Gear Review – The Crovel Extreme II

If you’ve never seen the Crovel before it’s an amazing piece of gear that is made in the USA. Basically it’s a military e-tool on steroids with some cool additions.  First, it’s heavier than an e-tool. This can be both good and bad and I’ll come back to this in a moment.  Second, it has some cool additions such as a pry bar and an attachment point where you can add in some serious heavy duty hardware to break concrete, rocks, or whatever needs to be broken.

By Jarhead Survivor, a contributing author SHTFBlog & Survival Cache


The blade is sharpened on one side and carries an ok edge out of the box.  It’s heavy and sharp enough that I was able to split some firewood with it without having to sharpen it.  The other side of the blade carries a saw blade.  In reality I’m not sure what this might be good for but hey, you might as well have it in case you need it.  The shovel blade also has a bottle opener, so you won’t have to go looking for one while you’re doing all the hard work you’ll be doing with this beast.  Enjoy that frosty beverage!

Also Read: Trucker’s Friend – a great SHTF Tool

The pry bar comes with a heavy duty nail puller, which would be useful doing demolition work.


Paracord is wrapped tightly down the length of the handle and could be used for just about anything in a survival situation.  The handle is also hollow, which means you could store extra survival gear such as fishing tackle in it if that’s what you were going to be using this tool for.

Don’t think that because it has a hollow handle it will break easy because that’s not the case at all. This is a heavy duty tool.  When I was splitting the wood I put some oomph behind it and it felt just as good as swinging an axe.  It is a little funky with the claw hammer on it though.

I brought it with me to the campground I stay at in the summer crovel extreme ii shovel for survivaltime here in the state of Maine and passed it around to a couple of guys. I said, “Here! Take this tool and try it and tell me what you think of it.” Now these were good-old Maine boys not easily impressed by cheap goods, but the answer they gave me was invariably, “Where can I get one?” after letting them play with it for a few hours.

Performance

So how did it perform in real life? I tried a few different tests. First and probably most obvious I dug a small hole. It performed about like a small shovel would be expected to. If anything it did a little better because of its weight. It was easier to thrust into the ground and it didn’t turn in my hand as much as one of the lighter e-tools might. One bonus was that as I would hit tree roots it was easy to cut them with the edge of the Crovel and keep digging.


I turned the head to 90 degrees and dug a small trench without too much effort. Again, the extra weight made it a good solid tool for this type work. It bit into the ground nicely and one thing I actually kind of liked is that the nail puller at the end made a pretty good handle to hold. I expected that feature to get in the way when working with this tool, but for the most part I didn’t mind it too much.

As mentioned earlier, I split some wood with it the first night I had it and it was a satisfactory experience. It wasn’t the same as splitting with an axe of course, but again, it was heavy enough to go through the wood if you really committed to the swing. I’m not expecting to split two cords of wood with it, but it’s nice to know that if it’s all I have it will get the job done. Remember, I didn’t do a thing to the crovel when I got. I used it as is right out of the box.

One of the downsides to this tool was the paracord wrapping.  I know above I said that it’s covered with paracord, but let me explain why I didn’t care for this feature.  I’ve never had good luck with tools wrapped in paracord for some reason. I do have one knife that’s been ok, but generally speaking it doesn’t usually work well for me, which was the case with this tool as well. After using if for about ½ hour the cord handle started to loosen up on me. I was able to twist it back into place, but it slowly started to unravel again and I had to twist it back into place. When I’m using something I just want to be able to pick it up and use it and not worry about babying it for whatever reason.

The Crovel wasn’t meant to be babied. This thing wants to work and can take it. I’m going to wrap the handle in camo duct tape and if that doesn’t work I’ll just take the paracord off altogether and use duct tape on it, or just leave the handle plain metal.

Wrecking Tips

This tool also comes with two tips for smashing through various concrete structures or zombie skulls. They are very sharp and I can see where they’d be useful for smashing through concrete if you were trying to rescue someone in a collapsed building or something like that.


The bottom of the Crovel unscrews and you can screw the pointy wrecking tips right into it. These two spikes are sold separately from the Crovel.  They are called the Z Spike and the Super Spike. There are rubber gaskets lining the tips, so you don’t have to worry about water leaking in and getting your survival items wet while using it.

I wondered how the tips would stand up to some real abuse so I found a flat rock and took the bigger tip and whaled on it a few times. Not so good. The tip flattened out on the end and while it’s WIN_20140817_170109still usable it isn’t as pointy as it once was.

 

Weight

I’ve mentioned the weight a couple of times and yes, it’s heavy.  At 5.5 lbs it will add some weight to your pack.  However, the extra weight does have advantages in some areas, so it’s not all bad.

It comes in a black nylon case that holds the two tips discussed above, but it’s also got a couple of MOLLE straps that allow you to attach it to your pack.

Since the nylon case is there I decided to test it fixed it to my pack to see what happened. I used my everyday hiking pack/GHB for the test. This is a relatively light pack – about 15 lbs – that I keep with me all the time. I attached it to the pack and took it for a walk. It did add to the pack weight of course, but it wasn’t clumsy feeling as I feared it would be. I walked around for a bit, did some squats, climbed over some logs, and some other basic things you’d do in a pack and was surprised that it didn’t slow me down. It looks awkward, but if I gave you the pack to wear and said, “Here’s a 25 lb pack to carry,” you probably wouldn’t realize it had the Crovel hanging off the back unless you looked.


As a matter of fact it did have one advantage that I rather liked: when I sat my pack down it helped keep it upright even though it wasn’t leaned up against something. My pack usually lays down when it’s by itself, but not this time. The Crovel acted kind of like a kick stand to keep it upright.

Conclusions

This is not a tool that you want to carry around with you if you are trying to go light and fast during your bug out.  Words that come to mind are “industrial”, “bad ass,” and “heavy.”   Made in America by quality craftsman, words that do not come to mind when I think of the Crovel Extreme II are “cheap” “flimsy” “light weight”.  The Crovel would be ideal in a base camp situation.  I could see it being used by rescue personnel or maybe even as a firefighter tool.   In a SHTF situation this tool could prove to be extremely useful.

I have it stowed in my truck in the big toolbox.  It’s a great addition and it’s a comfort knowing it’s back there in case I need it.  The paracord handle is a pain.  I’ll probably remove it so it doesn’t slip while I’m swinging it at something.  With my luck I’d cut a toe off with this thing.

The saw blade really isn’t that practical, but if you have the space and it doesn’t add weight then why not?  The teeth are wide and don’t cut that good, but it’s better than nothing.

If you’re looking for a rugged multi-tool then this might very well be the one you’ve been looking for.

Want more?  Here is a video of the Crovel.

Photos by:
Jarhead Survivor
Noah

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16 comments… add one
  • Road Warrior August 25, 2014, 8:18 pm

    Hey, that thing is pretty cool. You should do a follow-up, pitting against a GI E-tool, or the Glock E-tool, or any others you can collect!

    Reply
  • Chuck Findlay August 25, 2014, 9:20 pm

    $130.00 seems a bit high for a shovel and a crowbar combo.

    I like and only buy quality tools as I make a living with tools. But I also demand value for my dollars when I spend them.

    I have a few US and Soviet Block military shovels I’ve gotten over the years at gun shows, truthfully, more then I need…

    And I already have several Stanley bars with this type of head in my truck and they do work well for ripping things apart like 2X4s and walls as the angled head allows you to apply a lot of force and the weight makes a nice impact device. I question their value in the wild as they are made to take apart structures. But for an urban get-home-bag these bars could be of use, but in the woods, not so much. A saw and a Tomahawk is a better set of tools then a crowbar for the brush.

    I do have a medium flat crowbar (a Wonderbar) in my get-home-bag. I’ve had it for years and it has taken a lot of abuse and other then paint loss, it’s held up great. It was $1.95 when I bought it years ago. I have bought several like it from garage sales over the years for give-away prices.

    As far as the Paracord I kinda agree it can get in the way. I have several things wrapped with it and (Unknown as to why the few work) only a few of them stay tight.

    Reply
  • irishdutchuncle August 25, 2014, 10:09 pm

    it costs how much??
    I don’t personally like combination tools much. it took me years to warm up to the multi-tool, over the Scout knife.
    for me, there is no substitute for a real military E-tool. I worry about carrying any small pry bars during ordinary times. (some places, they are considered burgulars tools)
    … still sometimes I have one in my “day hike” bag. in a real SHTF, you need the largest pry bar you can carry. IMHO.
    there is no substitute for leverage… I would carry a Hurst tool if I could.

    Reply
  • Chuck Findlay August 26, 2014, 12:41 am

    I carry the best combo-tool ever made. The Swiss Army knife, the Swisschamp. I’ve had the same knife for 25-years and I use it almost every day.

    Another good tool o carry if you work in a building is an automatic center punch. These things are the size of a fat magic marker and are made to punch a divot in metal to drill a hole.

    But they also will blow out a side window in an auto, and also a window in an office building. If a person works in an office building and the security people were to lock-down the building to keep people from going in or out one of these punches would make an exit in a second. No you would not lightly go around breaking glass doors or windows, but if there were an 9-11 type of event you should not hesitate to get clear. And the people telling you to stay in place probably are not going to make decisions with your best interest in mind. So whatever they say should be looked at with an eye for your personal survival in mind. Harbor Tools sells these punches for about $4.00. I don’t normally buy low cost tools, but someone gave this thing to me and I have been using it for 7-years or so. It keeps a sharp pointed tip even when punching stainless steel.

    Reply
    • irishdutchuncle August 26, 2014, 2:11 am

      thanks Chuck.
      I’ll have to get one of those punches and do some experimenting. I also want to get a second pair of my new favorite long nose pliers, from channelock.
      (longer handles, shorter jaws)
      now that I’m thinking about it, I guess I’ll add a screwdriver, and a knuckle-buster to my BOB, too.

      Reply
      • Anonymous August 26, 2014, 10:47 am

        klein or knipex channellock pliers are shit.

        Reply
        • irishdutchuncle August 26, 2014, 3:30 pm

          thanks Anon.
          the pair I got must have been made on a good day.

          Reply
          • Anonymous August 27, 2014, 12:07 am

            Musta got my Knipex made on a good day too.

            All four pairs of them!

  • Ray August 26, 2014, 6:51 am

    OMG Paracord ? What will they wrap it on next as a sales gimmick? As someone who has broken the handle on 5 pound splitting mauls , sledge hammers (while diving wood wedges) More ax handles than I care to remember and have slit wood since I was 8 , I can spot the fail points in that tool from WAY off. (1) If you try to split wood with a shovel blade after a short time it WILL crack thru if the steel is hardened or bend into a pretzel if it isn’t hardened. Ether way using it for anything more than an E-tool WILL break the blade sooner than later. (2)The HINGE on the handle WILL break given enough load or if you hammer/split with the shovel blade. But LONG before that , the hinge will become so loose as to render the shovel blade useless.(3) Prying anything up will be an adventure as the first time the object you are prying “lets go” and that “sharp” blade edge meets a soft human part, you can enjoy a fun filled trip to the ER for stitches! The little “knobs” are just silly dead weight , anyone who has ever spent the day busting up concrete with a sledge hammer would know that . $130.00 and FIVE POUNDS? For a gimmick tool? And with a bottle opener too! What no handy fire starter & fishing kit in the handle? Tools you use every day to survive MUST be task specific ,and of the highest possible quality, Gimmicky , “multi-tools” like this WILL fail when your life depends on them–if not sooner. It MIGHT last a month in the bush; but I would be amazed if it lasted two weeks of serious “real world” use.

    Reply
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. August 26, 2014, 8:24 am

    Before you get rid of the paracord, you might try inserting a strong needle or finishing nail(s) through the paracord at the ends – that will probably anchor it fine. I have a wrap of paracord around the handle of one of my CS Bushman knives and that step (needles) did the trick. And those items will come in handy at some point in time.

    The Crowvel efinitely sounds like a tool for a vehicle or home kit, backpacking it would probably not work too well. I’ve had folding military e-tools and my gripe is they need to be taken care of at the collars and joints where they bend – mud to earth tends to begin to cause rusting, which leads to frustration. For that reason, I like the simple non folding shovel patterns. But to each their own.

    Thanks for the review Jarhead, I’ve seen that tool but never read a review of it.

    Reply
  • Badger359 August 26, 2014, 10:32 am

    This looks good for the base camp slash B.O.V. use or just to have in the car trunk for emergencies.

    FYI on the automatic center punch. I was warned by an (LE) that some locals consider it a break in device used by hoods. Just a thought. I do carrying one in my vehicle, BOB, GHB

    Reply
  • R.C. August 26, 2014, 12:43 pm

    Buy yourself a full sized spade shovel and 4′ pry bar and save yourself $60 lol

    Reply
    • Flat Rascal August 26, 2014, 5:45 pm

      Great Point R.C. While an all-in-one looks like a good idea, I prefer the right tool for the job. One tool = one worker. If R.C. brings both a spade and a pry bar, then he can put me to work as well. Some tools combine well like the Leatherman has proved but others like a shovel/axe thing might be neither.

      Reply
  • Pineslayer August 26, 2014, 9:07 pm

    I bought one a year or so ago. I wanted to feel it for myself and support an American Company at the same time. It is built with the best of intentions and materials that can be afforded by most. The pry end seemed to be wanting to slice my wrist when swinging it. I was planning on keeping it in a BOV saving some space, but instead I went with regular full sized tools. I think it has too many things going on. The structure of the shovel and pick was awesome. So Tim, if you are listening, pare it down to digging and make a separate tool for demo work . That shovel with a D handle, that still unscrews, would be a very capable digger and a hell of a skull crusher. Not that I would ever think of using it for that.

    Reply
  • Mrs. B August 30, 2014, 9:27 am

    I think I will save my hard earned coin and skip this one. Thank you for reviewing this item.

    Reply
  • SC Survivor September 4, 2014, 8:59 am

    I own one as well. Solid piece of gear. When the bullets run out, the crovel will be a battle axe!!!

    Reply

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