Best Tactical Shovel and How to Use One like a Pro

A proper tactical shovel will save your life. In this article, we take a look at the best tactical shovel options out there. So, stay tuned!

Survival shovels are often underestimated in EDC kits.

The best tactical shovel can replace many trinkets and tools from your bug-out bag—hex wrenches, screwdrivers, fire starters, and more. It’s also optimal for self-defense!

In this post, we shed light on some of the best tactical shovel options on the market. We also discuss how they should be used, so stick around.

Best Tactical Shovel: Our Top Picks

Whether you’re looking to hoe, shovel, or hook, these tactical shovels have got your back.

Let’s see which shovel is going to be the latest addition to your bug-out bag!

1. Rhino USA Survival Shovel Multitool – Best Overall

Rhino USA Survival Shovel w/Pick - Heavy Duty Carbon Steel Military Style Entrenching Tool for Off Road, Camping, Gardening, Beach, Digging Dirt, Sand, Mud & Snow. (Survival Shovel)
  • AMERICAN OWNED, FAMILY OPERATED - Join the Rhino Family & Support a USA based Father/Son Business!
  • ULTIMATE MULTITOOL - Fire Starter, Whistle, Bottle Opener, Saw, Hoe, Fish Scaler + More All-In-One
  • COMPACT & PORTABLE - Full 31" Long Extended with Adjustable Handle Length - Collapsible to 7"

This Rhino shovel is one of the most highly rated options out there and it stands up to the hype.

It has a 5.5×8-inch blade with a serrated side for sawing. It’s only 2.35 pounds and is a great multifunctional tool for any bug-out bag.

One thing that disappointed some people with tools from Rhino USA is that they’re actually made in China. However, functionality is the real test here.

The tool comes with multiple attachments like a safety whistle, fish scaler, ferrocerium rod fire starter, window breaker, and bottle opener. To think all of this fits in that snug bag!


  • Multifunctional
  • Comfortable rubberized grip and a customizable length
  • No tools required for assembly
  • Satisfaction guarantee and refund policies


  • Sawing head is a little dull

2. SOG Entrenching Survival Shovel – Best Compact Tactical Shovel

SOG Entrenching Tool- 18.25 Inch Folding Survival Shovel with Wood Saw Edge and Tactical Shovel Carry Case- Black (F08-N)
  • 18.25 INCH FULL LENGTH, 24.5 OUNCES: Lightweight foldable outdoor, hunting, military shovel is versatile to get the job done. E-Tool features a wood saw edge to cut or chop small branches and...
  • COMPACT AND PORTABLE: The multi-use shovel folds down to be barely bigger than your hand. 10 inches in length when folded, it takes up about the same space as a stack of paper plates. A needed...
  • HIGH-CARBON STEEL CONSTRUCTION: Super durable to handle the long list of jobs the shovel was designed to handle in extreme conditions. Dig through dirt, sand, gravel mud, and snow with the...

‎If you want a tactical shovel to keep under your car seat, this is the one.

It won’t start a fire or scale a fish, but the F08-N SOG is a reliable portable shovel for small emergencies. It can get a car unstuck or dig a fire pit without trouble.

The tool’s foldable size is a mere 10 inches, making it great for bug-out bags and vehicles.

Don’t let the small size fool you, though. The F08-N has a high carbon steel handle and a ballistic nylon sheath. It’ll stand moderate wear and tear.


  • Lightweight (1.53 pounds)
  • Triangular ergonomic handles
  • Fits under car seats
  • Comes with a manufacturer’s warranty


  • Not sturdy enough for heavy-duty projects

3. Sahara Sailor Unbreakable Tactical Shovel – Best Design

Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel, Unbreakable Tactical Shovel-180 Degree Folding Shovel-Camping Shovels - 23 in 1 Survival Gear and Equipment Multifunctional Camping Gear Survival Tools for Caping Hiking
  • Unbreakable Survival Shovel - This survival tool set constructed with military-grade solid carbon steel with aerospace-grade anodized aluminum tubes that make it sturdy enough deal with survival...
  • Mufti-functional - This ultimate survival shovel incorporates 12 other functions and tools, including a shovel, hoe, saws, bottle opener, cleaver, whistle, knife, fish scaler, emergency hammer,...
  • Collapsible and Portable - This camping shovel can be folded and expanded by twisting lock for secure storage and carrying. A durable carry storage bag is coming with the package as camping gifts

Sahara claims that this is a 23-in-1 tool and we checked. It comes with 11 attachments in the handle. The 6×7-inch blade itself is a shovel, ax, hammer, hoe, hook, and it has four common hex wrenches.

This tactical shovel comes with a MOLLE system bag and an internal pouch with a belt strap. The high carbon steel handle has three length options of 31.5, 25, and 18.5 inches.

The entire tool, attachments, and all weigh 3.45 pounds. This is a bit too heavy for smaller bug-out bags, but you’re getting a lot of functionality in return.

The shovel is also prone to rust if you don’t lubricate it regularly.


  • Multifunctional
  • Sturdy
  • Adjustable handle length
  • Hassle-free satisfaction guarantee


  • Heavy

4. CO-Z Mini Folding Shovel – Best on a Budget

DARTMOOR Mini Folding Shovel High Carbon Steel, Portable Lightweight Outdoor Tactical Survival Foldable Mini Shovel, Entrenching Tool, Camping, Hiking, Digging, Backpacking, Car Emergency
  • PREMIUM MATERIALS: Carefully constructed with high-carbon steel, this heat-treated mini folding camp shovel is built to last with rust-resistance & anti-deformation. The tactical military shovel...
  • COMPACT & VERSATILE: This ergonomically designed handle measures 11.8” while the 6.3” x 4.7” shovelhead increases your digging volume. It’s handy as a car camping trowel, beach shovel, or...
  • THICKENED CUTTING BLADE: Thanks to the reinforced blade our foldable rescue shovel can dig into gravel with ease - a must-have for backyards, gardens, farmland, campers, forest rangers, and...

The triangular handle design on this one reminds us of the SOG’s F08-N tactical shovel. It’s a smart, ergonomic design and CO-Z offers it an affordable price.

Just like the SOG, it doesn’t come with a lot of fancy attachments, but it’ll save you in a pinch.

Material-wise, we like the aluminum alloy nuts, reinforced bolts, and a carbon steel blade. For the design, the crowbar drill was a nice touch.

Once folded and placed in the pouch, the tool measures 5.3×7.3-inch. We would have liked the ability to hang the case on a belt loop, but it’s still pretty portable.


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight (1.8 pounds)
  • Easy to pack and carry around
  • Triangular ergonomic handle


  • Not for heavy-duty use

5. FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool (C1) – Best for Campers

FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel Multitool (C1) - Portable Foldable Survival Tool - Entrenching Backpack Equipment for Hiking Camping Emergency Car - Gifts for Men Dad Husband, Father's Day
  • 【All-In-One Survival Tool】- Heavy duty shovel, sharp , blade, serrated saw edge, hammer, paracord...check! We’ve got all the must-haves for surviving in the outdoors covered. Conveniently...
  • 【Compact, Portable Multitool】- Lightweight (only 1.2lbs), and amazingly compact, this is an essential gadget to add to your outdoor first aid survival kit/ gear. Easily fit this foldable...
  • 【Virtually Indestructible】 - Forged from heat-treated high-quality solid carbon steel (blade and knife) and aerospace-grade aluminum (knife), for maximum strength and lifetime durability....

For hardcore campers, a simple shovel won’t cut it. This tool suits more advanced needs with a measuring blade, rope, and a really sharp knife.

The C1 is a bit pricey, but it’s something that you’ll find yourself using all the time. Thanks to its lightweight, you can easily carry it in any bug-out bag without trouble.

The anti-slip handle is quite comfortable, but it breaks with wear and tear. You can replace it with a paracord when it finally gives in.


  • Anti-slip handle
  • Lightweight (1.43 pounds)
  • Lots of functionality
  • Solid and tight blade (no wiggle)


  • MOLLE attachment is complicated

6. Pathway North Survival Shovel-Ax Kit – Best Giftable Tool

PATHWAY NORTH Survival Shovel and Camping Axe – Stainless Steel Multi-Tool and Survival Hatchet Equipment for Outdoor, Hiking, Hunting, Emergency, Backpacking
  • 🪓 𝗨𝗟𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗔𝗧𝗘 𝗦𝗨𝗥𝗩𝗜𝗩𝗔𝗟𝗜𝗦𝗧 𝗧𝗢𝗢𝗟𝗦 - Not just for the outdoorsman or woman, this survival set makes a solid addition to...
  • 🪓 𝗧𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛 𝗧𝗔𝗖𝗧𝗜𝗖𝗔𝗟 𝗖𝗛𝗢𝗣𝗣𝗘𝗥 – 3CR13 stainless steel survival axe is a mix of chromium and carbon, making it ultra-strong and rust...
  • 🪓 𝗥𝗘𝗟𝗜𝗔𝗕𝗟𝗘 𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗧𝗢𝗢𝗟 – Ideal camping shovel, for clearing the ground from rocks, burying your camp fire, digging...

We found this to be an ideal gift for a prepper or camper. When you don’t know exactly which e-tool they need, this shovel-ax multifunctional kit has got you covered.

Be warned though, this hefty kit is 4.88 pounds. It’s definitely one of the heaviest tactical shovels out there, but that’s because it’s so much more than just a shovel.

The shovel head can be replaced with a 3CR13 (420) stainless steel ax.

On the shovel blade, you have a saw on one side and a knife on the other. The blade has three hex wrenches and a built-in wire cutter, too.

The kit comes in two color options. Both models are waterproof and the handles are hollowed out to reduce bulk weight.


  • Eliminates the need for multiple tools in a survival kit
  • Sleek waterproof design
  • MOLLE compatibility
  • Safety sheath for the blade


  • Expensive
  • Heavy

How to Use a Tactical Shovel Like a Pro

Sure, the best tactical shovel is compact, multifunctional, and sturdy, but how useful is any tool if you can’t really make the most out of it?

Check out these three simple tips for using tactical shovels:

1. Choose the Best

The first step to mastering an e-tool is to find the best match for you.

If you’re just looking to do some scraping and digging, we recommend going with a portable model like the SOG or the CO-Z.

On the other hand, a well-rounded survival tool should cover all the basics. Look for something with a fire starter, screwdriver, window breaker, and emergency whistle.

2. Getting Your Technique Right

Almost all models have an adjustable head. A 180° is the basic shoveling hold. Turn to a 90° to hoe. Meanwhile, a 45° hold is best for hooking and picking.

If you decide to go with a multifunctional tactical shovel, we recommend getting to know your tool well. Tactical shovels can save your life in more ways than you can imagine.

However, it’s not very practical to start discovering how a fire starter works while you’re in the wild. Try to understand and get used to all the attachments as soon as possible.

3. Maintenance is Key

No matter how advanced your kit is. Your tools are only as good as you care for them.

Many shovels are prone to rust. So, make sure you lubricate the bolts and blade often. Try to oil the tool after every project.

Remember to clean the handles and bolts first. Sometimes, sand jams the nuts and keeps the shovel from folding.

Best Tactical Shovel – Final Thoughts

In this post, we tried to cover a wide selection that’ll help you choose the best tactical shovel for your needs.

For us, the Rhino USA Survival Multi-Tool Shovel is the bee’s knees.

It was a very close call between it and the Pathway Shovel-Ax Kit. In the end, we just couldn’t resist the balance between price, weight, and functionality that Rhino USA offers.

Regardless of your choice, get to know each and every tool in your survival kit. Give them constant care and they’ll save you in a jam!