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Thread: Trowels and Shovels for Backpacking

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    Cool Trowels and Shovels for Backpacking

    I ran across what may be a useful and inexpensive trowelt for lightweight backpacking and camping. For only $1.49 at the local K-Mart, I picked up a garden trowel to throw into my ALICE pack that sits in my closet. This pack, as most people know, is the one that contains items for "no, I don't really need it immediately, but it COULD be useful when the zombies march down Main Street or for the next typhoon/tsunami/tornado..."

    The garden trowel is made in China for Bond Manufacturing in California. It has a 6 inch scoop blade of black plastic resin, with some metric and SAE scales to show depth. It is black but has some red points on the handle that make it more visible. There is also a lanyard hole. It is lightweight and seems sturdy and comfortable to use. I have not yet used it. but I gave it to my wife for gardening (that will be real "torture testing").

    I do not sell these, and I only want to point out useful gear that does not come from a wlderness camping or survival store. As a good American. though, I should think about adding $50 to price and coming out with a nifty marketing gimmick: Faiaoga signature series with sharpened edges (one sawtooth and one razor sharp for chopping), a built-in siren and GPS, Morse code engraved on the handle, and a photo of me in the Peace Corps planting a garden, Without the marketing hype, the tool should be a good one for latrine holes, trenches and so on. Faiaoga

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    why not just use a beveled stick?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cucumberfly View Post
    why not just use a beveled stick?
    I've read a number of posts on these forums where people mention they bring a trowel when camping. I have never found any use for a trowel when backpacking. On foraging day trips or on long canoe trips (where one can pack more gear and tolerate more weight), I have brought a trowel, but never on a backpacking trip. I have found sharpened digging sticks work almost as well in most instances for shallow-rooted wild edibles or when I need to dig a cathole for latrine use or disposal of grey water. Of course a trowel is somewhat better than a hastily fashioned digging stick, especially when digging up a deep tuber, but I can't justify the extra weight on a backpacking trip, and in very hard ground, the lighter plastic trowels simply won't do as well as a disposable digging stick.

    To those who bring a trowel on backpacking trips (not just day trips), to what uses do you put them?

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    - Martin

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    I am of the same though, what use is a trowel or a shovel in a backpacking type of environment? I mean we arn't trying to entrench ourselves in prep for a firefight. I find that a stick, treking pole, Ti cook pot, boot heel, snow shoe, etc make great improvised digging devices.

    The most common use for me is diging a cathole or digging up roots/tubers when foraging. The best item I have found is my knife handle, and 2nd best is a sturdy stick.

    I have nothing against those that carry a trowel etc, i just don't see the need when i can improvise appropiately and save weight of carrying an additional item.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRambler View Post
    I am of the same though, what use is a trowel or a shovel in a backpacking type of environment? I mean we arn't trying to entrench ourselves in prep for a firefight. I find that a stick, treking pole, Ti cook pot, boot heel, snow shoe, etc make great improvised digging devices.

    The most common use for me is diging a cathole or digging up roots/tubers when foraging. The best item I have found is my knife handle, and 2nd best is a sturdy stick.

    I have nothing against those that carry a trowel etc, i just don't see the need when i can improvise appropiately and save weight of carrying an additional item.
    I don't bring a trowel or shovel in the summer months. Like you said I can find something else to make a hole with. But in the winter I do bring a small aluminum shovel, it makes quick work of digging out camp.
    Also, my buddies were involved in a rescue last season when a trail runner fell though a snow bridge and was trapped in the freezing stream below (you can read about the rescue here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gree...ow-bridge.html) I think back to all the snow bridges I've crossed (checking first that they will hold me of course) and think how that could happen. A shovel would make rescue faster, which is the name of the game when the person is trapped in ice cold water.

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    I use a sharpened stick most of the time for digging tasks, but I tried the MSR Blizzard Stake for digging cat holes, staking out a tarp, etc and it worked very well and is very light.
    MSR Blizzard Stake.jpg

    http://www.amazon.com/MSR-Blizzard-red/dp/B000QCUN6S

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    I take a ww2 folding shovel anytime I camp, not for just day hikes though. I use it for all kinds of stuff like, digging a cat hole, knocking stobs out of my sleeping area, leveling my sleeping area within reason, cutting small saplings if I don't have my axe handy, moving coals to extend a fire or cook with etc.
    It's one of the handiest pieces of equipment I carry.
    A trowel, not so much. Not for me anyway. The lack of long handle is a handicap in my opinion and doesn't really save room if you strap you shovel on the outside of your pack. I can see the weight savings but for me a few extra ounces isn't a big deal.
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    I havea metal garden trowel that I take with me. It uses little room in my backpack and weighs very little as well. I use it for digging up interesting rocks and such. I have also used it for digging out seeps I run across now and then.

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    I like usin a shovel for catholes. Hey Iz remember the first meet in Mo lol!
    Nie pogrywaj ze mna

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    Campfire permits in the Sierras require you to have a shovel of some sort. I always regarded it as a pain and unnecessary weight until we had a tree root catch fire underground one night while we were sleeping. That little trowel suddenly became very useful.

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