Top 11 Off-Road Shovels – The Complete Guide

 In Accessories, Gear, Off-Road, Reviews, Trail Tested

Top 11 Off-Road and Overland Shovels – Which option is right for your adventuring needs?

On every trail we explore, there’s often the chance of getting stuck and more often than not it happens at the most inopportune time.

Somewhere along your adventure, there may be a ditch too deep, a surprise sink-hole or even a granite rock too big to crawl over leaving us high centered. Either way, once your tire starts spinning, you are going to need some accessories to help pop you back on the trail.

I personally enjoy finding myself in these situations because it’s a learning experience. The more times you get stuck or help someone in a recovery situation, the more you learn. And in this world, its all about the experience.

The tool for just about everyone who explores off-road

A shovel is an essential tool that will help in assisting with your recovery. It’s the tool of tools in your recovery kit and sometimes, digging is one of the most important tools to get you out.

When you hit a trail, get stuck and don’t have a shovel or the accessories to get yourself unstuck, its a horrible, and sometimes scary feeling, especially if you are alone and it’s getting dark.

In this guide, we wanted to talk about off-road shovels, what makes them different and the best off-road shovel for your specific application.

Depending on where you want to mount or carry your shovel along with the type of terrain you commonly see will make a big difference in which shovel is for you.

First, its good to understand what a basic recovery kit consists of.

Basic off-road recovery kit:

You may want to bookmark this one, it’s going to be your go-to guide for off-road and overland shovels.

Why You Need an Off-Road Shovel?

Your shovel is probably the single most important tool (next to a winch or a Hi-Lift) to have when it comes to getting unstuck while off-road. All the other tools in your recovery kit are great to have and will certainly help, but without a proper shovel, there’s only so much that can be done.

A good off-road shovel will help you break through tough dirt, mud, sand, loose rock, and even ice if the situation calls for it. A good shovel will allow you to dig around your tires to alleviate strain from your winch or being pulled out by another truck in a recovery situation.

Digging underneath your tires will also allow you to throw a traction board, rock, log or something else underneath in order for your free-spinning tires to establish grip.

Depending on the size and durability of the shovel, they can also be used for stacking loose rocks in order to help improves your trucks approach angle.

No matter what your recovery effort is, a shovel will usually be used to assist in every step of the way.

Obviously, there are many other functional uses for having a shovel when you’re out in the woods as well.

Off-Road shovels are also useful for:

  • Digging a pit for a fire
  • Digging up dirt to put your fire out
  • Doing your part by helping maintain a trail
  • Digging out old trash stuck in a trail
  • Clearing out an area for a good place to pitch a tent
  • So many others!

Off-road shovel features

Krazy Beaver Shovel - Best Off-Road Shovel

Not all shovels are created equal.

There are certain applications where a particular blade is better suited than others.

Before we dive into their individual characteristics, anyone serious about off-roading should have at least 2 shovels (if the room permits) or if you are going with other trucks, make sure they have shovels.

An ideal setup is one full-size option with a large blade for deep dig outs and one mini option that allows you a little more maneuverability in a tighter recovery situation. Having a second shovel also allows for someone else to assist in digging you out.

You never know when you will get stuck just as the sun is setting and boom its all of sudden pitch black out. Even if you have rock lights installed, digging in the dark underneath your truck with flashlights is rough.

I am all for getting stuck, living and digging through the experience but at night it can be a bit more challenging. Having a second shovel and a friend to assist in digging may make the recovery go that much faster.

Now that you know having two shovels is key, let’s look at the styles.

A shovel’s blade shape

Bond Compact D-Grip Off-Road Shovel

A blade shape that’s ideal for one type of terrain (snow for example) may not necessarily be great for another type of terrain (hard granite rock).

Round or Square Point?

Rounded point shovels are usually the most universal when venturing through rugged terrain. Most round points will allow you to penetrate through just about any surface while square point shovels are usually designed for scraping surfaces.

For a good off-road shovel, you usually want to look at round point shoves, however, there are really nice square point style poly shovels designed for the snow, sand and loose dirt.

If you’ll be trekking through sand or snow, a poly-style shovel with a square blade will be the best to have along because you’ll be able to move more with every hoist of your shovel.

If you are in the snow often, you may want to also add a pick-ax to your recovery kit in order to break through hard sheets of ice.

Back to Round Point Shovels

You can take it a step further and go with a shovel that has a toothed blade (notched), like the Krazy Beaver. A shovel with a blade like the Krazy Beaver will be even more efficient at penetrating through surfaces and breaking through trail roots because it has multiple points of contact.

And if you’d like to make your shovel even more effective at penetrating tough surfaces, you can sharpen the blade and deburr it with a file. Over time and with heavy use, hard ground and rocks can dull your blade.

Although you don’t need your blade to be razor sharp, having a bit of added sharpness on the cutting edge does make digging through soil go a bit more efficient.

Shovel Handles & Length

When it comes to the handle of your shovel, you might think there’s not much of a difference from one handle to another. There’s actually much more to your shovels handle than meets the eye and a few characteristics that are worth noting.

Handle/Shovel Materials:

When looking at off-road shovels, try to stick with a D-Grip or D-Handle (pictured above). They offer superior control in a tight working space.

  • Wood: Wood is cheap and lightweight so it’s a pretty common material used for off-road shovel handles. Wood can last a good amount of time but when subjected to the elements outdoors it will eventually deteriorate. If your shovel has a wood handle, it’s definitely not one you should leave attached to your roof rack. Bring it in and store it in your garage after a day of off-roading or it will develop splinters pretty quickly.
  • Steel: Steel handles are extremely durable and made of round tube. With that said, make sure the round tube of your off-road shovel handle is completely sealed otherwise water could seep into it. If that happens and you leave it outside in the cold, that water could freeze up and eventually split the handle. Again, this would be another shovel you would want to store in-doors and not leave out attached to your rig, unless mounted properly for water to drain.
  • Fiberglass/Composite: Fiberglass really is the best material for the handle of an off-road shovel. It’s lightweight, rust-resistant and very durable. (pictured above).

Shovel Length Types

I like to stay with a compact shovel for my main digs and a mini for tighter situations.

  • Full-Length: Full-length options are best suited for serious off-roading expeditions. They will allow you to leverage your weight and provide the most real-world power when you’re faced with serious digging. Due to the length of their handle and shaft, they do restrict maneuverability and mounting options.
  • Compact: For most off-road and overland situations, it’s best to have a semi full-length option or simply a compact shovel. It will typically be the most universal when digging. Compact options are great for digging trenches under spinning/stuck tires as well as thick dense material. You can find the Krazy Beaver, Radius Graden, and the compact Bond in this class.
  • Short/Mini: These typically have a D-Grip handle and should be kept alongside your full-length shovel when a little more intricate digging is required. Because they have a short handle you will be able to get under your rig if the situation calls for that being a necessity. These are great when you have 1-2′ of motion to run through. Agency 6 and the Bond-Mini are great shovels in this class.
  • Folding/Military: Having a folding shovel is always nice to have along because they’re so easy to store that you may as well throw it in your recovery tool kit. They aren’t typically the best but may prove useful in certain situations.

Now that you are an expert, which one is for you?

In this article, you’ll find the top off-road shovels of today and we’ll dive into some of the unique characteristics that make them ideal in particular applications.

#1 – The Super Shovel by Krazy Beaver

Krazy Beaver Off-Road Shovel Spiked Blade

Features and Price

This shovel is not only cool looking but it’s also extremely effective at digging in tough terrain.

The blade is really the defining feature of the Krazy Beaver shovel and the reason some refer to it as “the zombie killer.” It’s constructed of heavy-duty 14-gauge heat treated tempered steel and is about two times thicker than your conventional shovel at home

The teeth of the blade are reinforced to be bend and break resistant and they’re powder coated to prevent rusting.

Digging is done much more efficiently due to the spiked tip (pro-tip: a file can sharpen the teeth and make them even sharper).

Cut through the hard, rocky ground efficiently with the teeth of the Krazy Beaver Shovel. Ever require the use of a pick-ax to get through roots? Well, you won’t be needing to lug around that extra tool anymore because you can penetrate through tough roots seamlessly with this shovel, yeah we tested it.

The black handle is lightweight but robust and made of extremely strong fiberglass. It’s head to handle connection is solidly mounted to a 14-inch fiberglass reinforcing core to withstand intense abuse.

The core can also be accessed through the removable handle allowing you to stow compact survival essentials.

From top to bottom this off-road shovel is built with solid materials designed to last a lifetime. And that is what justifies the price of this shovel. Some may initially see it priced at $80 and think it’s too much to spend. But when you realize this could be a tool that you’ll be able to use for the rest of your life, it makes it a worthy investment.

Many people hate on the Krazy Beaver as being that trendy “overland” shovel but it really does kick ass.

#2 – The Agency 6 Adventure Mini Shovel

Agency 6 Adventure Mini Shovel Length

Features and Price

  • Type: Mini
  • Length: 27″
  • Weight: 1.75 lbs
  • Handle: T-Grip
  • Blade: Round Point
  • Core: 6061-T6 Aluminum.
  • Cost: Agency 6: Check Today’s Price

This might be the most luxurious mini off-road shovel ever made.

It comes with a wider than average blade which enables to work more efficiently with pulling more material with each hoist or pull. True to its name, the Agency 6 Mini Shovel is 23 inches in length. The finish is a nice textured powder coated wrinkle black.

Check out our full in-depth review on the Agency 6.

This shovel comes with mounting brackets for the utmost in convenience when attaching to a roof rack.

Agency 6 Mega Mount Specs

  • Mounting holes that are spaced 6 inches apart.
  • 6061-T6 Billet Aluminum
  • Many anodized color options
  • Made in the USA

This is the most expensive of any of the shovels on this list but due to its unsurpassed quality of materials and construction, it’s worth every penny.

What sold me on the shovel was the quick access. Its the shovel I use most often because of its mega mount. The provided mount allows you to unscrew the core from the mount in under 30 seconds. Its pretty clutch.

Plus, it looks really clean when mounted to the roof rack.

Since its powder coated you can leave it in the rain, shine or snow without worrying about it rusting.

#3 – Bond Mini D-Grip Shovel

Bond Compact Off-ROad Shovel

Features and Price

The Bond mini is just one of those classic all-around great little companions that might be worth your recovery tool kit.

It’s not the most impressive to look at it, but it does feel like a quality well-built shovel that gets the job done. Sometimes that’s all you want in a shovel, just to know you can depend on it.

This mini D-Grip fiberglass handle was designed to provide the utmost in comfort while you dig away at the focus. Its tempered, heat-treated steel blade offers enhanced strength and extended service life.

This round point shovel has sharpened edges that will reduce required effort expenditure when breaking up tough dirt.

The size enables you to work in much tighter quarters and get under your rig if the occasion calls for it.

This is a great second shovel for any kit. If you are looking for an add-on shovel, this is a great option to carry along.

It’s incredibly affordable as well. Coming in at $20, there is no reason you shouldn’t own this shovel.

Additional Specs & Features

  • Product Dimensions: 27.6 x 13.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Fiberglass D-Grip handle
  • Rust resistant powder coated paint

#4 – Rhino USA Off-Road Shovel

Features and Price

Rhino USA was launched by a father and son team from California but most of their stuff is made in China so the name is a bit misleading.

This company offers a lifetime warranty on their shovels, which makes this one of the many reasons this foldup shovel is our favorite.

Its heavy-duty tactical appearance gives the illusion of it being a weighty shovel. But when you pick it up its delightfully lightweight weighing in at only 2.65 lbs. This makes for improved versatility, especially in those complex situations where a little more calculation and maneuvering is involved.

Its dimensions are 27 x 9.9 x 6.4 inches. This shovel can fold down to the size of an ARB deflator pouch, and it also comes with a pouch, damn near the same size.

This off-road shovel has a round point blade, ideal for breaking through hard compacted surfaces and with the swivel of a dial can turn into a pick-ax.

For around $20, this is a great shovel for the price, but it does come with a few notable flaws you should read about before making the purchase.

Its real benefit is that it folds into a small pouch and can be stored in a recovery bag. Other than that, there are other shovels like the Bond mini that smoke this shovel in terms of build quality.

#5 – Handle-All Off-Road Shovel Kit by Hi-Lift

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

Features and Price

  • Type: Multi-Use Compact
  • Length: 35″
  • Weight: 4-9lbs
  • Handle: Straight Grip
  • Blade: Multiple Blades
  • Core: Steel
  • Cost: Check Today’s Price

The Handle-All by Hi-Lift at first glance is a great tool with a vast array of functionality. It boasts a telescoping handle and four full-sized add-ons. Compact and robust, while providing full-size utility. This multi-tools is ideal for off-roading, camping, recreation, forestry, and work around the house.

The Hi-Lift Handle-All stores easily in your recovery tool kit due to its compact size. This might be is up or downside depending on how you look at it. For me, I already have a few different off-road recovery bags and don’t need another one. For some, this might be a good start to a recovery bag.

The bag looks like it can fit much more than just the provided attachments. This would be a great option if you have a few stray recovery accessories laying around in your truck that can use a permanent home.

Interchangeable with 4 attachments.

You’ll receive:

  • Axe
  • Pickax
  • Shovel
  • 8 lb. sledgehammer

We can all use a shovel and axe, and even a pick-axe at times which makes this shovel/multi-tool/recovery kit really stand out from some other shovels in this lineup.

What really seals the deal here is the sledgehammer. This is not your most common recovery tool but when you need a powerful hammer, it’s nice to have one.

#6 – Radius Garden Stainless Shovel

Radius Garden Stainless Shovel

Features and Price

From landscapers and gardeners to off-roaders and overlanders, there is something special about this shovel for everyone.

The Radius Garden stainless shovel is a round point with a large blade than most in its class. The blade on this round point also has a deeper cup than most.

The blade shape is exceedingly useful when working in loose soils, loose muddy terrain, sand, and light snow.

The benefit of this shovel is that it functions well in all conditions, can be used day in and day out by professionals, and is very robust so it doesn’t break like the average cheap transfer shovels on today’s market.

Radius PRO shovels are constructed with reinforced stainless steel and boast a big “O” handle and raised forward kick with additional width for decreased strain, enhanced balance, and easy use.

Shovel Material:

  • Stainless steel blade
  • Polypropylene encased carbon steel shaft
  • Thermoplastic elastomer grip

This shovel was designed to mitigate stress on your arms, hands, and wrists. With an ergonomic design, you can count on the Radius Garden Stainless Shovel to feel like a natural and familiar use shovel which is easy on the back.

Some of the smaller, mini-length shovels can be hard on the back depending on your age so it’s nice to have a shovel around 40″ when working on a trail.

Boasting stainless-steel working ends, an innovative handle design, and more than adequate stepping edges, this tool has proven both comfort of use, and robust enough for any off-road task.

#7 – Mag-Lok Off-Roader’s Shovel Kit

Mag-Lok Off-Roader’s Shovel Kit

Features and Price

  • Type: Multi-Use Compact
  • Length: 31″ – 53″
  • Weight: 6lbs+
  • Handle: Stright Grip
  • Blade: Multiple Attachments
  • Core: 16 Gauge Steel
  • Cost (4-Piece): Check Price
  • Cost (3-Piece): Check Price

Similar to the Handle-All by Hi-Lift, Mag-Lok makes a dynamic interchangeable system of common off-road tools. Their system comes in many different packages and styles on Amazon. If you are looking for a few piece kit or several pieces, the Mag-Lok Off-Roader’s Shovel Kit is broken down into multiple stages.

Their interchangeable and connectable tools are aiming to redefine the off-road industry but have yet to seriously. Like the Handle-All kit, this is not for everyone but I can see this kit and these styles of kits being great for someone with a need for all the tools in one easy to grab bag.

The beauty of this shovel is its patented components are all interchangeable and replaceable.

If you are an avid off-roader/explorer and find yourself needing all of the tools offered in this kit, the Mag-Lok Off roader’s Shovel Kit is worth a look.

The company created and designed this kit to withstand years of heavy use and made in the USA, you should expect this shovel to perform.

The Mag-Lok Off roader’s Shovel features:

  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Full-size (17″ from tip to top)
  • Heavy-duty Carry Bag – optional
  • Patented Mag-Lok Grip connector
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY!

With this set-up, you won’t be caught unprepared in a survival or recovery situation. The Mag-Lok Off Roader’s Shovel is easily stored and organized so it’s always readily available. It also has an optional Heavy-duty Carry Bag for additional storage convenience.

Its rugged design provides all you need for functionality in the most extreme applications.

#8 – Gerber E-Tool Folding Shovel

Gerber E-Tool Folding Shovel

Features and Price

  • Type: Mini Folding
  • Length: 23.75″
  • Weight: 2.4lbs
  • Handle: D-Grip
  • Blade: Round Point
  • Core: Carbon steel
  • Cost: Check Today’s Price

If I had to buy a compact folding military style again, it would be the Gerber E-Tool. I will eventually grab this folding shovel and replace the Rhino USA that currently sits in one of our bags.

When shopping for these smaller compact folding shovels, I have learned that quality is incredibly important. Flimsy connections with these small shovels seem to be the focus problem and very few complaints have come from the Gerber E-Tool compared to the Rhino USA.

This shovel is beyond twice the cost of the Rhino USA but it appears to be a better-built shovel all-around.

Actually, the one that has held up most in my kit is a classic military style shovel (no name brand) my grandpa gave to my dad, who then passed over to me. This was my original shovel and still lives in my primary recovery box.

The Gerber military-grade shovel is powder-coated carbon steel making it rust resistant. Its shovel head is constructed for digging holes and trenches.

The blade of the shovels boasts:

  • Serrated blade edge
  • Anodized aluminum shaft
  • Glass-filled nylon handle

This off-road shovel handles all types of challenging terrain. The head folds back to produce a useful and robust pick feature.

Gerber E-Tool Folding Shovel specs:

  • Overall Length: 23.75″
  • Closed Length: 9.25″
  • Closed Width: 6.00″
  • Weight: 37.30 oz.
  • Head: Forged Steel
  • Handle: Glass-filled Nylon
  • NSN: 5120-01-530-9641
  • Limited lifetime warranty

#9 – Shovel Tec Overland Shovel

Shovel Tec Overland Shovels

Features and Price

When you’re out on the trail you should be prepared for anything.

The Shovel Tec is a shovel for off-road enthusiasts and overland explorers. This is one piece of equipment you should look into for off-roading, overlanding or just a day trip to the beach.

Shovel Tec offers a pretty solid lineup that is also ideal for camping and a host of other applications aside from off-roading. It’s a universal recreational tool that can be mounted to your roof rack or stored conveniently and compactly alongside other accessories in your recovery tool kit.

The companies offering goes far beyond one model. They produce many different styles, color options, and blade types. They also offer a unique mounting clamp that pairs a Built Right Industries bracket with a Quick Fist clamp.

From what we see at first glance, these shovels are incredibly well built, well designed and well respected in the industry.

Models:

  • Overlander with D-Grip: 42″
  • Trail: 45″
  • Trail Mini: 36″

Features and Benefits:

  • 12 gauge steel heat treated shovelhead
  • 1.25inch diameter
  • 4130 chromemoly steel handle pole
  • Tig welded steel end cap
  • Handle pole is tig welded handle into shovelhead
  • Made in the U.S.A.

The Shovel Tec line proudly sources and manufactures all components of this tool kit in the U.S.A. and is expected to offer unrivaled reliability and performance in even the toughest conditions.

#10 – Bully Tools Round Point D-Grip Shovel

Mid-way up Long Canyon Road

Features and Price

Their products are made in the USA which is nice but from first glance, their quality control might not be all there. I still wanted to include them because I have seen many guys with a Bully Tools shovel mounted on their rack or in their recovery kit somewhere. You can pick these up at Home Depot or Amazon.

Bully Tools offers more than a few different round point shovel options to choose from.

The shorter D-Grip (33″) is an all-steel construction and has a true 14 gauge steel head. The no-break Polypropylene co-polymer handle offers superior strength that should last through any element. Bully Tools recommends this version for emergencies, camping, and for use in tight spaces.

The longer D-Grip (40″) features a triple wall fiberglass core with a wood enforced D-Grip handle. Made with a superior steel shovel blade, you can expect the longer versions blade to break before its fiberglass core. From a few of the pictures, the welds might not be perfect but the shovel remains to stay consist in that of “heavy duty”.

The shorter D-Grip seems like the better choice for an off-road/overland perspective but it depends on your intended use.

Additional Features

  • 100% Made in the USA
  • Commercial grade
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Extra thick 12-14+ gauge steel blade
  • Co-Polymer Dgrip

#11 – Bond Compact D-Grip Shovel

The Bond Shovel Company: What's there to know?

Features and Price

  • Type: Compact
  • Length: 42″
  • Weight: 3.3lbs
  • Handle: D-Grip
  • Blade: Round Point
  • Core: Fiberglass
  • Cost: Check Today’s Price

I saved my favorite for last.

I actually bought this blade after writing the review on the little brother version also shortly after testing out the Krazy Beaver.

This Bond compact off-road shovel might be one of the most boring yet sophisticated off-road shovels out there. The Bond compact shovel offers familiarity in a full-size shovel at almost 42″ long and versatility in a compact off-road tool with its D-Grip handle.

Featuring the same fiberglass core as its little brother, and the Krazy Beaver, this compact off-road tool really shows its lightweight capability here. It weighs about 1lb less than the Krazy Beaver.

The upgraded/larger shovel has a larger handle, longer shaft, larger blade all with a stronger round point.

A cross between a full-length shovel and a compact shovel, the Bond comes in at the top of my list sitting at just over 5″ longer than the Krazy Beaver. This will be the tool I carry as a permanent solution to my roof rack due to its length and strength.

The Bond compact l is about 50% less than the Krazy Beaver and they feel like one and the same when compared back to back except the Bond is missing the spikes (notches).

If you can live without spikes, and you want to save around $40, then look at the mid-size Bond.

Thoughts on Off-Road Shovels?

Ideally, the average off-roader should have one compact shovel for serious digs, one short/mini shovel for maneuverability. Off-road shovels with a fiberglass core/shaft and handle will often be the most common because of their durability.

For compact shovels, I like the compact Bond and the Krazy Beaver. Shovel Tec also deserves a pretty serious look. That company is shaping up to be a premier leader in quality production.

For a mini shovel, I the Bond is going to be your best value but the Agency 6 is going to set you apart while being incredibly useful.

If you are looking for a military style folding shovel, you have plenty of options. Although the Rhino USA was a decent price, it’s not going to hold up forever. I would look at a higher budget when it comes to these folding shovels. The $15 price tag just doesn’t get you the quality we need in a dependable off-road shovel.

My top pick would be the compact Bond based on value and features.

If money is no issue, go with the Krazy Beaver.

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

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