13 Best Overlanding Shovels to Dig Your Way Out of Anything

Getting stuck is no fun…wait a sec, let me rephrase that. Getting stuck can be really fun! Getting unstuck, now that’s not usually fun. 

You know how it goes, we’ve all been there. The sand was softer, the mud was slicker, or the ditch deeper than you thought and now you’re stuck. Time to get out the recovery gear, including…

Your trusty shovel!

Yup, a good shovel should be part of every overlander’s off-road gear. 

But for such a seemingly insignificant piece of gear, the humble overlanding shovel has spawned more than one heated debate about which is the best.

  • Should you stick with a compact folding shovel?
  • Or maybe go with a cheap $15 full-length shovel from the hardware store?
  • What about an overlanding shovel with a toothed blade!?

Let’s answer all those questions and help you choose the best overland shovel for getting you unstuck on your next off-road adventure.

Check out this article with more tips on how to start overlanding.

Why every overlander needs a good shovel

A good shovel is one of those pieces of gear that can either be a huge headache or a sigh of relief. 

Here’s why:

1. You never know when you might need to dig yourself out of a hole. Whether you’re stuck in a sand dune or caught between some rocks, a good shovel can help you get unstuck.

This is especially true if you’re traveling solo without a friend to pull you out. In those cases, a winch, a set of traction boards and a shovel are your saviors. 

2. A shovel that breaks right when you need it makes a bad situation even worse. So you need one you can count on, one you can mistreat and abuse without worrying it’ll give out under the pressure.

3. An overlanding shovel is for more than just digging you out of a hole. 

  • Need to dig a fire pit? Use your shovel. 
  • Takin’ care of business in the woods? You’ll need a shovel to dig a cat hole for your “deposit”. 
  • Getting attacked by a rabid raccoon? Wack it over the head with your shovel.

So yeah, you’re gonna want to choose your overlanding shovel wisely — it’s something that you’ll probably end up using just about every day.

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Types of Overlanding Shovels

A shovel is just a shovel, right? Wrong. There’s actually a lot that goes into making different types of shovels. 

Here are the 3 main types of overlanding shovels. (Keep in mind there is some overlap between these.) 

Standard Garden or Construction Shovels

These are the kind that you get at your local hardware stores. 

They come with a variety of head and handle types and sizes. Most have either wood or fiberglass handles and they generally range in price from $15 to $50.

Standard Garden

Collapsible Shovel

Collapsible shovels are popular with overlanders because they don’t take up a lot of space in your gear. 

Plus, their compact size is nice for getting into tight spaces. However, most aren’t nearly as durable as their non-collapsible brothers. Collapsible shovels range in price from $15 to over $200.

Collapsible Shovel

Purpose-Built Recovery Shovels

If your budget isn’t a problem, a shovel that is purpose-built for off-road recovery is your best option.

They’re not too long, not too short, and are made to take some abuse. Most will have high-strength composite or steel handles and durable heads that won’t bend. However, they are more expensive than standard shovels with most starting at about $75.

Purpose-Built Recovery Shovels
Source: Amazon

Overlanding Shovel Features

As you look at the different types of off-road and overland shovels, here are a few features to look for.

Blade Shape

Round Point 

round point blade shovel

The round point blade is extremely versatile and the shape you’ll find on most overlanding shovels. The point helps it bite into tough ground, but it’s still wide enough to scoop loose material.


square point shovel

I really don’t recommend choosing a square head shovel for overlanding. Yeah, it’s nice for scooping loose dirt or sand, but the square shape makes it hard to dig into rocky or undisturbed ground. 

Toothed or Serrated 

serrated edge shovel tip
Source: Amazon

The toothed edge isn’t the best for gardening or precision digging, but it is great for cutting through nasty ground — think hard dirt with roots and rocks. 

Handle Length

Long (48 inches and longer) – The long handle is great for giving you extra leverage. It’s also good for tall folks who don’t want to stoop down too far. And if you ever need to scoop out some dirt from under the center of your vehicle, a long hand comes in handy. However, it can be difficult to handle in tight spaces.

Mid Length (About 30-40 inches) – The mid-length handle strikes a good balance between leverage and maneuverability. It’s a versatile option, and it will serve you well in most situations which is why a lot of purpose-built overlanding shovels have mid-length handles.

Short (Less than 30 inches) – The short handle is perfect for tight spaces and rocky soil. It gives you more control, but you won’t be able to generate as much leverage or reach as far under your vehicle.

Collapsible/Expandable Handles – These handles are great for storage and transportation. They’re also handy if you need to switch between different lengths depending on the situation. However, with all the extra joints and/or extensions, they’re not quite as durable as solid handle shovels.

*Pro Tip – Even if your main overlanding shovel has a long or mid-length handle, it’s still worth it to carry a small folding shovel for when you need to get into tight spaces. 

Shovel Handle Materials

Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular overlanding shovel materials

Wood – Wood handles are ok for the garden or construction site and are an affordable option. However due to lack of durability, they’re not the best for tough off-roading jobs. Pull too hard on a long wood handle and it’ll snap right off. Not what you want when you’re 15 miles up a trail with no one in sight.

Fiberglass – Fiberglass handles are durable, weather-resistant and have a great weight-to-strength ratio. That makes them a good choice for off-roading shovels.

Composite – Composite handles are usually made from a mixture of different materials including wood, plastic and fiberglass. They’re usually more expensive than wood handles, but they’re also more durable and less likely to break in rough conditions.

Steel – Steel handles are the strongest and most durable option, but they’re also the heaviest. If you’re planning on doing serious overlanding, steel is probably the way to go. However, if weight and cost are concerns, you may want to consider another material.

Aluminum – Aluminum handles are a nice middle ground. Aluminum is strong without the heavy weight of steel. It’ll be more expensive than steel but will be closer in weight to a fiberglass or composite handle. 

13 best overlanding shovels on the market today

Now that you know what you’re looking for, here are 13 of the best overlanding shovels you can buy today. 

Let’s start with 3 shovels that should be at the top of your list.

Bully Tools 12-Gauge Round Point Shovel

Simple, Rugged, Budget-Friendly and Made in the USA

12-Gauge Round Point Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Made in the USA
  • Durable polypropylene D-grip
  • Heavy duty construction prevents bending
  • Weight: 4.84 pounds
  • Length: 46 inches

This is a great all-around shovel. It’s durable and with a fiberglass handle, not too heavy. The 46-inch total length is just right for overlanding and at just over $50, it’s a great value!

Check the current price.

DMOS Delta Shovel

It’s one of the best overlanding shovels…and you’ll pay for it.

DMOS Delta Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • 14-gauge colled rolled steel blade
  • Aluminum shaft
  • Foldable and extendable to up to 51 inches
  • Weight: 6lbs 5oz
  • Can fold the head to 90 degrees to use it as a hoe
  • Made in the USA

The DMOS Delta has the best of all the worlds. Keep the handle short for getting in tight spaces. Extend it when you need extra reach or leverage (it’s rated to survive 1000-lbs of leveraging force). You can also position the head as a hoe to pull sand out from beside your tires. 

If your budget isn’t an issue, this is probably the one you should go with. It’s over $200.

Check the current price.

The Krazy Beaver

The zombie killer!

The Krazy Beaver
Source: Amazon
  • 13-gauge steel head and teeth (one of the thickest on this list!)
  • Fiberglass handle
  • Length: 40 inches
  • Weight: 3.34 lbs
  • Cut through roots, hard clay and even ice with the teeth (just be careful around your tires!)

Take one look at the Krazy Beaver and it’s easy to see what sets it apart from the other shovels — those huge gnarly teeth! Rocks, roots, and hard ground don’t stand a chance against the Beaver. 

In addition to being kinda crazy looking, it’s also well-built and ready for abuse. The head and shank are powder coated inside and out to prevent rust. Most of the handle is solid-core fiberglass. Then the end of the handle under the D-ring has a space where you can stash survival essentials like matches, firestarters, fishing line, etc. Cool, right!?

Check the current price.

One of those first three choices should work as your overlanding shovel. But if you always insist on checking out all the options, here are 10 more.

*If you like overlanding gear, don’t miss these articles!

The Agency 6 Long Shovel

Lightweight and super handy

The Agency 6 Long Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Only 2.5 lbs!
  • Handle and head are made from 6061 aluminum
  • Length: 32 inches
  • Durable powder-coated finish
  • The thick blade is durable but not as good at breaking into very hard soil

The Agency 6 XL is a powerhouse little overlanding shovel. It’s super lightweight and just over 30 inches long. That makes it compact but still useful for reaching underneath your rig.

It’s also got mounting holes in the handle that work with Agency 6 mounting devices.

Check the current price.

Rhino USA Recovery Shovel

Ultra compact and practical

Rhino USA Recovery Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Collapsible to just 7 inches long
  • Extends up to 31 inches long
  • Serrated head and pickaxe for digging in tough areas
  • Lifetime warranty and great customer support

While I wouldn’t want to necessarily rely on this as my main overlanding shovel, it makes a great addition to your recovery gear. It only has one folding joint right at the head. Then to extend the handle, just screw on extra sections. 

For a little over $20, it’s hard to beat this value.

Check the current price.

Handle-All Off-Road Shovel Kit by Hi-Lift

It’s not just a shovel

Handle-All Off-Road Shovel Kit by Hi-Lift
Source: Amazon
  • Comes with interchangeable heads — shovel, sledgehammer, ax, and pick axe
  • Telescoping metal handle comes apart
  • Everything fits in the included nylon bag with plenty of room to spare for other tools

A sledgehammer, ax and pick axe can really come in handy out in the wild, but most of us don’t have the space to carry all of them. That’s why this recovery tool kit really comes in handy. 

Just be reasonable with your expectations and don’t expect the ax or sledgehammer to feel quite like a normal one. However in a pinch, they’ll get the job done.

Check the current price.

Fiskars PRO 44-Inch Digging Shovel

Aluminum handle and extra long shank

Fiskars PRO 44-Inch Digging Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • 44-inch length is a nice middle ground
  • Extra long shank goes halfway up the handle for extra leverage power
  • Double bolted connections keep the shovel head secure
  • Sharpened edges to dig into the dirt easier

Take one look at this shovel and you’ll notice the extra long shank. That really comes in handy when trying to use your shovel to leverage out a rock or tree stump. What is usually a weak point on other shovels becomes the strong point of this one.

Check the current price.

Bond D-Handle Round Point Shovel

Hard to beat this simple design

Bond D-Handle Round Point Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Fiberglass handle
  • Heat-treated steel head for extra durability
  • 42 inches long
  • Sharpened edges for easier digging

Sometimes simple is better. If you’re a fan of keeping it simple, go with this hardened steel and fiberglass D-handle shovel. It won’t let you down and is one of the best sub-$70 options.

Check the current price.

Can-Am Off-Road Recovery Shovel

Not just a shovel, a recovery multi-tool

Can-Am Off-Road Recovery Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Serrated edges for easy root cutting
  • All steel construction
  • Powder coated finish
  • ½ inch socket drive on the handle (works great for removing lugnuts)
  • Non-slip spade so your muddy boot doesn’t slip off the shovel
  • Made in the USA
  • Recovery shackle

This is definitely an overlanding shovel with some tricks up its sleeve — from the small notches for pulling out stubborn tent stakes to the recovery shackle. Yup, that’s right…dig this puppy into solid ground and use it for some light winching (like for a moderately stuck ATV or UTV).

Check the current price.

Bully Tools Trunk Shovel

Small and mighty

Bully Tools Trunk Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Made in USA
  • Less than $40
  • 14-gauge steel blade
  • Durably polypropylene D-handle
  • Weight: 2.82 lbs

If you liked the Agency 6 shovel but not the price, try this one. It’s also about 32 inches long and has a durable steel handle and blade.

Check the current price.

Bond Mini D Handle Shovel

An easy-to-handle mini shovel

Bond Mini D Handle Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Short length and D-handle make it easy to maneuver 
  • Sharpened edges for easier digging
  • Head made from heat-treated steel for extra durability
  • Lightweight fiberglass handle

This is the little brother of the larger Bond D-Handle shovel I featured earlier on this list. This little guy shares a lot of the same features but just in a smaller package. Even if you already have a larger shovel, it’s worth throwing a smaller one like this in your truck for tight spaces or trips into the woods to see a man about a horse.

Check the current price.

Smittybilt Tri-Fold Recovery Tool

One of the smallest on this list

Smittybilt Tri-Fold Recovery Tool
Source: Amazon
  • Tri-fold design for compact storage
  • Double serrated blade
  • Fits inside the included storage bag
  • Reinforced handle

Every camper, boondocker, offroader and overlander should have a little folding shovel like this. I mean…they fold up to virtually nothing so they fit anywhere (even in a backpack) and are super useful for tons of tasks around the campsite.

Check the current price.

Fiskars Digging Shovel

Simple, strong and currently the cheapest option on this list.

Fiskars Digging Shovel
Source: Amazon
  • Currently less than $25!
  • Steel head and handle
  • Weighs 6 lbs
  • 14-gauge hardened steel blade
  • Sharpened blade for easier digging

It’s hard to find a sub-$30 full-size shovel that can stand up to the rigors of overlanding, but this just might be it. Keep in mind…it’s nothing fancy — no D-handles, no fancy serrated blades, no composite shafts — just an all steel shovel with a small grippy end on the handle.

Check the current price.

Ready to dig your way out of anything?

So which of these overlanding shovels will make it on your vehicle for your next expedition? Maybe the simple and budget friendly Bully Tools shovel? Or the mean looking Krazy Beaver?

Don’t waste your money and try to experiment with cheaper options. Go with one of the tried and tested options on this list that won’t leave you stuck in the mud. 

And don’t miss my other overlanding articles:

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