* Prices may differ from that shown
The Safield Army Steel foldable shovel can be ordered off the internet on Amazon or other websites like camping or survival ones for about £10. I bought mine primarily as a snow shovel, after getting stuck for 2 hours in a snow drift and having not much to move the snow with. Two elderly people did try to help me , which I was very grateful for, but I just ended up permanently stuck and had to leave the car!
After this I bought the shovel and carried grit in the boot and also extra clothing and gloves , although I always have coats and water in the car. When the Safield Army Steel foldable shovel arrived the snow had all gone of course ! But I have had a chance to use it since this year.
When The shovel is packed up inside it's cover it is only 24 cm long and 18 cm across, so is easy to store in your boot for emergency's or camping holidays. It extends by unfolding and then locking to 3 times the compacted size at just over 60 cm long, which is long enough to use as a shovel and be practical.
I have found that it is fairly easy to assemble and locks very firmly into place and tightens up at the handle so it feels solid. It is sharp so it can be used to cut through ice and hard snow, and that is what I did with it, as the shovel is actually a bit small to move large amounts of snow. This was okay with ice as I could move large amounts as it cracked, but the snow took hours as only small amounts would go on the shovel.
Overall I think it really is an emergency shovel, but a very good one. If you had a bigger one at home that would be the one you used, I live in a flat so do not have things like shovels lying around at home.
It's that time of year again... (goes into a song at this point...). No, seriously, it's that time of year again with the snow on the ground making everything look nice and white whilst also making travelling a pain in the proverbial...
So when it comes to driving your car in these, shall we say, slippery conditions you can sometimes take your life in your own hands, or the hands of the person in the car coming right at you as they slide along a rather large piece of packed down snow that has now turned into solid ice.
Then, if you make it off the M6 Northbound, and you turn onto the 'less well gritted' lanes that they call an A road, your trouble seem to get a little trickier, especially when your front wheel drive vehicle suddenly dropped into a snow drift that is higher than a politicians ego.
Now you're stuck in that snow drift, wheels spinning faster than Usain Bolt in the hundred metres, the traction control in your engine groaning like Victor Meldrew as it rattles into oblivion, your clutch spewing out more foul smelling smoke than your local Chinese takeaway on a Friday night.
And finally you give up the ghost before your car gives up on you. You're stuck in the snow drift in the middle of nowhere, wishing that you were sat in front of the fire in your own home. Kicking yourself when you suddenly realise that if you had a spade in the boot of your car you could dig your way out and get yourself free. The only thing is you haven't got a spade as you always thought that a spade would take up to much room in your boot and that put you off the idea of carrying one around.
Luckily though this doesn't happen to me anymore, although the part of getting stuck in the snow does and, with my luck, always will. But getting stuck is no problem at all as I now carry a spade in the boot of my car when the snow threatens, and even when I know I may have to drive over sodden ground for one reason or another. In fact, to be honest, I have been carrying a spade in my boot for a while now and half the time I completely forget it's actually there.
Why do I forget it's there?
It's because the spade I carry in my boot isn't the type of spade that you find in a the Kray twins car when they are taking some one for a quick trip into the woods. The spade I carry is on fact a foldaway spade which can sit happily in the foam section of my spare wheel/air pump area underneath the boot flooring, and, when unfolded, can be just as good as Ronnie and Reggie's spade in helping hide those nuisance people on a dark night in Sherwoood Forest.
This spade that I have in my boot is actually called the Salfield army foldable spade and, as the name suggests, is based on the type that they use in the army for ease of use, versatility and mobility. Although it is only based on the army issue spade and, in my opinion, is not army issue itself, for reasons I will explain later.
* So what does this spade look like..?
It is a bit of a master of disguise, a Scarlett Pimpernel, if you wish, as it can easily pass you by if you don't know that it is actually a spade. And to be honest, when it's folded away, it looks like someone has broken a spade and just tried to strap it together before sticking it into a bag, which comes with it by the way.
Anyway, the actual spade itself has a bit of a double look to it. When it is folder away it is a snug 240mm in length, which is easy enough to slot into anyone's boot, (car, not shoe), and when you need it it unfolds to a nice workable 615mm in length. The head itself about 210mm by about 175mm and comes to a triangular point at the front for those more stubborn parts of the ground that need shifting.
The handle is about 240mm high and 150mm wide, made of a strong yet comfortable material.
The body is made of steel, with the head being a flattened steel whilst the body is a hollow tube steel. Then the handle is steel too with a slight rubberised coating to give it a more comfortable feel. Although if you're using this in the snow then you'll be wearing gloves no doubt so a comfortable grip is irrelevant really.
The unfolded spade itself looks like any other spade, with a grip section at the top and a tubular body attaching this to the flattened head. There is a larger plastic screw type casing piece section where the tubular section meets the grip section. This is, when twisted, how you fold the spade away.
What I mean by that is that when you turn the plastic screw type casing piece you'll instantly feel the entire spade go floppy, (that's the best word I can think to describe it). Then the spade will fold away with ease.
Then, when you want to unfold it you just pull out the grip section and the head, then, when in a line, you turn the screw type piece until it is tight.
Job done. You can know begin to dig away at that snow that is making your wheels spin like a boy racer in front of a bunch of scantily dress women
* My opinion...
Firstly, I have to mention again that even though the name of this spade suggests that it is Army issue I really do have to argue the point that it is not, or it shouldn't be if it is. It is not built the same as sturdy as I remember them and, if this was Army issued and used in the conditions that the soldiers have to use them in, then this would most likely fall apart within a matter of days.
Although with the cut backs in the armed forces these days this probably is army issue. Next year they'll be issuing plastic spades, the ones that you see kids using on the beach at Skegness.
Don't get me wrong, as it can handle most 'chores' that you throw at it, such as digging away snow from around your front wheels, or rear wheels, or even all four wheels, depending on the car you're driving, (even three wheels if you a fly pitcher from Peckham).
It is strong enough to do those sort of jobs when you need it which makes those journeys in the snow a little more relaxing when you suddenly see that rising hill in the distance knowing that the take-away is right at the top and your food is getting colder the longer you take to get there.
It is built well with the tubular mid section being hollow yet as strong as the proverbial ox and the handle is really a delight to hold... a delight I say, a delight. In fact the only better way that this could feel more comfortable in the hand is if you could get someone else to do the digging so that you could rest your hands.
The head has to take a lot of hassles, be it a soft effort in the snow, or the thick wad of ice sticking the rubber of you wheel to the frozen tarmac of the road, this spade head has got the bottle to handle it all, with the rigidness of the handle stopping the entire thing collapsing in your hand.
Then, to add a little extra 'style' to this one, the spade actually comes with a small, yet quite strong, material case that it slides neatly into. This helps keep the back of your car clean and dry. This bag is just slightly bigger than the 'folded' spade and is nice and strong, plus, it is machine washable for when it gets a little on the dirty side, (the cover is machine washable not the spade. If you put the spade in the washing machine then expect some clanging about, especially on the fast spin).
So how much would you have to part with to get your hands on this snow shifter..?
This is the good part. This foldable piece of ingenious metal with a flat plate at one end and a handle at the other, sells for about a tenner, even less in some places. Which, for what you get and the trouble it can get you out of, is money well spent in anyone's books.
Would I recommend this spade..?
Yes. Simple as that really.
It does the job of a spade but take up less room than a box of chocolates in the boot of your car.
What more do you want?
I ordered Safield Army Steel Folding Spade on Internet and it was delivered promptly.
This item is more of an emergency rather than a garden tool. You wouldn't be able to do much of garden digging with it. You might use it to shovel sand, compost or manure if you had to but in reality it's not a garden tool.
It is a foldable spade that will help you through high snow, sand or removing some rubble if you drove into trouble with your car and needed to clear it out to hit the road again.
For that it can do wonders for you and is compact enough to nicely fit into boot of your car along with other emergency items.
* Solid steel construction
* Easy grip handle
* Weight 1.06 Kg
* Size unfolded 60cm, folded 25cm
* Includes Nylon belt pouch
The simple twist and tighten system with easy grip handle make this folding shovel easy and comfortable to use.
It has a pouch with a belt loop but I wouldn't think anyone liked a 1 kg weight dangling down their belt (:D), however it's good for storage.
All things considered: good emergency or camping aid , useless as a garden tool.
PS. This review is also published on www.remotesos.com under the name gina.