30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 17: The Best Entrenching Tools for Winter

By CTD Suzanne published on in Buyers Guide, Camping and Survival, Gear

Entrenching tools or e-tools are an invaluable item to keep in your car during winter. These spade-like tools are good for moving dirt and snow and for loosening up hard earth. Originally designed for soldiers to dig their own trenches and foxholes and for use as a close quarter, back-up weapon, entrenching tools are distinguishable due to their spade and pickaxe combo appearance. Though not as effective as a full-sized shovel, especially for moving snow, an entrenching tool will also:

  • Dig
  • Chop
  • Pick
  • Scrape
  • Scoop
  • Saw
Picture shows a black entrenching tool with a pick and saw blade next to it.

In a pinch, an entrenching tool will shovel snow.

The best blade for winter use is metal. Steel is lightweight, tough and durable and has the ability to chip ice. You won’t want to use an entrenching tool to dig yourself out of a large snowdrift or bank. However, in a pinch the right entrenching tool will help you:

  • Scrape ice
  • Scoop snow from under your car tires
  • Remove snow from your car’s exhaust pipe
  • Build an emergency snow shelter or cave
  • Dig snow for melting into drinking water
  • Saw wood
  • Chop kindling

Recommended Entrenching Tools

Gerber E-Tool with Pick

Specifications and Features

  • Military-grade
  • Powder-coated, carbon steel shovelhead
  • Serrated blade edge
  • Foldable
  • Anodized aluminum shaft
  • Glass-filled nylon handle
  • Includes pick
  • Overall length open: 23.75 inches
  • Closed length: 9.25 inches
  • Width: 6 inches
  • Weight: 37.30 ounces
  • Buy it here

Glock Entrenching Tool

Specifications and Features

  • Anti-corrosion treated and hardened steel blade
  • Sharpened edge
  • Foldable
  • Three locking position blade for shovel, spade or hoe use
  • Includes 6.625 inch saw blade (separate, stored in handle)
  • Storage space inside handle
  • Includes nylon pouch
  • High-impact polymer handle
  • Overall length open: 25 inches
  • Overall length folded: 10 inches by 6.125 inches
  • Weight 24 ounces
  • Buy it here

Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel

Specifications and Features

  • Modeled after the Soviet Spetznaz shovel
  • Heat-treated, 2mm thick carbon steel shovelhead
  • Sharpened edges
  • Hardwood handle
  • Includes Cor-Ex sheath
  • Overall length: 19.68 inches
  • Weight: 26.6 ounces
  • Buy it here

Do you have an entrenching tool? Which one is your favorite? Tell us about it in the comment section.

If you missed yesterday’s post, “30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 16: 10 Tips for Building a Fire in the Snow,” you can read it here.


Suzanne Wiley started shooting at a young age when her older brother bought a Marlin 60 and taught her to shoot. She took to shooting and developed a love for it when she realized she was a natural with a .22 LR rifle at summer camp. As an outdoor adventurer, she enjoys camping, fishing, and horseback riding. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter and the modern-day prepper, and is a staff writer at Cheaper Than Dirt!


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