Whats the Best Folding Shovel on the Market?

Folding shovels or Army shovels have their storied origin during the two World Wars – mostly for shoveling up defense trenches and digging stuck vehicles out from mud-spattered ruts, and whatnot.

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

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.

What to like

Compact Design: It folds from 16.25 inches to 9.25 inches for space-saving portability.
Lightweight Build: The item’s weight is 1.7 pounds, making it easy to carry on outings.
Strong Material: The shovel blade is made of carbon steel for durability in various conditions.
Ergonomic Grip: The handle is designed with fiberglass and has a rubberized overgrip for comfortable use.
Multi-Functional: The shovel includes a pick for hard ground and a hammer feature for tent stakes.
Portability Convenience: It comes with a nylon drawstring bag for easy transport and storage.

Issues to keep in mind:

Handle Durability Issues: It seems the plastic handle lacks strength, cracking under the firm pressure of pounding tent stakes, suggesting it might be prone to breakage during rigorous use.
Mechanism Sand Jamming: When exposed to sandy conditions, the shovel’s sliding and folding mechanisms grind and become difficult to operate, potentially compromising function and leading to wear over time.
Edge Sharpness Lacking: The shovel’s dull edge has been a point of contention for users needing to cut through tough materials, prompting some to manually sharpen the blade themselves for practical use.


2. US GI Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel

US GI Military 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.

What to like

Durable Steel Blade: The blade, constructed from alloy steel, withstands heavy use and tough conditions without breaking.
Collapsible Tri-design: The tri-fold design allows it to collapse into a compact size of 9 inches for easy carry and storage.
Versatile Locking Positions: It locks securely into various positions for use as a shovel, hoe, seat, or grappling hook, enhancing its functionality.
Comfortable Handle Grip: A padded grip on the handle ensures comfort during use, regardless of the task at hand.
US Military Standard: As a genuine US Military issue item, it adheres to high standards of quality and reliability.
Robust Construction: Made by AMES or ACEMCO, known military contractors, it promises long-lasting durability and performance.

Issues to keep in mind:

Poor Locking Mechanism: Some users report that the shovel doesn’t stay locked at a 90-degree angle as intended, folding back to a straight position even during light digging in soft sand, implying that the locking collar may not maintain its grip under stress.
Susceptible to Rust: Multiple users noticed rust on the pivot points after minimal use and exposure to elements such as salt water, suggesting the coating may not provide adequate protection against corrosion.
Quality Control Issues: Complaints include receiving the product chipped, with the coating peeling off, mismatched rivet details (nuts and bolts instead of rivets), and users doubting the authenticity of the military contractor claims, indicating inconsistent manufacturing standards.


3.Glock Entrenching Tool with Saw and Pouch

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.

What to like

Lightweight Design: Weighing approximately 1.5 lbs (675 grams), it provides ease of portability without compromising durability.
Versatile Blade: The surface-treated blade features a lockable function in three positions for multiple digging angles and uses.
Durable Material: Constructed with high-impact resistant polymer materials, ensuring reliability and ruggedness in various conditions.
Extendable Handle: Features a telescopic handle that allows for adjustment to the user’s preference which adds to usability.
Built-in Saw: Incorporates a saw within the handle for added functionality, especially useful in outdoor or survival situations.
Compact Dimensions: When folded, the dimensions are 10.25″ long, 6.5″ wide, and 2″ thick, making the product easy to pack and store.

Issues to keep in mind:

Handle Unlocks Easily: The telescoping handle’s locking mechanism requires tightening to prevent unscrewing during use, challenging its reliability for sustained hard work.
Plastic Durability Doubts:Despite being a product of a reliable brand, skepticism exists regarding the handle made of high-impact resistant polymer material especially at its stress points, raising questions about its long-term resilience under heavy usage.

Inadequate Saw Design: The built-in saw, stored within the hollow handle, is noted for its unconventional cutting orientation that goes against standard saw design, potentially affecting its practicality and efficiency during cutting tasks.


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.