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Silly little folding shovels- what good are they? 1250

Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« on: February 17, 2017, 04:55:10 PM »
You often see those silly little folding shovels from Gerber and SOG, the generic cheapos in Army Surplus stores and eBay and you wonder just how good they are?  I mean they are probably okay in sand and soft dirt, but really, what good are they when things get hard?  And yes, I mean hard, not difficult.  Specifically, I mean rock hard, packed down, super frozen ice.  The kind that starts as water (duh) then freezes, then has a huge weight placed on top of it, is occasionally warmed up slightly and refrozen until it is as dense as it can possibly get.  In Canada we call it simply "winter."



I decided to give the Gerber Gorge folding shovel a bit of a workout and see just how much it was up for before it cried for mercy.  As you can see in the above photo, we have a decent amount of snow, and I park my Jeep under the overhang of the landlord's garage.  If you look closely, you can see there's not much clearance between the top of my Jeep and the overhang.



There's only about four inches in between, which is bad when there's 4-6 inches of compacted snow and ice underneath- as I drive out I run the risk of damaging my fiber glass top and the overhang of the garage, and neither of those is a good thing.  So, I need to dig out around my parking space so I don't have to keep parking as wide as you see in the above photo and annoying the guy who uses the space I am currently hanging over in.  It's a serious job- I hope the Gorge is up to it, because all I have for a snow shovel is a pusher type with a plastic blade, and it is no good at all for chipping ice or packed snow!   :ahhh



It helps if you know how to use one of these small shovels- and yes, there is a technique to it.  First off, you have t be on the ground.  I find getting on my knees works best- at my age that is often painful, but luckily for now this job comes with built in ice packs, so I'm okay.  :D



Once you are down, grab the shovel with both hands (one on the shaft, one on the end) and ram the blade down repeatedly into the snow and ice (or sand or dirt, whatever you are digging into) to break it up, then scoop it out with the shovel.  It's actually very effective when used this way, and as you can see, it dug in quite deeply over and over again.  The only drawback was that after repeatedly striking the hard ice, the hand that was over the butt of the shovel started to hurt.... but then what do you expect when you repeatedly hit something hard?  It's not the shovel's fault, and in fact the shovel was up for a lot more, as the edge of the shovel didn't even get dinged, and at no point did it feel like it was going to break, collapse or fold.  My bones were a different story!   :ahhh



As you can see, the Gorge was excellent at chiselling away a lot of hard packed snow, and I was able to clear a large area with relative ease.  Yeah my hands hurt a bit, but kneeling allowed me to keep my back almost completely straight through the whole thing and so I am not as worn out as I could be after an activity like that.



In fact, it is such an excellent Jeep accessory, it looks like the Jeep was built for it! 



Since I'd only gotten some of the snow up and the ice was still underneath I figured I would put down some sand for traction, and again, the Gorge helped out nicely so I didn't have to get my hands dirty.  You may not know this about me, but as I worked in a lot of restaurants in my younger days I am a compulsive hand washer, and I can't honestly tell you how much I appreciate an opportunity to not get too dirty...  :facepalm:



Now that I had some decent traction I could move the Jeep out of the spot and start cleaning up the sides of my parking space- and let me tell you, the hard work was just beginning!  You can see from the above picture just how thick the ice was under the snow- and how solid.  The ice was just over an inch thick, plus the hard packed snow on top.  The only reason I managed to break the ice here is because it is right under where the hot engine is when I get home.



After using the Gorge to break up the hard packed snow and some of the ice that would cooperate, this is the mess I was left with.  I decided this was a good time to switch tp the pusher shovel, as moving several hundred pounds of snow with the tiny blade on the Gorge was far beyond the amount of sanity I had left for this job!   :ahhh



Even with the pusher it was a bit of work to move it all, but it was a lot easier than the alternative!  Once the broken up hard packed snow and ice chunks were moved you could get a sense for how deep the Gorge was able to dig.



Not too shabby for a little folding shovel, is it?   :pok:

Especially when you consider that every time it was thrust in, it hit some very hard and very unyeilding ice or, in some places, the frozen asphalt underneath.  This little shovel is a beast in a very small and convenient package, and at no time during the process did I think it wasn't up to the task.  Here's the finished space:



Not too shabby indeed!  Congratulations Gerber, and thanks for making a shovel that is as tough as a Canadian Winter!

Def



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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,456
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 05:08:06 PM »
Well done! (Grant and Gerber)
I used the triangle type in the Army, and digging foxxholes with those is no fun.
Now I have a older (ww2 style) surplus one with a longer wooden handle, wich is much better to use.


PS.
If you throw some salt on the ice/snow and let it work for a few minutes, breaking the ice is much easier. ;)

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Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 05:08:41 PM »
That was a neat little review! You should do that again next week with another folding shovel, and see how they stack up. I think both SOG and Cold Steel make some, plus the army surplus type.

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Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 05:10:28 PM »
Good show little Gerber   :tu:
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 05:49:27 PM »
Well done! (Grant and Gerber)
I used the triangle type in the Army, and digging foxxholes with those is no fun.
Now I have a older (ww2 style) surplus one with a longer wooden handle, wich is much better to use.


PS.
If you throw some salt on the ice/snow and let it work for a few minutes, breaking the ice is much easier. ;)

Salt is only good to about -10, and it's colder than that here today- or at least it was when I was out this morning, waking up the neighbors... :P

Def

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Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 05:54:20 PM »
That was a neat little review! You should do that again next week with another folding shovel, and see how they stack up. I think both SOG and Cold Steel make some, plus the army surplus type.

I have the SOG and Cold Steel ones too, so I imagine you will see them soon.  In fact, here is a pic of Megan in the snow with the SOG entrenching tool from two years ago.



Here's the post if you want to read it.

I have also used either the Gerber or the SOG (I can't recall which one) to dig a path through a pile of snow and ice left by a plow when I didn't have another shovel with me.  It wasn't easy, but it worked.

Def

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,450 Τετραφάρμακος
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 09:10:43 PM »
I use mine rarely, but when I do, nothing else can do the job.
No Life Club Posts: 3,313
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 09:30:54 PM »
They look a lot small than the army surplus ones. I keep mine in the van for emergencies.
I don't suppose using hot water would be practical for a large area?

Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 36,984
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 09:44:47 PM »
Good review Grant :like: I picked one of the SOG ones up (I think :think: )  a couple years ago and need to throw it in my truck for when I am out :tu:

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,503
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 10:03:53 PM »
Nice review. I always liked the triangle handled ones better for some reason but nice to see these hold up

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,844 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2017, 01:15:10 AM »
After collecting firearms, before getting into MT, I was collecting military folding shovels.
Allow me to give some inputs.

The tri-fold style shovels are great for carrying in pouch, but they are flimsy, uncomfortable and just too short to use.
Any folding shovels with screw/lock mechanism are not favorited, as it undone itself during usage due to vibration.
Anything "Mil-Spec" should be avoided, they are sub-standard. 
Most if not all "SHTF zombie killing prepper" shovels have their own issues, some are too heavy, some are too much designed as a weapon and not function well as shovel, most are too expensive. The biggest problem of this type are they are made to make money off you, as they aren't really mean to be use.

Enter the Bundeswehr issue folding shovel.
This thing is awesome, well built, the locking mechanism allows quick deployment and secure lockup.
The steel is decent, I sharpen mine to a fine edge for chopping roots, surprisingly it held the edge quite well.
It comes with a pick, which is very handy when digging tough soil.
Size is just right, big enough to use and small enough to carry on belt, I dig my share of trenches with it, no complains really.



This one is mine, customized, used, abused and standing by for more.

There is another one on my SHTF load out, it is more useful than a pistol IMO.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 04:11:22 AM by Kampfer »

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Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2017, 02:19:42 AM »
I had many of the same thoughts and I expected this shovel to come loose at some point, but it really didn't.

Part of me occasionally wished I had the SOG since it also has the pick/spike on it, while this version of the Gerber shovel has a hammer, but in the end it isn't a good idea to use a tool at 90 degrees when chipping into ice askating the broken bits of ice fly back at your face and can be very dangerous.

Unfortunately I know that one first hand.

Def

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Re: Silly little folding shovels
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2017, 10:11:30 AM »
When I put together my metal-detecting gear, I came across a folding shovel issued by the GDR (German"democratic"Republic, the once soviet occupied eastern part of Germany) military Forces on a fleamarket. I had had a couple of deja-vous when using something produced in the GDR (poor quality, poor design, poor material), so I was ready to skip that shovel and get something real. But the seller wanted only 2€  :facepalm:

I ended up with the only GDR-built item I actually like, which has been digging, hacking and eating roots for years!
Tomcat

http://up.picr.de/16868585xy.jpg
« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 10:15:05 AM by Tomcat_81 »

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Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2017, 01:16:10 PM »
That does look interesting but it also looks a bit flimsy at the junction of the handle and spade.  I am not sure I could ever bring myself to use it that hard.

I've also been looking at metal detectors lately and I think I may get one at some point.

Def

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Full Member Posts: 181
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2017, 05:44:54 PM »
I've got a few different army-type shovels.  The ones that can fold into a T-shape seem the most useful for me, hauling dirt up from a hole, like when burying a beloved pet. I had to help my mom the other day with this, and the red one on the far left (that I found at a flea market as a camper's shovel) was what I had in the car.   It worked suprisingly well for the job, since I had also brought along a regular shovel to break up the soil, but that wasn't enough for cleaning out the hole.  The folding shovel works great for scraping the dirt to fill the hole, just pulling it.
From left to right, is the camper's shovel (unknown vintage), WW2 era Swiss, WW2 era US, Cold Steel.


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R
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 29,765 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2017, 07:41:26 PM »
That certainly looks like a great test Boss, and a real workout.  :o   I keep a compact snow shovel in my car winter kit, but it is a plastic head and would be utterly useless against ice.  Time to upgrade perhaps? :think:

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Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2017, 07:53:20 PM »
That one kampfer has is nice, but I think the ultimate one is by crovel, but I'm not dishing out over $100 for a little shovel, so I kinda made my own from a piece of diamond plate, a crowbar and a hammer. A little heavy and not for a backpack/camping trim but a good one to throw in the jeep!
JR

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2017, 08:53:36 PM »
I've got a few different army-type shovels.  The ones that can fold into a T-shape seem the most useful for me, hauling dirt up from a hole, like when burying a beloved pet. I had to help my mom the other day with this, and the red one on the far left (that I found at a flea market as a camper's shovel) was what I had in the car.   It worked suprisingly well for the job, since I had also brought along a regular shovel to break up the soil, but that wasn't enough for cleaning out the hole.  The folding shovel works great for scraping the dirt to fill the hole, just pulling it.
From left to right, is the camper's shovel (unknown vintage), WW2 era Swiss, WW2 era US, Cold Steel.


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Sorry to hear that man.  I have been down that road a few times myself and I feel for you.

Because ice is so brittle, using a shovel at 90 degrees to chip away at it causes the ice to shatter and fly at your face and trust me, that's not fun.

That certainly looks like a great test Boss, and a real workout.  :o   I keep a compact snow shovel in my car winter kit, but it is a plastic head and would be utterly useless against ice.  Time to upgrade perhaps? :think:

Yes.  At a mere $25 it is well worth it.

Def

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Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2017, 09:40:29 PM »
That does look interesting but it also looks a bit flimsy at the junction of the handle and spade.  I am not sure I could ever bring myself to use it that hard.

I've also been looking at metal detectors lately and I think I may get one at some point.

Def

That's what I thought - the flimsy part in the middle is solid (and, surprisingly, even though of GDR make, well-tempered) steel. I've literally tried to break that thing (not wanting to admit that this little piece of "real existing socialism" would outlast my career as a detectorist. ;-)

Quite a hobby by the way, relaxing, outdoors, quite sporty and a bit o surprise included ;-)

Tomcat

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,844 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2017, 09:42:09 PM »
but I think the ultimate one is by crovel,
I had that one, not good.
Crovel is a fine example of something that looks good on paper, but doesn't work in hand.
1st, overall is too heavy to carry.
2nd, Balance is horrible. You have a hammer hanging in the back when you use the shovel or have a shovel hanging in the back of you hammer. Just very clumsy. Not to mention the crowbar keep stabbing you when digging.
3rd, Lots functions but none really works well.
4th, just too expensive.

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,857 Plumbers Know Their Crap!!
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2017, 09:50:14 PM »
but I think the ultimate one is by crovel,
I had that one, not good.
Crovel is a fine example of something that looks good on paper, but doesn't work in hand.
1st, overall is too heavy to carry.
2nd, Balance is horrible. You have a hammer hanging in the back when you use the shovel or have a shovel hanging in the back of you hammer. Just very clumsy. Not to mention the crowbar keep stabbing you when digging.
3rd, Lots functions but none really works well.
4th, just too expensive.
What about the 2nd one?
JR

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,844 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2017, 09:51:34 PM »
but I think the ultimate one is by crovel,
I had that one, not good.
Crovel is a fine example of something that looks good on paper, but doesn't work in hand.
1st, overall is too heavy to carry.
2nd, Balance is horrible. You have a hammer hanging in the back when you use the shovel or have a shovel hanging in the back of you hammer. Just very clumsy. Not to mention the crowbar keep stabbing you when digging.
3rd, Lots functions but none really works well.
4th, just too expensive.
What about the 2nd one?
JR
?

EDC: Steel Talon, Spirit, Patriot, LD02
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,857 Plumbers Know Their Crap!!
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2017, 10:02:34 PM »
but I think the ultimate one is by crovel,
I had that one, not good.
Crovel is a fine example of something that looks good on paper, but doesn't work in hand.
1st, overall is too heavy to carry.
2nd, Balance is horrible. You have a hammer hanging in the back when you use the shovel or have a shovel hanging in the back of you hammer. Just very clumsy. Not to mention the crowbar keep stabbing you when digging.
3rd, Lots functions but none really works well.
4th, just too expensive.
What about the 2nd one?
JR
?
This one..
JR

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,844 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2017, 10:04:58 PM »
That is the one I was commenting on.

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,857 Plumbers Know Their Crap!!
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2017, 10:06:42 PM »
That is the one I was commenting on.
Oh, cause I like the first setup better, that's why I made mine that way.
JR

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,844 Tactical Desk Jockey
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2017, 10:11:22 PM »
One key difference between a MT and a shovel, is how long do you use it to perform a task.

MT, most the time you use to cut one thing, turn one screw, etc and done.

Shovel, other than burying your human waste, any digging tasks could take up 5 minutes minimum.
It is no easy task, so if it is uncomfortable to use, you will be in a lot of pain. 
 

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Sr. Member Posts: 253
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2017, 01:37:17 AM »
The forum members are facilitators - I just spent more money on a couple of shovels because of you people :D

Several weeks ago we were parked in town and came across a lady who had pulled her car into a snowbank on the side of the street and got stuck.  My wife and I attempted to help her by pushing however her idea of getting out was to use as much spinning of tires as possible.  Eventually with a third fellow pushing we were able to get her back on the street.  I was a bit concerned about getting run over in the process and when I saw Grant's (chief facilitator) article about the shovel, decided I needed one.  One cannot of course put a price on safety >:D

As a result I am now the proud owner of a 1944 US army shovel and a German army shovel complete with pick and leather "scabbard".  The German shovel was obtained by way of my favourite local army surplus store - I know the owner and he searched through his stock to find it for me.  My camera battery died so I have only one photo (and yes my deck railing needs paint :rant:).



John.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2017, 01:56:35 AM »
Glad I could help!

Seriously, I have had my doubts about these kinds of shovels in the past and thought they weren't good for much more than sand or soft soil, but thy keep issuing them to the military so I figured there must be something to it.  Not that Milspec is always a good thing....  :ahhh

When it came to the Gorge I had pretty well expected to hurt my hand at some point when it failed, so I was wearing some heavy leather, padded work gloves.

In the end the only reason my hands hurt was from repeated pounding, not from the shovel failing.  At least as far as the Gorge is concerned, I'm a believer.

Def

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JP ca

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Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2017, 02:13:22 AM »
The forum members are facilitators - I just spent more money on a couple of shovels because of you people :D

Several weeks ago we were parked in town and came across a lady who had pulled her car into a snowbank on the side of the street and got stuck.  My wife and I attempted to help her by pushing however her idea of getting out was to use as much spinning of tires as possible.  Eventually with a third fellow pushing we were able to get her back on the street.  I was a bit concerned about getting run over in the process and when I saw Grant's (chief facilitator) article about the shovel, decided I needed one.  One cannot of course put a price on safety >:D

As a result I am now the proud owner of a 1944 US army shovel and a German army shovel complete with pick and leather "scabbard".  The German shovel was obtained by way of my favourite local army surplus store - I know the owner and he searched through his stock to find it for me.  My camera battery died so I have only one photo (and yes my deck railing needs paint :rant:).

(Image removed from quote.)

John.
Nevermind the paint. What you need is an adult beverage. That would look better in the pic. 😉
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,813 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Silly little folding shovels- what good are they?
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2017, 02:25:09 AM »
Especially if you open it with the shovel!  :D

Def

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