Best Overland Shovel (For Every Budget)


If you are looking to get into overlanding, a shovel will be your new best friend. Shovels are versatile, inexpensive and are the cornerstone of vehicle self-recovery. Here is the best Overland Shovel available today.

Starting a new hobby is fun, and half that fun is all the new gear you get to buy! Well, to be honest, some of the headaches to a new hobby are all the gear you may think you need to buy. Fortunately, I have good news! Not only can overlanding be budget-friendly, but the gear you actually need to go Overlanding doesn’t have to be high-end! 

In fact, you can get away with not buying lots of stuff you see on YouTube and Instagram overlanding channels. Do you need a Dometic Fridge? Nope. Do you need a rooftop tent? Nope. Do you really need a 270 Degree-Awning? Nope. Now, don’t get me wrong, I either have or want all that stuff, but in reality, it’s just not needed. 

Before we jump into this, its clear, times are rough right now in America, it may be a good time to read up on How To Prepare For Civil Unrest, we cover it all from Long-Term Food Options (That aren’t sold out), Power Options and Personal Defense. Read more HERE.

Why Just a Shovel for Overlanding?

With all of that said, what you will need is the ability to get yourself un-stuck on a backcountry Forest Service road when your tire is buried 6-inches deep in snow, mud, or sand. Having the ability to recover yourself in the backcountry is an essential part of overlanding. As we always say, “YOU are your own first responder”. 

Let’s face it when you’re out adventuring in the remote backcountry, there isn’t really an option for a AAA tow truck to come to save the day. It’s up to you to have the items needed to recovery your vehicle when your in a pinch. 

Now here is the best part, it’s REALLY not expensive to get the one true item you actually need to recover yourself, and that one item is a shovel. The absolute backbone of any vehicle self-recovery. Sure, winches and traction boards are great, but a shovel is the real hero of DIY overlanding. Speaking of, your gonna poop when overlanding, check out the Best Camping Toilets we could find.

A shovel is an inexpensive tool that can give you the ability to clear a path or your tires when they are slipping to give your vehicle less obstruction in its path and get you moving forward again. For a full-breakdown of overlanding self-recovery, check out this detailed list of what you actually need vs what you don’t in our article Overlanding Self Recovery Gear

Types of Overlanding Shovels For Overlanding

A normal person wouldn’t expect this to even be a topic, but hey, we aren’t normal and to be frank, all shovels are not created equal. There are all types of shovels that can have advantages or disadvantages from one another when it comes to self-recovery and the shovel you choose to go with. Let’s take a look at each.

Standard Contractors Shovel For Overlanding

You probably have one of these in your shed right now. A contractor’s shovel is no different than the shovel you used to dig a fence post last week. Contractors shovels have a fixed handle that extends from the shovel head and they vary in length although most are around 5 feet. 

Advantages: The advantages of a fixed shovel are the strength and the increased leverage of pull when working through a tough portion of ground thanks to the increased length and leverage of the longer handle. 

Disadvantages: The disadvantages are the size as well, the size being so long limits the mounting and storage options when traveling. Additionally, a standard shovel lacks any serrated edges that can bite into rough terrain, roots, or rocks as needed that you may encounter on the trail.

Collapsible Shovel For Overlanding

A collapsable shovel is ideal in my opinion. Collapsable shovels have the same traditional shovel head but the handle portion and shovelhead have hinges that allow them to be folded and the shovel can be stored in a smaller capacity. 

Advantages: The advantages of the collapsable shovel are obviously the smaller storage size. 

Disadvantages: The disadvantages are the lack of leverage you can achieve when you really need the ability to “dig-in” as well as needing to bend further over since the handle is much smaller.

Serrated Edge Shovel For Overlanding

A serrated edge shovel can come in both standard lengths and foldable compact formations. The big difference between a serrated shovel and the collapsable or contractor style is in the name, the shovelhead has a serrated edge that allows the users to dig easier into terrain or root systems where a traditional shovelhead may be lacking in cutting power. 

Advantages: The advantage of a serrated shovel is as mentioned, the increased cutting ability of the shovel as well as the fact that most serrated shovels are designed for the overlanding crowd and generally feature some sort of mounting options that traditional shovels have, making it ideal for overlanders to mount on their rigs.

Disadvantages: A disadvantage of a serrated shovel is generally the price. Because these are specially made for this crowd, they carry a premium price. However, with that increased price often comes increased strength and durability, so there is that tradeoff…

What Overlanding Shovel To NOT Get

I’m not here to say you need an expensive fancy shovel, I’m just not. However, I know from personal experience what a cheap shovel will get you, and that’s a handle that breaks under any type of actual force. I recently bought a shovel from my local Ace Hardware because well it was fall and I have trees in my yard, so it was time to rake the leaves. 

I mistakenly went with the in-house Ace branded shovel because it was cheap, like $15. I went to work on my yard and within 5 minutes the shovel handle broke in half….lessonlearned on my part. So don’t go grab the cheapest shovel on the shelf, you are likely to end up with a broken shovel in the backcountry and a stuck rig, not fun. 

Best Overland Shovel For Under $25

  1. Bond LH015 Mini D Handle Shovel, Limited Edition

2. Stanley Garden BDS8088 Mini D-Handle Square Head Shovel

3. Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Shovel

4. Rhino Folding Survival Shovel With Pick

Best Overland Shovel For Under $50

  1. Krazy Beaver Shovel
  1. Root Assassin One Shot Garden Shovel, 43″ D-Handle

2. Military Issue Entrenching Tool

Best Overland Shovel Under $100

  1. Round Point Shovel, 40 in. Handle

2. Seymour SV-DT35 Super Shovel, 29″ Hardwood Handle, Steel D-Grip

3. Tyger Auto Shovel TG-SV8U3217 with 16-in-1 Multifunction

Best Overland Shovel $100 or MORE

  1. DMOS Delta Shovel

2. DMOS Delta Shovel – Collapsible, Foldable, 3 Position Survival Tool 

Final Thoughts

Don’t get too caught up in this one folks, at the end of the day it’s a shovel. Grab any shovel you like and add it to your gear. What matters is that you just unplug and get outside and experience the adventures that surround us all in the outdoors. If you would like to read up further, the guys and gals over at Expedition Overland had a good discussion about this in their forum, check it out here.Opens in a new tab.

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