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Yeah, You Should Keep a Utility Shovel in Your Trunk

Need to dig yourself out of a ditch? Chop down a tree? Fend off a roving horde of the undead? Grab a utility shovel.

The trunk of a car is its own sort of tool shed. And, among the jumper cables, road flares, tie-downs, bungie cords, first aid kits, and other emergency supplies there should be another woefully under-appreciated tool: the car shovel. A multi-tool in a shovel’s body, a good utility shovel can dig your car out of trouble. But it’s also handy for chopping away branches, clearing pathways, and battling roving hordes of the undead that happen to ruin your road- or camping trip, earning it another name — a survival shovel — and a place in the pantheon of car essentials.

A far cry from your grandma’s gardening shovel, the best utility shovels are made of high-grade materials like carbon, have a wide handle and sharp spade point, and are collapsible or folding. They also feature rows of serrated teeth or a beveled edge so you can hack or saw away when necessary. In short, they belong next to your tire iron and spare. Here, then, are four excellent options.

In the world of specialty knives and tools, SOG is one of the most respected names in the game. Known for cranking out durable, superior quality gear, their Entrenching Tool is no exception.

Made of high carbon steel, the folding shovel is one of the best values around. Users praise its unique triangular handle, which makes it sturdy and easy to operate. Additionally, the tempered blade is lined with a row of sharp teeth, ideal for slashing through whatever gets in its way. Stow it away in its ballistic nylon sheath, throw it your car, or strap it to your belt loop if you’re on the move. Either way, it’ll quickly become an indispensable favorite.

There’s no denying that the M48 Kommando Survival Shovel looks seriously badass. The shovel head is constructed of tempered stainless steel with a sleek, matte-black oxide coating.

The sharpened shovel serves as dual-purpose tool, with one concave edge great for chopping, and another serrated edge perfectly suited for all of your sawing needs. It also boasts an ergonomic, injection-molded nylon handle that’s 30 percent fiberglass, making it light but virtually indestructible. Especially popular with campers and outdoor enthusiasts, it’s earned high ratings from legions of satisfied fans.

Another multifunctional powerhouse, this portable folding shovel from IUNIO is ideal for the Bear Gryllses in your life.

Built to tackle the extreme, it was specially designed based on feedback collected from intrepid outdoor enthusiasts. This small shovel comes with all of the bells and whistles, including a slew of supplemental tools (think hexagonal wrench, pickax, nail extractor, fish scaler, and more). The military-grade multitool is built from high carbon steel, making it completely wear-resistant and hard-wearing. And thanks to its ingenious extension bar, you can adjust the length based on your height and even use it for stand-up digging, a particularly nice feature if you find yourself needing a car snow shovel.

A military-grade multitool that weighs just a couple of pounds.

In addition to being a heavy-duty shovel, the FiveJoy Military Folding Shovel is also outfitted with an ax, hoe, hammer, rescue knife, wire cutter, bottle opener, firestarter, whistle, glass-breaker, paracord, and more. The blade and knife are made from heat-treated solid carbon steel and the knife itself boasts aerospace-grade aluminum. Measuring a smidge more than 21 inches in length when fully extended, the lightweight wonder is just over 2 pounds. It’s safe to say calling this bad boy versatile is an understatement.

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