But frankly your post reminds me of a use for old beater paddles. There is a story here. Back in '96 on the Snake the guide made chili in the evening. After coffee the next morn, there weren't enough entrenchment tools to go around. Hence everyone for his own willow with his own blade spade.
A folding shovel would be all but useless where i normally paddle. What soil there is around is but a few inches thick before hitting a bedrock and almost always intertwined with so many roots that digging would be impossible.
I have an old garden trowel that I take, once in a great while I'll use it to level the ground under one of my boxes a little bit, smoothed back when I leave. Not sure I understand the use being described here but when I think of "shovel" I think of digging. Pretty sure I don't want to see campsites dug into to please the various campers that come there. After a bit it would look like the Mole Marching Band drill field.
For sure I have a shovel in all my trucks, you just never know. But not camping.
Most places I go have some form of thunder box (latrine). I usually remember to pack a garden trowel anyway. That's the only digging I'll do.
ps I've long suspected there was a black hole vortex sucking some of my clutter collection from my basement. I used to blame my wife for de-cluttering my "junk". But now, I'm thinking the other end of this sci-fi vacuum might be in Glenn's basement.
Dear Glenn; You can keep my stuff. I don't even remember what most of it was. What I do miss though, is an old frumpy felt hat, and some really cool t-shirts. I don't worry about my mismatched socks anymore.
I think I have a folding shovel still around somewhere. I hope I never find it again. It had rusted to near inoperability and was never very efficient to begin with. It was too short handled, not especially sturdy and, despite the folding aspect, not that small to pack.
The only redeeming feature of a folding shovel was the ability to set the blade sideways and use the serrated side of the blade to whack tall grass. An application I needed…. hummm, I never actually needed or chose to do that.
The modern variants of the folding shovel I’ve seen all seem too closely based on Mil-spec entrenching tools.
The one I have is at least 20 years old and is still going strong. Inexpensive, built like a full sized shovel and sturdy as hell. The handle is long enough to use without crouching over or dropping to my knees. At less than 2 lbs (1 LB, 14OZ) it is no heavier than a folding shovel and a lot easier to use.
What do I use it for?
Digging deadman anchors. Digging cat holes; the curved 6” wide blade makes a perfect cat hole with four plunges and is easier to dig with and cover with than a trowel. Digging a fire pit below the high tide line. Flinging pony poop out of camp. Cutting off thorny smilax below ground level on a tent site so they don’t puncture my sleeping pad. Dumping coals atop cast iron cookwear. Burying other folks crap, literally.
That little “kids shovel” is small enough to live in my vehicle and, while I wouldn’t want to dig the truck out of a ditch with it, in a pinch it would be better than a plastic hand trowel.
I got a folding shovel in my truck but it doesn't go in the canoe with me. I always end up in the BWCA where there are pit toilets and fire grates. If I didn't have a pit toilet available I could dig a cat hole with a stick.