Whether you are an experienced Overlander or a part-time 4×4 enthusiast, a quality shovel is a critical component of your off-road gear.
A recovery kit is vital when Overlanding, and should consist of a strap, Hi-Lift Jack, and a premium shovel. It might seem like a simple tool, but a shovel can offer loads of assistance when your vehicle is stuck in the sand, mud, or snow.
A shovel can be used to remove unwanted material from in front of your tires when stuck, this will dramatically reduce friction, and will take massive amounts of the strain off the winch when winching your vehicle forward.
When high-centered (mid-section of the vehicle is lodged and the wheels are off the ground), you can use a shovel to fill the gaps between the tires and the ground. This will allow the tires to get traction and enable you to drive out of trouble.
You can also use them to put out a fire, dig a fire pit, do trail maintenance, clear an area for your tent and dig an outdoor toilet. An overland shovel can drastically change the outcome of a recovery situation and are so important that some experienced overlanders will keep two in their vehicle.
A quality overland shovel usually consists of 4 main components, the head, handle, grip, and locking pins. All these components are critical in ensuring the integrity of the shovel. Let’s take a look at some of the best options available and figure out which is the best Overland shovel.
Best Overland Shovels
Krazy Beaver Shovel
The Krazy Beaver Shovel and all its components are proudly manufactured in the United States. It is only available in one size and one color. It is ideal for off-road use, hunting, and camping. The Shovel features a total length of just 40 inches.
The handle is bright, high visibility yellow in color and is made from premium carbon fiber. This results in a handle, which is lightweight and extremely durable. To prevent failure during extreme off-road conditions, the head is permanently mounted to the handle using a 14-inch reinforcing core. At the end of the handle (under the D-Grip), there is a clever hollow section that allows you to store survival items like batteries, hooks, flints, fishing line, and matches.
The D-Grip is manufactured from a premium solid polymer. This material is firm and hard and will offer you many years of good service. When exposed to the elements, soft rubber will eventually break down. When this happens, the handle will lose its comfortable and smooth finish and will become sticky over time.
The locking pins are easy to use and feature an intelligent Release Tab; this release tab makes it easy to attach or remove the shovel. Unlike quick release or regular PTO pins, these allow you to keep your gloves on, and unlike the separate pin and wire design of the two-piece, they can easily be located if dropped in the sand, mud, or snow.
The Head on the Krazy Beaver Shovel means business. It measures 11 ½ inches vertically and 8 ½ inches horizontally. It features aggressive teeth which have been re-enforced to prevent breaking or bending. It can be used in extreme conditions to effectively penetrate clay and ice, and can also be used for regular digging of soft materials.
The head is twice as thick as those found on regular shovels and is made from Heavy Duty 13 Gauge Heat Tempered Steel. To prevent rust, this Shovel is powder-coated both inside and out. It is powder-coated from the handle to the head.
- Excellent Blade Design
- Material is of the highest quality
- Visually appealing
- Handle is smooth, durable, and comfortable
- Offers significant Functionality
Hi-Lift Handle-All 500 Shovel
The Hi-Lift Handle-All is a fantastic product and was recently voted best New Off-Road Product. This tool is multi-functional, offering four full-sized implements and a telescopic handle. The Hi-Lift HA 500 is perfect for Overlanding, farming, forestry, ranching, camping, and recreation.
The clever design is rugged yet compact, and can easily be stored in your vehicle. This type of quality and innovation is extremely limited in this category. This tool features a full-sized pointed shovelhead, 8lb sledgehammer head, full-sized axe head, and a full-sized pick axe head. The handle is telescopic and it’s all presented in a professional branded gear bag for storage.
- Manufactured from premium materials
- Strong and lightweight 3-piece Telescopic Handle
- Extremely versatile
- Rugged and Compact
- Requires more storage space
- Heavier than other Shovels
Bond LH015 Mini D-Grip Shovel
This shovel is ideal for Overlanding, camping, garden, and beach use. The durable head has been treated for outstanding durability. It has been powder-coated to prevent rust and corrosion. The handle is made from quality carbon fiber, it is seriously strong and lightweight. The edges have been sharpened for extreme conditions.
The Bond LH015 Mini D-Grip Shovel has been designed for efficient lifting and moving of unwanted materials. It features a robust and comfortable Handle with non-slip technology. This shovel features a round point style and weighs just 1.8 lbs. These shovels are offered in heavy-duty red with dimensions of 25.33×5.71×2.56 inches.
- Extremely Durable for its size
- Edges of the head have been expertly sharpened
- Carbon Fiber Handle is strong and lightweight
- Durable and comfortable Handle
- Too small for strenuous and extreme applications
Gerber E-Tool Folding Shovel
The best way to describe the Gerber E-Tool Folding Shovel is a military-grade digging tool. The robust shovel head is designed for effectively digging holes and trenches, even in the most extreme conditions. The head is made from premium carbon steel and is powder-coated to prevent rust and corrosion.
The blade edge is serrated to easily penetrate stubborn material. The shaft is made from anodized aluminum and is extremely strong yet lightweight. To help combat difficult terrain, the nylon handle has been filled with glass.
The head of the Gerber E-Tool shovel folds back to expose a strong and durable pick feature. This feature is great as it allows you to first penetrate difficult terrain with the pick, which will allow the serrated blade edge to remain sharper for longer. This truly is a heavy duty digging tool and Gerber are so confident with their quality, they offer this product with a limited lifetime warranty.
- This Shovel offers excellent overall quality
- Materials used are of the highest quality
- Innovative and robust design
- Lifetime Warranty
DMOS Delta Shovel
This Delta Shovel is one of the strongest shovels ever made and features a fully collapsible and full-size shovel design. It can be used for off-road, trail maintenance, groundbreaking, camping, hunting, and survival. It can be used as a full-sized shovel or can be collapsed when working in tight spaces.
This shovel also offers a hoe, and it can be folded flat for convenient storage. If properly cared for, this quality tool can last a lifetime. The Delta Shovel is made in the United States and is available in red or grey. It is versatile and features three blade lengths and modes. It weighs just 6lb 5oz, and when collapsed, the dimensions are 24”x 11” x 2.75 “. Fully extended it measures an impressive 51” (130cm).
The blade is made from 12 gauge cold-rolled steel and is strong enough to consistently punch through, and move dirt and heavy materials. The blade of the Delta Shovel features a classic Spade design.
The shaft is made from anodized aluminum and features a three-part telescopic design. The maximum extension length is 51 inches, with the common adjustment length being between 24-37 inches.
The locking pin features a Détente Retention Pin with a wire lanyard design, which has been formed from stainless steel.
The brace features six oversized flush-mount rivets on each side and is made from 12 gauge cold-rolled steel.
The innovative three-position connector is expertly milled out of premium 6061 Aluminum Billet and allows shovel, hoe, and stow mode.
The T-Grip is beautifully made from Zytel Nylon Resin. This material is extremely robust and offers a smooth and comfortable grip.
- Visually Appealing
- Excellent Quality
- Easy to mount with numerous mounting configurations
- Compact and lightweight design
- Convenient Hoe feature
- Poor Mount theft Resistance
- Tends to lose its shine after a while
- Relatively Expensive
Overland Shovel Buyers Guide
As mentioned earlier, an overland shovel is a vital component in your off-road recovery kit. There are numerous types and brands available. Below are a few points to consider before making your purchase:
Blade Design and Shape
The Blade Design and shape of the shovel are crucial to ensure your purchase meets your requirements. Traditional square Shovel designs are limited in their applications; modern-day designs offer more versatility. Some feature a sharp point or numerous teeth-like points to assist digging in challenging conditions. These teeth-like points are ideal for digging up mud, sand, roots, hard clay, and snow. Choose a shovel with a spade-shaped blade, which has a point.
There are various shapes and sizes of handles and it can come down to personal preference. The most popular choice for experienced overlanders is the T-Shaped or D-Shaped grips. When compared to off-road shovel with only a straight shaft, these grips offer significant ergonomics and function.
Shovel length is extremely important, you will be digging in extreme conditions. You could find yourself in extremely tight spaces, particularly when digging under your vehicle. If it’s too long, it may be difficult to work with and equally difficult to store on/in your vehicle. If the shovel is too short, you might struggle for leverage, and you might find yourself spending a lot of time on your knees.
A shovel that comes to the height of your hip when held vertically is considered to be the optimum length. Generally, folding or collapsible shovels are considered to be less sturdy than a solid one-piece design and are thought to be too small for strenuous work in extreme conditions.
This however is changing rather quickly, and manufacturers are now producing excellent quality and seriously strong collapsible off-road shovels. The DMOS Delta Shovel is a great example of this and offers the ability to stow easily, sturdiness, and ergonomic strength.
Off-road shovels can be made from wood, aluminum, stainless steel, and fiberglass. Shovels made from wood are less durable but are adequate for most jobs. These are also generally more affordable when compared to other materials. Aluminum and fiberglass shovels are more expensive but they are super strong and extremely lightweight. Stainless steel shovels have the advantage of being weather resistant and super durable, but they are significantly heavier than wood, fiberglass, and aluminum.
All the products discussed are made of quality materials and components and are more than competent to get you out of any sticky situation. The Krazy Beaver Super Shovel, Hi-Lift HA 500, Gerber E-Tool, and the DMOS Delta Shovel have all taken off-road shovels to a new level. The innovation and quality are outstanding and to be honest, deciding on which Shovel is best is not an easy task. Each option has fantastic features and benefits, and in many cases, it may come down to personal preference, type of terrain, and specific applications.
The Hi-Lift Handle-All 500 comes out on top because it is so versatile. The four clever attachments can prove invaluable when you are stuck in a remote location. The pointed shovel head can perform all the tasks as its competitors. An 8lb sledgehammer can be used for numerous applications like crushing hard materials and building bridges, stakes can be knocked into the ground for recovery or camping.
The axe head can assist in building bridges, construction of a shelter, chopping thick rope, and collecting firewood. The pick ax-head can assist in penetrating extremely stubborn materials like ice, hard clay, and rocky areas.
These are all fantastic features and all attachments are made from premium materials and are made to the highest quality. The Hi-Lift Handle-All 500 does require more storage space, but with so much versatility it is worth dedicating it to its own place in your vehicle.
Why is a shovel considered a vital component for overlanding?
A shovel is a critical component for overlanding because it can assist when a vehicle is stuck in challenging terrains like sand, mud, or snow. It can be used to remove unwanted material from in front of tires, fill gaps when a vehicle is high-centered, put out fires, dig fire pits, clear areas for tents, and even dig outdoor toilets.
What are the main components of a quality overland shovel?
A quality overland shovel typically consists of four main components: the head, handle, grip, and locking pins. All these components play a crucial role in ensuring the shovel’s integrity and functionality.
How does the Krazy Beaver Shovel stand out from other shovels?
The Krazy Beaver Shovel is manufactured in the United States and features a unique design with aggressive teeth on its head, which are reinforced to prevent breaking or bending. It’s ideal for penetrating tough materials like clay and ice.
What makes the Hi-Lift Handle-All 500 a versatile choice?
The Hi-Lift Handle-All 500 is a multi-functional tool offering four full-sized implements: a pointed shovel head, an 8lb sledgehammer head, a full-sized axe head, and a full-sized pick axe head, all combined with a telescopic handle.
Why is the shovel length important for overlanding?
The length of the shovel is crucial as it determines the leverage and ease of use, especially in tight spaces. A shovel that’s too long might be cumbersome, while one that’s too short might not provide enough leverage. Ideally, a shovel that reaches the user’s hip when held vertically is considered optimal.
How do modern off-road shovels differ from traditional designs?
Modern off-road shovels offer more versatility with designs that can penetrate challenging conditions. They often feature sharp points or teeth-like points ideal for digging through tough terrains. Additionally, many modern shovels are collapsible or foldable, making them more portable and convenient for overlanding.