Best Off-Road and Overland Shovels

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The best off-road shovel is the shovel you’ve got. We’ve dug out cars and trucks with items as varied as windshield scrapers and the nose of a snowboard. This is to say that having a proper shovel handy can make life a lot easier.

After testing out a number of shovels, we landed on Fiskars’ Pro D-Handle Shovel as our top pick. We are fans of the DMOS Delta Shovel. It’s not the cheapest shovel on the market, but it’s the kind of shovel you buy once and use for a lifetime. If you are looking for something even more compact, the Gerber E-tool is a good option. See below the recommendations for more info on choosing a shovel for your off-grid adventures.

Fiscars’ Pro D-Handle Shovel is a great shovel at a good price. At 44.75 inches long, it’s long enough for digging without having to bend down too far, yet still small enough to get into tight spots (underneath a stuck vehicle for instance). The length also makes it relatively easy to stow, whether on a rack on somewhere in your vehicle.

It’s a sturdy shovel. The handle is made of aluminum, which helps keep the weight down (5.575 ounces), and the blade is made of a heavy-gauge steel that’s up to intense digging and prying.

All Recommended Shovels

Other Great Overlanding and Off-Road Shovels

Like any piece of gear, you’ve got a range of choices in off-road shovels, from the classic wooden-handled hardware store variety to exotic multi-tools with interchangeable heads. Those options come with a variety of price tags, so your budget will in part dictate your choice.

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That said, over the long run, cheap shovels are more likely to break or rust. So buying a higher quality off-road shovel is suggested if you are planning to off-road and overland for years to come.

Top-of-the-Line: DMOS Delta Shovel

Most Compact: Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade

Sturdiest: Krazy Beaver Shovel

Budget Option: Bully Tools Round Point Shovel

Shovel Mounting Options

Once you’ve chosen a shovel, you need to figure out how to carry it on your vehicle. This can be as simple as throwing it in the back with your other gear. But there are also some handy options for mounting it inside and outside your truck or SUV. Mounting it is preferable to having it loose in your vehicle’s cabin, as a shovel can do a lot of damage flying around inside a vehicle during a roll-over or other accident.

Quick Fist Clamps

Rugged Ridge Spare Tire Rack

Smittybilt Axe and Shovel Mounts

Why do I need an off-road shovel?

Along with recovery ropes and jacks, off-road shovels are essential pieces of recovery gear. Freeing a buried wheel or high-pointed axle by shoveling away the offending substance, whether it’s snow, sand or mud, can mean the difference between spending your time recovering a vehicle or spending your time cruising the trails. If you are overlanding for multiple days and weeks, a shovel comes in handy for other functions as well, such as digging a latrine or fire pit or putting out a fire.

Like camping axes, shovels are as useful in camp as on the trail, coming in handy for digging latrines, putting out campfires, and many other uses.

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FAQs

Are overlanding shovels different than off-road shovels?

Not really. An overlanding shovel is really just an off-road shovel used on an overlanding expedition. One thing worth considering is weight. Overlanding trips require more gear than a day out wheeling on off-road trials, which can quickly add up to exceed your cargo capacity, so all things being equal go with a shovel that is lighter and more compact.

How do I mount an off-road shovel to my vehicle?

Some companies, such as DMOS, make dedicated mounts for their shovels. These will fit the shovel perfectly and be very secure, but they tend to be pricey. Some rack manufacturers that cater to the off-roading and overlanding set, such as Garvin, Warrior, and Front Runner, also sell shovel and axe mounts that fit their racks. Quick Fist Clamps, mentioned above, are a more general option for mounting and can be used on a variety of different roof and bumper racks, with a little ingenuity.

Also See

Essential Off-road Equipment Guide

Essential Overlanding Gear Guide

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>