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You could say shovels are man’s best friend. They are one of the oldest manmade tools to be developed and they allowed human-kind to go from a primitive to a more sophisticated lifestyle. At one stage, the only form of excavation we had was the humble shovel, now we have powered forms of excavation that make modern building much easier. These modern revolutions in excavation haven’t forced the extinction of the trusty shovel though, and they are still a common sight on building sites and in homes across the world.
You can’t replace a good old fashioned shovel and there are plenty of uses where a shovel is the best tool for the job. They are commonly seen on off-road vehicles, used in your backyard, in the emergency services, and the military. We will be looking at tactical shovels in this article. The tactical shovel is an advancement of this age-old tool and provides an all in one solution for survival, camping, and off-roading.
A tactical shovel can be an excellent addition to your survival or wild camping kit, giving you a durable and versatile piece of equipment that can perform a multitude of tasks. A high-quality tactical shovel is an excellent use of space in your backpack but is also extremely useful to keep in the boot of your car, on your quad bike, or in your off-roader. This versatile piece of equipment can get you out of trouble and make your wilderness or off-road experience ten times better.
So, what exactly is a tactical shovel? What are the features of a good tactical shovel and why do you need one in your outdoor gear collection? In this article, we will answer all of these questions and provide you with our top 3 tactical shovels for all budgets and uses.
- 1 What is a Tactical Shovel?
- 2 What Makes a Tactical Shovel Worthwhile?
- 3 Top 3 Tactical Shovels – Reviewed
- 4 Comparison Table
- 5 Conclusion
What is a Tactical Shovel?
A tactical shovel is a collapsible or foldable shovel that has multiple uses. They should serve brilliantly as a shovel but also feature other tools that are useful and easily accessible within its design. These tools could be anything from a firestarter to a pickaxe and different shovels feature different tool combinations. The shovel you pick will ultimately depend on your specific needs and the situations you will use it in.
The main features of a tactical shovel are its compact, foldable, or collapsible design and its portability. A good shovel will fit perfectly in your rucksack and once unfolded, will work perfectly as a shovel and survival tool without breaking under strain. Tactical shovels are at the forefront of hand tool technology and use every possible bit of space on the head and in the handle of the shovel to store essential survival and camping tools.
What Makes a Tactical Shovel Worthwhile?
I challenge you to try and fit a full-size shovel in your backpack for heading out in the wilderness camping. Couldn’t fit it? I thought so, this is where the tactical shovel is helpful!
Tactical shovels fold down or collapse into a size no bigger than the head of the shovel which makes them ideal for stowing away in your backpack. This feature makes them perfect for survival training and wild camping where you may want to dig a fire pit, break up ice for fishing or drinking water, or dig a toilet hole.
As well as providing the opportunity to bring a handy shovel with you compactly in your backpack, tactical shovels also feature a variety of other features that are ideal for survival and wilderness camping. The head of the shovel usually features a blade and a serrated edge of some kind that can be used for clearing brash, cutting branches, and processing firewood. The handle that the versatile shovel-head attaches too is also packed with useful features.
Depending on the tactical shovel you decide to buy will depend on the features you get concealed in its handle, but to give you an idea, here is a list of features you are likely to find in a tactical shovel:
- Tactical shovelhead that can usually be used as a pickaxe style tool as well
- Axe head (as part of the shovelhead)
- Tactical knife (concealed in the handle)
- Cleaver (concealed in handle or part of the shovelhead)
- Saw blade (concealed in the handle)
- Firestarter (concealed in the handle)
- Emergency whistle (concealed in the handle)
- Paracord or rope (concealed in the handle)
- Wire or manual chainsaw (concealed in handle)
- Camera support (as part of the handle, for self-filming outdoors)
- Screwdrivers and wrenches (concealed in the handle)
- Bottle openers (part of the handle or concealed)
- Emergency hammer (part of handle or shovelhead)
- Compass (as part of handle)
- Nail extractors (as part of shovelhead)
As you can see, tactical shovels can feature an armory of tools within their compact size. We are not saying that every single one of the features in the list above will be included in one single shovel, however, it is not uncommon to see shovels with up to 25 different features! We have 3 different styles of shovel in our review list below so you can choose the shovel that best suits your needs.
Top 3 Tactical Shovels – Reviewed
Best Budget Tactical Shovel: The Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel
The Sahara sailor Survival Shovel is the perfect tactical solution for the budget off-roader, wild camper, or bushcraft extraordinaire. This 180-degree folding shovel has a range of tools that can take your outdoor experience to the next level, all for under $50. This shovel doesn’t have the same build quality as the other shovels on our list however it is constructed from carbon steel and the manufacturer says it is “unbreakable”.
Despite the small price tag on this tactical shovel, it is packed with features and seems to hold up extremely well in challenging situations. This shovel is highly regarded and much loved by many for bringing highly advanced features in a good-quality, durable, and affordable package. If you are on a tight budget but want to add a useful shovel that is packed with features to your gear inventory, then the Sahara Sailor is definitely the way to go.
Overall, the Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel is a budget shovel that has the features and design qualities of a high-priced product. If you are looking for a tactical companion to have in the back of your car or hiking backpack, then this is a great choice.
Most Multifunctional Tactical Shovel: The Zune Lotoo Annihilate Tactical Shovel
The Zune Lotoo Annihilate is the best of the best when it comes to tactical shovels. This military-grade shovel is crafted using superior metals that hold an edge for months even after some abuse in the forest. This shovel can bear up to 486KG (that is over half a Ton), this is due to its super-strong handle design and 10mm joint at the shovelhead. There are no welds in this tool which makes for a strong piece of survival equipment with no weak spots.
The Zune Lotoo Annihilate has plenty of features but it keeps its design simple and user friendly. The simplicity and build-quality are the main benefits of this shovel, and if you plan on using a tactical shovel regularly then this is the most reliable one on the market. The only down point with this shovel is that it is a little heavier than the others on our list and if you are going to store it in your backpack it will add almost 4lbs to your carry weight.
If you need a shovel for camping or off-roading, then this one is perfect. This strong tactical shovel is the perfect addition to your quad bike or truck and is sure to get you out of trouble. If you don’t mind the extra weight in your backpack, then this is a great shovel to take on hiking adventures and wild-camping excursions. This tool is extremely well made but in the off chance you do break it, Zune offers a lifetime warranty.
Overall, the Zune Lotoo Annihilate is the best of the best when it comes to versatility and durability. It matches simplicity with functionality and provides the user with a lifetime survival tool. If you want a tactical shovel for your car, off-road vehicle, or to take camping then this is perfect. A little heavy for the backpacker but if you can deal with the added weight you will reap the rewards that this shovel brings forward.
Most Simple and Lightweight Tactical Shovel: Iunio Folding Tactical Shovel
The Iunio Folding Tactical Shovel is a small lightweight shovel that is ideal for the roaming wild-camper or backpacker. It doesn’t have as many features as the other shovels on our list, but it folds down extremely small and is incredibly light at 1.3lb to 2lbs depending on the type you buy. This shovel comes with a neat little carry case that can be stowed away in a backpack without sacrificing too much space or clipped onto the outside using a carabiner or clip.
The Iunio Folding Shovel comes in three different options, the basic, standard, and premium. The same build-quality is seen in each type, however, you will get more included features in the premium compared to the basic or standard variants. The standard and premium also come with a carry bag that can be attached to your belt or waistband which is useful if you need constant access to the tool.
This is our top pick for the survival backpacker or wild camping enthusiast that desires a lightweight multitool that makes an impact on your outdoor experience. Even the basic tool is packed with features and all types come with a handy fully functioning compass which is ideal for the wilderness explorers out there.
Overall, the Iunio Folding Tactical Shovel is the perfect small, lightweight shovel for keen wild-campers and backpackers. This is a versatile tool that won’t sacrifice valuable space in your backpack and will make your explorations and camp-life less exerting, more efficient, and enjoyable.
Overall, a tactical shovel is a perfect addition to your outdoor outfit. If you are the keen wilderness camper, bush-crafter, off-roader, or outdoor DIYer then you will appreciate the multiple uses that a tactical shovel can bring to the table. A shovel can make your camp life easier, help you dig for water in the winter, get you out of trouble when off-roading, help you build that perfect forest shelter, and much more. A tactical shovel gives you a huge range of tools in a single compact package. Whether you plan on keeping your tactical shovel in the boot of your car, in your garage, or your hiking bag, you are guaranteed to make use of at least a couple of their endless tool selections. Save space, increase your camping performance, and bring your whole shed with you in the shape of a trusty shovel!
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