Best Camping Shovel of 2023: Top Picks for Versatile Outdoor Use

best camping shovel

Have you ever been stuck in the woods with a can of beans and no can opener? Or maybe you’ve had to answer nature’s call but didn’t have the right tool to a decent hole? (Yes, we’re talking about that kind of nature call). In either case, having the best camping shovel in your backpack could have saved the day.

Camping is all about being in tune with Mother Nature and enjoying the great outdoors. But let’s face it, it can also be about survival. And survival often depends on having the right tools at hand. One such tool that you should never be without is a high-quality camping shovel.

Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of camping gear. It can dig holes, chop wood, even help you prepare your meals. And in a pinch, it can be a lifesaver. If you’re not convinced yet of the need to have the best camping shovel in your gear, stick around. By the end of this blog post, you’ll not only be convinced but you’ll know exactly which one to buy.

Now, before you start thinking that all camping shovels are created equal and that any will do, let us stop you right there. Not all camping shovels are the same, and choosing the right one can make all the difference between a great camping trip and a disastrous one.

Our Picks:

  1. Vargo Dig Dig Tool
  2. GSI Outdoors Cathole Trowel
  3. TheTentLab The Deuce #2
  4. Sea to Summit Nylon 66 Pocket Trowel
  5. SOL Packable Field Shovel

What Are the Best Camping Shovels?

When it comes to choosing the best camping shovels, there are a few things to consider. Think of it like choosing a partner for a zombie apocalypse. You want something durable, reliable, and multi-faceted. After all, you never know what you’ll encounter out there in the wild.

It’s also important to consider the weight and size of the shovel. If you’re backpacking, you don’t want something that’s going to weigh you down. On the other hand, if you’re driving to your campsite, you might want a larger, sturdier model.

Remember, a good camping shovel is an investment. It’s not just about digging holes. It’s about survival. So choose wisely, and your future camping-self will thank you.

1. Vargo Dig Dig Tool

Vargo Dig Dig Tool

Let’s kick off our list with the Vargo Dig Dig Tool, a lightweight and versatile tool that’s perfect for any camping adventure. Designed with the needs of the modern camper in mind, this shovel is much more than a simple digging tool. Its elegant and ergonomic U-shape design makes it a breeze to handle even in the toughest outdoor situations.

Going into more detail, the Vargo Dig Dig Tool is not only handy but highly durable as well. It’s crafted from titanium, a material known for its strength and resistance to corrosion. The tool is also equipped with serrated edges, making it efficient for cutting through hard ground and pesky roots. And the best part? It doubles as a stake, so you can use it to secure your tent in place.


  • Material: Titanium
  • Weight: 1.25 ounces
  • Full Length: 8 inches
  • Foldable: No


  • Ergonomic U-shape design for easy use
  • Serrated edges for cutting through hard ground and roots
  • Can also be used as a stake
– Lightweight
– Durable
– Multifunctional
– Rounded top can be uncomfortable to hold
– A bit pricy

2. GSI Outdoors Cathole Trowel

GSI Outdoors Cathole Trowel

Next up on our list is the GSI Outdoors Cathole Trowel, a tool that marries affordability with durability. This shovel is designed to stand up to the rigors of camping, and it’s made from a very unique material: recycled food and beverage containers. But don’t let its humble origins fool you. This trowel is as tough as they come.

Delving deeper, the GSI Outdoors Cathole Trowel features a sturdy handle for a firm grip and a serrated blade that makes digging a cinch. One of the standout features of this trowel is the measurement scale on the blade, a handy guide for creating an appropriately deep hole. This is a tool that’s not only resilient but thoughtful, too.


  • Material: Recycled food and beverage containers
  • Weight: 3.1 ounces
  • Full Length: 10 inches
  • Foldable: No


  • Thick handle for a sturdy grip
  • Serrated blade for easy digging
  • Measurement scale on the blade for creating appropriate holes
– Affordable
– Durable
– Thoughtful design
– Dirt tends to stick to the blade
– Struggles with fibrous soil

3. TheTentLab The Deuce #2

TheTentLab The Deuce #2

If you’re a dedicated backpacker looking for a shovel that won’t weigh you down, you’ve just hit the jackpot with TheTentLab’s The Deuce #2. This shovel is incredibly lightweight, yet surprisingly durable. It is designed specifically for those who love exploring but hate excess baggage.

Digging a little deeper, The Deuce #2 is made from durable 7075-T6 aluminum and is designed to last a lifetime. It’s not just a shovel, it’s an investment. Both ends of the shovel are functional and it includes a lanyard or carabiner hole, making it easy to attach to your backpack.


  • Material: 7075-T6 aluminum
  • Weight: 0.6 ounces
  • Full Length: 6.8 inches
  • Foldable: No


  • Dual functional ends
  • Designed to last a lifetime
  • Includes a lanyard or carabiner hole
– Incredibly lightweight
– Durable
– Functional design
–  A bit pricey for a shovel

4. Sea to Summit Nylon 66 Pocket Trowel

Sea to Summit Nylon 66 Pocket Trowel

The Sea to Summit Nylon 66 Pocket Trowel is a compact and unique shovel that’s perfect for campers on the go. Don’t be fooled by its small size, this trowel packs quite a punch. It’s designed to be as convenient as possible, with a retractable handle and an optional storage area.

Taking a closer look, this trowel is made of glass-reinforced nylon, a material known for its strength and durability. The comfortable rounded grip is designed for optimal leverage, making it easy to dig even in tough ground. The added bonus of a storage compartment in the hollow handle is a thoughtful touch, perfect for storing small essentials.


  • Material: Glass-reinforced Nylon
  • Weight: 3 ounces
  • Full Length: 5.5 inches when collapsed
  • Foldable: Yes


  • Retractable handle for compact storage
  • Comfortable rounded grip for easy digging
  • Storage compartment in the handle
– Compact
– Functional design
– Bonus storage compartment
–  Blade is not very wide
– May flex under strong force

5. SOL Packable Field Shovel

Last but definitely not least, we have the SOL Packable Field Shovel. This shovel is a beast, made of carbon steel and designed to handle pretty much anything you throw at it. It’s the Swiss army knife of camping shovels, versatile and extremely durable.

Zooming in, the SOL Packable Field Shovel features a wide easy-grip handle and a serrated blade edge for easy digging and cutting. It’s not the lightest shovel on our list, but it makes up for it with its high durability and versatility. Whether you’re setting up a shelter or digging a bathroom hole, this shovel has got you covered.


  • Material: Carbon Steel
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Full Length: 9 inches when collapsed
  • Foldable: Yes


  • Wide easy-grip handle for comfortable use
  • Serrated blade edge for efficient digging and cutting
  • Versatile, can be used for various activities
– Highly Durable
– Versatile
– Easy to use
– Heavier than most camping shovels
– Cannot be locked into a hoe position

What to Look for When Choosing a Best Camping Shovel?

  • Material: Look for durable materials like titanium, aluminum, or carbon steel that can withstand the rigors of camping.
  • Weight: Consider the weight of the shovel. The lighter, the better, especially if you are backpacking.
  • Design: Look for ergonomic designs that are comfortable to use and easy to handle.
  • Versatility: The more versatile the shovel, the better. Some shovels can also double as stakes or have serrated edges for cutting.

How to Use a Shovel for Camping?

  • Digging: Use your shovel to dig holes for various purposes, from setting up your tent to creating a fire pit.
  • Cutting: If your shovel has a serrated edge, it can be used to cut through roots or chop small pieces of wood.
  • Burying Waste: One of the most crucial uses of a camping shovel is to bury human waste to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the wilderness.
  • Emergency Tool: In some cases, a sturdy camping shovel can be used as an emergency tool to dig a vehicle out of the sand or snow.

Comparison of Products

Vargo Dig Dig Tool1.25 ouncesTitanium$30-$40
GSI Outdoors Cathole Trowel3.1 ouncesRecycled materials$5-$10
TheTentLab The Deuce #20.6 ounces7075-T6 aluminum$20-$30
Sea to Summit Nylon 66 Pocket Trowel3 ouncesGlass-reinforced nylon$10-$20
SOL Packable Field Shovel2 poundsCarbon steel$25-$50


There you have it, intrepid adventurers, our comprehensive guide to the best shovels for camping in 2023. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a newbie, selecting the right shovel is crucial to your camping experience. And remember, a good camping shovel isn’t just about digging holes – it’s a versatile and vital tool that can significantly enhance your camping experience.

We’ve dug through the dirt (pun intended) to bring you the top shovels on the market, taking into account their material, weight, design, and versatility. So, as you pack for your next camping trip, take our advice to heart, choose wisely, and make sure to bring along a trusty shovel. With the right tools, the wilderness is yours to explore!

Why do I need a camping shovel?

A camping shovel is a versatile tool that can help with a variety of tasks, from digging latrines and fire pits to chopping wood and even cooking.

What’s the difference between a regular shovel and a camping shovel?

Camping shovels are typically smaller, lighter, and more versatile than regular shovels. They’re designed to be portable and often include additional tools like saws or bottle openers.

How do I clean and maintain my camping shovel?

Most camping shovels can be cleaned with soap and water. Regularly check for signs of rust or damage. If your shovel folds, make sure to clean and dry the joint area to prevent rust and maintain smooth operation.

Are all camping shovels foldable?

Not all, but many camping shovels are foldable to enhance portability. It’s an important feature to consider if you’ll be backpacking or hiking.

How heavy should a camping shovel be?

The weight of your camping shovel will depend on your specific needs. If you’re backpacking, opt for a lightweight model. If you’re driving to your campsite and weight isn’t an issue, you might prefer a heavier, sturdier model for heavy-duty tasks.

Deeba Fatima – Content
Matt Kratos – Testing and Fact Checking

Deeba & Matt

About the Authors

Intrepid content creators and relentless hiking enthusiasts. With a passion for travel and adventure, Matt & Deeba are never one to shy away from a daring challenge.

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