A shovel might not seem like much, but it can be a life-saving piece of gear when you’re outside. Whether it’s digging a cathole for when you have to answer nature’s call or building an emergency shelter, a proper shovel is a must-have piece of gear.
Finding the right camping shovel, though, can be a bit of a challenge. So, here are our reviews of the ten best models on the market today, plus a guide to choosing the perfect shovel for your needs.
If you don't have time for the details, here are our picks for the best rated camping shovel:
- 1Best Folding Camping Shovel - SOG Survival Shovel
- 2Best Camping Snow Shovel - Black Diamond Deploy
- 3Best Car Camping Shovel - FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel
- 4Best Lightweight Camping Shovel - Co-Z Mini Folding Shovel
- 5Best Camping Multi Tool Shovel - Kopwin Camping Multi Tool Shovel
- 6Best Winter Camping Snow Shovel - Ortovox Kodiak
- 7Best Small Camping Shovel - Redcamp Folding Shovel
- 8Best Heavy Duty Camping Shovel - Otplore Heavy Duty Shovel
- 9Best Military Camping Shovel - Antarctica Military Shovel
- 10Best Budget Camping Shovel - Campmax Folding Shovel
Table of Contents
- Best Camping Shovel on the Market Reviews
- 1. Best Folding Camping Shovel - SOG Survival Shovel
- 2. Best Camping Snow Shovel - Black Diamond Deploy
- 3. Best Car Camping Shovel - FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel
- 4. Best Lightweight Camping Shovel - Co-Z Mini Folding Shovel
- 5. Best Camping Multi Tool Shovel - Kopwin Camping Multi Tool Shovel
- 6. Best Winter Camping Snow Shovel - Ortovox Kodiak
- 7. Best Small Camping Shovel - Redcamp Folding Shovel
- 8. Best Heavy Duty Camping Shovel - Otplore Heavy Duty Shovel
- 9. Best Military Camping Shovel - Antarctica Military Shovel
- 10. Best Budget Camping Shovel - Campmax Folding Shovel
- Camping Shovel Buyer’s Guide
- The Verdict
Best Camping Shovel on the Market Reviews
Here are our reviews of the ten best rated camping shovels on the market today:
1. Best Folding Camping Shovel - SOG Survival Shovel
The SOG Folding Shovel packs down to just about the size of your hand but extends to an impressive 18.25 inch (46cm) length when in use. It weighs just 24.5oz (0.69kg) and features a three-way folding design to make it as compact as possible inside its included carry case.
This shovel is built with high-carbon steel that provides ample durability for digging in rocky ground. Additionally, it has a serrated blade on one side for slicing through wood with ease. The blade can even be reversed for use as a pick or hoe in survival situations.
2. Best Camping Snow Shovel - Black Diamond Deploy
For camping in the snow, it’s hard to beat the Black Diamond Deploy. This shovel features an aluminum blade that’s light enough to take into the backcountry on winter trips but robust enough for frequent use.
The Deploy has a unique curved shape that allows the shaft to telescopically collapse for added compactness in transit. This telescoping shaft can be engaged in just a few seconds for quick deployment when you need it most. It also has an ergonomic handle for added comfort as you shovel.
3. Best Car Camping Shovel - FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel
The FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel is a burly digging tool for use in any environment. It is made with a high-quality forged solid carbon steel material for added strength. Plus, it has a unique locking adjustment system that provides both safety and the ability to change the position of the spade to ack as a hook, hoe, or shovel.
In addition to its use as a digging tool, the FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel can also be used as an ax, serrated saw, hammer, fire starter, emergency whistle, and knife. It even comes with a durable carry case for transport.
4. Best Lightweight Camping Shovel - Co-Z Mini Folding Shovel
Lightweight and highly versatile, the Co-Z Mini Folding Shovel is a solid choice for backpackers and survival enthusiasts. It is made from a high-carbon steel that’s heat-treated for added robustness and rust-resistance.
The Co-Z Mini weighs just 1.8lbs (0.81kg) and packs down small for ease of transport. It has a thickened cutting blade for digging into rocky ground as well as a compact pickaxe that can be deployed in seconds. Plus, it comes with a small oxford bag that can be attached to belts and backpacks for easy access.
5. Best Camping Multi Tool Shovel - Kopwin Camping Multi Tool Shovel
The Kopwin Camping Multi Tool Shovel is a 20 in 1 tool for any outdoor adventure. It’s made from an extra heavy-duty high-carbon stainless steel blade and an aerospace grade aluminum shaft. This means it’s highly durable and ready to withstand the rigors of regular use.
What makes this shovel unique is the fact that it also doubles as a multi tool with 20 different functions. The Kopwin Camping Shovel can also be used as a saw, hoe, hammer, ice breaker, fish scaler, screwdriver, rope cutter, and rescue knife. At the same time, it’s very compact and portable, thanks to its folding design and included carry pouch.
6. Best Winter Camping Snow Shovel - Ortovox Kodiak
The Ortovox Kodiak is one of the burliest winter camping snow shovels around. It is made with hardened and anodized aluminum that provides lots of strength without adding much weight.
Where this shovel really shines is in its ability to chop through ice, thanks to its sharp serrated blade. It can also be rotated by 90 degrees for use as a hoe. Meanwhile, the shaft has a rubberized grip zone for added convenience, as well as a large D-shaped handle that’s ergonomic and functional, even with gloves on.
7. Best Small Camping Shovel - Redcamp Folding Shovel
The Redcamp Folding Shovel is a simple, yet functional digging tool for campers. It has a small packed size of just 8.2 inches (21cm) and weighs only 2.5lbs (1.15kg). The shovel is made from high-carbon steel for durability and use in harsh environments.
Additionally, it can be used as a traditional shovel or turned at a 90 degree angle for use as a hoe or pick. The Redcamp Folding Shovel also has a sharp serrated blade that is perfect for sawing through wood for your campfire. Plus, it’s affordable, so it’s a good option for campers on a budget.
8. Best Heavy Duty Camping Shovel - Otplore Heavy Duty Shovel
The Otplore Heavy Duty Camping shovel fits all the benefits of a full-size digging tool into a compact package. This shovel has a durable carbon steel shaft that can be extended to a total length of 32 inches for added comfort as you dig.
The blade on this shovel is also made from high carbon steel for added durability. Meanwhile, it’s also a multi tool with 15 other functions, including a saw, hook knife, fish speer, and emergency hammer. Finally, when it’s not in use, the Otplore Heavy Duty Shovel packs down into its included shoulder bag for easy transport.
9. Best Military Camping Shovel - Antarctica Military Shovel
Made for true survival situations, the Antarctica Military Shovel has everything you need to thrive in the outdoors. This shovel is constructed of a high carbon steel and aluminum alloy, which is both strong and lightweight.
The Antarctic Military Shovel is highly versatile, thanks to its extendable shaft, which can be used at three different lengths. Additionally, the shaft of this shovel has multiple slip- and sweat-proof handles for a more ergonomic and comfortable grip. It also includes a hidden stainless steel rescue knife and fire starter for use in a true emergency.
10. Best Budget Camping Shovel - Campmax Folding Shovel
For budget-wary backpackers, the Campmax Folding Shovel is a great choice. Simple and sturdy, the Campmax Folding Shovel’s high carbon steel blade and handle are strong enough for regular use in the mountains.
This shovel packs down to a small 9.4 inch (25.15cm) folded size and comes with its own storage pouch. Thanks to its serrated blade, it can also be used for sawing through wood. Overall, the Campmax Folding Shovel is a no-frills option for campers on a budget.
Camping Shovel Buyer’s Guide
A shovel might seem like a simple tool, but there’s a lot that goes into making one for extended outdoor adventures. So, when you’re searching around for your next camping shovel, keep the following features in mind:
Most camping shovels will be made from one of two materials: steel or carbon. Here’s what you need to know:
Steel is a very popular material in heavy-duty equipment because it’s hard and durable. It is strong enough to withstand frequent use without warping or deforming, so it’s an ideal material to use for an item like a shovel. Steel is also generally cheaper than aluminum, mostly because of the cost of creating aluminum from its raw material.
However, steel is dense, so steel tools generally weigh more than their aluminum counterparts. Additionally, steel is more likely to corrode and rust, so special care is needed when using steel shovels in wet environments.
Aluminum is a popular material used in the manufacture of outdoor equipment because it is less dense than steel. This means that most aluminum shovels will be lighter than a similarly sized steel alternative.
Plus, aluminum is highly resistant to corrosion and rust. But, aluminum products are more likely to bend and break, so they must be treated with care, particularly in rocky terrain.
Shovels that we use at home are often quite large and bulky. However, these tools aren’t very useful in the outdoors, where we need to carry all of our gear on our backs. In these situations, compact shovels are highly advantageous.
Modern camping shovels are usually either “folding” or “segmented.” Folding shovels are often easier to use because they can be deployed in a matter of seconds.
Alternatively, segmented shovels have shafts that are in multiple parts. This means that they often take longer to set up, which is less useful if you’re in a hurry to build a shelter or chop wood. However, segmented shovels usually have a number of added features that make them more versatile in the outdoors.
As with any piece of gear, the weight of your camping shovel is of the utmost importance. Not only does a heavy shovel weigh down your pack, but they’re generally more tiring to use.
For the most part, the lightest shovels on the market will be made of aluminum. However. Aluminum shovels tend to be less durable and more expensive. Therefore, many compact shovels will have a steel blade and an aluminum shaft to help save weight without compromising on durability.
While a shovel is a great tool in and of itself, many manufacturers realize that outdoor enthusiasts will likely need more than a digging tool in an emergency. So, some top-of-the-line camping shovels also serve as multi tools that can be used to solve a variety of problems.
Most spades will have a serrated blade that can double as a saw for creating firewood. Others will have an adjustable blade that can also be used as a hoe or pick. In some of the higher-end shovels, you may also find concealed knives, firestarters, compasses, and other tools that add to the overall functionality of your gear.
These days, most shovels will come with a fabric carrying case. Some of these cases are simply designed to protect your gear from the sharp edges of the shovel. Meanwhile, others can also be attached to the outside of your pack or to your belt loop for added accessibility.
At the end of the day, a camping shovel is one of the most important pieces of gear you can own. Although they might seem like simple tools, a quality shovel can make a huge difference if you need to create a shelter, start a fire, or simply practice good Leave No Trace.
However, finding the right shovel doesn’t have to be an insurmountable task. The key is to figure out whether you’d prefer a simple, compact model, or one with added bells and whistles for added versatility in the mountains.