glove box of your car for emergencies.
It has a paracord attachment so you can carry it in a belt or hang it for storage. You can turn the knife, saw, and whistle around and screw them back into the shaft parts to make a longer handle. The fire starter is on the back of the window breaker. It’s a little tricky to figure out at first, but the instructions are offered in the product description:
Fire Starter Instructions:
1. Scrape off black protective coating from the firestarter rod with the side of the shovel blade or the knife.
2. Prepare your tinder.
3. Hold the shovel blade or knife at a 45° angle to the firestarter. Scrape striker hard and fast down the firestarter.
4. Allow sparks to fall onto tinder.
We’ve copied it here in full for you because this method is more or less how you’ll want to use any firestarter, so it’s really useful to know. Like some other Friendly Swede products, the FSS comes with a lifetime warranty for risk-free shopping and they have a 24-hour customer service team. The shovel is really nice for its versatility and unlike some other models, all the extra features are of very high quality, not cheap add-ons to entice unsuspecting buyers. It’s a rugged little shovel, great for someone looking for a convenient addition to their toolset.
- Folds for storage
- Carrying case included
- Tons of additional features
- Optional handle adjustment
- Lifetime warranty
- 3 piece construction may be unwieldy
4. Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel
- Operates in hammer mode for pounding in tent stakes
- Designed with easy push button slide mechanism
- Includes nylon draw string bag
- Features durable blade crafted from carbon steel
This Gerber model is a nice option for those looking for versatility at a cheap price. It doesn’t have as many options as other models, but it does have a very handy hammer mode that works great for pounding in tent stakes and similar quick hammering tasks. You can keep it in the car in case of emergencies since it folds down to a trim 9 inches.
It’s very light at 28 ounces, which means you can even carry it with you in a bookbag. They throw in carrying back with a nylon tie-string so you can bring it along pretty easily. The handle has an ergonomic design that includes glass-filled nylon and a rubber grip, which makes for decent ease-of-use and comfort.
Gerber has designed a push-button slide mechanism so you can go from storage to use really fast, without having to deal with attachments or screw-in pieces. The blade on it is really durable because it’s a hard carbon steel shovel, so it should last a long time without wearing down. If it does start to dull, the blade can be resharpened to extend its longevity. The price is under $20 so it won’t break the bank and for a basic model, it would make a nice addition to a camping pack. It is a case of you-get-what-you-pay-for in terms of additional features, but you might be able to get away with replacing a hammer with this tool.
- Carrying case included
- Hammer mode
- Can be sharpened
- Tough blade
- Push-button slide mechanism
- Inexpensive, Portable
- Not many extras
5. SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel
- BARELY BIGGER THAN YOUR HAND: That’s the size of the Entrenching Tool when folded; this camp shovel, snow shovel, sand shovel or gardening shovel works as a small shovel for big jobs
- 18.25 INCH FULL LENGTH, 24.5 OUNCES: Foldable military shovel and hunting shovel w/ a wood saw edge and a rotating spade shovel blade to use as a pick or hoe; versatile E tool w/ strong shovel handle
- 3-WAY FOLDING DESIGN: Hand shovel collapses into a portable outdoor shovel, emergency shovel and hiking shovel; a compact E tool for your camping gear that’s not as bulky as other shovels for digging
- HIGH-CARBON STEEL CONSTRUCTION AND CARRY CASE: Super durable for a mini shovel; pack it into its small shovel case and carry it on your back pack or belt
This SOG model is really convenient since when it’s folded it’s about the size of your hand. The 3-way foldable design gives it a variety of uses, which is a nice bit of versatility you don’t often find in smaller shovels. It has a saw edge and a rotating shovel blade so you can use it as a pick or a hoe as well. It doesn’t have any of the fancier additions like a fire starter, but the critical features are all there. It’s a solid little shovel and it will do what you expect from a shovel tool.
The locking mechanism is durable, which gives peace of mind that it won’t suddenly come apart when you’re putting a lot of pressure on the handle. It comes with a carrying case that has a belt loop for easy carrying or storage. A nice additional feature of the carrying case is its velcro closing, which is more efficient than a nylon string at keeping the tool from shifting during transport. It’s inexpensive at just over $15, which makes up for the lack of additional features. Like similar models, it won’t replace anything in your toolset but still makes a worthy addition.
The blade is tough, made of a black powder-coated high carbon steel, and this is a survival tool. It’s built to last, and the company promises they “consider all repair and replacement requests”, which sounds nice but isn’t as much of a guarantee as an outright lifetime warranty would be. The whole shovel is metal and should be able to take a beating. One feature that’s missing in this model is an adjustable handle.
You’re trading in some versatility to get such a low price, but if all you need is something basic, then this could be a good model for you. It does feature a pickaxe adjustment, which is very handy for loosening dirt to make digging easier. The locking mechanism operates by twist, which can take a little longer to loosen and adjust, but shouldn’t take too much time away from the task at hand. Overall, a fine addition as an emergency tool or a backup shovel.
- Very portable backpacking shovel, good for hikers
- Carrying case included
- Durable e-tool for shoveling
- Twist-lock mechanism
- Not many additional features
- Non-adjustable handle
6. Kopwin folding Shovel and Camping Multitool
- 20 in 1 FOLDING SHOVEL MULTITOOL with over 20 uses including saw, rescue knife,entrenching hoe, hammer, fire starter, whistle, ice breaker, fish scaler, 9pc multi screwdriver, rope cutter, hex wrench, wire cutter, compass, bottle and can opener. Perfect for any emergency
- EXTRA HEAVY-DUTY carbon stainless steel blade with machined aerospace grade aluminum shaft means it will not break or fall apart, for maximum strength and lifetime durability making sure you are always prepared. This entrenching tool will last for years and years
- COMPACT FOLDABLE TACTICAL MULTI-TOOL CAMP SHOVEL can easily fit in your backpack, car, RV, truck, jeep or boat. Be prepared for emergencies. This folding Army survival shovel can easily dig out your tires from snow, mud and ice. Included is a belt carry pouch with long straps
- MAKES A GREAT GIFT for your favorite outdoor enthusiast! Camping shovel multitool is surprisingly lightweight and portable, this sturdy folding trench shovel is perfect to store in car/ vehicle for snow days and unexpected emergencies (dig out your tires, break ice or glass). Folds to 6"x9"x2" (15x23x5cm) and only weighs 3lbs (1.35kg)
Dig yourself out of almost anything with this model, which is so packed-out with additional features you may forget it was supposed to be a shovel in the first place! Check out all the extra tools and functions of the multi-purpose Kopwin model below:
- Wire Cutter
- Bottle Opener
- Fire Starter
- Glass Breaker
- Ice Breaker
- Fish Scaler
- 9pc Screwdriver Set
- Rope Cutter
- Hexagon Wrench
- Measuring Device
- Can Opener
- Self Protection
They may be padding the list to round it out with “self-protection” since they’re double-counting the shovel, knife, and icepick for that purpose. But there’s no denying that you will absolutely save room in your pack carrying this one-stop-shop along with you. For even more versatility, the handle will adjust to three different angles for use as a shovel, hoe, or digger. It also adjusts to different lengths depending on the task.
It’s made of heat-treated carbon stainless steel and the handle is made of machined aerospace-grade aluminum, so it’s really durable and you’ll be able to use it to dig into the rocky soil. They promise it will last years and years with lifetime durability. It comes with a belt carry pouch that has long straps and it should fit anywhere you need to carry it. The cost is $40, which is completely reasonable for a tool with such various uses as this Kopwin shovel.
The only drawback might be the complexity of the tool, from the sheer amount of tools and mechanisms on it, but in fact, the design remains sleek and streamlined. It doesn’t seem to be the tool you’d buy if it’s your first shovel, but for everyone else, it would be an invaluable addition to the kit. This is our Top Pick for a camping shovel, for its durability and unparalleled versatility.
- Extremely versatile
- Good price
- Durable design
- Fairly priced
- Not for amateurs
7. GRM Camping Shovel Portable Garden Trowel 7-in-1
- MUlTITOOL SHOVEL- Multi functional survival trowel covers all your needs which can be used as a knife, saw, spearhead, shovel, nail puller, ruler, wrench, etc. GRM portable shovel trowel even can be used as a spare tent stake on a windy day.
- STURDY & DURABLE- Sturdy digging trowel is made from premium alloy special steel which is high-strength and wear-resistant with polished or painted surface, it will not rust easily. It's strong enough to take on the toughest job function.
- ANTI-SLIP & SWEAT-Thoughtfully engineered slip and sweatproof handle optimize comfort. Nylon rope gives the camping shovel handle a better slip resistance and can also be untied for emergency use, length about 114 inches.
- LIGHTWEIGHT GARDEN TOOL - The whole length is 10.4 inch, the size of the shovel board is 2.8 inch, only 170g. Compact with a convenient carry pouch for better storage, carrying and hanging.
7-in-1 may not sound like much after reading about the behemoth 20-feature Kopwin, but this sturdy little GRM shovel has actually managed to think of a few things the Kopwin didn’t. It can be used as a shovel, a knife, a saw, a spearhead, a nail puller, a ruler, and a wrench. The spearhead design is very clever, allowing this GRM to be attached to a stick or pole for use while fishing, or in self-defense in the unlikely scenario that you have time to lash a shovel to a stick before you’re attacked.
The nail-puller is a simple feature that won’t impede the shovel’s use in any other capacity. It’s a durable little shovel and lightweight for carrying with you at a little over a third of a pound. The GRM is engineered with an anti-slip and anti-sweat grip on the handle, ensuring it won’t leave your hand while you’re digging (or lashing it to a pole). The blade is made from a premium high-strength, wear-resistant alloy special steel, so it won’t rust easily and it will be strong enough to take on any task.
They’ve also included a serrated edge on one side of the shovel for cutting roots while digging, or cutting ropes or anything else while you’re working above the ground. Another small design feature is depth marks, so you know how far you’re digging into the ground. It can also be sharpened with a simple block, which ensures added longevity. Priced at $13.99, this GRM is a solid shovel with all the essentials and some fun additions. If the Kopwin we talked about earlier is too much for you, this is probably the best runner-up.
- Fairly versatile
- Inexpensive, tactical shovel
- Durable, quality materials
- Can be sharpened
- Good grip
- May be too small for bigger jobs
For its solid construction and for the incredible amount of features they were able to pack into it, our Top Pick for a folding spade /shovel is the Kopwin folding Shovel and Camping Multitool. It efficiently settles any deliberation about price vs. utility, sitting at the perfect middle ground of both. The size is fine and when you go camping you can likely leave behind several bulkier tools in favor of this convenient little beauty, making it the best folding shovel.
Keeping a shovel handy will enable you to have the full experience of the outdoors. To really interact with nature, you have to get down in the dirt, and you can’t do that without a shovel. Whatever the application, whether camping, gardening or digging your tires out of the mud, a shovel is an absolutely essential tool.
Bonus tip: To find out whether a folding camping or a survival shovel is right for you, watch this useful video!