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I was thinking today about replacing my SOG entrenching tool (fold up shovel) with a full size shovel head.

My thinking is inspired from the Cold Steal spear heads that you can buy without a handle. A shovel is generally not a tool you reach for in an emergency but a great tool for anyone who's going to spend time outdoors. The little fold up shovels are a great deal or work to use. The lack of a long handle makes them an ergonomic nightmare. And I've never handled one of those fold up shovels that felt like they wouldn't break with moderate use.

I thought replacing the fold up shovel with a full size shovel head would be a great idea. Once I get where I'm going I find a suitable piece of wood, jam it into the handle opening and now I've got a full size shovel which is much more effective.

Weight wise, the shovel head will probably equal the full fold up shovel.

The shovel head will take up greater surface space but possibly less bulk depending on how the handle stem is angled and from the looks of it there are a lot of choices in that department.

What are your thoughts?
 

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My limited experience tells me big shovels work best with big handles ....downsize the handle and the shovel head needs to be downsized ....though there seems like there would be a middle ground....which, of course, won't be particularly lightweight ... but could be more easily strapped to yer pack or stuffed into the trunk of yer car or Jeep etc...
I have small folding and fixed handle shovels in all my cars .... and since I don't expect to dig my way to China with one ... its a compromise that fits under a seat easily.
Be careful with the folding ones ...a moment of inattentiveness allowed one to fold up and smash my hand while camping... not an experience I care to repeat.
 

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COLD HEARTLESS BREED
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I like the Cold Steel style fixed shovel, I use a older East German square bladed spade and re-profiled the blade to a point. The point has a flat face about an inch or so to break into the ground but not curl, also the left side is "beveled" to act as a vine chopper.
Cleaned up it makes an acceptable fry pan.
 

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Cold Steel Shovel Rebuttal

It seems awesome to have the CS Spetz shovel. It might even be that way. Let me tell you one place it sucks though. The snow. It doesn't have depth when scooping, it doesn't have width, and it has zero friction to keep the snow/dirt on the blade and that is its worst quality. I just left MN and it absolutely sucked there except for one use. It could chop ice after the road scraper came by and could sort of shovel out around your vehicle. It was not good at anything but chopping ice.
 

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I wouldn't ditch the entrenching tool. I have done a lot of digging with one and the best part of it is opening it half way and using as a pick for stubborn ground. You will loose this ability with a shovel head plus finding and making a handle would suck. I think it would be better to have separate tools for separate jobs. And for hunting you can always throw that e tool as a rabbit stick. We used to get board and huck them as axes into a piece of plywood in afghan you can get a good through on them
 

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Do you routinely encounter big digging chores?
 

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I figure that in an INCH scenario I will be establishing a new home and gardening. I will also need fire fighting tools as well because there will be no one to call on to deal with a forest fire .
Just good common sense.
My Pulaski makes the best digger for breaking up soil and of course a good axe as well.
I have been making a walking stick with many attachments including a shovel head.
A lot of kids are geared for an week end excursion, for which, little kid tools are fine.
Early miners had no wall mart to run to for tools, so they had to take big boy tools because it was real work they were intending on doing, and not simply for the weekend.
I like taking a walking staff for probing the trail ahead so that in the event of a rattler I can deal with it properly before it becomes a problem.
 

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This is an untested idea that is coming to me, but what about if you took your folding shovel and some 550 cord, and if you where going to use it to do a lot of digging you could lash a bigger handle to it?

It may turn out to be too wobby, too difficult to get a good tight lashing, or maybe where you lash it will wear on the ground and wear the cord through too quickly but it might be worth a shot while your out there experimenting.
 

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I've had a couple of tool kits with exchangeable heads on my Amazon wish list for a while.
The less expensive one is from Hi-Lift, called the Hi-Lift Jack HA-500 Handle-All Multi-Purpose Tool for about $125.


The more expensive one of from Inteletool, called the Inteletool IVRK Heavy Duty Commercial Grade Interchangeable Telescopic Vehicle Recovery Duffel Bag Tool Kit for about $300.

http://www.amazon.com/Inteletool-IVRK-Commercial-Interchangeable-Telescopic/dp/B00AK9LKAK/ref=sr_1_8?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1400464192&sr=1-8

Both of these kits are way too heavy for anything besides keeping in a vehicle, which I what I had in mind, but I thought I’d bring them to your attention, in case you wanted to borrow from their design if you make your own shovel head.

You could also buy the less expensive Hi-Lift kit, and just take the shovel head and handles with you in their broken down state.
 

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If you think an E-tool feels flimsy then wait till you jam a stick you find in the woods into a shovel blade and take a scoop or two. Shovel handles are made of specific woods and very carefully fitted to the blade. Anything less and they break.

The older E-tools with straight wooden handles are a little easier to use in my experience. The D handles really are too short.

It has been said before the E-tool probably does it's best work when folded 90 degrees into a hoe shape. Works well as both pick and scoop when folded that way.
 

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I am not fond of round handles for the Pulaski or axe . been there done that doesn't work.
The oval design of the handle has every thing to do with it's capability of standing up to real work.
I broke a worn out handle on a fire fighting crew , and the foreman handed me an axe with a pipe welded to it .
I took that to the tree I was working, and a few people watched as I work it normally and it bent, and it was hard to keep the head strait the round handle turns as you swing .
Axe handles are oval on purpose.
If you look at a felling axe they are even flatter narrower .
Chances are ,that if your bugging out to the woods your going to be doing a lot more wood processing than you do living in a comfortable home. which means that tool has to stand up to real work 12 / 7 /365 .
Survival in the woods is full time effort, and you can't be just cutting wood all day . A real axe and real saw are going to make every effort count , more so that the little hatchet folding saw that takes 10X the time and effort.
If you are a nomad then ya toy tools are the ticket ,no garden, no shelter, no security.
But once your out there and discover what winter is like, and all you have is toy tools what then?
Some tools one can get away with make shifting on a temporary basis only. But in the end it takes the real thing.
How is your 2 man tent going to stand up in 3 feet of snow all winter? Or constant rain day in and day out ?
There is no hope of going to what home use to be .
It's no longer a week end trip .
What keeps your remaining food "if any" secure from animals?
Not trying to derail the OP but the aim here is to survive having the right tools .
 

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I always carry the E-tool in my vehicles.

Having said that I am all about the right tool for the job so when I go out camping or wheeling I take along a quality long handled shovel, pick and axe.

A year ago when the world was supposed to end on Dec. 21 2012 a group of us went out on a wheeling and camping excursion so we could "watch the world end" from a mountain top. ;)

I ended up getting stuck in a ditch when there was almost 4' of snowpack up there.
My damn shovel broke and I was left to dig out with my E-Tool.
Thank the Lord one of the other members of the group happened along and was able to give me a tug out of the snow bank.

That was a PITA, but when my other shovel broke it held up.

I sure wouldn't recommend relying on an E-Tool to dig out of a snow bank but I wouldn't have wanted to be without one when my other shovel broke either.
 
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