Have you been looking to add a new piece of gear to your outdoor toolkit? While it may not be the first thing to come to mind, a camping shovel is a great tool with a lot of versatility. Camping shovels are not only practical, but they also add an element of safety to your outdoor adventure. When you are camping or backpacking, you never know when you are going to need a good shovel. With these portable, folding camping shovels, you will always be prepared. We picked out the best compact, high-quality shovels. Let’s dig in!
The Best Camping Shovels
Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel with Pick – Most Affordable
Coming in at number 5 on our list is the Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel. This product is made by a father-son duo operating their small business in California. As such, they take customer service seriously and guarantee a lifetime warranty with this product. When extended, this shovel is 23 inches long but folds down to a compact size of 9 by 6 inches when you need to pack it up. Swivel the head 90 degrees and convert your shovel into a pickaxe to make breaking up soil easier. This product does not come with an instruction manual, so be sure you understand how to lock the shovel into place before using it.
- Most affordable product on the list.
- Lifetime warranty.
- No instructions included.
Yeacool Folding Shovel with Pickax
At Number 4 on our list, the Yeacool Folding Shovel Pickax packs a lot of features into a small frame. When you shop for this product, you can choose anywhere from a 16-inch shovel to one that is 38 inches in length. With this tool, you’re not only getting a shovel, but you’ll also get flint for fires, an emergency whistle, a compass, a bottle opener, an ice ax, and a fish scaler. With all these extra features, you’ll save space and time when packing for trips.
- Multiple size options.
- A weak spot where the shovel meets the handle.
Pathway North Camping Axe and Survival Shovel
The Pathway North Camping Axe and Survival Shovel provides a lot of functionality in an easy to store tactical waist bag. The spade doubles as both a saw and a cutting implement on either side and include three sizes of hexagonal wrenches. In addition to multiple functions of the actual shovel piece, this product comes with a separate ax head attachment to help you chop wood and build the ultimate campfire in no time at all. The back of the ax attachment functions as a hammer to help stake your swiftly stake your tent to the ground so you can spend less time setting up camp and more time enjoying it. This product also includes sheathes for both the spade and the ax head, a knife blade, a fire starter tool, a Philips screwdriver, and a compass. With extension bars this product can be up to 32 inches long, however, the size is customizable depending on your needs.
- Customizable height.
- Most expensive product on the list.
- The handle can be hard to dismantle.
Harvet Portable Camping Shovel
At number 2 on our list, the Harvet Portable Camping Shovel is a rugged tool made with stainless steel and built to withstand even the roughest of conditions. You can customize this shovel to three separate lengths, 15 inches, 22 inches, and 28 inches. This product boasts a whopping 16 functionalities. It can be used as a shovel, ax, saw, hoe, knife, wire cutter, bottle opener, fire starter, whistle, glass breaker, fish scaler, screwdriver, hammer, can opener, and as self-protection.
- Made of stainless steel, making it less prone to rust.
IUNIO Military Portable Folding Shovel – Best Overall
And finally, our top choice for camping shovels currently on the market is the Iunio Military Portable Folding Shovel. This product, made of high carbon steel, is available in a variety of size options for you to peruse. You can get anywhere from a mini shovel to a shovel with a handle 35 inches long. With a sturdy build, this shovel has some weight to it, if leveraged correctly though, this can make whatever you are using this tool for much easier. Aside from a shovel, this product can also be a saw, bottle opener, nail extractor, hoe, fish scaler, emergency whistle, fire bar, and a hammer
- Sturdy construction.
- Product Description.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right Camping Shovel
As with any kind of gear, your first thing to consider when buying a camping shovel is going to be your budget. If you are looking for something super basic, you can get away with spending a fairly small amount of money. If you want to start adding in other features and versatility, however, it could cost you. One thing to look out for is products that are extremely cheap that offer a lot of added benefits. You’ll likely end up with a shove made of cheap materials that will break on your first use.
There are so many features you can get packed into something as simple as a shovel. Understanding why you are buying it will help you narrow down options, If all you need is something to dig holes or get your tires out of the mud, a simple, sturdy, shove will do just fine. If you don’t have a specific purpose for your purchase, you might consider getting one with added features.
Some camping shovels include a pickaxe that can be really useful on hiking or backpacking trips. While this is a great feature to consider, do not expect it to replace your backpacking hatchet, backpacking saw, or camping knife.
Depending on how you plan to use this shovel, the material is very important. Ideally, you want to balance strength versus weight to find an option that will stand up to hard work, but not add a lot of heft to your toolbox. Items made of plastic really aren’t good for much more than being trowel. Common materials for this kind of product are carbon steel and stainless steel.
Size and Durability
Shovels come in all shapes and sizes. When trying to find the best camping shovels for you, consider how you are planning on using it before you start shopping. If you don’t plan on creating big trenches or breaking up a lot of ground, you don’t need a shovel that can turn into a pickaxe. And if you can see yourself using it in a variety of scenarios you will want to consider getting one where you can change the handle length to match your needs.
Camping Shovel FAQs
Why should you get a camping shovel?
Camping shovels have all sorts of uses both around the campsite and at home. As a baseline, they can be used to clear rocks, dig out a fire pit, create a latrine, and help free vehicles trapped in snow or mud. Many businesses who sell shovels sell them in a survival kit so they can throw in other features and uses with the shovel, but even a standard collapsible shovel is a great item to have in your trunk.
What is the difference between carbon steel and stainless steel? Which is better?
Carbon steel and stainless steel are fairly simple to tell apart. Stainless steel is equipped with a higher chromium content, which gives it its signature shine. This invisible layer seals it from weather and keeps it from corroding. Carbon steel, on the other hand, is higher in carbon content which gives the material more durability. So the question of what is better comes down to if you are looking for a tool that won’t become rusty or dull or one that you can really put through the wringer.
How do you keep your carbon steel shovel from rusting?
The first and most important step will be to keep your shovel clean and dry when not in use. If you leave it covered in mud after a hard day’s work you will be putting it at more risk to rust in the future. If you live in a place where the air is extra humid, you can also put a drop of oil on the shovel and rub it in. This creates a small barrier that will prevent water from collecting directly on the surface of the shovel. Finally, if your ax does develop rust, it’s not the end of the world! You can use some really fine sandpaper, try around 3000 grit sandpaper, to buff off the rusted areas and keep it looking good as new!
That wraps up our list of the best camping shovels currently on the market! Not only are these tools extremely helpful at your campsite, but they can really help you out at home and on the road. Purchasing one of these products will simplify your camping process and add a whole new realm of possibilities!
Is there a different shovel that you love to bring on your camping trips? We’d love to try it out. Let us know your thoughts the comment section below!