Customer Reviews: Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade, Serrated Edge [30-000075]
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on February 9, 2010
I bought this to replace an "army-type" foxhole shovel that I bought at an Army surplus store. You know, the kind with the metal blade and wooden handle. That one proved useless, with its wooden handle breaking a few years ago, on its first use.

I saw similar folding shovels at camping stores. Cheap ones with plastic handles. I knew better than to buy any of those.

Then I saw this shovel here on Amazon, and hesitated because of the price. But I bought it, and am glad I did. I keep it in my pickup truck. Today, a few hours ago, my truck got stuck on an old country road. There wasn't a lot of snow, but there were "ice ruts" from the previous snowfall. If you live in northwest Indiana, near Lake Michigan, you probably know what I am writing about. Anyway, my truck got stuck in these ruts. This shovel was able to chop through the ice, no problem. The metal blade didn't break, and the metal handle didn't break. In fact, you can't even tell the shovel had been used, even though I was hacking away through hard ice for over half an hour. This shovel paid for itself today.
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on February 5, 2011
We were issued these E tools in the Marine Corps.. I was infantry and used it during the invasion in 03... beats the old E-Tool hands down... ligher sharper tougher and you can dig a fighting hole with it in no time not to mention actually cut down trees with it without fear of it breaking.. easy to put a new edge on when you dull it out.... I have and would trust my life with this product..
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on May 15, 2011
I was looking for a folding shovel to take on hikes and was stuck between varying criteria:

- Wooden handled shovels are both light and durable, but cumbersome to pack
- heavier folding shovels are durable and semi-compact, but heavy
- lighter folding shovels are....lighter and compact, but lack durability.

The Gerber 30 falls under the second category, and it can certainly take a beating. Compared to lighter shovels I've picked up in other places, like the Coleman tri-fold, or ones at Home Depot. The Gerber shovel plate is a heavier thicker steel, resists torque well, and can cut through roots and clay. Lighter shovels don't have that ability, and wear down much more quickly.

Having said that, I do believe that for backpacking, the Gerber 30 is just too heavy. It's only 2.9lbs, but when every lb counts, dropping 1.5lbs and getting a 1.xlbs light duty shovel would still be a huge improvement over trying to dig holes with your hands or a knife. Either way, having a shovel of some kind in backcountry hiking seems smart, if only to dig campfire and bury waste. While the Gerber 30 could be taken backpacking as it does fold up and isn't excessively heavy, it's really be a better addition to car-camping, or as an emergency shovel to leave in your car (next to your emergency crowbar and axe, of course). m

For some details...the steel shovel piece is thicker than most folding shovels you'd find in hardware stores, won't bend easy. The rear of the shovel plate is bent, making it easy for you to put your foot on it when digging tough soil/roots/clay. One side is serrated, but it's not really a saw. There are basically two notches, one straight for digging and one angled for hoeing. The notches set deep into the screw handle, so once set, you won't have to worry about movement. The great thing about that is long term strength for the locking mechanism. When the locking mechanism is merely tightening, or a shallow gear, you have to worry about wear and tear over time with lots of use....the locking mechanism would stop working after a while. With the deep notched system, the locking mechanism on the Gerber 30 won't wear fact, it's a tough enough system that I imagine other parts of the Gerber 30 will break before that part does...The disadvantage of this two point notch locking mechanism only have the two points. If you want to lock at any other can't. The triangular handle is what allows for the tri-fold, but while this is helpful in a lot of situations, I imagine it's not always necessary and sometimes in the way.

At the end of the day, I'd say there are two ultra-durable folding shovels on the market today. There's this one, at an expensive but semi-reasonable price, and then there's the Glock folding shovel, which is ridiculously expensive for what it is. So if you need something semi-compact and tough enough to last for several years, don't worry about shaving off that extra 1.5lbs cuz you're backpacking, then this is probably the perfect shovel for you. Use it, abuse it, and it'll keep on ticking.
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on June 27, 2009
This is one of the best shovels I have ever used. It is well constructed. Tough materials. Great size for a fold up shovel. Most shovels have a small blade, but this one has a large blade and its serrated, which is very shape and makes cutting through things very easy. It has two positions, shovel and pick. It goes into the ground with ease.I would recommend this shovel to anyone. It is worth the price.
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on August 29, 2013
You always wonder why someone would try to improve on something that already rocks. I've carried the original version of the US Army e-tool many a mile and have always figured the weight was worth the utility of the thing. Any number of times I've saved myself a soggy sleeping bag by digging a shallow perimeter trench around my tent. Fellow campers who laughed at my efforts could only hang their heads in the morning when me and the dogs emerged from our tent dry and refreshed, while they obviously were soggy and sleepless. And more frequently, my old school shovel has served to dig quick "cat holes" where I could take a "break" along the trail, without leaving a mess for others to "enjoy".
I saw the listing for this updated version while checking out other camping stuff on As usual, I checked out a few video reviews on YouTube, and figured this product was worth a little research. I was impressed to find that this shovel/spade/pick had been adopted by NATO, and even more impressed to find out the United States Marine Corps was issuing this same item to all Marines. I liked that all the components are fabricated in Finland and Sweden, then assembled here in the USA. The price was also pretty good in light of the high quality of the product.
Now to the nuts and bolts: This thing is built like a tank, but weighs in at only around 40 ounces. The glass filled poly whatever-the-hell-it-is handle and shaft weigh next to nothing but are absolutely rigid and wiggle free. The serrations along the one edge are wicked sharp as they are right out of the box. I did touch up all edges with a file for more efficient digging and root cutting. At this point I feel this product is going to be a permanent addition to my regular hiking pack, and would be indispensable for self defense in the event of a zombie apocalypse. (Seriously, I whacked though a three inch tree in about two minutes!)
I really liked the re-design of the handle/shaft aspect. The blade locks into either the shovel position or the pick position with a few spins of the handle. I'll be damned if I can figure out how they made the locking mechanism telescope into the locking position the way it does, but then again, I don't need to. I just like how it works.
The shovel does not come with a case/cover, though they do list the part number to order one from Gerber. For me: Screw that. This shovel has exactly the same foot print as the older all metal version, so I just left my old Vietnam era shovel case clipped to my pack and plopped this awesome new version in there.
I hate to sound like a grumpy old fart, but I've gotten tired of "new" and "better" proclamations for the various gadgets and gizmos promoted for hiking and camping. I also hate to be out on the trail packing extra weight if I don't need to. This thing is new, and better, and lighter than the item it replaces. It is an extremely solid build, with tight lock up and rigid construction.
I'll keep my old all metal version for putzing around in the garden, but this new Gerber product is now part of my "must take" list for camping.
Buy one!
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on April 11, 2011
Let me start by saying I didn't want to spend $45 on a shovel. I mean come on, how can it be worth that much?!

It absolutely is. It folds and unfolds easily and very quickly. It's very light but very sturdy. When locked down (a simple twist motion) there was no hint of flexibility. The blade is thin but rigid and sharp, so it penetrates like a much heavier shovel. I used it in snow and ice and I was amazed at how well it penetrated.

Overall, this is a great high quality tool to take with you camping or backpacking.
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on December 17, 2015
We had these in the Marine Corps and used them pretty much everywhere from fighting holes to drainage troughs. I am now a Steamfitter and had to do some trenching for a gas line. I recommended this to the contractor and cut several manhours off of the job just by introducing them to the tool and techniques we used abroad. This thing held up great and is at an equally good price point. Gerber certainly has the top tier when it comes to e-tools. Don't waste your money on something cheap that you have to replace, because these take a beating when they meet cobble and rocks. The Gerber handles this really well.
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on March 18, 2011
This is a fantastic tool to have around. Keep one in your vehicle! Bring one camping! It's made in the US, composed of material from the US and Finland. I was in the Army and was issued the latest design of the military issue e-tool. This Gerber seems to be just as strong and lighter. I'd even say that the design is better. The handle has a good shape for digging and swinging. This nylon/plastic material is STRONG. I read another review where someone complained about the plastic material in the cold. I live in central Alaska where it is often colder than -40F in the winter. I see absolutely no issue with the plastic construction. Like I said, it is extremely strong, and an added benefit is being able to grasp the handle without your hand freezing to steel.

The steel is nice and solid. The joints and locking mechanism seem to be well built. The serrated edge is nice and sharp. I love this tool. Buy one and you'll love it too!
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on December 3, 2012
This is a great E-Tool. It is different than our military issue E-Tool in a few ways. It is easier to open and collapse, it is lighter and it handles much easier! I recommend this for the outdoors man and pick up the Gerber 22-00026 Plastic Sheath for this as well, great pairing!
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on April 3, 2012
This thing is great, Its compact and super strong. I can easily hack limbs off of trees with it no problem and it seems like it will stand up to quite the beating. It is a bit on the heavy side, but that is not a concern for me.
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