It was one among the military-issued tools frequently used by the army, hence the moniker miltary folding shovel stuck, and for good reason; it was effectively handy.
Entrenching tool uses
With today’s advanced technology and high-end materials, the shovel, far from just digging trenches, and scooping mud, has evolved into a multifunctional tool designed for outdoor hiking, scouting, and camping expeditions or for military purposes.
With a bit of blade-honing, the contemporary shovel could cut through roots and small tree limbs, split small firewood, and can be used for hammering.
It also makes for a formidable defensive weapon. It can be said that the shovel has become a bigger necessity when it became multi-functional.
Since it is brought along more often to hunting, camping, and other outdoor activities, it is more logical to produce shovels that are foldable.
There are a variety of folding shovels available in the market, but there are two main types camping shovels and entrenching tools (or simply e-tools).
Camping shovels are light and compact. E-tools usually have powerful blades with honed axe-edge and serrated saw-edge, effective for chopping, cutting, slashing, and sawing.
Originally they fold at one point only, now there are quite a few that can be folded at two points for greater portability.
Buyers guide for folding shovels
The first decision you will usually make is to choose between these two types.
The right choice depends on what you’ll need it for. Will it be for digging up deep trenches or large holes at work or for scouting and camping outdoors?
High quality steel, such as stainless- and carbon-steel are the most commonly used materials in manufacturing folding shovels.
They’re tough, durable, and made to withstand the rigors of time and the harshest of elements. Here are some of the best folding shovels available in today’s market.
1. Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel
The Gerber Gorge folding shovel is solid, made from high-carbon steel.
The handle slides at slight pressure on a button for easy folding. It is ideal for household tasks and outdoor sorties.
The sturdy handle is made from fiberglass-filled nylon with rubberized over-grip for a tight and secure hold which can also be utilized for hammering.
At 28 ounces, it is certainly lightweight and compact. For portability, it folds down from 16 inches to barely 9 inches.
Its weight is barely noticeable in the backpack; less weight and less bulk are very important considerations for long adventures or tactical operations.
It stores in a nylon draw-string bag.
2. US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel
US GI Military Entrenching Shovel is multi-functional and constructed with high-quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship.
It is the original military-issued e-tool type and, needless to say, can take rugged handling.
It comes in a tri-fold collapsible design for easy carry and space-saving storage (rubber storage case included).
The threaded aluminum handle locks the powerful steel blade into 2 positions which can be used as a saw, adze, axe, or shovel; the blade has a honed axe edge and a serrated saw edge at the sides for cutting, slashing, chopping and digging.
This durable shovel folds fast down to 9 inches for easy lugging and stowing and extends up to 24 inches to do the dirty jobs.
3.Glock Entrenching Tool with Saw and Pouch
This e-tool with saw by Glock is, by far, the lightest and most compact shovel in our listing with a weight of just 24 ounces.
It has to do with the extendable telescopic handle which is made of high-impact resistant polymer materials that delivers superior durability and reliability.
The folding blade, which is lockable in 4 positions, has a sharpened edge made of hardened steel and reinforced with black anti-corrosive surface treatment.
For enhanced resilience and stability, this e-tool shovel has no connecting rivets or welding. It opens up to 25 inches and folds to 10 inches.
Included in the kit is a special steel saw blade with a screwdriver tip stashed in the hollow extension handle. This durable E-tool shovel sells between $50 and $70.
Who makes the best e-tool?
Choose the tool that has the function you actually use, not just because it’s a combo of tools that you may not have any need for.
Generally, the extra functions add to the overall weight; so if you’re bringing it along to a long hike, consider the added pounds to your gear.
You may need to trade off some features for another much-needed feature.
A weightier shovel, for instance, may just be the workhorse you need for digging long trenches; then there’s certainly room for it in your backpack.
If you’re bringing one for the sole purpose of digging a latrine in the woods, then a foldable lightweight can do that. Find a tool that makes sense to you and your shoveling style.