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.
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!
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 time 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.
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.
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 still usable it isn’t as pointy as it once was.
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.
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.