There are so many different types of shovels for camping. For example, there’s the basic shovel, which is made out of metal or plastic depending on how much weight you want to carry. Then there are the heavy-duty military style survival shovels, which are awesome but not a necessity for casual campers.
In this camping shovel review, I have handpicked eight of the best camping shovels for 2021. We’ve got a variety of different types – so you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for here, no matter what that is.
As per usual, I will let you know if I had any issues and whatever negatives each shovel might have – as well as the strengths. This way, you can decide if the con is worth all of the pros.
Best Camping Shovels – Top 8
The Rhino USA folding shovel is really great to keep with you when you’re going car camping, especially off-roading.
The shovel itself has dimensions of 2.7 x 9.9 x 6.4 inches, but when folded it’s only 9 x 6 inches. Most shovels only fold up twice, but this one folds three times so that it can be really compact. It even comes inside of a carry case.
It’s really affordable and multi-functional. With a really simple twist locking system, you can turn the head of the shovel 90 degrees to transform it into a hoe and a pickaxe. The pickaxe can break through a 6-inch rock with ease.
At first glance, it appears like it would weigh much more than it actually does. Even though it’s made out of heavy-duty power coated carbon steel, it only weighs 2.65lbs/1.2kg.
Being lightweight is one of the things that make it one of the best portable shovels out there, and it’s useful as a survival shovel thanks to its multi-purpose.
There are sharp rugged teeth on one side of the shovel head that is good for cutting wood.
Despite this sawtooth side, you should still sharpen the rest of the shovel every now and then. Simply use a file to deburr it, because in time the hard ground will dull the blade and once it gets in a dull state it’s very difficult to recover its sharpness.
Most shovels have a square shaped head, but this ‘pointed’ one is better because it can easily penetrate the ground and even cut any ground roots on its way in.
Square shaped shovel heads are only better if you’re in snowy or sandy areas.
The size and shape provide improved versatility, which is important for when you need plenty of space to maneuver while swinging the shovel. However, because of the length, you wouldn’t want to use this shovel in severe conditions because you will end up with back pain.
In my opinion, this one is best to keep as a secondary shovel. Most people tend to overlook the necessity of a secondary shovel, but picture this – you’re going car camping or on a road trip and your car gets stuck. Unless you’re all by yourself, the person in your passenger seat can grab the secondary shovel and help out. This way, the work load is split and it gets done in half the time.
The Rhino military-style shovel is a great addition to your off-road recovery kit.
I find it perfect to carry around in the small carry bag that it comes with, but you can alternatively mount it in the roof rack of a car with the shovel fully extended.
Redcamp offer a few different options – there are two colors (black or green) and two different shovel head shapes (round or pointed).
This tactical shovel is ideal for camping, hiking, backpacking, gardening, fishing, hunting, and almost any other outdoor activity there is.
It’s made out of high-carbon steel, which is sturdy and durable. The more rounded shovel head weighs 2.5lbs, whereas the newer pointed one weighs 3lbs.
The triangular handle provides more comfort and a good grip.
All of the shovels have the same dimensions, except for the green heavy duty one.
The shovel head is 21cm, with a total length of 58cm, weighing at 2.5lbs, and the blade thickness is 1.5mm.
Now, the green heavy duty one weighs 3lbs, and when unfolded the dimensions are 58.5cm x 15.5cm. The handle’s height is 23.5cm, and when the shovel is folded up the size is 25cm x 15.5cm.
It’s really easy to store this shovel in your backpack or car without taking up much space at all – which is what makes it one of the best compact shovels. It even comes with a small nylon carry pouch to keep it in.
One side of the shovel head has sharp saw edges that help a lot when shoveling snow and sand or cutting roots and clearing bushes.
This shovel is also great for sawing, digging, and hammering. With the twist locking system, you can turn the shovel head 90 degrees and you can use it as a hoe or pickaxe.
Rest assured that this shovel will help get your tires out if they get stuck in mud, sand, snow, or whatever it may be.
The Bond LH015 mini shovel is great for camping, beach use, off-roading, or even just gardening. It’s designed for efficient moving and lifting, with sharpened edges to reduce the amount of effort needed when breaking up tough dirt or cutting ground roots.
This one is quite basic, it doesn’t have that many features to it, so there isn’t all that much to say.
The handle is made with strong and lightweight fiberglass, with a steel handle that has a comfortable non-slip grip, and the steel shovel head has been heat-treated for more durability.
The D-shaped handle gives you more control and absorbs the shock from digging, and the fact that the shovel head has a pointed shape helps with penetrating the ground without much effort on your part.
This excellent portable shovel for camping has also been power coated with rust resistant paint for even more weather resistance. The dimensions of this shovel are 26.38 x 5.71 x 2.56 inches and it weighs less than 2 pounds.
This shovel is not foldable or collapsible, and the fact that it is so small can mean more back pain for the user.
Boyisen have two great foldable shovels; the backpacking shovel and the entrench shovel.
This shovel is made out of heavy-duty Alloy Steel, which is very ductile, strong, and resistant.
It’s made using the cold and hot forging process so that the spade board has heat resistance on the sawtooth side and so that the blade is anti-blunting.
This small camping shovel is multifunctional, as it has a bottle opener, a spade edge, and a saw tooth edge. By using the durable alloy locking system, you can control the 180 degrees rotating lock to transform this shovel into a pickaxe and nail puller.
Equipped with an SPCC handle with a non-slip rubber grip, and you can use this shovel for digging, or as a saw or hoe too. You can be rest assured that the locking system will remain secure, ensuring your safety while using the shovel.
In full length, the shovel is 16.14 inches long, the width of the spade is 3.9 inches, and it is foldable to fit inside a 6.88 x 4.9 inches pouch that it comes with. It only weighs 19oz, making it one of the best backpacking shovels.
The Entrench shovel has a D-shaped handle, giving you much more control than the backpacking shovel does. In full length it’s 18.11 inches, and the spade is 4.6 inches wide. It folds up small, making it great for hiking or car camping.
This one has the same features as the backpacking one; it’s made with alloy steel, has a sawtooth edge, bottle opener, nail puller, pickaxe, 180 degrees rotating lock system, etc. The only difference is the handle and which one is better depends on your personal preference.
TheTentLab Deuce Potty Trowel is a very basic and lightweight camping shovel, but it’s mainly just used to leave no trace behind when you go backpacking/hiking and camping.
They are made by DAC, the world’s #1 tent pole maker. The trowel comes in three sizes, which are determined by weight – 45oz, 60oz, or 91oz. They are all so light that you can literally blow it out from your hand when holding it.
They are made out of aerospace grade 7075-T6 aluminum, which is very tough and durable, and they also come in a wide variety of different colors.
TheTentLab offer a lifetime warranty, guaranteeing durability or replacement.
You can use the Deuce upside down for hard dirt, because doing so gives it four times the edge pressure, and you can hold it with one hand or both. Using the handle end, cut out the outline of your cathole and then use the scoop end to pry out the cathole in one piece.
You will find yourself flipping the Deuce upside down all the time to make your holes deeper because catholes should be 6-8 inches deep, and doing it that way is really effective.
The Deuce gets its strength from its curved U-shape, scooping up by bracing against the bottom of the U and levering against its spine.
All potty trowels by TheTentLab have been tumbled, which is a technique used to smooth and polish a rough surface. It’s done by putting the Deuce in with a bunch of abrasive materials so that the end result is not sharp-edged and can never cut you.
On the edge of the Deuce’s space head there are four little teeth to help you when digging and to cut and nip any small ground roots.
The handle’s sides are wavy for increased friction, providing you with a good grip and making it easier to use. Even though the handle is short it’s very useful for digging small but deep holes, and it’s very easy to pull the trowel back out from inside the ground.
The top corners of the spade head are rounded so that nothing hard is digging into you when you hold the handle.
Considering how small this product is, some may find it a bit too pricey. Personally, I found it to be a great investment, but to each his own.
The very simple backpacking trowel by Coghlan’s is just that. Since it is so simple, yet functional, there isn’t much to say about it. It has a very distinctive bright orange color, making it very easy and quick to find, and it could be considered as one of the best hiking shovels.
It took me about 44 seconds to dig out a hole in soft soil, which isn’t great. It’s because the spade is mostly flat and that makes it difficult to move out soil quickly.
I found myself mostly pushing the dirt rather than scooping and lifting, which was rather slow and frustrating.
The blade is sharp enough to cut some of the ground roots and cut into the soil at least. It would have been much easier if the spade had some serrated teeth.
It is only made out of plastic, so it would bend every now and then, but this also means that it’s weather resistant. It will never rust or anything like that, but it can snap and break.
Having said all that, this trowel is very cheap and only weighs 2oz, so it is better than having nothing and is great for budget hikers.
#7 Tyger Shovel
This product by Tyger is the ultimate survival shovel. It has a very sleek, US patent pending design and it’s made out of military-grade, heavy-duty carbon steel, and aerospace grade anodized aluminum. It’s not just tough but it’s also so durable that it’ll last you for years to come – even with regular use.
It has an instant switching mechanism and can be transformed in multiple ways; you can use it as a shovel, hoe, hook, or hammer. I’ve never seen a shovel be able to switch modes so quickly; all you need to do is pull the slider and it changes in a matter of seconds.
When you take the shovel apart, you’ll find that there are many components to it. There’s a whistle, a fire starter, a bottle opener, a hacksaw, an axe, a disgorger and knife, a screwdriver, an ice pick, and a wire cutter. One edge of the space has serrated saw teeth and an engraved ruler.
All of these features are what make this the best camp shovel, and it’s extremely useful no matter the weather conditions. If you want to go fishing, you’ve got a disgorger, knife, and a ruler. Whether you need to break through some ice, chop wood, spark a fire, or just open a bottle – this shovel has got you covered.
It’s also great to just keep in your car for whenever you’ll need it or to take along with you on hikes.
Since all of the pieces come apart, you can easily fit the whole thing inside of its 7.7 x 12.2 inches pouch. You won’t even notice it in your backpack, especially seeing as it only weighs 3 pounds.
Depending on whether you’ve fully assembled the shovel, it starts out at 24.4 inches long, then 30.5 inches, and at its full length it’s 36.6 inches long. The spade is 8.7 inches long and 6.6 inches wide.
Tyger also offer a one year no-hassle warranty for any manufacturer defects.
I think it goes without saying that such a high-quality, durable, extremely multi-functional survival/camping shovel is quite costly. It all comes down to whether you find that the price is worth it in your opinion.
The fact that it has a long handle is another plus. When using shovels that are rather short, you’re at risk of causing yourself back pain, whereas with longer ones this won’t be an issue. Some people find longer handles much better and easier to control.
The AG military folding shovel is small, portable, and durable. The handle and blade are made out of wear-resistant steel, with rubber on the handle for better grip. This is one of the best folding shovels for camping, hiking, off-roading, and hunting.
It folds down and can fit inside of a convenient carry pouch, which it does come with. The bag even has a belt loop that you can use to hang it from your backpack.
This folding camping shovel is multi-functional, and by using the easy twisting lock mechanism you can transform it into a pickaxe, hoe, and nail extractor. It also features a bottle opener and a serrated sawtooth edge on the blade.
The full length of this shovel is 18 inches, and the blade itself is 5.5 inches long and 4.5 inches wide.
Honestly, I’m not that impressed with this one. It’s great, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nothing that special about it. This kind of shovel is in the middle tier – it doesn’t have loads of features so it isn’t over the top, but it’s also not as basic and simple like some others we’ve seen today.
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