When people ask us what’s the first off-road recovery tool they should get, the answer is simple: a shovel. The next question is which one?
After testing the Krazy Beaver Shovel, an innovative tool made in Colorado, it’s high on our list of recommended off-road shovels. The most obvious feature of the Krazy Beaver is the ferocious-looking row of teeth on the cutting edge of its blade. The teeth, combined with other, less obvious elements, make this a sturdy, capable shovel for camping, off-roading, and overlanding.
Below we’ll dive into the features of the shovel that make it a great choice for vehicle-based adventure, and a great off-roading or overlanding shovel. First, if you are simply looking for a link to purchase the product, look no further:
Krazy Beaver Shovel Got Teeth
When choosing a shovel for backcountry adventure, we generally recommend finding one with a spade-shaped cutting edge on the blade. In contrast to a flat cutting edge, the more pointed spade makes it easier to cut into hard material, such as ice and clay.
The Krazy Beaver takes this cutting ability to the next level by serrating the blade into nine dagger-like points, the largest of which is located in the center of the cutting edge. Before we got our hands on the shovel, we were concerned that the shove’s teeth might be a weak point prone to breaking.
After testing it on hard Southern California clay laced with rocks, we’re confident this isn’t an issue. The shovel blade is made of 13-gauge heat-treated tempered steel, which is twice as thick as your typical garden shovel. You’d really have to try to break the teeth off — good luck.
But are the teeth effective? Based on our tests, we think so. We compared the Krazy Beaver to a standard shovel and found that the sharper points of the teeth made it easier to break hard ground. While we haven’t yet used it on ice or snow, we’re confident it would work better than your typical shovel in winter conditions as well.
The head of the shovel is powder coated both inside and out to prevent rusting. In our testing, the powder coating chipped off the edges of teeth fairly quickly during use, which wasn’t really a surprise. Any coating is going to wear off the edge of a well-used shovel.
More below, but here’s our video review:
Burly Handle Shaft and Grip
The shaft of the Krazy Beaver’s handle is made of thick fiberglass and connected to the blade with a solid 14” fiberglass core that extends into the collar of the blade to reinforce the shovel for heavy-duty use. A metal ring wraps the junction between the metal collar and the handle for further reinforcement.
At the end of the fiberglass handle shaft, the shovel’s D-grip handle, made of a tough, hard polymer, is held to the shaft with a lock pin. The pin allows the D-grip to be removed so you can store matches, fishing line, or other emergency items in the shovel. This feature felt a bit like a novelty to us — we are unlikely to carry a weighty shovel like the Krazy Beaver far from our vehicle or cabin — but, hey, a little extra storage never hurts.
There are several caveats to take into account if you are considering a Krazy Beaver. When using the shovel, it feels extremely sturdy in your hands, but it’s not light. It’s a burly shovel that will withstand intense use, but that sturdiness comes with added weight.
The overall length of the shovel is 44 inches, which is shorter than your typical construction shovel. In our opinion, the shorter length is a virtue for off-roading and camping, as it makes it easier to stow in or on your vehicle. But those looking for an all-around shovel for recreation and household and construction use may prefer something a bit longer.
Lastly, the gnarly teeth on the Krazy Beaver shovel present an added hazard around camp or in a recovery situation, or at least that’s our perception. We haven’t had accidents to back this up, but having kids running around camp near the shovel made us nervous — more so than regular shovel. Again, maybe just being nervous Nellies, but we’ll probably invest in one of their blade guards to ease our minds
Who Should Choose a Krazy Beaver?
Our bottom line on the Krazy Beaver comes down to a cost-to-functionality equation. These are very capable and durable shovels for a decent price, and a great choice for car camping, off-roading and overland use.
The shovel costs $85 as we write this, which is more than you’d pay for a typical garden or construction shovel, but still good value considering its bomber construction.
The shovel weighs around 4.6 pounds–per our measurement–which is heavier than your typical hardware store shovel of the same size. It’s not something you’re likely to carry on a backpack, so if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll probably want to find a lighter, more compact shovel, like the SOG survival shovel.
Overall, we’ve been impressed with the Krazy Beaver shovel. It’s a bit of an investment, but might be the last off-road shovel you’ll need to buy, and it’s perfectly capable for residential use.