An ultra-compact folding shovel that will fit in almost any off-road recovery bag
If you’re serious about exploring and wheeling on sketchy trails, then it’s likely you’ll get stuck and have the need for an off-road shovel.
I don’t view getting stuck in the mud/snow/sand as a bad thing, for me it’s part of the fun, but to each their own. Whether you like it or not, it’s bound to happen, and preparation is imperative for getting your truck out of a sticky situation.
Most of what we prepare for is to help ourselves, but more often than not – it’s to help others.
Whether you are exploring alone or with a crew, an off-road shovel is a staple in the off-road recovery gear bag. They come in many different shapes and sizes, but today, we are talking about the Rhino USA folding shovel.
This is a super-compact folding survival shovel and while “survival” might be overkill, it gives a new meaning to the word “folding”. While most folding shovels fold twice, the Rhino USA shovel folds three times making it just about the same size as your ARB deflator pouch.
Rhino USA Folding Survival Shovel
For the less severe “stuck” situations, the Rhino USA’s Off-road Shovel should get the job done.
Launched by a father-and-son team from California, this company offers a lifetime warranty on their shovels, which makes this one of the many reasons that this foldup shovel is going to be a trail favorite.
We have reviewed many other items from Rhino USA, including their ratchet straps along with their recovery/snatch strap. And although their name is somewhat misleading with the word the USA in the logo, which leads you to believe their products are made in the USA – their products are for the most, part pretty well made.
Both of those items have impressed us so far, so we went ahead and grabbed their foldup military-style shovel.
We wanted to highlight the features and benefits of this shovel and why it makes sense to add to your arsenal of tools you bring along on your off-roading adventures.
This shovel is not perfect though, in our cost section we highlight an important reason why you might not want to buy this shovel.
5 reasons we dig this shovel
- Cost: Check Price
- Mounting to Roof
For the minimalist looking for a compact folding shovel, there are a wide variety of options. Ultimately, you want to get the most bang for your buck in as compact of a size as possible.
If you can find a quality shovel for the price of a medium pizza from Roundtable, then you already know that’s a great deal. And that’s exactly what the Rhino USA shovel delivers, a ton of value for the mere price tag of less than $20.
We’ve browsed other shovels in this category, and none came remotely close to Rhino USA in regard to value and price.
Having a shovel and pickaxe that all folds into one tight pouch for under $20 is truly unbeatable.
Usually, the super affordable price points come at a cost though. In the photo above you can see that this shovel is already rusting.
We have used the shovel a few times, all of which have been in the snow and rain. To see signs of rust so early was a little disappointing but again, for around $20, what do you expect.
If I had to buy again, I would probably look at a higher-priced item like the Gerber E-Tool Folding shovel, which based on its reviews is a pretty impressive little folding shovel.
One of the first things we observed about this off-road shovel was how nice it felt in our hands.
At first glance, the average person would anticipate this shovel to be much heavier than it actually is.
Its heavy-duty tactical appearance gives the illusion of it being a solid weight shovel. But when you actually pick it up, it’s impressively lightweight, weighing in at only 2.65 lbs.
This may make for improved versatility, especially in those complex situations underneath a truck where a little more maneuvering is needed while swinging a shovel.
Design, Folding & Length
The Rhino USA off-road shovel is a perfect solution for the minimalist because of its compact design. Its dimensions are 2.7 x 9.9 x 6.4 inches.
Compact shovels have their pros and cons. The main downside is putting the shovel to the dirt for long stretches. This would probably be my single point of contention with this shovel, as I wish it were a bit longer. Lots of shoveling with a compact shovel may be hard on your back, and even after 2o min of shoveling, you start to feel it in your lower back.
In my experience, I’ve been more efficient and successful with longer shovels, but that’s just me. Regardless, there are people out there that love the length of this classic military-style shovel, and it will still definitely get the job done.
This shovel is superior to a square shovel because it can penetrate the ground and cut through light ground roots if needed. And if the blade itself doesn’t suffice for that task, with a swivel of a dial at the base of the shovel, you can turn this into a pickaxe.
Unless you’re wheeling in the sand or snow often, pointed digger blade shovels usually better serve you.
Better shovel for Sand, Snow, and Mud?
For a sand/snow shovel, I have been eyeing the poly shovels with the large flat-scoop style blade. This style of shovel would also be great for the mud. I saw one of these poly shovels mounted to the back of a flatbed camper.
They are not the most compact of shovels, but they sure do get the job done.
Functionality – It’s a great secondary shovel
The functionality of this off-road shovel and other folding military style shovels alike is another reason we selected it as a go-to compact shovel.
The fact that it folds up and can easily fit alongside your ARB tire deflator, makes this shovel a great second onboard shovel. The shovel pouch is actually just about the same size as the ARB deflator’s pouch.
Every off-road recovery kit should be comprised of a few “must-haves.” Obviously, D-ring shackle hitch receivers and a recovery strap will be in there, but a commonly overlooked necessity is having a secondary shovel for your passenger to use if you need a hand.
The Rhino USA is great for your everyday kit because its compact size will make it easy to always have around.
Also, this compact shovel comes with a serrated edge blade. This makes it even more efficient at breaking through the hard ground with its multiple points.
For added sharpness, use a file to sharpen and deburr the shovel. Over time, the hard ground will dull the blade and could possibly push the cutting edge into a dull state. Check out this article on how to sharpen a shovel, good stuff over there.
Lastly, as I mentioned previously, this shovel comes with an opposing pickaxe which may come in handy, although we have not yet found a serious need for it.
As the heading says, it’s a great second shovel. Don’t depend on this one to dig a 35″ tire out of a mud hole or snowbank.
Mounting & Storing the Shovel
Having immediate access to your shovel is convenient when you’re out on the trail.
It’s nice being able to hop out and grab your shovel mounted on your roof rack, but with this shovel, I wouldn’t mind carrying this in its pouch, inside of my recovery bags or storage boxes. This shovel will serve as a great backup when multiple people need to get to work on a trail.
You can go either way with this shovel, and that’s why it’s great.
Mounting Rhino USA’s shovel would be pretty straightforward and throwing in the back of a storage box is also an option.
And for that, this is a great little off-road recovery tool you can add to your gear that won’t take up too much room.
Is this a good shovel for you?
The Rhino USA off-road shovel is an excellent tool to have with you on the trail.
Whether you’re wheeling, camping, at the beach, or gardening – this shovel is sure to get the job done.
This foldup shovel is compact enough to throw in your recovery bag, or if fully extended, you can mount it to your roof rack.
The functionality will cut through mild terrain and coupled with its lifetime warranty, it’s a good investment for the life of your off-roading endeavors.