Crovel Extreme Survival Shovel

   10.01.13

Crovel Extreme Survival Shovel

Sometimes products that combine two items make sense and have a brilliant execution. Other times you end up with the “Christmas department store gifts for dad” rechargeable combo ruler flashlight. In this case, the Crovel is the former. It’s a brilliantly executed combination of a folding military shovel and crowbar.

During disasters (especially for the zombie apocalypse type), a crow bar and military shovel are two indispensable, must-have items in your bug out kit. A good camp shovel can help out with a range of tasks: digging a toilet and burying waste, hammering, wood chopping, tree felling, and even self defense (if it’s strong enough). Unfortunately, most folding survival shovels were designed to be lightweight, which means they lack strength. The result is that most are not up to the rigors of long-term abuse and could fail you when you need them most.

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In survival situations, the laws of breaking and entering become secondary when survival depends on being able to access the resources you need. The crowbar is obviously a great tool for breaking into things locked, doored, and otherwise secured, and it also makes a formidable weapon. Combine the two and you end up with one mighty handy 5.5 lb tool called the Crovel. The Crovel saves on weight by combining these two hefty tools, and in the process it improves the shovel’s durability and only marginally modifies the use of the crowbar.

The idea for the Crovel was spawned as the owner broke the handle on his folding military camp shovel. Searching the garage for something tougher, genius struck and he had his neighbor weld a crowbar in place of the old handle. Realizing he was on to something, he and his roommate started playing around with various crowbar and shovel combinations, and eventually settled on the original Crovel design. This original design featured a heavy duty ruggedized folding shovel head attached to crowbar shaft with a modified claw/hammer head.

Since the Crovel’s introduction, the company’s production has barely been able to keep up. This backlog resulted in an effort to improve the design in order to increase production, but also to upgrade the Crovel with extra features. Thus the updated Crovel Extreme was born.

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Fit, Feel, and Features

I have owned many an entrenching tools and military shovels, however none have ever come close to the beefy quality of the Crovel. This thing is built like an Abrams tank, and has a durable baked on paint finish available in green, tan or black.

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The Crovel Extreme shovel 10 gauge hardened steel head, which is just under 3/16” thick, is tough and thick enough for use in door prying and breaching, not to mention all the chopping and hammering you will ever want to do. That brutish head is mounted via a reinforced mount with a 1/4″ tool steel bolt and lock nut. The head can be folded flat against the handle or locked in straight, 90 degree and 45 degree angles. This allows for very efficient ground clearing, pick axe-ing, and digging. The lock is a heavy knurled and threaded coupler that assures the shovel will lock in each position.

If you get thirsty while working, the Crovel shovel head features a bottle opener, a sharp, non-serrated side for use as a camp axe, and a serrated side intended as a functioning saw blade for woodcraft and thicker branch cutting.

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The 14” handle has been updated to a very thick-walled hollow shaft design. It retains all the strength of the original solid bar but drops a little weight and provides a place to store survival supplies (when the end is covered with the included threaded o-ringed aluminum plug). The handle is wrapped with 15’ of 550 Paracord, which provides a more comfortable and warmer feeling grip and gives you a little extra Paracord if you need it.

Along with the handle, the claw end is also a major update on the Crovel Extreme. It’s a forged pry and hammer head. It can also serve as a bushcraft wood carving wedge or as a standard pry claw and hammer. The hammer head is now substantially larger, providing a much more usable hammer surface. It has also been dimpled to reduce glancing blows.

Crovel has thought ahead and will be offering a variety of screw in o-ringed plug ends, such as the currently available Z-Point zombie attack point I picked up. The solid stainless steel zombie spike handles nearly all the same duties as the chisel end of my prybar. Another accessory I picked up was the KYDEX shovel head cover, which protects the user and storage method from accidental cuts and abrasions when not in use. Rotating and locking the Crovel Extreme’s shovel head at 90 degrees provides an excellent and sturdy elevated camp seat with the KYDEX shovel head cover in place so you don’t cut your butt.

Function

Due to its weight, I was expecting the Crovel to be unwieldy as a shovel. However, the weight of the Crovel Extreme is well balanced and doesn’t require as much muscle during use, as lighter weight shovels would. The weight is a tremendous benefit with chopping and hammering as well, and allows the Crovel enough mass to power through.

The pry/hammer head works extremely well for prying and nail removal, and the hammer head is handy for a large variety of tasks. Sharpening the pry/chisel head made it a useful tool for removing large chunks of wood in case you want to build a log cabin, hollow out a log for cooking, or make a boat.

Once the shovel head is removed, you have a ergonomic and easy-to-use tool, but with the head attached it is a little awkward.

The accessory spike isn’t just for braining zombies; it does a wonderful job starting a split for firewood.

The Crovel Extreme is a marvel of innovative usefulness in a compact package. It’s an outstanding log splitter and an exceptional shovel, pick axe, and chipper. For digging and ground clearing, the shovel head design is excellent, and the front and side edges are sharp enough to provide good ground cutting and axe strokes.

But with the exception of shoveling and some axe-related tasks, it does not do everything as well as purpose-built tools.

The saw is serviceable, but the weakness is the tooth design. I was able to chop though larger trees much faster than I was able to saw through them. Due to the weight and thick sharpened edge, it did not function well as a machete for me.

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The new Crovel head is well designed if you need wood crafting capabilities, but my preference would be that the pry head be straitened out to 90 degrees or simply be a chisel or point crowbar end. What can I say? I have have far too much experience working a crowbar. My motto is that there is little in life that cannot be sufficiently motivated with proper leverage, so I am a bit picky on my crowbars.

Final Thoughts

Despite a few personal preferences for a more entry-focused tool, there is no tougher folding shovel on earth than the Crovel Extreme. The Crovel Extreme can be crowned the king of the folding shovels. Though some idiot will find a way to bend or break it, I would venture to say the Crovel is a bomb-proof folding shovel design which will handle more than you can physically dish out, even under the stress of the body weight of a large fit or fat male.

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If lightweight is what you’re after, pick up a plastic gardening spade. Yeah, 5.5lbs is a lot of weight to carry for hiking and camping, but for survival purposes you have to remember that there are no do overs, no resets, and no going back to get a higher quality tool. An indestructible multi-use tool like the Crovel Extreme would be worth the weight, certainly as a tool tossed in the trunk. I would stake my life on the quality, durability, and performance of the American made Crovel Extreme to perform under the most severe of conditions. If you want the ultimate folding shovel, then the Crovel Extreme is the ultimate option.

Specs

  • Total Length: Extended – 26.75”
  • Total Length: Folded – 20”
  • Shovel Head Size: 8.25” x 5.75”
  • Shovel Head Thickness: 10 Gauge/3.5mm
  • Head Pivot Thickness: .1875”/5mm
  • Hammer Head Size: 1.125” x 1.125”
  • Handle Length: 14”
  • Weight: 5.5lbs
  • Crovel Extreme: $109
  • Z-Spike: $24.50
  • Crovel KYDEX Cover: $24.95
  • Made in USA
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