Gerber 30-000075 E-Tool Folding Spade with Serrated Blade
I was looking for a folding shovel to take on hikes and was stuck between varying criteria:
– Wooden handled shovels are both light and durable, but cumbersome to pack
– heavier folding shovels are durable and semi-compact, but heavy
– lighter folding shovels are….lighter and compact, but lack durability.
The Gerber 30 falls under the second category, and it can certainly take a beating. Compared to lighter shovels I’ve picked up in other places, like the Coleman tri-fold, or ones at Home Depot. The Gerber shovel plate is a heavier thicker steel, resists torque well, and can cut through roots and clay. Lighter shovels don’t have that ability, and wear down much more quickly.
Having said that, I do believe that for backpacking, the Gerber 30 is just too heavy. It’s only 2.9lbs, but when every lb counts, dropping 1.5lbs and getting a 1.xlbs light duty shovel would still be a huge improvement over trying to dig holes with your hands or a knife. Either way, having a shovel of some kind in backcountry hiking seems smart, if only to dig campfire and bury waste. While the Gerber 30 could be taken backpacking as it does fold up and isn’t excessively heavy, it’s really be a better addition to car-camping, or as an emergency shovel to leave in your car (next to your emergency crowbar and axe, of course). m
For some details…the steel shovel piece is thicker than most folding shovels you’d find in hardware stores, won’t bend easy. The rear of the shovel plate is bent, making it easy for you to put your foot on it when digging tough soil/roots/clay. One side is serrated, but it’s not really a saw. There are basically two notches, one straight for digging and one angled for hoeing. The notches set deep into the screw handle, so once set, you won’t have to worry about movement. The great thing about that is long term strength for the locking mechanism. When the locking mechanism is merely tightening, or a shallow gear, you have to worry about wear and tear over time with lots of use….the locking mechanism would stop working after a while. With the deep notched system, the locking mechanism on the Gerber 30 won’t wear down….in fact, it’s a tough enough system that I imagine other parts of the Gerber 30 will break before that part does…The disadvantage of this two point notch locking mechanism is…you only have the two points. If you want to lock at any other angle…well…you can’t. The triangular handle is what allows for the tri-fold, but while this is helpful in a lot of situations, I imagine it’s not always necessary and sometimes in the way.
At the end of the day, I’d say there are two ultra-durable folding shovels on the market today. There’s this one, at an expensive but semi-reasonable price, and then there’s the Glock folding shovel, which is ridiculously expensive for what it is. So if you need something semi-compact and tough enough to last for several years, and…you don’t worry about shaving off that extra 1.5lbs cuz you’re backpacking, then this is probably the perfect shovel for you. Use it, abuse it, and it’ll keep on ticking.