Arrange for the money to buy the shovel. On average, a good quality shovel would cost you around $50. Get the cash and set out for market research.
Visit different hardware shops and tool shops that provide shovels. Look for a shovel of a size that can be carried easily in your backpack. Check the weight of the shovel. It should not be so heavy that you cannot carry it. The weight of the shovel is the biggest consideration during the purchase decision because you do not want to carry a heavy load during the activity. The lighter your pack, the better movement you have without getting tired.
The other consideration is the material. It is better to get a metal shovel instead of a plastic one. Metal is more durable and reliable. It can be used to clear away rough grounds and material without any fear of breakage. Choose a shovel with a large blade which will be quick in removing snow, soil and gravel while you are traveling. A small blade will ask for greater exertion on your part. You can also get modular shovels which can also work as axe, sled and a saw. The parts can be joined to make the tool that you need. Saw sets which can be stored in the shaft of your shovel are also available. This saves up valuable space during the trip.
Choose a shovel made up of a material that is resistant to corrosion and freezing. If you are backpacking in the winters, there are chances that your shovel gets frozen and breaks easily. A material like polycarbonate would be an ideal option.