10 Best Folding Shovels | March 2017

Perfect for camping, military use, survival gear or just as a handy tool to have around the house, these folding shovels pack a lot of utility into a very small package. They come in various size options with features including screwdrivers, fire starters, saws, axes and bottle openers (because you'll be thirsty after digging that ditch). Skip to the best folding shovel on Amazon.
10 Best Folding Shovels | March 2017

Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 10
Best Inexpensive
The Foho Trenching Shovel is one of the lighter models available, but seems to sacrifice some on build quality to achieve this, making it best for periodic use in an emergency. It comes with a cool looking camo carry pouch though.
For less than $10, you really can't go wrong with the Focusairy Mini. It's made with tempered forged-steel components, so it should last for years. It even has a relatively accurate compass in the handle, a serrated edge for cutting material, and a bottle opener.
  • easy push-button locking mechanism
  • case has a built-in belt loop
  • small when unfolded at just 16 inche
Brand OuterEQ
Model pending
Weight 0.8 ounces
The VIVO SHOVL-V01B has a 4.5" wide by 6.25" long spade head with a serrated blade on one side for sawing. Its fine matte black finish is useful for those on stealth missions who prefer not to chance the glint of light off metal.
  • fits into a 6" by 8" carrying bag
  • locks into place with a simple twist
  • not suitable for heavy-duty digging
Brand VIVO
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
The Iunio Shovel is a multifunctional tool that can be used for digging, sawing, chopping, cutting, picking, prying, hammering, starting fires, bottle opening, and of course, shoveling. It has an ergonomic design that feels comfortable to hold.
  • use straight or at 90 degree angle
  • strong enough to crack ice if needed
  • smaller than a true military shovel
Brand Fobachi
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
The SOG F19-N Elite folds out to a length of 26 inches, making it useful for digging larger entrenchments than most folding shovels are capable of. It has a straight edge blade that can be used for chopping as well.
  • feels well balanced
  • ballistic nylon sheath included
  • carry pouch isn't molle compatible
Brand SOG Specialty Knives
Model F19-N
Weight 2.1 pounds
The Outdoor Anywhere Stainless Steel Blade is a shovel, pickax, and bottle opener in one handy tool. Its blade folds and the handle unscrews to such a compact size that it can fit in almost any pack for easy portability. The shovel can bend at a 90 degree angle too.
  • good to keep in car for emergencies
  • comfortable rubber handle grip
  • no assembly instructions included
Brand MWG Outdoors
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
The 2 pound Gerber 30-000075 E-Tool is well reviewed by users because it stands the test of time. It is a rugged and reliable choice that doesn't flex or bend as you dig, so you can safely put all your weight behind it.
  • durable anodized shaft
  • unfolds to 2 feet long
  • indestructible glass-filled nylon handle
Brand Gerber
Model 30-000075
Weight 2.7 pounds
The Ames True Temper E-Tool is a true military issue shovel that is up for whatever challenge you throw at it. The spade edge has a serrated saw on two sides and a sharpened ax on the other, making it extremely versatile indeed.
  • black powder-coated finish
  • durable solid steel blade
  • compact tri-fold design
Brand Ames True Temper
Model pending
Weight 2.9 pounds
The Schrade SCHSH1 features a fast and smooth collapsible polypropylene handle with an aluminum inner tube that gives it strength, so you don't have to worry about the handle breaking on hard packed dirt.
  • super compact when folded
  • weighs only 2.4 lbs.
  • sharpened spade edges
Brand Schrade
Model SCHSH1
Weight 2.4 pounds
The Doingoutdoor Multi-Function is everything you need to survive in the wild. It addition to an entrenching spade, it features a screwdriver, a whistle, a magnesium rod fire starter and a saw.
  • body doubles as a waterproof container
  • very sturdy when digging
  • aircraft grade aluminum handle
Brand Doingoutdoor
Model pending
Weight 3.2 pounds

The Versatility Of Simplicity

The idea of moving dirt with a crude instrument doesn't always strike a person's fancy. After all, the use of a shovel often carries with it the burden of hauling and tossing heavy things that aren't always the most pleasant to see or smell. However, the shovel also serves many different purposes with respect to construction, horticulture, and landscaping. That being said, there's no reason not to modernize the tool, provide it with additional versatility, and make that manual labor a bit easier on your body. If you have a shovel capable of folding and with additional attachments to perform other tough jobs, then the tool has served its purpose well, regardless of how you may feel about it. It's also something you'll need, particularly if you do a lot around the house and outdoors around your property.

Also referred to as an entrenching tool, a folding shovel is a particular type of spade used for digging, construction, and can even serve as an ancillary military weapon. Some folding shovels are also capable of being sharpened and used as cutting tools. They can be constructed of either lightweight plastic or steel with a tri-folding design that makes them easy to carry. Today, the folding shovel is used for a variety of activities that include camping and gardening among others. They can also be used for digging fire pits and they're often powerful enough to double as hammers for driving stakes into the ground.

Many modern folding shovels feature a fixed handle with a folding shovel head. Unlike their conventional and bulkier counterparts, folding shovels are a compact and welcome addition to a professional's tool arsenal, especially when being forced to lug around a lot of other heavy-duty equipment. The entrenching tool takes up the same amount of space as a stack of paper plates, so it's never really a burden to travel with or store away.

Choose Your Shovel Wisely

With a tool as compact and versatile as the folding shovel, one must think about the specific types of tasks they plan to use it for. This will accurately determine the kinds of attachments that work best.

For example, if you plan to use a folding shovel as a cutting tool, you'll want to make sure it features serrated edges that are easy to sharpen. If you're a big camper, many models of folding shovels offer multifunctional designs with screwdrivers, whistles, and even fire starters, all of which can come in very handy when you're out in the wild among the elements. Such a tool will keep you safe and well-equipped.

Finding a shovel with a sturdy handle is also very important. Many shovels feature lightweight, yet sturdy bodies with handles made from aircraft-grade aluminum and polypropylene. Some shovels also provide a black powder-coated finish, which will help to maintain the shovel's durability if you plan to use it in the field. On that same note, if you're worried about damaging the shovel, do your best to find one that includes a protective sheath or carry pouch with purchase.

If you're looking for a shovel that can do it all, then a folding head is integral since you'll need to use it at different angles for various jobs.

A Brief History Of The Folding Shovel

The concept of the shovel has been around since neolithic times when humans would use an animal's shoulder bone as a crude scraping apparatus.

The entrenching tool dates as far back as the time of the Roman legion and Julius Caesar with documented use of the spade as a tool of war and for digging trenches.

During the Napoleonic Wars between 1803 and 1815, spades were used as entrenching tools to dig trenches around protective fortifications. The problem with these types of spades is that they were rather long and heavy, forcing soldiers to store them in supply carts. This made it difficult for infantry to have quick access to the tools when they were needed.

By 1870, the US army introduced the spade bayonet into the individual soldier's arsenal. This item could be used as both an entrenching tool and a weapon, leading to the eventual construction of small, one-handed tools that were easy to carry as part of a solider's equipment bag. The use of such small implements would also allow the individual solder to dig his own entrenchments in the field.

During the twentieth century and around the time of World War I, the modern entrenching shovel was developed and it made a significant impact on trench warfare. These tools began appearing with differently-shaped handles, blades, and even pick spikes for use as spades. The entrenching tool could be used for digging latrines and graves with a compact design that allowed soldiers to fight in close proximity, which was a common occurrence in the trenches.

After World War I, the entrenching shovel was further developed to incorporate folding designs with a fixed handle and folding shovel head.

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Last updated: 03/28/2017 | Authorship Information