The average person would call them small shovels, but entrenching tools can be lifesavers. One thing is certain: They make life easier for the person who finds him or herself in a survival situation. They’re small and lightweight, so they can be easily stowed or carried. Every ounce makes a difference when you’re humping that ruck, after all. And that little shovel can be pretty important to survival—just ask the soldier who carries an entrenching tool to dig a hole for protection from incoming fire.

An entrenching tool can be used to dig a slit trench or a sanitation ditch, to bury trash, or to clear a spot to pitch a tent. It may be small, but it sure works better than bare hands or a stone. And because it’s small, it can easily be stored in the back of a vehicle to help dig out if you’re stuck. Some designs have serrated edges for cutting, others have a pick for digging in hard soil, and more than one has been used as a last-resort weapon in a desperate fight. So, little as it may be, an entrenching tool can serve an important purpose in your kit. Here’s a look at some of the best around.


For More Information



Cold Steel Knives

Gerber Gear

SOG Knives



20 Modern Mountain Man Survival Tools

Top 13 Lifesaving Emergency Rescue Tools

10 Essential Survival Tools

Top 20 New Survival Products for Fall 2014

15 Must-Have Items For Your Winter Vehicle Survival Kit


This article was originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 magazine. Print and Digital Subscriptions available here.

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