While looking over your summer camping or backpacking checklists, add on a camping shovel. This may not be at the top of your list, but it is one important tool to have. It can be challenging to pick the best shovel with so many different variations, designs, and materials. Which one is right for your camping style?
Here we have composed a list of the best highly rated camping shovels whether you are spending a weekend getaway at your favorite campsite or backpacking your long-anticipated destination. Whatever your trip, we have got you covered!
Our Top Picks
RHINO USA Folding Survival Shovel with Pick
Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool
Suprock Survival Shovel
Best Foldable Saw Blade Edge
Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade
Best Classic Trench Shovel
Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Camp Shovel
When looking for a camping shovel that does it all, the best choice is the RHINO USA Folding survival shovel with a pick. This shovel is light and compact, can be stored anywhere, and is usable in any type of camping situation.
Made of carbon steel, this shovel weighs 2 ½ pounds and easily folds to 10 inches in the provided carrying pouch.
This military-style camping shovel has a saw blade edge, so you’ll easily cut through any terrain. Making for a well-rounded, easy-to-use, and high-quality camp shovel.
- Compact foldable design.
- Saw teeth edge.
- The shovel spade is on the smaller side.
- Susceptible to rust over time.
If you’re planning on backpacking or hiking in the most remote areas and need an easy-to-use, lightweight, compact shovel, this digging tool fits the bill. Extremely compact at 8 x 2 inches, this camping shovel may look a bit different than what you may be thinking, but it works like a charm.
If you’re planning on packing only the essentials and need them to be light, this tool only weighs a total of 1.2 ounces. Made of titanium, the rounded ergonomic design makes it easier to use than the traditional trowel.
You can even use this camping shovel as a tent stake, and because of the serrated edges, it will hold firmly in the snow, sand, and hard-to-soft soils.
- Lightweight at 1.2 ounces.
- Perfect for backpacking.
- Tough serrated edges.
- Doesn’t move too much soil at once.
- Serrated edges can cut your backpack’s material while carrying.
With 24 tools in one, you’ll be ready for whatever your next adventure can throw at you. This camping shovel is not only a shovel but an axe, knife, saw, hook, pick, corkscrew, whistle, compass, and more.
That seems like a mouthful, but this tool really does it all. All of the tools are made with high-quality carbon and stainless steel to last for years of use.
The tools can easily be adjusted into different sizes, and the ergonomic grip makes them comfortable and easy to use. The shovel and axe can be assembled to extend to 32.4 inches yet easily packed away to 10 x 9.4 inches in the provided carrying case.
- 24 tools in one.
- Easy to carry and pack away.
- Made of high-quality and durable materials.
- Carrying case quality could be better.
- Knife quality is lacking.
Best Foldable Saw Blade Edge
Made of forged steel, this simple yet effective camping shovel can dig you out of any situation. With tough serrated edging, this shovel can slice through the hardiest of vegetation. The spade stays open with a twist lock mechanism and won’t fold up on you when in use.
This lightweight camping shovel is 23.75 inches when fully extended and 9.25 inches once folded away, making it the perfect campsite shovel.
- Built to last.
- Folds easily.
- Won’t buckle when in use.
- A bit expensive.
- Heavy for backpacking.
Best Classic Trench Shovel
Classically built, the Cold Steel Spetsnaz Shovel is modeled after military trenching tools and can be used for digging, trenching, cutting, and building shelters.
The carbon steel spade and the hickory handle are 30 inches long and weigh slightly over 2 pounds. This camping shovel is made with all the specifications of the special forces model but with the added benefits of being 50% longer and having a larger spade.
When looking for a classic tool to bring with you on the camper or to have near the tent, this is the camping shovel for you.
- Classic style and design.
- Solidly built.
- Not suitable for backpacking.
- Not easily stored.
- It can rust over time with use.
Buyers Guide for the Best Camping Shovel: How We Pick Our Best
Size and Portability
When looking at a good camping shovel, you’re going to want something much smaller than that regular old shovel you have in your garage.
When looking for a shovel, keep in mind you’ll be carrying around this item, and the last thing you’ll want is to be lugging around something large and heavy. The most favorable camping shovels will weigh around 2 pounds, 3 maximum.
Another important feature is a shovel that collapses or folds into a smaller size. Make sure you know how much space you have for your new shovel before purchasing. Can it be folded easily and stored in your pack? Or will it be too cumbersome to carry around?
When camping, you never know what kind of obstacles you may run into, and this is why purchasing a spade with a saw edge gives you extra digging power and a quick-to-grab cutting tool!
Remember, camping shovels are often multiple-use tools at the campsite. This again points to the intended use of your camping shovel.
A saw edge is a must if you frequent areas with tougher soil types and thick vegetation. On the other hand, if you’re just using it to trench around a fire pit and help you hammer in those tent stakes, you may not need a serrated edge.
You need to plan and expect the unexpected when roughing it out in the wilderness. This is where a multi-tool shovel comes in handy. Most of these shovels have 24 tools all in one! So you’ll be prepared for anything nature has to throw at you.
These shovels most often will be listed as survival shovels with military-grade design and materials. But if you are just the average camper that enjoys spending some much-needed time in the fresh air at your favorite campground, a good quality foldable shovel would be the best for you.
To find the best camping shovel, regardless of extra tools, saw blade edges, and size and portability, you need to pay close attention to its materials.
Most shovels will be composed of metal, plastic, or both. More lightweight options will be made of cheaper plastic materials, which is something to watch for. These may work for the first couple of uses but don’t expect them to last beyond that.
When looking for durability and long-lasting camping shovels, shop for titanium, carbon steel, and aluminum.
Titanium is the best choice. It is extremely durable and should last a lifetime. The downside is it can be pretty expensive. Remember, you’re paying for a long-lasting tool that won’t break after a few uses.
Another material you’ll often see is carbon steel. Carbon steel is known for its strength and long-lasting qualities. Carbon steel shouldn’t rust or scratch as long as it is properly cared for.
Speaking of rust-resistant, aluminum is lightweight and resistant to all rusting. These camping shovels can take quite a beating and still last you for years. These are great for backpacking since they will likely be open to the elements and weigh much less than traditional shovels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are all-in-one shovels better than the classic camping shovel?
This depends on the intended use of your camping shovel. A classic will do just fine if you need it for hammering in tent stakes or digging small holes and trenches. A multi-tool offers a little more bang for your buck and sometimes requires you to pack fewer tools overall.
What is a tactical camping shovel?
A tactical shovel is one that is lightweight, easy to use, compact, portable and offers the basic tools needed for survival situations.
What are the perks of a survival camping shovel?
Like a tactical shovel, a survival shovel has the tools required for survival situations. These shovels have multiple tools that can help fish, have saws or knives for firewood, and can even be used for self-defense.
We Made Picking the Best Camping Shovel Easy
Finding and purchasing the best camping shovel is simple when you follow the basics, such as intended use, portability, and materials. Whatever type of camper you are, you could use a camp shovel in many applications, and it will come in handy when least expected.
If you haven’t found your ideal pick here, you can use our buyer’s guide so you can be sure you’re picking the right tool for you.
Make sure to check out our articles for all of your camping gear needs!
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Lauren is a housewife and mother with a passion for writing about all things outdoors! Whether choosing a camping location or the top chairs to put around your campfire, Lauren will guide you each step of the way.
So make sure to get up and plan that outdoor getaway, and remember to see what Lauren has to say about the best camping or gaming gear and what sites to visit!