SOG Folding Shovel Review: Hands-On Experiences

A shovel can be a mighty handy tool to have in your pack or the back of a vehicle. It can aid in building shelter, provide a dry platform for starting a fire one, and digging your way through dirt and snow, just to name a few. 

SOG Folding Survival Shovel Review

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 mind, let’s see what this shovel has to offer and how it holds up.  

Sale
SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel – Entrenching Tool 18.25 Inch Foldable...
  • BARELY BIGGER THAN YOUR HAND: That’s the size of the Entrenching Tool when folded; this camp...
  • 18.25 INCH FULL LENGTH, 24.5 OUNCES: Foldable military shovel and hunting shovel w/ a wood saw edge...

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 02:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SOG Folding Survival Shovel Review

Specifications

The SOG shovels measures in at 18.25 inches long when in use and folds up to just 10 inches long at the end of the day. It packs away neatly into a ballistic nylon pouch with a total weight of 24.5 ounces. 

Features

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 of 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.

The Shovel

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. 

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, snow, and sand. The only hard material I have used it against was to break through a few inches of surface ice on a pond, which it had no problem with. 

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

The Hoe

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

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

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

My Shovel’s Pictures


My Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight weighs 24.5 ounces
  • Compact, folds down to 10 inches 
  • Comfortable triangle handle 
  • Sawteeth can be used on wood in a pinch
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Plastic locking hardware between the shovel and handle
  • Smaller than a typical entrenching tool
  • The short handle can take more effort to use 
  • After a few years of use, it has started to show rust in spots.

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 supposed to and the price really cannot be beaten.

Sale
SOG Folding Shovel Survival Shovel – Entrenching Tool 18.25 Inch Foldable...
  • BARELY BIGGER THAN YOUR HAND: That’s the size of the Entrenching Tool when folded; this camp...
  • 18.25 INCH FULL LENGTH, 24.5 OUNCES: Foldable military shovel and hunting shovel w/ a wood saw edge...

Last update on 2020-09-29 at 02:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



Bryan Lynch
Written by 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. Recently, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. Read more of Bryan's articles.

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