Best Folding Shovel Reviews - Military, Camp, and Garden Shovels that Fold for Easy Storage

Ah, the Great Outdoors! The marvels of Mother Nature never cease to amaze. But, she’s just as dangerous as she is kind, and going into the woods without the proper equipment can spell disaster. One of the best tools is a folding shovel. If you’d like one but don’t know enough about them, check out our little guide below and learn a thing or two about some of the best shovel brands out there.

By the way, because of space, this review doesn't include any folding snow shovels, but if that's what you were looking for, we have some good options listed below in our buying guide.

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Our Top Choice
Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel
If a brand is being endorsed by Bear Grylls, you know you’re on the right track. Gerber delivers marvelous tools, some some of which are being used by the US Military.
High quality build. Single button operation to spring blade into position. Doubles as a tent peg hammer.
Flimsy blade-to-handle connection.
Button-spring blade
16.9 in, folds to 9.25 in
1.75 pounds
High carbon tempered steel
Fiberglass filled rubberized grip
Best Value
SOG Entrenching Tool Folding Shovel
Protecting American freedom is what SOG is all about, and they’ve got the right tools for the job, short of firearms.
Serrated edge. Trifold design. High carbon steel blade.
Small when unfolded.
18.25 in, folds to 9.5 in
1.53 pounds
High carbon stainless steel
Triangular handle
BANG TI Super High Strength Military Folding Shovel
Not all brands care to advertise themselves. BANG TI doesn't say much about itself but lets its products speak for themselves.
Extremely adaptable design. High quality, high carbon blade.
Expensive compared to others.
Folding blade
24.5 in, variable folding size
3.15 pounds
Tempered steel
Coleman Rugged Folding Shovel
Coleman is one of the most prominent manufacturers of small farm tools.
Highly versatile. Serrated edge for sawing. Sharpened edge to use like an axe.
May not hold up if used as an axe.
23 in, folds to 10 in
2.3 pounds
Tempered steel
Triangular with rubberized handle
Stansport G.I. Double Folding Shovel
Stansport is a prominent camping equipment manufacturer. Its products have been around for a long time, and are favored by campers everywhere.
Made of tempered steel, which is nearly unbreakable. Serrated edge and tip for sawing through firewood.
Quite heavy at 2.4 pounds.
23.5 in, folds to 9 in
2.4 pounds
Tempered steel
Tempered steel, triangular

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Watch Our Folding Shovel Review

What are the Best Camp, Garden and Military Folding Shovels? Read on to Find Out!

There are many products out there that do a great job and many with different features. Our guide is not there to tell you something definitive about a certain product, but to describe the desirable features you might want in a shovel. Let’s have a look through our five features products, but don't view our list as something written in stone. We dug out (sorry, not sorry) five outstanding shovels, but there are more of them out there. In the end, you're the one who's going to use it, so pick the one you like most that caters to your needs.

Our Top Choice
Looking for a shovel that you can take everywhere and do everything with? Then grab yourself a Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel! A serrated edge on a shovel is a marvelous thing to have. If you want a shovel like this, check out the Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated

Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

If you enjoy the great outdoors like Bear Grylls does, then you don’t need anything but a survival knife. If you’re still an enthusiast, but not as mad as Bear, you'll want a little more equipment. And where better to get that equipment than Gerber? Gerber is a company from Portland. It was founded in 1939 went on to supply the bulk of high level outdoor and survival tools, like knives, shovels, and multi-tools. Not only that, many of their products can be seen in the hands of US soldiers.

So, with a resume like that, you’ve got to be certain the product we’re going to present you with today is a really good one. The Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel is one of the best shovels of its kind. It’s an incredibly high-quality, highly-versatile shovel. It can be used for any kind of shoveling work, but it can, occasionally, go above and beyond its calling. You can use it to shovel snow and make bike trails, but you can also use it for hammering in nails and stakes for your tent.

Naturally, you want to know how compact and how easy to use this shovel is. Well, you needn't worry about any of that, because the Gerber George shovel is very kind and caters for its users. The shovel has a simple push-button mechanism that makes the shovelhead spring out, as well as its fiberglass handle. The blade has been made of carbon steel which is sharper and more flexible than stainless steel, increasing the shovel's service life and its effectiveness when digging and cutting into the earth of various thicknesses.

When you need a solid tool for your mountaineering trip or hike, you can always look to Gerber to have these items on stock.
Best Value
The SOG Entrenching Tool F08-N is one mean shovel, complete with a serrated edge and a trifold design. If you want bigger, check out their SOG Elite Entrenching Tool F19-N - Folding Shovel.

SOG Entrenching Tool Folding Shovel with High Carbon Steel Handle, Nylon Carry Case and Powder Coat Finish

When you’re out to protect the American dream and American freedom, you've got to have good tools to do it. Naturally, you won't bash the enemy's skull in with a shovel, but things can get a little messy in the trenches. Well, if you need to a military-grade tool that can do almost everything (except stop ISIS single-handedly), then you need to go to SOG. Inspired by knives carried by an elite unit of the US Army in Vietnam, SOG first started making combat knives, but soon expanded to make other tools as well.

Right now, one of the best things SOG's got is the F08-N Folding Shovel. This is one of the highest quality shovels, as well as one of the most versatile. The product has a very sharp flat blade for shoveling but also has one serrated edge that can be used to saw branches or limbs. It features a tri-fold design that makes the product very compact, as both the blade and the triangular handle collapse inward.

When it comes to the product’s construction, you can expect the absolute best. The shovel has a tempered steel blade to make it stronger and more capable of taking on an edge. The handle is made from high carbon steel that is flexible and strong enough to endure long years of service. The shovel comes with a convenient sheath, made of ballistic nylon.

SOG knows what it’s doing, and it does it well, producing equipment among the best on the market.
A versatile product, you say? Try out BANG TI Super High Strength Military Folding Shovel If this particular one doesn’t fit your standards, have a look at the BANG TI Military Compact Folding Shovel 12 in 1.

BANG TI Super High Strength Military Folding Shovel (15-in-1 Multifunction) with Portable Tool Bag - Available in 5 Colors

The BANG TI Super Strength Military Shovel is one very expensive product, compared to the others on this list. However, when one looks at all the things this shovel can do, it becomes quite clear this product may well be worth its price. The shovel can be used as an axe, hammer, knife, flint, wire cutter, whistle, ruler, bottle opener and a screwdriver. This makes it one of the most versatile tools we have here, and maybe even on the market.

When it comes to the construction, however, this shovel is a little underwhelming. The blade is nice high-carbon steel, but the rod is made out of aluminum. This is aircraft-grade aluminum, mind you, but it’s still not as durable as high-carbon steel. Not only that, but some parts are plastic, and this can severely compromise the shovel’s service life and effectiveness.

We can’t say much about BANG IT directly, but we certainly can say a thing or two about this shovel. Yes, it may be expensive, but it’s amazingly versatile. Maybe it’s better to let your products speak for you after all…
Who says a shovel can’t be versatile? Coleman Rugged Folding Camp Shovel is one of the most versatile products on the market. If you want a more traditional product, check out the Coleman Coghlans 9065 Folding Shovel.

Coleman Rugged Folding Camp Shovel

Our fourth item comes from Coleman. W.C. Coleman was a measly typewriter salesman and had very poor eyesight. One day, he saw a kerosene lamp that burned with a bright, yellow flame, and he was awestruck by its majesty. At that instant, he decided to create his own company and make lamps that would illuminate the world. What does this have to do with folding shovels? We … Don't know, but they manufacture those too.

The product we're presenting today is, of course, the Rugged Folding Camp Shovel. Of all the shovels we've presented, this is the smallest. It's only 23 inches in length and folds to but 10 inches. The shovel has got a large and ergonomic handle, and features a tri-folding design, allowing it to fold into such a small size.

Speaking about the blade, the Coleman Folding Camp Shovel features a marvelous shovelhead. The blade is, of course, carbon steel, and offers great versatility for the product. One side of the blade features a straight, sharpened edge, which allows you to use the shovel as an axe, and the other has a serrated edge which can be used to saw through thinner branches.

Coleman is a very prominent manufacturer of small farm tools, and the Rugged Camp Shovel is a highly versatile product. It’s definitely worth your attention.
Want a military-grade shovel for camping and, possibly, a zombie outbreak? Take a look at the Stansport G.I. Style Double Folding Shovel. And if versatility is the name of the game, check out the Stansport Combination Folding Pick and Shovel.

Stansport G.I. Style Double Folding Shovel with Tempered Steel Blade and Metal Handle

The last product for today comes from a very prominent brand. Stansport manufactures equipment meant for camping. The Great Outdoors is always tempting for all animals to return to, and that includes us humans. Unfortunately, we’re not that well equipped for the outdoors, so we need tools – tools that Stansport provides.

So, what makes the Stansport G.I. Double Folding Shovel so special? Well, not many things. However, we aren't saying this in a bad way – the shovel fulfills all the standards for an excellent folding shovel you can think of. The blade is made of tempered steel, as well as all the joints, meaning they don’t break easily. The shovel features a triangular tip with serrated edge both on the tip and on the side of the shovelhead. This gives the product [G5]a little bit more versatility – something you definitely want on a campsite.

One of the best parts about the shovel is that it features a tri-folding design. This allows the product to fold to a very small size. A compact shovel is very important when you’ve got a lot of stuff to carry, and you’ve got only one backpack. However, the shovel is quite heavy due to its steel construction, making its strength one of its greatest weaknesses.

In the end, the Stansport G.I. shovel is one of the heaviest but sturdiest products. Its tempered steel construction is more than enough to ensure the product will serve you well and for many camping seasons to come.

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Camp, Military or Garden Folding Shovel

Alright, now we've got the introductions out the way, it's time to get to the business. Folding shovels, much like regular shovels, are simple tools that don't require much thinking to use. However, folding shovels are made to be used for many things, not just conventional shoveling. For serious survivalists, trekkers or camping enthusiasts, they are a must-have item.

So, your first and most important concern has to be "what are you going to use the shovel for"? Many folding shovels have either serrated edges or sharpened ones, and some even feature a pick on the other end to allow you to make trenches and dig holes in firmer earth.

Naturally, one of the most important things to consider when it comes to the shovel is its construction. Usually, a shovel will be made of high-carbon tempered steel. High-carbon steel is quite flexible while being able to take on a very sharp edge, giving the shovel both sturdiness and sharpness to cut into the soil.

However, an even more important thing to consider are the joints. Joints are always the weakest spot when it comes to folding shovels, and you need to watch out for them. Joints need to lock together tightly so the shovel won’t break, and be flexible enough to allow folding without forcing the parts together. In all, there are many things to consider when buying a folding shovel, but it will be an excellent addition to your gear, next to your survival knife, axe or drinking horn.

Is An Entrenching Tool Part of Your Survival Kit or Camping Kit?

How to Use Military E-tool Folding Shovel. | Courtesy of Coach Helder

Honorable Mention - Best Folding Snow Shovels

Because we were limited to 5 top picks, this review focused on folding shovels with pointed tips. However, if you are looking for a flat bladed, snow shovel that folds or collapses for easy transportation, for example to keep in the trunk of your car, here are our recommendations.

When calculating the price of a folding shovel, you’ll see they aren’t that expensive. Usually, a shovel will cost you around 20 dollars, although there are shovels costing almost 100 dollars. However, for the needs of a regular camper, spending around $30 is more than enough for a good piece of hardware.

Naturally, the price will also depend on the product’s features, construction and any accessories you might receive with it. We recommend you avoid excessively cheap folding shovels, as the build quality must be adequate for hard use.
Most shovels feature a tri-folding design where both the handle and the blade fold for a more compact result. Some, on the other hand, have an extending rod and a folding blade sprung by a button.

Military shovels, also called entrenching tools or e-tools, usually feature serrated edges for sawing, and sometimes even sharpened edges for cutting, allowing you to use the shovel as a hatchet (among other uses). These shovels also have flat surfaces that allow you to use them as hammers, and even appear as a shovel/pick combo. As part of military training, solders are trained to use these for combat. All or almost all of them have a tempered steel head.

In the end, seek out the features that’ll be most useful for you and your specific purpose. To sum up the potential features to look for when shopping for a folding shovel, here is a short list:
  • Tempered steel blade
  • Can be used as hammers
  • Single button springing design
  • Trifolding design
  • Serrated or sharpened edges
  • Shovel/pick combo
  • Extending rods
Construction and Design
To reiterate, folding shovels mostly appear in the tri-folding design, but there are those with extendable, telescoping rods and button-sprung blades. Most of them have a pointy, triangular tip for tougher surfaces, and another, round tip for general tasks.

Shovels are usually made of tempered steel, but their rods can also be made of hollow tube aluminum to reduce the weight. However, steel blades are always a requirement, because any other metal will be either too heavy, too flimsy or can't take on a proper blade.
Performance and Ease of Use
You need to make is where you’re taking the shovel. Depending on the type of terrain, you may need a shovel with a pointy tip or a regular one with a rounded tip. Shovels with pointy tips are much better for penetrating though earth. Round shovels are much better suited for regular jobs of scooping things up. Another consideration is how ergonomic the handle is. A good handle will go a long way in making work easier, and your hands will be less tired and sore after a long session of digging, especially if the ground is hard.

Shovels are pretty simple to use, but, with more features come more options. Depending on those features, there are additional things that tools can do. Most of them have serrated edges which give them a limited use as a saw. The performance of the shovels will be largely dependent on the material used, but, even more importantly, on the quality of the joints. Weak joints will break, and flimsy joints will leave you tiptoeing around the shovel, trying not to force it.

Get the Best Folding Shovel of 2023!

Folding shovels come in many shapes and sizes and with different features that allow them to do different things. That’s why your main consideration should be where you’re planning to take the shovel and what to do with it. If you’ve got that figured out, it’s going to be much easier to pick out a perfect product for you. If these five didn’t float your boat, see what else these great brands have to offer.

Our Top Choice
Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel
Best Value
SOG Entrenching Tool Folding Shovel
BANG TI Super High Strength Military Folding Shovel
Coleman Rugged Folding Shovel
Stansport G.I. Double Folding Shovel

Folding Shovel FAQs

What Is The Best Folding Shovel?
The best folding shovel is one that is capable of serving you in the manner for which you acquired it. It should have a strong built and made from the right materials. For instance, the materials used to make the handles should be foldable to ensure it remains durable for a long time. The idea behind a folding shovel is to improve portability. So, make sure it is as lightweight as possible. Yet it should also be easy to use. It shouldn’t be necessary for you to bend down to use it. We have reviewed 5 good options to help you choose the one that is right for your needs.
How Do You Set Up A Folding Shovel?
How you set up a folding shovel will depend on the design. Several folding shovels come with a push-button meant to release the shovelhead when pressed. The rest may require you to manually unfold. In either case, you cannot use the shovel before locking it into place.
How Do You Lock A Folding Shovel?
After unfolding a shovel, it is necessary to lock it into place before using it. For example, you can lock it on and use it as a hoe or unfold it entirely as a shovel. Luckily, most folding shovels have handles that automatically lock in place. That’s because they have a positive locking collar incorporated in the handle. If you get one that doesn’t, then use a wrench to tighten the bolts on the stem. However, you have to loosen the bolts to fold it back.
How Do You Extend And Lock A Double Folding Shovel?
It is not up to you. A double folding shovel will come with an automatically locking shovel. Some require you to extend the shovel, turn the clamp, and tighten it onto the shaft and start using it. That way, you will lock it into place and start using it for whatever chore you might have.