Compact ‘n tough; We review the Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel

Good design, quality materials, ultra compact

Shovel head is tiny, short grip

Drive regularly in snowy conditions and you’ll know how annoying it is to get stuck. What you need is to keep a shovel in your car! A big one would be the preferred option, but if you want the space saver version there are a few options out there. It’s time to check the Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel out…

Design and build quality

Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel review

Gerber is well known for its quality tools, so how did the Gorge stack up? Certainly it is well built, and picking it up it’s surprisingly weighty for its small size. At 28 ounces (0.79 kg) it’s not physically heavy, but you’d certainly notice it in your backpack after a few hours hiking. However, we’re reviewing this as a shovel for keeping in your car, so that’s not relative.

There’s nothing to say what the spade end is made of, but it’s most likely steel from the weight. The shaft looks metal, but is actually glass-filled nylon with a ‘rubberised grip’. Whatever the case, the Gorge is definitely solidly made, and looks it too.

Weight  28 oz (0.79 kg)
Dimensions  Overall length: 16.5 inches (41.9 cm), Folded length: 9.25 inches (23.5 cm), Width: 4.5 inches (11.5 cm)
Warranty  25 years
Colour  Black
Bundle  Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel + heavy duty nylon drawstring bag
Uses  Shovel, pick, hammer
Website  Gerber USA, Gerber UK
Price  £29.99 rrp
Buy Buy the Gerber Gear Gorge folding shovel

Using the Gerber Gorge

Test and review of the Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel. Photo shows the shovel's dimensions.

Pull the Gorge out of its thick drawstring nylon bag, and the shovel is in the folded position. First off, pull out the extending handle and you’ll hear a satisfactory ‘click’ as the spring-loaded holding pins fire into place. Next, spin the plastic nut down the thread enough to pull the shovel around into the straight position, and re-tighten the nut to hold it in place. That’ll only take around 15 seconds, so you can spring into snow-clearing action lightning quick. The Gerber Gorge can also be used as a pick, and to do that you simply unscrew the nut, pull the shovel ninety degrees and lock it up again. Another cool feature is to put the shovel back folded and pull around the ‘hammer’ before locking that in, which can be used to hammer tent pegs in or in our case, smash ice if the pick feature isn’t enough.

Review and test of the Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel.  It may not shift a lot at a time, being it'll certainly get you out of being stuck (even if it takes a while).

So, your car’s now become stuck in snow, you’ve jumped out into the freezing blizzard and your Gerber Gorge is folded out ready for action in a few seconds – you’re ready for action! Get shovelling! Right, the Gorge has positives and negatives here. If there’s a fair amount of snow to move, the shovel head itself is only 11.5 cm (4.5 inches) across and 15 cm (6 inches) long to the tip, so you aren’t going to move a lot in a hurry, unless it’s unpacked powdery snow, in which case you can go mental and clear it pronto.

The other negative is the short handle and shaft, which doesn’t give much grip to use the Gorge in a normal digging position. The best way to use it is to grab the shaped grip like you would the ‘T’ handle on a canoe paddle. The positive however, is that the compact size of the Gorge allows you to get underneath the bumpers and sides of a normal height car with no trouble, allowing the snow to be cleared more effectively and safe (for paint) than a big spade.

A useful feature if you’re on ice is the ability to use the pointed head of the spade to break it up, and for thick-set stuff, try the hammer. The Gerber Gorge may be small, but it was always designed small enough for backpacking or military use; i.e. for digging your toilet in the wilderness, or shifting enough sand out the way to shelter from flying bullets.

On the plus side it’s small enough to fit into a large glovebox or door pocket in a vehicle and will certainly take up so little room in your boot that you’ll forget it’s there until your car is stuck.

Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel being used to free a truck tyre from deep snow.


Design & Build  8
Features & Use  6.5
Price  7
Overall  7.0 / 10


The Gerber Gorge Folding Shovel is built well, has a good design and multiple uses. If your car is snowed in under three feet of snow regularly, get a normal shovel. If you want something quick ‘n handy for when you’re out and about, the Gerber Gorge is well worth considering.

Related: Read our Ice Grip reviews here!

Words: Chris Davies | Tested by: Chris Davies, Nath Fielder | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

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