It’s time to put the pedal to the metal and see how you survive in the wilderness. SHTF, you’re on your own, and you need to go back to your primitive roots to live off the land and survive.
If you are smart about it, you can live in the wilderness until civilization calms down again, and you can return unscathed.
If you’re planning to do that, you need the best tools to help carry you through this rough patch.
The best survival shovel multi tool is going to carry you through more trials than you can ever imagine.
As an ultra important piece of your bug out bag and survival preparedness, we thought it best to inspect every multitool we could get our hands on, and put them to the test against one another.
After breaking down every feature and specification to the core, this elite list of the top five multi tools are the last pieces of survival gear you’ll ever need.
Best Survival Multi Tools – Reviews And Recommendations For 2020
Zune Lotoo Annihilate Tactical Shovel
Zune Lotoo made the best multi tool for survival when you break it down piece by piece, and that’s exactly what we’re about to do. First of all, I want to mention that there’s tons of utility here while the entire shovel weighs just a tad bit under four pounds.
The lightweight carry is awesome, but the shovel head itself is where I want to position my focus. With boot holds that tie directly into the head of the shovel, the head is built nice and tough so it won’t give out on you when you press the spade tip into the ground under the heel of your boot.
Designed to prevent dirt from sticking to it there are four air holes and a textured center which really comes in handy. When you get under the handle, you’ll find a rather lengthy knife with a decent sharp edge to it. This is great for whittling, so if you need to make your own arrows to hunt with, it’ll serve its purpose.
This is a 23-in-1 multitool. Some of the other tools include a rather gnarly looking fish hook, a whistle, and fire starter. Speaking of fire, it’s important to know that this shovel head is entirely flame retardant, so if you have to push down kindling in your fire pit, this is how you should do it.
Utilize extender poles to make the shovel longer, giving you plenty of length so you aren’t breaking your lower back while you try and dig out a fire pit. Some folks want to make long-term survival shelters by digging underground bases of operation, and this shovel is going to help you achieve that in no time. The shovel head itself is designed to handle a massive weight of over 1,050 lbs without bending or breaking.
Last but not least, there’s a lifetime warranty on this entire kit, so if you’re ever in doubt, put it to the test and see how it holds up. I highly doubt you’ll ever need to redeem this warranty, but if you do, Zune Lotoo has a great team that will answer your questions straight away.
Type: Shovel multitool
Weight: 4 lbs
Size: 11.8” x 8.8” x 4.2”
Tyger Auto Shovel Compact Multifunction Camping Tool
This is another shovel-based multitool, and it was a hard choice for the top spot on this list. Tyger makes a fantastic camping, survival, all-around useful shovel with a grand total of sixteen different tools included in this kit.
It has the best multi tool survival knife, an ice pick, a screwdriver, knife, fire starter, and more. While it doesn’t provide the same level of utility as Zune Lotoo, it comes with its own unique features that really set it apart.
One of the biggest things you need from a multitool is durability. It’s unclear just what you’re going to put it through, but it has to be built tough enough to handle the test and really stand up to the challenge. Anodized aluminum holds hundreds of pounds of pressure without snapping or bending, allowing you to use this shovel as leverage when moving rocks or trying to pry something open.
One thing that Tyger really did well was give a viable maximum length to this shovel. Too many survival shovel multi tools make you hunch over and hurt your lower back just to dig anything up, but here, you can extend it up to 36.6”, with two other smaller sizes available depending on how you use the extension poles.
Unfolding the shovel to actually extend the spade and lock it into place is fairly simple, although the process is rigid. You have to apply a lot of pressure, which can be difficult, but also shows how tight everything was built to ensure proper traction and durability the entire way through. The only major change I would make here is to make the spade itself a little more ergonomic so dirt didn’t cake onto it so easily.
However, I would have liked to see them sweeten the deal with a lifetime warranty. With a product like this, it really shows confidence from the manufacturer when they back it for life. Tyger dropped the ball here by only including a one-year warranty with their purchase, which is a bit weak compared to others on this list.
Type: Shovel multitool
Weight: 3 lbs
Size: 36.6” x 8.7” x 6.6”
Iunio Folding Shovel Survival Multitool
This is the last shovel on our list, and it packs a punch just like the others. In this multitool, you get a wire saw, compass, safety hammer, screwdriver, hoe, pickaxe, shovel, and more. It’s a lot packed into a little item.
The shovel itself extends up to 38”, which is a little bit longer than the Tyger shovel we just reviewed a minute ago. The thing is, the grips on the handle aren’t quite as good as Tyger, but they should do just fine for most uses.
The shovel head is the star of the show here. You get one flat, sharp edge on the right side, and a serrated toothed edge on the other side. At the bottom of that serrated side, there’s a bottle opener, which comes in handy (as long as the shovel is clean, of course).
Your serrated edge is designed to be a makeshift hand saw, which doesn’t take away from the wire saw that’s also included inside the handle. Iunio also includes a various set of six screwdriver heads, and a compact way to store them when you’re on the go.
Iunio did drop the ball on the compass, though. I honestly wouldn’t put any stock in it, because it doesn’t really send the needle in the right way. It was tested side by side with a full-sized compass, and it just didn’t quite hold up the same way. Still, the remaining multitools in this shovel more than make up for it.
The shovel folds up well, and it actually comes with a decent carrying bag so you don’t have to take up extra room on the inside of your bug out bag. It’s a bit heavier than the other options we’ve seen, barely scraping the barrel when it comes to lightweight shovels. I would not classify this as ultralight.
Some of the best features include the dim, strobe, and hard glare functions on the flashlight at the bottom of the hilt, as well as the safety hammer for breaking car windows. The safety hammer is fairly accessible as well, so you don’t have to unravel the entire shovel to access it in a pinch.
Last but not least, Iunio includes a lifetime warranty, which really kicks Tyger’s lousy one-year warranty straight in the behind. The only downside is that for warranty-related issues, you have to contact them through Amazon’s chat function, which can take a little longer than email or phone to hear back from.
Type: Shovel multitool
Weight: 4.8 lbs
Size: 38” x 6.2” x 1.9”
Survival Hammer Multitool
The shovels are gone, and this multitool by QuntionSt emulates a full-fledged hammer while still being as useful as a fully functional multitool. This 12-in-1 piece comes with a wire cutter, regular pliers, the hammer head, cone hammer back, sharp knife, screwdriver, saw, and even a bottle opener among other things.
It’s ridiculously inexpensive compared to the shovels we’ve seen. That’s partially due to the scaled-down size and smaller amount of materials, of course, but it’s still worth noting if you’re looking for a budget-ready multitool that you can really get behind.
The brushed metal handle is comfortable, but it’s not very tactile. If you have the option, some sticky back grips would do absolute wonders on the side here. You just have to be careful that it doesn’t impede upon the tools from actually ejecting from the handle when you need to use them.
It’s one of the best multi tool survival gadgets we’ve used, and though it does offer less utility than a multitool shovel, it’s excellent in its own right. The cone hammer is perhaps one of the most effective safety hammers out there, so if you need to break through a window in a pinch, this seriously does the trick.
So what’s the appeal, here? It’s useful at just 0.7 lbs, making this the best multitool for EDC use. I’m not exactly keen on carrying a big ‘ol shovel with me when I walk through the city streets during the day, but a small on-hand EDC kit could seriously benefit from this, or the Gerber tool we’re about to review next. Either way, you win.
Type: Hammer multitool
Weight: 0.7 oz
Size: 5.4” x 2.7” x 0.8”
Gerber Suspension Titanium Multi-Plier
What is the best multi tool for survival? Arguably, one that’s lightweight and easy to use, no matter how skilled you are with survival tactics. Gerber is the every man’s brand of outdoor tools, and they really knocked it out of the park with the most lightweight tool on this list. I would even be daring enough to say it’s ultralight.
This plier-style multitool is actually a bit more expensive than the survival hammer tool we just saw, but it’s also made out of durable, long-lasting titanium, so you can apply all the pressure you need without it breaking under pressure.
This comes with twelve integrated tools, each of which have their own strengths to them. There is no trade-off on one individual type of tool to make others more powerful, so you don’t have to trade performance on one for another. That’s always a nice feeling.
Included with your purchase, you get a ballistic nylon sheath, which is actually as high quality, if not even better than any carrying case we received with the other four multitools we’ve reviewed on this list today.
For safety, you have a Saf.T.Plus locking mechanism to ensure this stays completely shut. One small detail (and I don’t know if it was intentional or not) that’s really nice is that the knife portion of the multitool is legal in over 60% of US states due to its size, so you’ll run into less issues if you’re ever stopped and a police officer asks what you have the multitool for.
Gerber really puts their money where their mouth is, so they slapped a lifetime warranty on this to ensure you’ll have full confidence in their multitool. They’re one of those brands that have been around for so long and we know them so well that I highly doubt you’ll ever have to redeem that warranty, but the certainty is there if you need it.
Type: Plier multitool
Weight: 0.6 lbs
Size: 4” x 1” x 6”
Best Multi Tool Buying Guide And FAQ
How Useful Are Multi Tools?
Most multitools are just a hare’s breath less useful than a dedicated, full-fledged version of whatever tool they’re representing.
The knife found in the base of a survival shovel isn’t going to be as good as a separately purchased, full tang blade.
A survival hatchet multi tool might have a compass in the hilt, but is that really as powerful as a separate compass with more components/time put into the design?
I’m not discrediting multitools, I’m just saying that they’re scaled-down versions of higher quality, bulkier, more expensive tools.
Multitools are excellent for EDC pouches that you can bring everywhere, lightweight emergency or bug out bags you can store in your truck, and things like that.
One four-pound tool can take the place of an equivalent twelve pounds of lightweight tools that each have their own dedicated use.
It lowers your carry weight, the bulk of what you’re carrying, but it’s just a little less useful than separate dedicated tools.
At the end of the day, I think we should all have some multitools, even if it’s something small like the Gerber multi-plier, just to have that constant utility on-hand in situations where it matters the most.
A survival axe multi tool is also something nice to have, but hatchets are one of those things that I really want full power in without compromise in a multi tool setting.
What to Look for in Survival Multi Tools?
Any multi purpose survival tool has to actually live up to its name, and be multi purpose.
One perfect example of this is the Gerber multi-plier tool that we just reviewed, since it contains a dozen integrated tools all in a compact, lightweight design.
Here are just a few things you should look for in your multi tool:
- Material: Is it made from stainless steel? If so, what grade? Steel comes in many different grades for various uses and densities (think of cutlery-grade steel versus the steel used in a camping stove). Pay attention to the materials being used in your tool; some bend or break easier than others.
- Total Carry Weight: If it’s too heavy, it’s not really worth it to haul in your bug out bag or in your EDC pouch. Lighter alloys (which include stainless steel) make for great carry weights, but you have to position that against the utility of the tool and the durability of the chosen material. It’s a balancing act.
- Utility: How many different things can it do? Can it do those tasks well, or does the tool just barely pass in each category? Utility is a broad term, but the way I see it, it refers to the number of uses and the quality of its effectiveness in each use. User reviews and user-submitted photos help out a lot when trying to determine this.
If it’s not worth your time, skip on to the next one. You have the time to find something that works perfectly with your bug out plans and gear.
Shovel vs. Knife as a Survival Tool
You’d be surprised as to just how powerful a survival shovel can be as a self-defense weapon.
Survival shovels are designed to be sharp, blunt, and abrasive. They’re great survival multi-tools.
If someone were to pull out a 5.5” or smaller knife, there’s not much of a threat.
A tactical shovel with excellent grips on the handle to provide dexterity may be more threatening.
However, if we’re just talking about the man versus wilderness, then a survival shovel is actually going to provide more utility in most scenarios.
These tactical shovels have knives hidden in the handles, just like the Zune Latoo on the top of our list.
I’m not going to pretend that the inclusive knife in any survival shovel is going to compare to a full-tang, 430# stainless steel, carbon-coated blade.
When you buy a survival knife, it’s not part of a kit: it has to perform well on its own and have the necessary features to really carry its own weight.
If you put the knife in a survival shovel up against a bushcraft knife or survival blade (kukri, bowie, etc.), it’s not going to hold a candle against those higher grade knives.
But for utility purposes in a survival situation, it’s still viable.
Knife Laws and Multi Tools
Knife laws vary from state to state, and it’s impossible to say “Yes, get this knife, it’s totally legal.”
In Idaho, you can carry an automatic switchblade and be entirely within your lawful rights. There’s no fixed blade length cap, either.
In Louisiana, that same knife is illegal, and cannot have a blade length of more than five inches.
That makes travelling with a knife pretty difficult, wouldn’t you say?
You need to package your knife so that it’s not accessible if you’re going to travel over state lines.
You can’t have your knife just sitting in your glove compartment, or hanging by your side in a lot of states.
If it’s packaged properly, the argument is that it’s being transported safely, and there’s no clear intent that you planned on using it within the state you were in at the time it was discovered.
You need to protect yourself in this right. Lock the knife in a case with an actual padlock, and keep the keys close.
It’s important to have a reason to bring a knife through a state, such as if you’re selling knives at an expo in a distant state, but you have to travel from A to B in your car.
Intent is everything here.
Multi Tools Will Serve You Well
You know that your tools are important, and even if you can make primitive tools with that survivalist know-how, it’s still better to have lightweight, multi-functional tools at your disposal to carry out multiple tasks and help you with your chances in a survival scenario.
Now that you have a list of the top multitools out there, it’s time to pick and choose.