SOG Folding Shovel Review: Hands-On Experiences

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By Bryan Lynch •  8 min read

A shovel by any other name, i.e. entrenching tool, folding shovel, tactical shovel, hiking shovel, camping shovel, trenching tool, e tool, is still a shovel and its primary purpose is for digging. They can be a mighty handy tool to have in your pack or the back of a vehicle. (They are in all my vehicles.) It can aid in building shelter, provide a dry platform for starting a fire, and help you dig your way through sand, dirt, or snow. 

portable outdoor shovel

In today’s constantly changing environment of survival tools, most survival shovels today pack a lot of extra features into them. Such as a saw, knife, camp ax, and many more tools. These tools can be useful in their own right but they are also on the higher end of the price range. 

For this article, I will be reviewing the SOG Folding Shovel. While this shovel might not have as many of the extra tools as other survival shovels, it is compact, lightweight, and best of all very affordable. With all of that in mind, let’s see what this shovel has to offer and how it holds up.  

Sale
SOG Entrenching Tool- 18.25 Inch Folding Survival Shovel with Wood Saw Edge...
  • 18.25 INCH FULL LENGTH, 24.5 OUNCES: Lightweight foldable outdoor, hunting, military shovel is...
  • COMPACT AND PORTABLE: The multi-use shovel folds down to be barely bigger than your hand. 10 inches...

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 21:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SOG Folding Survival Shovel Review

As usual, I like to start off my reviews with the specifications and features of the product. Below are the specifications taken from the SOG website.

Overall Length

18.25″

Finish

Black powder coat

Country of Origin

China

Edge Type

Straight

Handle Color

Black

Sheath Color

Black

Sheath Attachment Type

Belt loop

Product Weight

24.50 ounces

Blade Steel Type

High carbon steel

Handle Material

High carbon steel

Sheath Included

Yes

Sheath Material

Ballistic nylon

Sheath Closure Type

Hook and loop

Features

steel construction entrenching tool

Made from tempered steel the shovel head can be used as a shovel or it can rotate down 90 degrees to form a hoe or pick. The side of the shovel head features partial saw teeth for ripping through material or sawing into wood. The foldable handle is constructed from carbon steel.

In The Field 

This particular shovel I have had for several years now and it was one of the first shovels I added to my packs and in my vehicle. 

I like the size and weight of this tool. When I have carried it in my vehicle it is small enough to slide snugly under a seat. The times I have put it inside my pack it is small enough that it does not take up much space. but with the loop on the ballistic sheath, it can be easily attached to the outside of most packs or even be carried on a belt.

The Shovel

standard entrenching tool for remote camp sites and nylon sheath

After removing the shovel from the pouch, the handle and the shovel head easily unfold. Between the shovel head and the handle is a plastic collar that when turned, tightens down the handle and the shovelhead into the desired position.  

There is no grip to speak of on the handle, it is very smooth and becomes slick when wet. But due to the triangular shape, the handle is comfortable to use and easy to hold onto

Because this shovel is so short, I must bend over very low or rest on my knees to use it. I have primarily used this shovel to dig in soft and semisoft soil and sand, and as a snow shovel. The only hard material I used it against was to break through a few inches of surface ice on a pond, which it had no problem with. 

Fire

embers

When it comes to campfires I have used this shovel for a few tasks. If it was hard to find a dry spot, I used the shovel head as a base for getting a fire going. The shovel also makes it easy to scoop up a pile of hot embers when I need to transfer fire from one spot to another. 

The Hoe

tempered steel blade for digging

By loosening the collar hardware, the shovelhead can be rotated ninety degrees downward to form a hoe. This tool helps to quickly push or pull loose material. When a hole starts to get deep, the hoe will make it easier to pull soil out and when need be, fill the hole back in

There have been a few occasions where I have used the hoe to assist ascending or descending steep terrain. I have used it to grab a small tree that was out of reach or to dig into the ground to keep myself from slipping. Please note that this is NOT a recommended use for the SOG Shovel and it not meant to be a climbing aid.

The Pick

high carbon steel construction

Opposite the shovel head is a pick tool that comes in handy for punching holes in materials and chipping away at harder surfaces. Something to note about the pick is that it does not resemble a traditional pick. It is not rounded, solid, nor does the end come to a sharp point. The end is rather blunt and the body of the pick is what I would call fluted. An open channel runs down the middle of it. 

I have never used the pick on rocks specifically but I have grazed many of them while digging through soil. Like the shovel, the hardest material I have used the pick on was to break up surface ice on a pond. Through using the pick on some of those harder materials, it has not shown any outward damage. 

The Saw Teeth

blade on folding shovel

You might think that the saw teeth could be used for processing wood, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But the length of the saw is just several inches long, which makes the cut stroke very short. This limits the size of wood that can be cut and it is a bit tiresome to use. The teeth work decent on dry wood but they tend to bind up when cutting through green material. 

Given how lightweight the shovel is and how the folded down pick can be used as a thicker handle, the grip is quite comfortable when using the saw. 

The saw does work well for scraping against the wood to make wood shavings and tinder. Another use for them is ripping through softer natural materials such as sod, roots, and green vegetation.

Size

SOG entrenching tool

If you look at SOG’s website, I think that it’s kind of funny that they say this entrenching tool takes up the same space as a stack of paper plates when it is folded, and by looking at the picture above you can tell that this entrenching tool is quite small.

My Shovel’s Pictures


My Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

FAQs

Can the entrenching tool be used as a weapon?

Anything can be used as a weapon and in the past, an entrenching tool has been used as such.

Is the entrenching tool good for chopping?

I didn’t do any chopping with this shovel but I have heard accounts of people sharpening the sides of folding shovel heads so that they are more effective at slashing through underbrush.

Is this entrenching tool good for camping?

Because it is so small when folded, durable, and versatile, putting this entrenching tool with your camping supplies is a good idea

Does the SOG Entrenching Tool come in other colors?

No, it only comes in black.

Does this shovel make a good snow shovel?

As an everyday snow shovel, I would not want to use this. It is quite short which means you will have to get down on the ground and shovel close to you. Also, the blade is not very wide, but it does work in a pinch.

A snow shovel is typically long with a wide and deep head for collecting snow.

Verdict

If you are looking for a shovel to add to your vehicle kit or pack but are unsure where to start, I would recommend this shovel. As far as entrenching tools go it is certainly on the small side. But that is also what I like about it. It is so compact that sometimes I forget I have it in my bag. Its small size notwithstanding, it moves materials like it is supposed to and the price really cannot be beaten. I would give this tool 5 stars.

Sale
SOG Entrenching Tool- 18.25 Inch Folding Survival Shovel with Wood Saw Edge...
  • 18.25 INCH FULL LENGTH, 24.5 OUNCES: Lightweight foldable outdoor, hunting, military shovel is...
  • COMPACT AND PORTABLE: The multi-use shovel folds down to be barely bigger than your hand. 10 inches...

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 21:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.