Mar 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm #1314669
What is the point, advantage? I just grab a 1" diameter stick off the ground or use nothing, dig, dig, and use the heel of my shoe or boot and kick. Make a hole 6-12" deep and get it done. I am mesmerized why anyone would actually buy and use some kind of tool to dig a shallow hole. When I need to do some business, the last thing I want to think about is "where is my potty trowel"? I do use TP…. And I do use a small golf score card pencil on the JMT…..
Update, for more clarity, I'm taking about a big dedicated trowel, not a duel use item like a snow stake or the sort.Mar 20, 2014 at 8:35 pm #2084802
Adam KilpatrickBPL Member
@oystersLocale: South Australia
Come bushwalking with me in Australia sometime, and try and use a stick or your heel…
Hard and/or rocky ground its easier.
Even in soft ground it can be a lot neater. Eg being able to get all the soil back in the hole neatly and making it look like you were never there…if you are pulling it out neatly to begin with that helps. In some situations its possible to cut a sod from the top couple of centimetres, to replace on the top of the rest of the soil afterwards.
I always put the soil back in using my bare hands. Good way to "clean" them in case you happened to get anything on them. Then just wash with water afterwards.Mar 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm #2084804
On the other hand, when I have to go, I don't want to spend time looking for a stick sturdy enough to dig a hole In dry ground, or ground soft enough to dig my heel into. My qiwiz trowel weighs about 16 grams, and is a multi use tool. I've used it to stir hot coals, a more sturdy stake in soft/sandy ground, a tool to pick up and examine random bugs and spiders, as well as just to dig when needed (not just catholes).
I just think this is one piece of equipment that a responsible trail hiker will have (or at least something that serves the given purpose readily available). I have also heard of rangers checking in some national parks as well, to make sure hikers are carrying trowels. After stepping in a few unburied piles, I am glad they are checking.Mar 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm #2084808
I have never seen ground I can't dig with natural resources or the end of my heel or Ti spoon or tent stakes. And I doubt any national parks will ever require people bring trowels, sounds crazy to me.sorry, but I don't see myself ever using a trowel, I've been backpacking for 18 years and have never considered one.
See many potty trowels on people's gear lists? Joe's? Skurka's? Here at BPL gear lists?Mar 20, 2014 at 9:04 pm #2084812
Ken T.BPL Member
I'd love to see a video of someone digging an 6-12" deep hole with the heel of their trail runners. Pick your soil type.
The advantage is ease, speed, and accuracy. My shoes also last longer. My CA campfire permit states that I must carry a shovel.
Hope you don't run into a d*ck ranger on a bad day. That would be the sh*&!
I will say that I am amazed at how much money people are willing to spend on a trowel though. Sh*% for brains perhaps? :)
OK I'm done.Mar 20, 2014 at 9:08 pm #2084813
Ken T.BPL Member
So you do use a tool instead of your shoe at times. Thought so. My trowel is my extra stake. It's a trowel first though by design.
gear lists. fictional representations of what gets carried.Mar 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm #2084814
Soil type will be sand
8 seconds flat, no video needed
How about a survey?
If you use a potty trowel post Yea, if not Nay
For more clarity, I'm taking about a big dedicated trowel, not a duel use item like a snow stake or the sort, which I agree is a good ideaMar 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm #2084815
USA Duane HallBPL Member
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Many places in the Sierra and extreme southern Cascades, I do need a trowel and then it can be tough to dig deep enough. If having any sort of fire (stove, campfire etc.) you may need a trowel or shovel per campfire permit regs. There was a thread a year ago on the interpretation of wording on permits.
DuaneMar 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm #2084816
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
As discussed previously, the long SMC aluminum snow stake with holes makes an excellent trowel or an even better tent stake.
In fact, I was just eyeballing a new one at the store yesterday, anodized and all that, $1.95.
Now I know what I can squander my REI dividend check on.
–B.G.–Mar 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm #2084820
Tony WongBPL Member
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+1 On the Snow Stake
That is what I have used in the Sierras….plenty strong, light, and cheap.
Duel use, but I have never needed to use it as a tent stake.
Thick and sturdy stick might do the job, but when I need to go, I NEED TO GO!
TonyMar 20, 2014 at 9:53 pm #2084823
spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Yes, I do. It took only one trip messing around with sticks and stakes to decide it was "stupid light." I'm not going to fart around with an inadequate tool when I can use the right one and be on my way that much sooner. Environments where a trowel is not a substantial improvement are quite limited. Like Ken, I question if people digging with sticks and sneaker heels do as good a job getting a deep hole as they claim. My bright colored jacket might be an eyesore, but waste disposal is a part of LNT I take seriously.Mar 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm #2084836
Franco DarioliBPL Member
Just yesterday I was camping on soil that needed a pretty good size rock to bang a Y peg into it.
Good luck using a stick or your boots there.
Mind you about 50 meters away I could have camped on sand because the river was dry but not a nice idea to defecate there….(besides snakes and goats use that area)
Same on snow, you should really dig under the snow and into the soil (if possible…)
Anyway there are plenty of soil types where digging with a stick or boot is not possible or practical and that is why like many I have a snow/sand stake with me.
But yes, the non multi purpose trowel only is not the type used by most here.Mar 21, 2014 at 4:06 am #2084856
Michael GunderloyBPL Member
I'm sure some of you guys are tougher than me, but in most of the Hoosier NF I can't manage a 6" hole with a stick or my heel. Too many rocks and roots, soil too packed. I've gone the snow stake route, and that doesn't play well with my arthritis either. So yeah, I use a trowel. But then, I'm willing to pay the weight penalty to carry a harmonica too. Maybe they both fall into the "luxury" bucket.
Hm, I wonder if someone could make a harmonica with a scoop built into the end…Mar 21, 2014 at 4:23 am #2084858
Mike WhitesellBPL Member
I might be able to get by with a stick or a boot heel or a rock in certain types of soil/sand.
I do most of my hiking in the smokies though. Good luck getting a stick or a shoe to put a 6" hole in rocky soil that is riddled with roots. Glad that the OP can get by with a stick, but I for one prefer to carry a trowel.Mar 21, 2014 at 5:30 am #2084865
Dan YeruskiBPL Member
In the woodlands of Illinois it's easy to get a 6-10" deep hole using the heel of a boot.Mar 21, 2014 at 7:43 am #2084890
Here in the deserts of CA and AZ the ground is usually very hard, sticks can be scarce. Rocks are plentiful but lousy for digging such hard earth. Yes I carry a MYOG trowel, the aluminum cost $1, and the weight is 0.7 oz. Doubles as a hefty tent stake.
Band it to my TP roll and it rides top of pack, there's no drama finding it. Unless you have very soft earth, why would you NOT carry a trowel / dig-capable tent stake? 0.7 oz too heavy, $1 too expensive, don't need tent stakes?Mar 21, 2014 at 7:56 am #2084897
@mcdcrookLocale: SoutheastMar 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm #2085126
@owenmLocale: SE US
'Course it depends on where you are, but 6" deep with a boot heel…that would often get you to the ground around here, but when you get to it, it's often rooty and/or rocky, and you won't get an inch further. Like making camp, site selection makes a big difference, but you don't always have the luxury of choosing the time and place.
I use a trowel, and a pretty heavy one at that, having twice broken composite ones on their first use.Mar 22, 2014 at 7:04 am #2085148
Brad ABPL Member
"I carry a MYOG trowel, the aluminum cost $1, and the weight is 0.7 oz. Doubles as a hefty tent stake."
Hey Delmar/Bolster, that's a terrific design my friend… can you give more details about its construction?Mar 22, 2014 at 7:47 am #2085153
Hi Brad, thanks!
That trowel, "Deca Spades," is discussed in the MYOG subforum:Mar 22, 2014 at 10:42 am #2085208
Brad ABPL Member
Wow, man that's excellent… interested in making me one? I don't have the milling equipment necessary.
I could see making these available for $25 + S&H… a good little cottage industry if you're looking for one.
I think they're that good!
Maybe I'll give it a go and have a local machine shop do the milling.Mar 22, 2014 at 10:48 am #2085210
d kBPL Member
What kind of drill bit does one need for the holes you drilled? (I only have a set of wood drill bits) Will a normal homeowner's electric drill work? I am tempted to try this.Mar 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm #2085718
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I use a snow stake for a potty trowel & as a tent stake if I run into sandy soil that won't hold an MSR Ground Hog stake (very rarely).
So far this has been a good solution for the holy grail of UL backpacking which is "dual purpose" gear.Mar 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm #2085774
Those of you asking about making your own Deca Spades, I'll reply in the MYOG subforum so as not to derail here. Good? See you there.
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