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3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Shovel

A folding shovel should be somewhat lightweight and easy to store in your vehicle or among your gear.
A folding shovel should be somewhat lightweight and easy to store in your vehicle or among your gear. (Tyger Auto/)

When considering the panoply of gear essential to the outdoors, a shovel isn’t usually at the top of anyone’s list. But it’s one of those tools that can make otherwise tiresome tasks a breeze. Trenching a rain gutter around a tent footprint, excavating stuck vehicles, or digging a latrine are all made easier with a proper shovel. When searching for an entrenching tool, consider whether you need only a simple spade or a full-blown tool kit with interchangeable handles. The range of shovels and super-shovels these days is wide enough to meet every lifestyle.

Simple Folder

A foldable military-style shovel is all you’ll need to tackle any number of tasks.
A foldable military-style shovel is all you’ll need to tackle any number of tasks. (Amazon/)

If all you need is to clear out a fire pit or have a shovel on hand for unforeseen emergencies, a simple military-style folding shovel should suffice. It packs up small enough to carry on a waist belt or backpack and adheres to the old military principle of KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Multi-Functional

A folding shovel with various attachments can be a real asset when you’re not sure what you’ll encounter when you’re out and about.
A folding shovel with various attachments can be a real asset when you’re not sure what you’ll encounter when you’re out and about. (Amazon/)

For a wider range of camp tasks that might call for, say, a pickax or a knife blade, a folding shovel with interchangeable bits will expand your preparedness and minimize the number of other tools you need to complete your mission, whether that’s a survival trek or a weekend at deer camp.

Tactical Shovels

A modern, tactical shovel can have a dozen or more tools at your disposal.
A modern, tactical shovel can have a dozen or more tools at your disposal. (Amazon/)

The folding entrenching tool has come a long way since its introduction by both German and American forces in WWII. A modern tactical shovel can have a dozen or more tools integrated into its design, including a knife, saw, spade, pick, ice ax, screwdriver, wire cutter, bottle opener, and more.

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