When you’re prepping what you need for a camping trip, a shovel might not be the first thing on your list.
For any camping newbies, the need to take a shovel might not be immediately apparent, but they are a necessary tool.
If you’re going wild camping then, yes, one of the most useful functions of a camping shovel is digging a latrine.
But, there are lots of other potential uses for a camping shovel.
Even if you’re heading to a campsite with a toilet block, a shovel is a useful tool to take with you.
Scroll down or read on to the FAQs section and Buyers’ Guide to find out exactly why you should invest in a camping shovel.
Top 5 Best Camping Shovels
OUR TOP PICK
Size when extended (Basic): 17”
Size when extended (Standard): 30.7”
Size when extended (Premium): 35.03”
Weight (Basic): 1.3lbs
Weight (Standard): 2lbs
Weight (Premium): 3.6lbs
Our top pick for the best camping shovel is the IUNIO folding shovel due to its unique features and great versatility. The bigger options are more expensive than the average shovel, but that is to be expected. The most basic option is still affordable, has great features, and is a durable, good quality shovel.
One of the best aspects of this shovel is the variety. There are three different types of shovels available, Basic, Standard, and Premium. The Standard and Premium shovels are much more expensive than the average camping shovel.
The Standard and Premium shovels are bigger and the additional features do vary, but they are still quite a lot more expensive than you would expect for a camping shovel.
That being said, the features that are included alongside the standard shovel are very impressive. Space is not wasted on this shovel and all three options will have multiple uses on a camping trip.
The features included on the Basic tool are: pickaxe, nail extractor, saw, bottle opener, and compass. The features of the Standard tool are: pickaxe, bottle opener, scrape to make fire, and emergency whistle. And on the Premium tool there is a pickaxe, emergency whistle, bottle opener, fish scaler, and ice-axe.
Many manufacturers have made sure to use every available space on the shovel blade, but few other than IUNIO have considered utilising the shaft as well. This shovel has some really unique features, as well as the standard ones you would expect from a camping shovel.
All of the features are really useful and haven’t just been added to make the shovel seem more high-tech in order to sell. Although this is not an important feature, the fact that the extra features included in the shaft are actually kept inside it is just really cool.
This shovel also comes with a more sophisticated carry pouch than most as it is thick and is secured with a buckle.
The shaft itself unscrews into smaller pieces and the blade folds over onto the remaining attached shaft piece.
The blade can also fold half way so that it can be used as a 90-degree angled hoe or as a 45-degree angled hook.
- Carry pouch included
- Multiple versions available
- Larger shovels are expensive
Size when folded: 6.9” x 3.8” x 2.2”
Size when extended: 16.25”
When it comes to camping products, Coleman is one of the most recognizable manufacturer names so you know that you will be getting a good quality product.
The shape of this shovel is quite unique as, rather than folding out flat like a standard shovel, the blade remains at a 90-degree angle. This can be difficult to get used to but is especially useful for hard or frozen ground.
The shape of this shovel will allow you to hold it as you would a hoe and dig at a 90-degree angle.
The pick attached to the other end of the shovel will also be especially useful on hard or frozen ground. The pick will allow you to break through ice or will be especially useful if you’re struggling to hammer tent pegs into the ground.
The shape of the pick will allow you to strike the ground and make a small hole that will help the peg break through the top ground layer.
This shovel is also partially serrated on one side, which will allow you to also use it as a saw. It also comes with a carry pouch that the shovel will easily fit into when folded.
- Reliable brand
- Pick attached
- Partially serrated edge so shovel can be used as a saw
- Includes carry pouch
- The 90-degree angle can be awkward to use
Size when folded: 5.75” x 2.5” x 1”
Size when extended: 9” x 2.5” x 1.25”
This option is more in the shape of a trowel than a shovel. It is a great choice if you’re going on a camping trip and want to take a shovel “just in case” but don’t want to invest in anything too big or expensive.
This handy little shovel is compact and foldable. The handle folds into the blade which can then be packed away into the included carry pouch.
Although this shovel is small, it is still sturdy. Made from strong stainless steel, it will easily clear away earth, rocks, and other debris.
Due to being made from stainless steel, this shovel can even be used as a cooking utensil. This is great if you’re wild camping or attempting survival training (just make sure you clean it thoroughly first!).
As the handle is also made from stainless steel and is shaped in a loop, this shovel may be hard work to use. The handle isn’t covered with rubber that might provide padding or extra grip, so it is best used with gloves.
- Carry pouch included
- Can be used for cooking
- No padding or grip on the handle.
Size when folded: 12” x 9” x 3”
Size when extended: 18.25”
This shovel is a great choice as, although it is small and compact, there is no compromise on its abilities.
The SOG shovel has a large handle that will make digging easy but is not so big that it cannot be folded down and packed away. The shovel folds in three so that the handle and the shaft both sit against the blade.
The blade itself is serrated on one side so it can be used as a saw to chop firewood. The shovel is made from high-carbon steel which is strong and durable so you can trust that it will allow you to dig into hard or frozen ground.
- Carry pouch included
- Serrated edge for sawing
- Removable handle
- Longer than average
Size when folded: 6.88” x 4.92”
Size when extended: 18.1”
This shovel has so many features that it is almost a combination of a shovel and a multitool. As well as the shovel feature, also included is a pickaxe, saw, nail extractor, and bottle opener.
The pickaxe and nail extractor are on one side of the blade and the saw and bottle opener are both built into the blade itself.
No amount of space has been wasted on this shovel. It is ideal to take camping as it not only doesn’t take up much space itself but will also save you from needing to pack those additional tools.
Made from heavy-duty alloy steel, this blade is durable and strong. You won’t have to worry about it bending when trying to dig into hard or frozen ground. It is also wear-resistant and its style of construction means that it is also heat-resistant and anti-blunting.
The blade can also be used at a 90-degree angle or completely straight as a standard shovel.
The durability of this shovel can also be guaranteed as the shaft features an antiskid handle that allows for extra grip. This shovel is a combination of foldable and dismantlable as part of the shaft can be unscrewed and the other half folds over the blade.
The screw section is secure and locks into place so you won’t have to worry about it coming away or twisting as you dig.
- Pick attached
- Carry pouch included
- Multiple tools attached
Best Camping Shovels For Hiking Buying Guide
Camping Shovel vs. Regular Shovel
If you’re reading this article because you’re not sure why exactly you need a specific camping shovel, then let us explain. It may seem sensible to just take any old garden shovel that you already have in your garage, but camping shovels are different.
One of the main features of camping shovels is that most of them are much more portable. The average garden shovel is large and usually has a square blade, which will be difficult to pack. If you intend to go hiking on your camping trip, you won’t be able to take a garden shovel with you.
Camping shovels can be dismantled or folded down so that they are more portable and take up less space.
Many camping shovels also come with additional features and tools. When it comes to camping equipment, making the most of every bit of space is necessary. So, camping shovels often also have pickaxes, hammers, saws, and even bottle openers. Camping tools are incredibly useful.
Traveling With a Shovel
Camping shovels are designed to be portable so they are easy to travel with. Camping shovels will either be foldable or can be dismantled into smaller parts. These are both fine options, but you need to consider a few things before choosing which kind to buy.
Both will take up about the same amount of space but will need to be packed differently. A folded camping shovel can obviously only go in one place, so you’ll need a gap in your luggage big enough. If you’re packing up a car, this should be okay. But, if you’re packing a backpack then it can be a bit more difficult.
The types of camping shovels that can be dismantled are a good option if you have limited space as they are more malleable. They usually come with a bag to keep the parts in, but you can pack them separately if you need to.
If you are packing a backpack, you also probably don’t want a dirty shovel in with all of your clothes and other items. Some shovels come with handles that can be easily hooked or clipped on to the outside of your bag.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you use a camping shovel for?
One of the main reasons to take a shovel on a camping trip is to dig a latrine. If you’re wild camping and won’t be anywhere near a toilet, then you’re going to need to dig one yourself.
Other uses for camping shovels include digging your car out if you accidentally drive into thick mud. Or if it rains during the night and you wake to find your car is suddenly in mud and water.
Camping shovels can also be used to dig fire pits. Fire pits are a way of hiding the fire and then you can easily fill in the hole once the fire has died down. (Side Note: please take every necessary precaution when starting a fire, especially in woodland and forest areas. Fires are dangerous and can easily get out of hand).
Camping shovels usually have a sharp, pointed blade that has serrated edges. This can help when digging into hard or frozen ground. If you have a strong enough hammer or mallet, you should be able to pitch your tent on hard or frozen ground, but you may also need some extra help.