Maranatha, Kyrie Eleison
I have one of these http://www.leevalley.com/en/Garden/p...t=2,51810&ap=1 that I picked up on the clearance table at Lee Valley for something less that half price (returned with a split in the handle - 2 minute fix). I remember to take it about half the time when I'm out for a few nights. Although I've never sharpened the edge, I have used it occasionally to cut brush and roots.
I suppose if I wore it on my belt anyone I met out in the wilds who thought I might be an available victim would see I wasn't "unarmed".
In winter I generally strap a light aluminum shovel to the pack.
I've been seriously considering getting one of these Japanese Hori hori which is kind of knife/trowel hybrid. They have a knife edge on one side and a saw teeth on the other, and used for Bonsai. They look to be a great tool for me when I go to forage for bamboo shoots or ti roots as well as fern shoots. They are about $20.00 locally with a faux leather sheath.
Yup. That's the one.
I have a stainless steel folding trowel which I take backpacking with me. It's been used to dig cat holes, dig firepits, clear and contour the ground where I'll be sleeping, stir coals when putting out a fire, moving coals, chopping roots and the like. . . My brother carries a Orange plastic trowel, it's a bit lighter then my stainless trowel and works great for him.