Gerber Folding Shovel Critique: You will Dig It


Floating someplace involving “awesome and perfect” and “impractical and insubstantial” lies the Gerber E-Tool.

In the word of collapsible shovels, it is the greatest I’ve ever made use of, but that comes with a handful of frustrations we’ll go more than beneath in this assessment.

Gerber E-Tool

Easy, Sturdy, and Lightweight

These are hallmark traits of just about any tool, and this Gerber item unquestionably delivers.

It weighs in at just more than two pounds (or just more than 1 kilo), folds down to the size of a baseball cap, and requires a very good beating with barely a scratch to show for it.

E tool in box
The shovel nonetheless in the box

I can match this shovel into a lightweight hydration pack subsequent to a survival hatchet, knife, and a hammock and barely noticed its presence. When I use it at perform gardening and landscaping it is quick to bring along, tucked below my arm or in what ever carrying container I’ve got handy.

It is proved valuable for projects like digging out perennials, cutting by means of stubborn roots my soil knife cannot perform by means of, weeding (this point is a beast at clearing weeds and grasses), and even serving as a hammering tool.

Exactly where It Shines, It Definitely Shines…

For smaller sized scale projects the E-tool is extremely valuable. I believed a shovel with such a smaller blade would be useless, but I’m content to say I was established incorrect virtually instantly.

In tight quarters a complete-size shovel is just as well a lot to use, even shorter shovels like the ones with the D-grip deal with are just as well huge.

I’m considering of scenarios exactly where I required to transplant a tree and had to crawl about beneath dense undergrowth. These circumstances present virtually zero mobility, and a smaller tool like this 1 by Gerber is phenomenal.

Get a Great Grip

The D-grip deal with tends to make it quick to apply force in these tight quarters, and the shovel blade is sharp and robust sufficient to reduce by means of soil with ease.

That serrated edge of the blade is quite excellent as nicely it cuts by means of roots and fibrous material with ease.

Mainly because of its smaller size it is a breeze to use as a clearing tool for weeds and ground debris. I’m made use of to working with a soil knife or ho for these projects, but I’ve located myself working with the E-Tool a lot more and a lot more normally alternatively.

Mainly because you can lock the blade at several angles, it tends to make obtaining the excellent cutting edge quick as can be, though I’d say that it is at its greatest when in the totally extended position pictured beneath..

I’ve made use of the Gerber E-Tool to transport cement mix, fertilizers, soil, and grass seed from 1 bucket to an additional, and it is quite a lot the excellent size for these projects when you do not have gloves handy.

Mainly because the shovel blade locks at a specific angle, it is also super quick to get the ideal scoop you need to have.

Shovel as a scoop


Very best of all is how quick it is to transport and preserve on your particular person. A sheath is readily available for buy, (Amazon Hyperlink) but I believe it is quick and compact sufficient to travel anyplace you have got a handful of inches of space.

I preserve mine in a pocket of my pack, or at perform I can very easily toss it into a bucket, toolbelt, or any other container.

I’ve even match it into cargo pockets (not advised, the serrated blade added a handful of new loose threads to my shorts).

Mainly because of it is compact size it fits just about anyplace with ease, areas like the trunk of your car or truck, a backpack, or anyplace else.

… But It Does not Shine Everywhere

To place it quite bluntly, quite just, this shovel is not the 1 you want for critical digging.

In my day-to-day I dig a lot, and the E-tool is amazing for distinct jobs excavating a plant or object meticulously, digging in tight locations without the need of space to maneuver, and removing plant debris from the soil surface.

But when I have to dig an actual hole, you bet your bottom dollar I swap out for a complete-size shovel. The Gerber E-tool is just impractical in every single way for any critical digging.

But, hey, it is far better than absolutely nothing, ideal?

That Durability

I haven’t place this tool by means of overly demanding “conditioning” due to the fact it strikes me as unnecessary. It is got a carbon steel blade and 7075 aluminum deal with, and it is been place by means of a very good bit of rough-and-tumble digging due to the fact it’s…well, a shovel.

I’m digging by means of the clay-filled, rocky, unforgiving soils of Philadelphia. The properties exactly where I perform are constructed on layers of stone, industrial trash, and no shortage of nasty roots.

Spade head with scratches

The Gerber E-tool has scraped its way by means of lots of all the things and comes out with absolutely nothing a lot more than superficial scratches.

I’ve made use of it as a light-duty hammer to drive in wooden stakes and to persuade boards to get back into spot, and it functions beautifully.

Simple to Open and Close (and to Hurt Your self)

The Gerber E-tool folds into a compact tiny tool about the size of the shovel blade itself, then extends along two swiveling arms into the totally extended shovel I’ve come to rely on that signifies this shovel consists of 3 connected pieces that assemble into 1.

The Transformers would be proud.

Just a Small Twist

A very good couple of twists on a “sleeve” of the deal with lock the tool into place… just make positive it is truly locked just before working with it.

I’ve noticed it has a tendency to cease tightening, creating me assume it is locked in spot, but it is not truly locked up. The 1st time I attempted working with the shovel it collapsed on itself.

Simple option: as soon as it is tightened, just verify that the pieces are locked into spot by wiggling the shovel blade, then tighten it up once again. I do not know why it never ever locks in spot the 1st time, but it constantly locks in spot the second.

My suspicion is that dirt and other particles get jammed into the locking mechanisms and need to have to be worked by means of to lock the shovel completely into spot.

Even following typical rinsing of the soils and such from the shovel, it nonetheless occurs, so who knows.

Watch These Fingers!

Closing the shovel is the precise very same procedure, but for the enjoy of God be cautious. Even now I have to be quite cautious when I collapse the shovel due to the fact it is so quite eager to present the slightest resistance, then SNAP shut. My fingers have paid the value as well lots of occasions.

Undoubtedly one thing to be conscious of when you are collapsing the shovel back into spot. If you are at household or functioning in the yard and bang up your fingers, it is not a huge deal, but in a SHTF situation that tiny bit of harm can add up.

The serrated edge of the shovel is quite darn sharp as well, so just like any sharp-edged tool make positive you are getting cautious and cautious with it.

I haven’t reduce myself however, but my cargo shorts have lost a handful of threads from these edges without the need of me understanding it till following the harm was completed.

serrated edge of tool

Functioning in the Garden

Not an advertised use, but damn it functions.

The shovel blade can be locked into a bent 90-degree angle, permitting the shovel to take an “L” shape, and then be made use of to scrape and drag material from the ground. It can also serve as an impromptu rake if needed.

My hands are far a lot more effective at scraping away material, but there are scenarios exactly where my hands are not a appropriate selection. Clearing broken glass or other sharp, stabby components is far far better suited to this shovel than my hands.

Likewise there are basic weeds and other ground components I’d rather not be grabbing with my bare hands.

I made use of the E-tool as my principal weeding tool to get rid of a huge patch of vinca vine. Slide the blade ideal underneath the plants, grab the greenery and shake loose the soil, and move onto the subsequent patch.

Weeding your garden could raise a handful of eyebrows for the goal of a survival tool, but a survival garden delivers lots of meals for the season and demands typical upkeep to be at its greatest. The E-tool functions as a weeder, improvised hammer, and of course a shovel.

Just Do not Let It Out of Your Sight

The matte black colour is good and basic, and it is discrete as well, but it can be awfully complicated to locate if you take your eyes off of it in a messy outside location.

E tool in undergrowth

Some light leaf cover, messed up soil, and a handful of weeds are all it requires to virtually shed the E-tool. Its nondescript look is valuable if you want to use it and keep away from detection, but it can perform against you by getting as well complicated to locate when you need to have it.

A basic circle of colored tape solves the dilemma without the need of sacrificing the modesty of the E-tool.

Survival Scenarios

Whilst I’ve got this shovel firmly set into my gardening tool pouch, it is a excellent tool for any survival situation.

Suggested Reading: 10 Very best Survival Shovels Reviewed

It could come up brief compared to a typical shovel in the art of digging a hole, but it is a thousand occasions far better than a knife, a rock, or your bare hands. I made use of it for constructing my survival lean-to and was content to have it.

It helped me dig my tires out of the snow a handful of occasions and could very easily serve as a finger saver from freezing ice and wet snow.

My most current use for the shovel was though camping. Fortunately I kept it in my pack due to the fact my buddy forgot to bring his trowel to dig a cat hole, an absolute wilderness hygiene necessity.

Other prospective makes use of:

  • Producing a latrine
  • Digging a trench
  • Digging a short-term fire pit
  • Leveling ground

As A Weapon…?

I imply, you could do worse when it comes to improvised weaponry.

The shovel is not huge but it is strong, and the serrated edge is quite sharp.

I’d trust myself to one thing in addition to a collapsible shovel, but when you have got absolutely nothing else about? This one’ll be successful sufficient.

It would be complicated to get a very good grip on it to swing it correctly, but if a particular person had been to practice with it for this goal I believe they’d locate methods to adapt and succeed.

Would I Obtain It Once more?

Certain would. I’ve got zero complaints about the E-tool, and the only hang ups I have with it are just its limitations. A complete-size shovel would be the superior selection in virtually any capacity, but in some cases you cannot afford the weight or bulk of a shovel.

In these moments the Gerber E-tool shows off its worth.

I do not see it breaking down any time quickly. It is maintaining robust by means of all of its intended use with no indication of failure, and for a collapsible shovel that is sufficient.

Gerber has a generous warranty plan for the shovel, so I recommend selecting 1 up for oneself and placing it to perform. I believe you will locate it a valuable tool to preserve tucked away someplace.

If you are in any sort of field exactly where you dig frequently or perform with shovels, I unquestionably suggest it as a buy to make your life less complicated.

Gerber E-Tool

All pictures copyright Primal Survivor and may perhaps not be reproduced without the need of permission.


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