A tactical shovel can get you out of a tight spot in an emergency.
Need to dig your tires out of the snow or mud, need to excavate a makeshift latrine, or chop kindling for a campfire?
A tactical shovel can do all this and more.
I scoured the web looking for the best tactical shovels and I found 11 that are worthy of your consideration.
I also include a tactical survival shovel buying guide to help you choose the right shovel for you.
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- Top 11 Best Tactical & Survival Shovels 2022
- DMOS Delta Foldable Shovel
- Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade Tactical Shovel
- AMES USGI Military Surplus Shovel
- Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Camp Shovel
- Zune Lotoo Survival Camping Shovel
- Schrade SCHSH1 Telescoping Shovel
- SOG Folding Survival Shovel
- Schrade Frontier Shovel Saw
- Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
- FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel
- EST Gear Tactical Survival Shovel
- What is a Tactical Shovel and Why do You Need One?
- How to Choose the Best Tactical Shovel for Survival or Camping
Top 11 Best Tactical & Survival Shovels 2022
DMOS Delta Foldable Shovel
The DMOS Delta shovel has a novel design you are going to love. The handle telescopes to give the shovel a 51 inch length. The spade is locked securely in place by a pin and has three pin connector positions so it can be used as a shovel and a hoe, or folded completely for storage.
It is made from quality 14 gauge cold rolled steel with an aircraft-grade aluminum handle.
The blade is strong enough to cut through hard earth and mud and the nylon handle is comfortable to hold.
The Delta shovel is very compact when the handle is telescoped down and the blade folded flat, making it not only very satisfying to use, but a breeze to store.
- Telescoping handles.
- Made in the USA.
- Made from 14 gauge cold-rolled steel with aluminum handle.
- 3 position connector for use as a shovel, hoe, and stow mode.
- More expensive than most other tactical shovels.
Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade Tactical Shovel
The Gerber E-tool is a well-designed tactical shovel that displays an attention to detail not found in all shovels.
The plastic handle is perfect for cold snowy and icy weather because unlike metal, it does not transmit the freezing cold to your hand.
The tightening nut is high up on the handle, so it’s not in the dirt as you dig.
The angle of the spade is ideal for digging, much better than the 90 degrees or 180 degree angles some other shovels adjust to.
This Gerber survival shovel is surprisingly durable, and just the right size for your pack or vehicle.
- Multi-use, saws, chops, shovels, and more.
- Shovel blade made in Finland.
- Heavy-duty yet portable.
- Locks shut and has a secure lock mechanism.
- A little heavier than other folding survival shovels.
AMES USGI Military Surplus Shovel
This USGI Army Surplus tactical shovel is the same one soldiers get when they enlist. It is well built and will last a very long time, but the tightening nuts do need maintenance and lubrication like all tools do.
This E-Tool includes a hard case with metal clips and straps to attach to your pack or prevent it from banging around in the back of your truck.
Compared to other tactical survival shovels of similar quality, the price cannot be beaten.
The trifold design allows it to collapse to a very compact size so it is easy to transport.
- Top quality! Made in the USA!
- Sturdy, all metal construction.
- Case included.
- Tri-fold design means it is very compact.
- Maintenance necessary -Tightening nut must be cleaned and lubricated.
Cold Steel Spetsnaz Tactical Camp Shovel
The Cold Steel Spetznaz tactical survival shovel is one of my favorites. It has a sturdy wood handle and a spade that is sharpened on three sides.
It is a tough shovel that is stout enough to cut through roots and sharp and nimble enough to be thrown and stuck in a tree.
It is not a folding shovel, so there are no nuts and locks to worry about. The short handle makes it portable and small enough to fit your pack.
- Durable wood handle with Carbon steel blade.
- The blade is really sharp on the three useable sides.
- Strong and stout.
- The short handle makes it portable.
- Not a folding shovel.
Zune Lotoo Survival Camping Shovel
The Zune Lotoo tactical shovel is one of the best you can get. It has a 6 inch wide spade and the handle is about 24 inches, making it one of the larger survival shovels out there.
They claim it has 24 functions, and I believe it! You can adjust the angle of the blade to six positions between 0 and 150 degrees, and this shovel does everything from cutting wire and shoveling dirt to chopping and splitting wood and starting fires.
Its made from thick precision sharpened hardened steel and is a serious tool meant to withstand heavy use.
It is foldable and portable and an asset in your gear bag or vehicle.
- Handle and spade joint is made from unbreakable 10mm thick steel connection.
- Made from German Martensitic high carbon stainless steel.
- Performs 24 different functions with built in tools.
- Built to last and withstand heavy use.
- No carry case included.
- Quite heavy compared to other tactical shovels.
Schrade SCHSH1 Telescoping Shovel
The Schrade telescoping shovel folds compact, is really affordable, and makes a good replacement for military issue E-tools.
It has an adjustable telescoping handle so the length is decent.
It really feels solid, and the weight is apt for chopping especially after the spade blade is sharpened.
It is a nice compact size for smaller bags and folds down more compact5 than Military Surplus E-tools as well.
- Made with durable 3Cr13 stainless steel.
- Sharpened blade edges.
- T shape polymer handle for good leverage.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Includes blade cover.
- Blade spade is quite small.
SOG Folding Survival Shovel
The SOG shovel is a popular and top-rated tactical shovel. It folds down to a nice compact size making it easy to transport.
It can be used as a shovel, has a serrated edge for use as a saw and the spade can be angled to use as a hoe so it is versatile too.
The design is similar to military E-Tools used for entrenchment and digging latrines and it can help you dig your vehicle out of the snow or mud, plus it’s small enough to store full time in your car or truck.
- Versatile and can be used as a shovel, saw, and how.
- Folds up, very compact to store in a vehicle or backpack.
- All metal construction.
- Quite small.
Schrade Frontier Shovel Saw
The Schrader Frontier shovel is a small tactical survival shovel that is so compact it can fit in any survival bag or backpack.
It can be used as a shovel but it also converts to a saw thanks to the interchangeable handle and the screw on saw blade. It also has a Ferro rod used to ignite sparks that can be used to start a fire.
With all these extras, this little shovel is sure to prove itself useful.
- Made of 3CR13 steel black oxide steel.
- Aluminum handle.
- Secure, no folding mechanism to fail.
- Includes tactical shovel and saw on an interchangeable handle.
- The handle is not very long, and the spade is quite small.
Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
This small tactical survival shovel is collapsible making it easy to store and carry.
The quality is great, it is sturdy yet lightweight.
The blade is compact, at 6.5 inches long, by 4 inches wide, so if you are looking for a small portable, affordable tactical shovel, this is a great choice.
- Great price.
- Collapsible, with a max length of 31 inches.
- Multi-use – works as a shovel fire starter, whistle, bottle opener, saw, and hoe.
- Small compact tactical shovel.
- The blade is smaller than most other survival shovels.
FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel
The Fivejoy military folding shovel is a small affordable tactical survival shovel.
It is a truly multi-use-tool and can be used as a shovel, hoe, and hook.
It is very light and easy to carry, but also sturdy and up to challenging tasks. It can handle a little abuse and is not fragile.
The shovel blade feels solid and locked in when it is tightened, and it will give you peace of mind as you use it to dig and hack. It will not wiggle or shift, it is tough and well made. It can dig into hard earth and hack up roots. It is a very durable tool.
- Can be used as a shovel, hoe, hook, and more.
- Lots of extras, mini saw, firestarter, paracord, and case.
- Heavy duty blade stands up under abuse.
- Too lightweight for serious wood chopping.
EST Gear Tactical Survival Shovel
The EST Gear tactical shovel is a shovel and so much more. It has a full size aluminum handle and the sharpened blade allows you to dig into hard dirt with ease. That same sharpened edge allows you to cut and chop kindling too.
Plus this shovel has other tools like a fire starter, whistle, compass, rope cutter, and a waterproof pouch on the case for matches.
The shovel is top quality, durable, and will not fail when you need it most.
- Multi use – 18 tools in one.
- Full sized aluminum handle.
- Durable blade stands up to heavy duty use.
- Some of the lesser features, like the compass, are not high quality.
What is a Tactical Shovel and Why do You Need One?
A tactical shovel prepares you for just about anything. It is a small, portable multi-use shovel you can carry in your pack or vehicle, and always be prepared.
Most tactical survival shovels can be used for more than shoveling. They work as a hoe, a hook, and many come with extras like fire starters, small saws, sharpened blades for chopping in you need a makeshift ax.
Although if you want a portable ax, consider this list of the best tomahawks here.
If you find yourself in an emergency, getting stuck in the mud or snow, or in need of making a fire, you will be glad you have a tactical shovel handy.
How to Choose the Best Tactical Shovel for Survival or Camping
Keep these factors in mind as you choose the best tactical shovel for you.
What Materials Make the Best Tactical Shovel?
You want the blade of your shovel to be made from high-quality hardened steel that can take an edge without becoming dull. Look at the Zune Lotoo Survival Shovel or the DMOS Delta Shovel as they have the BEST quality shovel blades on this list.
All metal shovels are durable, stable, and long-lasting, which is why the military issue USGI Military Surplus AMES Shovel is so popular.
But if you find yourself digging out of snow or out in icy conditions, plastic handles are more comfortable for your hands in cold and icy weather. The Gerber E-Tool Tactical Shovel has a sturdy plastic handle that will not freeze your fingers as you dig your tires free.
While we are on the topic of cold weather, why not check out this list of the best tactical jackets and make sure you are not caught off guard without a good jacket in the cold.
How Portable is Your Tactical Shovel?
Shovels are only useful if they are around when you need them. You are more likely to carry a shovel if its size does not prevent you from storing it in your pack or vehicle.
Even a really small, ultra-portable shovel like the Schrade Frontier Shovel.
Is better than NO shovel.
So remember, before you buy a tactical shovel, think about where you are going to store it and how you are going to carry it. Make sure the size and weight will not prevent you from having the shovel on hand in an emergency.
If you need a bigger pack to accommodate all your gear, take a look at this list of the best tactical backpacks and be prepared as possible.
What is the Blade Size of Your Tactical Shovel?
Remember, even a very small shovel is better than no shovel when you need to dig your truck out of the mud or snow. Tactical shovels are usually quite small.
If you want a larger tactical survival shovel, consider the DMOS Delta Shovel.
With a telescoping handle. It unfolds and telescopes to be nearly the same size as a normal shovel, and packs back down to size so you can easily stow it in your vehicle.
While you are getting prepared, a good folding knife is an invaluable survivalist too. Take a look at the best tactical folding knives here and be prepared as possible.
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I hope you find the best tactical shovel for you.
Until next time,
I will see YOU in the field!