The 10 Best Folding Shovels

Updated May 24, 2018 by Chase Brush

10 Best Folding Shovels
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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 very small packages. They come in various size options with features including screwdrivers, fire starters, saws, axes and bottle openers (because you know you'll be thirsty after digging that ditch). When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best folding shovel on Amazon.

10. Fobachi Trenching Tool

The Fobachi Trenching Tool is a decent value for its price, but it is a little small for more work-intensive applications. It's best suited for periodic use in an emergency, such as for keeping on hand when you need to dig your car or truck tires out of the snow.
  • has a sharpened cutting edge
  • can fit in a glove compartment
  • may rust if not maintained
Brand Fobachi
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Wolfwill Military

From pickaxe to saw to bottle opener, the multifunctional Wolfwill Military can serve a range of purposes, and happens to be reasonably priced, too. The high-quality manganese steel alloy should stand up to years of use, though it also makes it fairly heavy.
  • rubberized anti-slip handle
  • easy to use steel lock
  • not suitable for backpacking
Brand Wolfwill
Model pending
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Vivo E-Tool

The Vivo E-Tool has a 4.5 inch wide by 6.25 inch long spade head, with a serrated blade on one side for sawing. Its fine matte-black finish is useful for anyone on stealth missions who prefers not to chance having light glint off the metal and betray their position.
  • fits into small carrying bag
  • locks into place with a simple twist
  • not suitable for heavy-duty digging
Brand VIVO
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Iunio Shovel

The Iunio Shovel is a versatile tool that can be used for digging, sawing, chopping, cutting, picking, prying, hammering, starting fires and, of course, shoveling. It has an ergonomic design that feels comfortable to hold, and comes with several extension bars.
  • use straight or at 90-degree angle
  • strong enough to crack ice if needed
  • smaller than a true military shovel
Model pending
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. SOG F19-N Elite

The SOG F19-N Elite folds out to a length of 26 inches, making it useful for digging larger entrenchments than most other options are capable of. It has a straight-edged blade that can be used for chopping, but its best feature is a saw attachment hidden inside the handle.
  • feels well balanced
  • ballistic nylon sheath included
  • spade hinge can be a little stiff
Brand SOG Specialty Knives &
Model F19-N
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Outdoor Anywhere Stainless Steel

The Outdoor Anywhere Stainless Steel is perfect for camping or as part of an emergency kit. Its blade folds and the handle unscrews to such a compact size that it can fit in almost any pack for easy portability, or under the seat of your truck for discreet storage.
  • good for digging fire pits
  • soft rubber grip
  • no assembly instructions included
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Ames True Temper E-Tool

The Ames True Temper E-Tool is a genuine US military-issue item that belongs in the gear arsenal of any service personnel preparing for active duty. Its extremely durable construction includes a black powder-coated finish that is scratch and abrasion-resistant.
  • spade locks in multiple positions
  • manufactured in the usa
  • compact tri-fold design
Brand AMES or ACEMCO Military
Model pending
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Bang TI Super High Strength

The Bang TI Super High Strength incorporates just about everything you need to survive in the wild, from whistles to screwdrivers to magnesium rod fire starters. Plus, the handle body offers a watertight solution for when you need a secure place to store your valuables.
  • easy to assemble
  • also includes hand saw
  • handle is aircraft grade aluminum
Model pending
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Schrade SCHSH1 Telescoping

The Schrade SCHSH1 Telescoping features a fast and smooth collapsible polypropylene handle that is reinforced by an aluminum inner tube, so you don't have to worry about it bending. The edges of the carbon steel spade come sharpened for breaking hard-packed ground.
  • super compact when folded
  • weighs just over 2 pounds
  • ergonomic t-shaped handle
Brand Schrade
Model SCHSH1
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Gerber 30-000075 E-Tool

Made by a leading name in utility knives, the two-pound Gerber 30-000075 E-Tool is well-reviewed by users because it stands the test of time. It's 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
  • strong glass-filled nylon handle
Brand Gerber
Model 30-000075
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

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 on May 24, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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