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Trowel - which one?
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David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Trowel - which one? on 07/03/2008 13:56:01 MDT Print View

How many of you carry a trowel? If so, which one?

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Cheap Plastic on 07/03/2008 14:17:02 MDT Print View

I used to carry a really nice folding, stainless steal one that I bought at REI, but to save weight, I have been carrying a $2 Orange Plastic trowel to cut weight.

I read on the forums recently that some people are using an aluminum snow stake for their trowel and it has a duel usage as an extra stake.

I am going to try that out on my next trip.

Hope that this helps.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/03/2008 14:20:45 MDT Print View

I used to use the cheap, ubiquitous and effective orange plastic trowel but found it too bulky. I now use the MontBell trowel and highly recommend it for its strength, light weight, and compactness. Great sex appeal too (for a trowel).

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/03/2008 14:48:17 MDT Print View

I use one I made out of titanium that is modeled after the Montbell trowel. It weighs 10g. Trowels etc.

Edited by ericnoble on 07/03/2008 14:55:04 MDT.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
trowel? on 07/03/2008 15:03:00 MDT Print View

in the event that a stick or rock wont work, I have used a V-shaped Ti tent peg with 20' of Zpacks cord wrapped around for a handle. The bonus is, you have emergency cordage on a very rigid trowel.
cost $5
weight .45

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 07/03/2008 15:04:04 MDT.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/03/2008 15:27:55 MDT Print View

I also have the MontBell trowel. It's tough, light and effective. I've not been able to confirm the sex appeal though. Where did you get this from? Bears? Racoons? Rough and rugged trail babes?

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: trowel? on 07/03/2008 15:33:31 MDT Print View

I'm with Mike and use a titanium nail stake. I've tried the orange plastic things and the montbell trowel. In the hard rocky sierras I find the nail stake does a better job of breaking up the ground.

Weight: 0.2 oz

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
Re: Titanium Trowel on 07/03/2008 16:04:17 MDT Print View

Is there cottage maker of titanium trowels similar to the Mont-Bell?


Jason Griffin
(JGriffinRN) - F
montbell on 07/03/2008 18:21:48 MDT Print View

I like the montbell.......... 1.4oz for stainless steel construction is very light.

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Re: Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/04/2008 16:14:24 MDT Print View

Hi Eric

How'd you make it? Can I buy one from you? :)

Timothy Cristy
(tcristy) - F

Locale: Ohio
trowel on 07/04/2008 19:46:07 MDT Print View

Most of the places I hike the soil is a solid mass of small roots. I tried the orange trowel and a few others and none worked all that great. Its not that light at 8 oz, but I am now using a Japanese digging knife and it works great. The one I have is a stainless one from Garret Wade, but here is the generic description:

In addition to being my trowel, it can be used as a light duty saw and a large fixed blade knife.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/05/2008 08:48:22 MDT Print View

I have had the Montbell Trowell now for a few seasons. It works great!!!!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
SMC Snow Stake on 07/05/2008 18:51:37 MDT Print View

I use an aluminum SMC snow stake and it works great.


Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/07/2008 17:22:04 MDT Print View

I posted instructions on making my trowel with the experiences of others in the MYOG section. I don't have one to sell but I'm happy to answer any questions if you wish to make your own.

Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
Trowel - which one? on 08/15/2008 09:42:24 MDT Print View

I made this one out of 1/16" x 1" angle aluminum. I weighs in at 1 oz. and is pretty solid. The material costs less than $5 at Home Depot. As you can see the quality and craftsmanship far surpasses that of your typical prison shank. All I really had to work with was a Dremil Tool. I still need to drill a hole in the top so I can use it as a back-up stake too.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Trowel - which one? on 08/15/2008 10:37:45 MDT Print View

Hey Mike!

Now that's an idea! A whole new cottage industry! Prison inmates selling UL Potty Trowel/Prison Shanks to the backpacking community. We can be a part of their "rehabilitation."

They could offer discounts on slightly used ones.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Trowel - which one? on 08/15/2008 11:30:38 MDT Print View

The Original "MYOG" Potty Trowel Thread - Take a look

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Trowel - which one? on 08/15/2008 11:58:09 MDT Print View

You could notch in some short fork tines and your ti potty trowel could double as a spork.

Hey, its Friday.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
SMC Snow Stake on 08/15/2008 12:25:14 MDT Print View

Remember, you should dig only about 6" deep, so the organic biota in the topsoil can break down the "human waste". (The computerized "bad word nanny" woulden't let me write f*c*s!)

As I said above, an SMC aluminum snow stake is the lightest, yet still-efective trowel I could find. It can also serve as a main front guyline stake for my Contrail tent in bad weather or loose soil.


Edited by Danepacker on 07/07/2009 15:39:05 MDT.

Michael Gardner
(ekim765) - F

Locale: Southeast
"lightening holes" on 08/15/2008 13:22:52 MDT Print View

Tried the lightening holes in the handle of the trowel I made before this... it didn't last long. Weakened the handle and it snapped right off.

Yeah Michael!

They could also turn a toothbrush into a knife/tent stake. Now that's multi-use right there!

Edited by ekim765 on 08/15/2008 13:30:15 MDT.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Trowel - which one? on 08/15/2008 13:56:58 MDT Print View

That trowel/spork combo you mention isn't far from another BPL'er comment. I wish I could recall who, but someone was talking about using the cookpot for a urine containment device instead of grabbing boots and a flashlight to take care of business in the middle of the night.
I'd say to search the forums, but that alone is worth laughing at.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Trowel in frozen ground? on 07/06/2009 07:41:25 MDT Print View

Curious what you use when the ground is snow-covered and/or frozen solid?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Trowel in frozen ground? on 07/06/2009 17:25:03 MDT Print View

> Curious what you use when the ground is snow-covered and/or frozen solid?

One Of Steve's carbon fibre /titanium ice axes!


Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Trowel? on 07/06/2009 17:50:06 MDT Print View

I don't use or take a trowel.

I feel like I can dig a hole with a stick. So, I win the lightest rowel contest - it's zero!

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Trowel? on 07/06/2009 18:02:06 MDT Print View

> I feel like I can dig a hole with a stick.

I wouldn't think that would work too well in frozen soil even with a large, pointy stick, but I suppose you've managed to make it work.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/06/2009 21:01:37 MDT Print View

From a woman's point of view, I'd have to agree that the Montbell trowel is sexy!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Trowel? on 07/06/2009 21:13:39 MDT Print View

Ummm Mike, not above tree line. What would you use, a rock?

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Trowel - which one? on 07/06/2009 23:14:56 MDT Print View

I made my own from sheet Ti. It don't weigh much. Got to put a rock on it so it don't blow away in the wind.

Works pretty good as a combo spoon, shoe horn and snow/sand stake.

SUL Ti Multi-tool
My potty trowel.

Edited by redleader on 07/06/2009 23:16:25 MDT.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
REL Trowel - which one on 07/07/2009 00:07:15 MDT Print View

MSR Snow Stake for me. Light, durable, digs well around roots and rocks, and I didn't have to make it.

Sticks just don't work well enough in areas with roots and rocks, or else there just aren't stout enough one lying around that will do the job in the stuff I usually encounter.

Chris Harvey
(CCH) - F
Fiskars Trowel on 07/07/2009 08:45:12 MDT Print View

This is on the heavy side (3.3 ounces) but after snapping one of the straight orange trowels in hard ground, I started using a Fiskars plastic garden trowel. Very durable and digs well. $4

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Snow stake for trowel on 07/07/2009 09:28:17 MDT Print View

The snow stake allows a little bashing with a stick or rock which virtually none of the other trowel options will endure. I wrapped mine with some light line to give some grip and protect my hands, not to mention giving an emergency line supply. A little duct tape would work too. If you really trash one they are cheap and 100% recyclable. In a pinch it can be used for a tent stake :)

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
stake = trowel on 07/07/2009 09:39:31 MDT Print View

I am with Pamela... I use a shaped stake (.4oz). Besides being a trowel it's used as a stake :-) I make it a luxury item by using a small plastic "t-joint" (.4oz) as a handle. This lets me press down hard without worrying that I will hurt my hand. The t-joint is also used to push in stakes when the ground is being troublesome. I found my stakes last longer this way rather than using a rock as a hammer.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Trowel - which one? on 07/07/2009 14:08:19 MDT Print View

Another stake user here. Mine is a 1-oz. aluminum semicircular stake left over from some tent or other many years ago. It works just fine. Since my dog also uses it (or rather, I use it for his leavings), he gets to carry it! Only fair since he does his thing twice daily while I need the stake only once a day.

I have also used my shoe heel or trekking pole points, but I've found that the stake is far more effective.

I've found that those cheap plastic trowels are completely useless unless the ground happens to be soft and soggy. After a month of no rain in Pacific Northwest summers, a plastic trowel won't even scratch the surface of the ground.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
My "new" potty trowel on 07/07/2009 18:18:58 MDT Print View

Here's my version...

MSR snow stake with CCF cushioning the handle (wrapped with cloth bicycle handlebar tape). Stronger, lighter and more comfortable than most solutions...and it can still be used as a tent stake!

34 grams on my scale (1.2 oz.).trowle

Ivan Bertrand
(ibertrand) - F
summer and snow on 07/08/2009 00:31:09 MDT Print View

I use a Montbell Trowell as well.

For snow I would consider a Coghlan's Back Pack Trowel.

Randall Miller
(speyguy) - F

Locale: Cascadia
Trowel - which one on 07/08/2009 14:18:55 MDT Print View

I don't carry a trowel. I'm just selective about my choice of spots and use the back of the heel of my boot to dig a hole.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Trowel - which one on 07/08/2009 18:08:36 MDT Print View

"I don't carry a trowel. I'm just selective about my choice of spots and use the back of the heel of my boot to dig a hole."

Spot on. Trowels are unnecessary, IMO/IME. A proper choice of smaller boulders works well, too. Roll them back and you've got a pre-dug cathole. Just roll 'em back in place when you're finished and carry on with your day. Also, below timberline a sturdy stick makes a good trowel.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Trowel - which one on 07/09/2009 00:54:35 MDT Print View

Ah - bit tricky on alpine grasslands...


Jens Aarnaes
(Finnmark) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Home made trowel on 07/09/2009 11:09:06 MDT Print View

My trowel is similar to Mike's - I just spent more time with my file ;-) It weighs 50 grams and now, thanks to suggestions here, has a hole in the handle so it can be used as a tent stake. Jens' angle aluminum trowel

Dan Amundson
(xcskier23) - MLife
Trowel - Which One on 05/29/2015 21:01:47 MDT Print View

Ok, I know this thread is really old, but I just saw it.

How about the Suluk 46 Titanium Trowel: 7" long, 2.5" wide, and only weighs 0.53 oz. 46 Titanium Trowel

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Trowel - which one?" on 05/29/2015 21:27:09 MDT Print View

That Qwiz guy who posts here has a great trowel...but spendy. Don't lose it.

Jim Cushing
(jimothy) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Trowel - Which One on 05/29/2015 21:32:38 MDT Print View

What I've wondered about trowels like that Suluk 46 (including the Deuce of Spades and similar) is, don't they dig into your palm as you're digging the whole? They look liked be uncomfortable.

I, like others, use a snow stake. REI brand. It has a rolled top edge to make it more comfortable driving into the ground, and I glued a cord from a wine bottle that also helps form a comfortable handle. Just over an ounce, and $2 not including the wine.

John Eyles
(JohnEyles) - F
Re: Re: Titanium Trowel on 05/29/2015 23:45:50 MDT Print View

>> is there a cottage maker of titanium trowel ?

I do not have it (yet).

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: "Trowel - which one?" on 05/29/2015 23:49:32 MDT Print View

I got one of the 15 gram trowels. Then I dipped one inch of the handle end into some glow-in-the-dark latex paint. Then I put a stripe of International Orange paint over some of that. Then I put a coat of clear finger nail polish over that. All of that paint serves to protect my hand from the metal edge, but it cost me one extra gram.


Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
yeah qi wiz! on 05/30/2015 08:40:17 MDT Print View

I finally broke down and bought one of these, after struggling too much with my heel (and my tiny little ti stakes are no match for digging a proper hole):

It is actually quite find on my hand, cuts through all matter of -ahem- crap that i may need to dig through to get an adequately sized hole.

Highly recommend.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Trowel - Which One on 06/01/2015 16:18:48 MDT Print View


At a recent "digging competition" at an LNT workshop among hikers, the Deuce and a similar item from Montbell won

Why ultralight hikers should carry potty trowels

Edited by annapurna on 06/01/2015 16:19:33 MDT.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Trowel - Which One on 06/01/2015 16:55:54 MDT Print View


aka Deuce Scoop

I do have mine, and love it. Works better than the orange plastic or the Montbell, both of which I've had in the past.

Jameson Tisch
(jameson_tisch) - M
Trowel on 06/01/2015 17:29:19 MDT Print View

While many consider the Qiwiz one to be one of if not the best I simply could not justify spending that much money on a trowel. I wound up picking up Lawson's and it does the job great, is light, and cheap (relatively). The Deuce of Spades one also looks nice but is probably a couple bucks more figuring shipping.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
When your LNT method is too good . . . on 06/25/2015 10:29:07 MDT Print View

Thanks for the positive comments from those who have tried and like my trowels. I know they are not cheap, but I make them by hand, one at a time, with love. The handle end has an extra latex layer to further cushion the edge, BTW.

I've only lost one of my trowels, but the event has its bright side. A few years ago I dug and used a cathole and then walked back to my tarp site. Then realized I had left my trowel back next to my cathole. I went looking for it and despite 30 minutes of hunting, could not find the spot. Too well returned to a natural appearance. This loss led to my starting to coat my trowel handles with bright yellow latex, which continues to this day. Somewhere in the Hickory Creek Wilderness, a few 100 yards south of where the trail crosses Jack's Run, there's an Original titanium trowel, just waiting to be discovered. Might be under a few season's leaves though. ;)

Edited by QiWiz on 06/25/2015 10:35:31 MDT.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: When your LNT method is too good on 06/25/2015 10:36:57 MDT Print View

Love my QiWiz "Big Dig" -- hope I never lose it (and yes, the yellow coating should help with that!).

Definitely easier to dig with a trowel than a rock/boot/stick, and sometimes (ahem) time is of the essence! ;^)

Edited to add: It's got about 25 days x 2 people on it so far; after this summer, it should have almost triple that, so - providing I don't lose it - the amortization is making it fairly cheap!

Edited by Wildtowner on 06/25/2015 12:57:24 MDT.

Jim Cushing
(jimothy) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Picked up a QiWiz on 06/25/2015 10:51:03 MDT Print View

On somewhat of a whim (and based on recommendations here and elsewhere), I picked up a QiWiz Big Dig. Probably a case of gear addiction, but on the practical side, it can scoop much more dirt than then tent stake I've been using.

While I just got it and haven't used it yet, I do think that a concern of mine was unfounded. I was worried that the thing metal would dig into the heal of my palm, but fortunately, Robert anticipated this and has put a few thicker layers of coating (sort of a rubbery paint) over the end of the handle. Provided the coating is durable, it seems this will be very comfortable, and a nice—if somewhat superfluous—piece of kit.

P.S. To help prevent losing this luxurious loo tool, I attached a loop of 2mm Glowire to it. It was a little tricky feeding the line through the small hole in the handle, but I did manage. The loop makes it easy to attach to the outside of your pack, either with a carabiner or simply a lark's head knot. Maybe if that hole were a little bigger, it would offset some of the extra weight from the cord. :)

Edited by jimothy on 06/25/2015 10:56:31 MDT.