A Survival Shovel To Dig You Out Of Trouble
By Adelia Ladson
The difference between life and death in a survival situation, whether bugging-out or camping-out, is having the right tools. One of the most versatile tools that you can have in your gear is a survival shovel that will serve many purposes. The basic tasks that absolutely need to be performed for survival including building a fire, finding water and food and building a shelter can be performed with a good survival tool.
How Do I Use A Survival Shovel To Survive?
With a survival shovel in your gear, performing tasks that allow you to accomplish the basic survival skills are easy. The first thing that you need for survival is water and, sometimes, you're going to have to dig for it. So, having a shovel is a no-brainer. It's definitely better than trying to dig with your hands or a makeshift digging implement. One of the keys to survival is not over-expending the energy needed to keep your body going. The next thing that you need to build is a fire for warmth, cooking and protection from predators. A survival shovel will typically have an integrated saw edge or axe blade that will allow you to chop-up sticks and limbs to build a fire and, of course, you can use the shovel to dig a fire pit. If you're building a survival shelter, you can also use the survival shovel to fashion poles or cut cordage for your shelter and, then, you can dig a trench around your shelter to keep the water out. As far as procuring food, which is the last basic survival element, you can dig a trap for small prey or use the bladed edge to cut cordage and a stick to make a simple snare.
Survival Shovel Options
A good survival shovel is typically going to have several integrated functions, making it more versatile than just a camping shovel. You specifically need to look for one with some type of cutting edge and, if possible, the shovel comes down to a sharp, penetrating point. Other features that it may have are a compass, screwdrivers, a cord cutter, and that it folds down. Here are four of my favorite survival shovels.
M48 Folding Entrenching Tool
The M48 Folding Entrenching Tool can be carried or stored anywhere with its compact, fold-down size. It has a solid, 1050 high carbon steel construction with an aluminum turn-cap and a black, heat-treated finish. The round point shovel head features saw serrations on one side and footsteps on each side. The 18 1/4” overall length entrenching tool folds down to fit into a sturdy 8 3/4”x 6 1/4” 600D nylon belt pouch with Velcro closure.Pros:
- The shovel head's construction is a high-carbon steel with a heat-treated finish.
- There are sharp saw edge serrations on one side of the shovel head.
- There are footsteps on each side of the shovel head.
- The shovel folds completely in half for storage.
- The handle doesn't have a comfortable grip.
- The shovel head has a rounded point.
- There are no other integrated features.
M48 Tactical Shovel
Another survival shovel from M48, the Tactical Shovel cuts, chops, saws, digs and can even fend off an assailant. The tool has a tempered stainless steel head for strength and a black oxide coating for corrosion resistance. Each edge of the shovel has been shaped and sharpened for maximum cutting versatility including concave beveling on one side for chopping, serrations on the opposite side for sawing and edges that converge into a penetrating point. The grippy handle is made of advanced glass-fiber-reinforced nylon and the shovel head can be protected by a custom nylon sheath. The survival shovel is 16 1/4" in overall length.Pros:
- The shovel head has a tempered stainless steel construction with a black oxide coating.
- The practically indestructible handle is glass-fiber-reinforced nylon with a no-slip, comfortable grip.
- The shovel has a beveled edge for chopping, serrations for sawing and a penetrating point.
- The survival shovel doesn't fold-down for storage.
- It is the shortest of the survival shovels in this list.
BugOut Multi-Function Entrenching Tool
I really find that the BugOut Multi-Function Entrenching Tool is the absolute forerunner of survival shovels. Starting from the top, it has a stainless steel shovel head that features a saw, knife, hook knife, cleaver/ruler, wrenches and a bottle opener. Moving down, the break down, textured handle is made of heavy-duty aluminum and each of the three sections houses a tool including both a flat head and Phillips screwdriver, a saw with a cord cutter and unscrewing the pommel reveals the fire striker/emergency whistle. The pommel also features a compass set into it and lanyard holes provide another carry option. The survival shovel is 33” in length when fully put together and a steel lock allows the shovel to be secured into position. The length can be adjusted for need by using either one, two or all three of the sections. The BugOut Multi-Function Folding Entrenchment Tool comes housed in a durable nylon pouch with a belt loop and adjustable strap.Pros:
- The shovel head features a saw, knife, hook knife, cleaver/ruler, wrenches and a bottle opener.
- The grippy handle has three sections that house a screwdriver, a saw, and a fire striker and whistle.
- A compass is integrated into the end of the handle, which also has lanyard holes.
- At 33" in length, the survival shovel gives you plenty of leverage for digging.
- The stainless steel shovel head doesn't have a corrosion-resistant coating.
- The textured aluminum breakdown handle has an uncomfortable grip.
BugOut Small Multi-Function Entrenching Tool
The BugOut Small Multi-Function Folding Entrenchment Tool is the little brother of the survival shovel above. The only difference is that, if you're looking for a little more compact, it is 30 3/4" in overall length. It has the same pros and cons at the larger model.