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Folding shovel's present and past

The Versatility of Simplicity

The idea of moving dirt with a crude instrument doesn't always strike a person's fancy. After all, the use of a shovel often carries with it the burden of hauling and tossing heavy things that aren't always the most pleasant to see or smell. However, the shovel also serves many different purposes with respect to construction, horticulture, and landscaping. That being said, there's no reason not to modernize the tool, provide it with additional versatility, and make that manual labor a bit easier on your body. If you have a shovel capable of folding and with additional attachments to perform other tough jobs, then the tool has served its purpose well, regardless of how you may feel about it. It's also something you'll need, particularly if you do a lot around the house and outdoors aroud your property.

Also referred to as an entrenching tool, a folding shovel is a particular type 
of spade used for digging, construction, and can even serve as an ancillary military weapon. Some folding shovels are also capable of being sharpened and used as cutting tools. They can be constructed of either lightweight plastic or steel with a tri-folding design that makes them easy to carry. Today, the folding tool is used for a variety of activities that include camping and gardening among others. They can also be used for digging fire pits and they're often powerful enough to double as hammers for driving stakes into the ground.

Many modern folding shovels feature a fixed handle with a folding shovel 
head. Unlike their conventional and bulkier counterparts, folding shovels are a compact and welcome addition to a professional's tool arsenal, especially when being forced to lug around a lot of other heavy-duty equipment. The entrenching tool takes up the same amount of space as a stack of paper plates, so it's never really a burden to travel with or store away.

Choose Your Shovel Wisely

With a tool as compact and versatile as the folding shovel, one must think about the specific types of tasks they plan to use it for. This will accurately determine the kinds of attachments that work best. 

For example, if you plan to use a folding shovel as a cutting tool, you'll want to make sure it features serrated edges that are easy to sharpen. If you're a big camping fan, many models of folding shovels offer multifunctional designs with screwdrivers, hooters, and even fire starters, all of which can come in very handy when you're out in the wild among the elements. Such a tool will keep you safe and well-equipped. 

Finding a shovel with a sturdy handle is also very important. Many shovels feature lightweight, yet sturdy bodies with handles made from aircraft-grade aluminum and polypropylene. Some shovels also provide a black powder-coated finish, which will help to maintain the shovel's durability if you plan to use it in the field. On that same note, if you're worried about damaging the shovel, do your best to find one that includes a protective sheath or carry pouch with purchase. 
If you're looking for a shovel that can do it all, then a folding head is integral since you'll need to use it at different angles for various jobs.

A Brief History Of The Folding Shovel

The concept of the shovel has been around since neolithic times when humans would use an animal's shoulder bone as a crude scraping apparatus. 

The entrenching tool dates as far back as the time of the Roman legion and Julius Caesar with documented use of the spade as a tool of war and for digging trenches. 

During the Napoleonic Wars between 1803 and 1815, spades were used as entrenching tools to dig trenches around protective fortifications. The problem with these types of spades is that they were rather long and heavy, forcing soldiers to store them in supply carts. This made it difficult for infantry to have quick access to the tools when they were needed.

By 1870, the US army introduced the spade bayonet into the individual soldier's arsenal. This item could be used as both an entrenching tool and a weapon, leading to the eventual construction of small, one-handed tools that were easy to carry as part of a solider's equipment bag. The use of such small implements would also allow the individual solder to dig his own entrenchments in the field. 

During the twentieth century and around the time of World War I, the modern entrenching shovel was developed and it made a significant impact on trench warfare. These tools began appearing with differently-shaped handles, blades, and even pick spikes for use as spades. The entrenching tool could be used for digging latrines and graves with a compact design that allowed soldiers to fight in close proximity, which was a common occurrence in the trenches.

After World War I, the entrenching shovel was further developed to incorporate folding designs with a fixed handle and folding shovel head.