Unless you’re a bear, pooping in the woods usually means digging a hole. For a short time, I was prepared to base this whole article around that single sentence. But really, at 24.5 ounces, the Entrenching Tool from SOG is probably a bit heavier than most backpackers are inclined to carry for any real distance. And most of us probably wouldn’t need to use it more than once a day, making it even harder to justify packing in and out. That’s not to say it’s not useful, and it certainly fits well in the context of National Preparedness Month.
We recently received a couple of items from SOG to review, and this handy folding shovel was one of them. Most of our review stuff gets shipped to my office, and as soon as it was out of the box, I had a small crowd. It may only be a shovel, and a small one at that, but it folds. Metal? Check. Sharp edges? Check. Folding? Check. Yeah, if they had sent a multi-tool, the whole department would have to stop for a day while we passed it around. At this point, if you were waiting for the review to get serious, I have bad news for you – this is as serious as it gets. Because most guys will agree that a folding shovel is best used for poop-hole digging and maybe zombie-whacking. Although for the latter, I would prefer an overall length of more than 18.25 inches. Something closer to five or ten feet maybe.
This tool does have other uses though. If you were to have a compact car and a steep entry to your driveway, there’s always the chance that Mr. Plow will leave a small hill of snow for you to drive over in the winter, as you are leaving to go to work. It’s even possible that you might get your car stuck in this theoretical mini snowbank. Twice. And that wide plastic snow shovel by the front door would be useless on the ice-like snow. Grab your Entrenching Tool, use the pick side to break up the icy snow, then shovel a path to freedom. Well, to work anyway. I’m quite certain that it would be just as handy in the summer, should you find yourself driving someplace off road you shouldn’t, and suddenly become stuck. For around $10-$12, this very packable shovel could get you out of all sorts of sticky situations.
Due to the lack of snow during the recent 100 degree weather, the only use the Entrenching Tool got was around the yard, digging in close to the roses, plus some practice poop-hole digging, just in case. At least, I hope no one buried a poop in my yard.
Things we like about the SOG Entrenching Tool: It folds. It unfolds. It’s pretty solid when it’s locked into place. There’s a wee bit of room so you can step on it when digging. It takes up very little space, open or folded. The handle is surprisingly comfortable, even for big hands. It’s not too expensive, so we can carry one in each car. For car camping, not for digging little cars out of the snow.
Things we don’t quite like that much about the SOG Entrenching Tool: If you’re a really big man, 18.25 inches from the ground seems a long way to reach. It’s got teeth on one side, but like a really old dog’s, they’re mostly for looks. Other than that, it does the job.
While we didn’t take this review too seriously, the truth is that a tool like this is really handy for emergencies, and shouldn’t be overlooked as part of a preparedness kit. Especially if you drive off road, in the snow, or just travel far from the beaten path. A quick check online of other reviews reveals some unkind words, which I don’t understand. Not sure what kind of performance folks expect out of something so inexpensive. My local “army surplus” shop sells cheaper Chinese made shovels for about twice the price. The SOG is worth every penny to not wake my wife at 5:40AM to help me push the car out of the snow. Not that that has happened before. Twice. sogknives.com