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Shovel: which one to have in your truck.

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Old 04-01-2009, 10:35 PM   #1
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Shovel: which one to have in your truck.

After seeing a "post for noobs" about how to drive offroad it made me realize that some folks just don't know offroading basics. One section of offroad basics is "what to bring incase I get stuck", and while Hi-lifts and winches are commonly discussed, one of the most primative, cheap, and essential tools for unsticking your vehicle often is the shovel... it also fits convieniently in the truck-bed and can easily be secured to the bedrails or a roof rack.

So which type to choose? There are basically 4 main types you'll encounter and of course hundreds of variations on those and other more specific types for a single type of use.

First is this common one you probably have in your garage left over form that garden project 3 years ago. the standard digging shovel. It has a long handle, a regular sized blade, and ergonomics suitable for digging downward and excavationd soil while keeping your posture in a fairly comfortable and efficient position. You cant go wrong having this one in the truck.


The next one, also the type I carry and find most useful for unsticking my rig, is the D-Handle shovel. It's handle is a bit shorter than the standard, the blade is typically a bit smaller, and the end ot the handle has another handle perpendicular to the shovel. This shovels primary function is for scooping and excavation in tight quarters like a ditch or under your rig. It is very useful when you need to excavate mud or sand from under the rig if you have gotten stuck "frame deep". Plus it takes up a bit less length of your bed/rack.


The next 2 I advise you not to bring unless it's all you got. The first of the undesirables is the flat-blade shovel (not sure about the proper name). Its primary function is for scooping and "throwing" soil, fertilizer, woodchips, etc. They are great for moving stuff around but are nearly useless as a digging tool in hard terrain... thay are a good tool for digging sand though.


The last one I put in here beacuse I've seen people with them on their racks and have seen others grab them by mistake at work: the Fire Shovel. This looks similar to the standard although the handle is a bit shorter and the blade comes off at a seemingly bent-down angle; this shovels primary function is for a speedy excavate and toss-soil motion for wildland firefighters to fling soil onto fire, knock branches off, and cut into soil. It's a great tool, but not the one you want to dig under your tuck with or make trail repairs/modifications.


A final note: From my experience thos small collapseable military shovels are great in a pinch, but if you have the space get a full size shovel to make getting unstuck just part of your wheeling trip instead of your whole wheeling trip. Shovels are also good to free up the wheels, leaf springs, etc before winching or towing out of a jam, handy for camping, and great weapons against 4x-pirates.

Also in the shovel section I guess should be a Rock bar, it's just a big steel bar designed to make moving/excavating boulders easy(always repair/replace the trail after moving rocks... some people pay good money to make their rigs capable of getting over those rocks unassisted; keep them happy). Rock bars don't take up much room but can be heavy 15-20lbs. The also make an excellent lever/fulcrum for moving whatever.

Also handy are a firefighting-invented tool called a Pulaski. It's basically a adze on one side of the head and an axe on the other side... you'll find all kinds of uses for this one:


Now put a shovel in your rig!
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:40 PM   #2
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Nice write up, I use the short D-handle shovel as well. It gets the job done and doesn't take up much space. It has come in handy a few times
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:01 PM   #3
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...the one with the longest beating handle and biggest knock you the fvck out metal end.
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:11 PM   #4
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Good write up

I prefer long handle round point

oh and the proper term you couldn't think of for your flat bladed shovel is Flat Point
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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Old thread, but I had a question... I don't do any off-roading, but I do live in a super hilly and snowy city. This is my first winter with a truck and I was gonna toss some stuff in the back in case I happen to get stuck, or preferably someone else gets stuck and I decide to help haha. Anyway, the primary use for this shovel would be snow related. The write up seemed to be more related to normal off-roading, which kind of shovel would you guys recommend for a winter survival kit? I was actually leaning towards the flat shovel because it basically looked like a heavy duty, small snow shovel, but the general idea up above was to avoid that shovel.

What do you guys think?? Stick to a standard shovel?
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:25 PM   #6
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The advantage of the flat blade is in scraping softer materials across a hard surface - as in loading sand from a loading bin or shoveling fresh snow off a sidewalk.

If you get stuck in a hard drift piled up by the snowplow and gone through a couple freeze/thaw cycles, the flat blade may not be as effective at breaking through the crust as a digging shovel.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:37 PM   #7
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I keep a Gerber E-Tool in my truck. Small, compact and I can dig out some small spots with it.

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Old 11-06-2011, 08:43 PM   #8
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I prefer to carry one of these in my truck!
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:51 PM   #9
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i carry a shovel and ax in the bed at all times. use them fairly frequently too.
when i'm up north in the winter though, if i remember, i still toss a snow shovel in the bed when i go out after a good snowfall.

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Old 11-06-2011, 08:52 PM   #10
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i keep foldable blade in the back
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:07 PM   #11
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if you're only going to carry one shovel - a round nose shovel is the one to carry as it is much better at digging than a flat head shovel and the write up above is pretty good - I always carried a round nose shovel and a digging bar (mine is about 5.5' tall and weighs 30lbs +/-). Having an axe is also a good idea.

Here's the thing though - 99% of the time, it's just going to sit on your rig and get rusty - keep them painted to prevent rust and locked to prevent theft or leave them at home while you're mall crawling... Just my $.02.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthemaiden View Post
Old thread, but I had a question... I don't do any off-roading, but I do live in a super hilly and snowy city. This is my first winter with a truck and I was gonna toss some stuff in the back in case I happen to get stuck, or preferably someone else gets stuck and I decide to help haha. Anyway, the primary use for this shovel would be snow related. The write up seemed to be more related to normal off-roading, which kind of shovel would you guys recommend for a winter survival kit? I was actually leaning towards the flat shovel because it basically looked like a heavy duty, small snow shovel, but the general idea up above was to avoid that shovel.

What do you guys think?? Stick to a standard shovel?
Nah. Get an emergency snow shovel. Aluminum, square, big, light.

http://www.amazon.com/Suncast-SCS300...0642609&sr=1-3
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:12 PM   #13
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D handled shovel and a mil issue folding shovel.

http://www.atlantacutlery.com/p-1794...=Product_Plus&
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthemaiden View Post
Old thread, but I had a question... I don't do any off-roading, but I do live in a super hilly and snowy city. This is my first winter with a truck and I was gonna toss some stuff in the back in case I happen to get stuck, or preferably someone else gets stuck and I decide to help haha. Anyway, the primary use for this shovel would be snow related. The write up seemed to be more related to normal off-roading, which kind of shovel would you guys recommend for a winter survival kit? I was actually leaning towards the flat shovel because it basically looked like a heavy duty, small snow shovel, but the general idea up above was to avoid that shovel.

What do you guys think?? Stick to a standard shovel?

I've been stuck in the snow a few times now and it's pretty much a guarantee that it'll happen this winter to (especially when you go looking for it). I've always used a short D-handle flat shovel to dig my way out. I find it works best for scooping large amounts of snow and getting under the frame, etc. If i got a buddy with me and we're running unmaintained roads i'll usually throw an extra long handle flat blade shovel in the box to help give my back a break.

Either way, your going to feel it in the morning.

I should mention, during the summer months i carry a short D-handle spade shovel.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:13 AM   #15
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I don't remember who makes them, but ACE Hardware offered a beefy, short, d-handle spade. It had a thick spade and gussets to make it one of the sturdiest shovels I have ever seen. The weak point will always be the handle, but I have snapped some of the lighter spade heads before.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:17 AM   #16
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I have a coldsteel special forces shovel in my truck, good for digging under the truck in tight spots, also cuts, weighted for throwing, I love it.

http://www.coldsteel.com/spshovel.html

$35 bucks aint bad.
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Old 11-07-2011, 11:45 AM   #17
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D-handle, round point. I've carried a long handle one in the past and there were too many times that I need to crawl under the truck to dig and the long handle just got in the way. The shorter handle is just more versatile.

Also I highly recommend a composite handle if the shovel is going to live on the outside of your truck. The wooden handles will rot so much quicker in the sun and weather.

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Old 11-07-2011, 11:49 AM   #18
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I keep one of these in my toolbox. Just in case. Still counts as a shovel right?

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Old 11-07-2011, 11:52 AM   #19
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depending which part you go wheeling around here we take chainsaws and plenty of tow straps
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:09 PM   #20
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depending which part you go wheeling around here we take chainsaws and plenty of tow straps
I guess on private property but a ranger wouldn't like you cutting down trees lol.
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