5 Best Backcountry Avalanche Shovels [UPDATED 2021]

Backcountry World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Thank you for supporting us.

Are you looking for the best backcountry shovels? Whether you’re looking for an avalanche shovel or a multi-tool shovel, you’re in the right place.

Shovels do not make for a sexy topic; not many people dream of owning the latest shovel. After all, most people own one or two of these sturdy work-horses and rarely think about them unless they need to do a little yard work or snow shoveling.

Functionality is the chief concern when purchasing a new shovel; especially, if you are in the market for a shovel that can handle itself in the backcountry.

A backcountry shovel must be versatile and well-built to survive the challenges of the outdoors. Also, it needs to be easy to carry.

This article discusses the five best shovels to use in the outdoors. It explains what features you need to look for in a shovel. Additionally, this review explores what things to avoid when buying a shovel.

Best Backcountry Shovels

  1. SOG Folding Survival Shovel
  2. REDCAMP Aluminum Lightweight Shovel
  3. MQUMSA Telescopic Shovel
  4. Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
  5. Ozark Trail Heavy Duty Steel Folding Shovel


1) SOG Folding Survival Shovel

MACV-SOG produces a folding shovel that is both versatile and efficient. This essential survival tool not only allows you to shovel dirt or snow but also saw wood, and hoe your garden.

The solid high-carbon steel construction makes this portable device a must-have emergency tool. You can carry this light-weight shovel on your belt or store it in your car wrapped in its nylon sheath. The shovel folds up to make it easy to carry when out in the wilderness.


  • folded: 7.5 X 4.5 X 2.75 inches
  • fully expanded length 18.5 inches long
  • weighs: 24.5 ounces


  • adjustable multi-use shovel tool
  • saw tooth edge spade
  • trifold design
  • material: black powder-coated carbon steel

Is the entire shovel made of metal?

The only part of the shovel that is not metal is the collar. The collar is made of ABS plastic, but it is very durable.

Where is this folding shovel manufactured?

You can find SOG, the creator of the product, in Seattle, Washington. They design and test their knives and tools in the United States of America; however, the manufacturing process occurs outside the country.

Can you cook bacon over a fire using this shovel?

No. You would need to burn off the paint before using it for cooking. It is easier to purchase an inexpensive pan from the dollar store to fry up some bacon.


  • foldable for easy storage
  • tough construction
  • comes with case
  • multi-purpose tool


  • handle size

2) REDCAMP Aluminum Lightweight Shovel

REDCAMP makes a light-weight shovel with a telescopic handle for use in all climates. Works well in winter to clear away heavy snow and ice.

The shovel’s 3-piece collapsible design makes it a perfect choice to carry with you. It comes apart for easy storage. Also, the handle raises to 3 different heights when assembled, which provides increased versatility.


  • assembled size: 32 X 8.3 inches or 82 X 21 cm
  • folded size: 9 X 14 inches or 23 X 40 cm
  • weight: 1.5 lbs or 700 g


  • material: aluminum
  • multi-use: snow, gravel, garden, grain, and soil.
  • T handle design to reduce handle stress
  • the two smart-locks allow for three different handle lengths


Does it come with a case?

No. Three parts are loose when disassembled.

Where is this product manufactured?


Is there a ruler on the back of the shovel?

No, there is not.


  • adjustable handle
  • secure lock for handle size changes
  • easy for kids to use
  • strong enough to handle wet snow


  • no storage case for disassembled parts
  • no other function besides shoveling materials

3) MQUMSA Telescopic Shovel

The telescopic shovel by MQUMSA is one of the best-selling shovels on the market because of its expandable handle length, durable construction, and easy portability.

You can disassemble this backcountry shovel easily. It breaks down into three pieces for easy travel and storage. It does not take up much storage room in your vehicle or backpack, so you always have this powerful tool at the ready.


  • adjustable handle: 25-32 inches in length
  • shovel head: 28 X 21 cm
  • weight: 1.4 lbs


  • material: aluminum
  • easy assembly and disassembly
  • warranty: twelve months


Does it come with a storage bag?

No, it does not come with a bag to hold stored pieces.

Can you shovel heavy snow with this shovel?

Yes. It is effective at digging your vehicle out of the snow. It is a good idea to keep this shovel on hand for emergencies.

Does this shovel take up much room in the car?

It comes apart so that you can store it in a section of your trunk.


  • saves spaces when stored
  • light-weight
  • expandable handle


  • does not come with a bag to store shovel parts

4) Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel

This military-inspired e-tool made by Rhino USA provides peace of mind when out in the backcountry. The Rhino USA survival shovel comes with a pickax and sharp saw teeth.

This tool is unique because it allows the shovel head to adjust 90 degrees to gain a different function. When you change the direction of the tool’s head, the shovel becomes a pickaxe or hoe.

A tool with many functions can provide more use in a survival situation. It allows you options that you would not have with a single-use shovel.


  • assembled size: 23 inches tall
  • folded size 9 X 6 inches


  • material: carbon steel
  • functions: pickax, hoe, shovel, and saw
  • sharp-reinforced saw


The ring knob: plastic or metal?

The shovel uses a ring knob that is metal.

Does the product come with a bag or case?

Yes, it does.

Are additional tools needed for assembly?

No tools are necessary to build the shovel.


  • comes with a case to put disassembled parts
  • made of strong metal
  • multiple uses


  • Rhino USA products not manufactured in the USA

5) Ozark Trail Heavy Duty Steel Folding Shovel

This compact shovel from Ozark Trail is sturdy and able to face all different types of chores. The shovel’s durable construction and unique design make it a good choice for any outdoor adventure.

The serrated edge shovel head helps deal with breaking up hard surfaces. It will help to break up ice and demanding dirt. This heavy-duty shovel provides reassurance that you can survive in even the most isolated outdoor areas.


  • assembled size: 22.5 X 5.5 inches
  • weight: 2.5 lbs


  • material: steel
  • shovelhead: 8.25 X 5.5 inches with serrated edge
  • foldable for easy storage
  • locking mechanism to keep folded tool locked
  • can lift versatile materials


Can you use this shovel for camping?

Yes, you easily dig out a fire pit at the campsite.

How big is the shovel when folded?

It is about 10 inches folded.

Does it come with a case?

No. It does not; however, there is a locking mechanism to keep it closed when folded.


  • heavy steel construction
  • One edge with two different serrated edge patterns allows you to cut plant roots.
  • easy to fold and store
  • inexpensive


  • no case
  • not up to military specs
  • locking mechanism tightens too easily

What to Look For

When choosing a backcountry shovel, you want to focus on three key features: strength, functionality, and portability.

You want to select a shovel that can stand up to your environment. Think about what tasks you want to accomplish with your shovel and plan according.

It always better to choose a stronger shovel because it allows you to deal with more chores. Also, you want to have confidence in your shovel’s ability to function when dealing with an emergency. You do not want to worry about your shovel malfunctioning or breaking.

To prevent your shovel from falling apart, you want to ensure it uses high-quality materials. Metal is more indestructible than plastic. It last longer and is less likely to chip or crack.

You will want to think about your shovel’s function in addition to the material used in the manufacturing process. Most people want a shovel that can complete a wide array of jobs.

The best shovels will have features that increase their versatility. These shovels will perform other tasks beyond what a typical shovel can accomplish. In other words, a shovel that can act as another tool like a pickax is more desirable.

Survivalists want to carry the most efficient tools with them. A shovel needs to be light-weight and compact. A shovel capable of folding in on itself takes up less room and storage space. This folding feature is beneficial if you want to carry more survival gear with you beyond a shovel.

Nobody wants to lug heavy equipment on their person for an extended time. Selecting light equipment is essential for any outdoor adventure.

What to Avoid

Ideally, you want to choose a shovel that folds for any outdoor adventure. Your shovel for outdoors should be different than the one you use to shovel your drive-way. A home snow shovel can be heavier and taller in contrast to a survival shovel.

Following that thought process, you want to avoid heavily weighted shovels that can be difficult to transport. Also, stay away from shovels with long handles. These will take up too much storage space.

Finally, avoid any flimsily constructed shovels. You do not want to lose your shovel to breakage; especially, in an emergent situation.


Backcountry shovels are crucial for any survivalist. These multi-purpose tools make the task of exploring the wildness easier.

Good shovels aid in your adventures as well as act as backup emergency equipment. Your shovel must fold, be easily stored, and carry minimal weight.

I hope you liked this post on the best backcountry avalanche shovels. If you liked this post, you may also like our guides on the best backcountry skis and our guide on the best backcountry hunting packs.