The Best Camping Shovel: Our Top 5 Picks

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Buyers Guide for the Best Camping Shovel: How We Pick Our Best

Camping gear including a camping shovel.

Size and Portability

When looking at a good camping shovel, you’re going to want something much smaller than that regular old shovel you have in your garage.

When looking for a shovel, keep in mind you’ll be carrying around this item, and the last thing you’ll want is to be lugging around something large and heavy. The most favorable camping shovels will weigh around 2 pounds, 3 maximum.

Another important feature is a shovel that collapses or folds into a smaller size. Make sure you know how much space you have for your new shovel before purchasing. Can it be folded easily and stored in your pack? Or will it be too cumbersome to carry around?

Saw Edge

When camping, you never know what kind of obstacles you may run into, and this is why purchasing a spade with a saw edge gives you extra digging power and a quick-to-grab cutting tool!

Remember, camping shovels are often multiple-use tools at the campsite. This again points to the intended use of your camping shovel.

A saw edge is a must if you frequent areas with tougher soil types and thick vegetation. On the other hand, if you’re just using it to trench around a fire pit and help you hammer in those tent stakes, you may not need a serrated edge.

Extra Tools

You need to plan and expect the unexpected when roughing it out in the wilderness. This is where a multi-tool shovel comes in handy. Most of these shovels have 24 tools all in one! So you’ll be prepared for anything nature has to throw at you.

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These shovels most often will be listed as survival shovels with military-grade design and materials. But if you are just the average camper that enjoys spending some much-needed time in the fresh air at your favorite campground, a good quality foldable shovel would be the best for you.

Man holding camping shovel with a built-in compass in the handle.

Materials

To find the best camping shovel, regardless of extra tools, saw blade edges, and size and portability, you need to pay close attention to its materials.

Most shovels will be composed of metal, plastic, or both. More lightweight options will be made of cheaper plastic materials, which is something to watch for. These may work for the first couple of uses but don’t expect them to last beyond that.

When looking for durability and long-lasting camping shovels, shop for titanium, carbon steel, and aluminum.

Titanium is the best choice. It is extremely durable and should last a lifetime. The downside is it can be pretty expensive. Remember, you’re paying for a long-lasting tool that won’t break after a few uses.

Another material you’ll often see is carbon steel. Carbon steel is known for its strength and long-lasting qualities. Carbon steel shouldn’t rust or scratch as long as it is properly cared for.

Speaking of rust-resistant, aluminum is lightweight and resistant to all rusting. These camping shovels can take quite a beating and still last you for years. These are great for backpacking since they will likely be open to the elements and weigh much less than traditional shovels.

Frequently Asked Questions

A camping shovel and a roll of toilet paper on the handle.

Are all-in-one shovels better than the classic camping shovel?

This depends on the intended use of your camping shovel. A classic will do just fine if you need it for hammering in tent stakes or digging small holes and trenches. A multi-tool offers a little more bang for your buck and sometimes requires you to pack fewer tools overall.

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What is a tactical camping shovel?

A tactical shovel is one that is lightweight, easy to use, compact, portable and offers the basic tools needed for survival situations.

What are the perks of a survival camping shovel?

Like a tactical shovel, a survival shovel has the tools required for survival situations. These shovels have multiple tools that can help fish, have saws or knives for firewood, and can even be used for self-defense.

We Made Picking the Best Camping Shovel Easy

A green camping shovel lying on sand.

Finding and purchasing the best camping shovel is simple when you follow the basics, such as intended use, portability, and materials. Whatever type of camper you are, you could use a camp shovel in many applications, and it will come in handy when least expected.

If you haven’t found your ideal pick here, you can use our buyer’s guide so you can be sure you’re picking the right tool for you.

Make sure to check out our articles for all of your camping gear needs!

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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 >>