I’ve evolved into one of these backpackers who is always looking for lighter essential items just so I have the room to take as many non-essential items as I want. Therefore, I’m always on the lookout for lighter, better and/or smaller products. I am not an ultra-lighter by any means but I figure if I can shave a little here or a little there it will make up for all of the extra items that I want to carry. So far I’ve carried a few different kinds of trowels and researched several others.
I have carried a Fiskars trowel that I picked up at the hardware store and cut down to my liking. It did it’s job and worked pretty well overall. Then I purchased a Coghlan’s trowel and cut it down to make it lighter and worked even better. I took a look at the U-Dig-It steel hand shovel and it’s pretty sweet. It folds in half to cut down on it’s footprint; it’s stout; it’s durable but alas it’s downfall is its weight at a whopping 5 ounces. Still searching….. So then I come across the Sea To Summit Pocket Trowel that has an innovative slider design that decreases the footprint and it’s light at 3.5 ounces. From what I read it seemed like a nice replacement but it seems as though it has a few flaws from the reviews I had read.
Well, then a while back I was scouring the internet and came across a game changer (small game changer in the big scheme of things but a big game changer in the world of trowels in my opinion) that shaves quite a bit off the norm. In this case it happens to be the Deuce of Spades from The Tent Lab. It’s ultra-light, strong and does what it says so I am quite pleased with my purchase. It’s .6 ounces/17 grams and paper-thin(around 1/16″-1/8″) and plenty strong enough to get the job done. It’s anodized, which assists in protecting the aluminum from oxidizing and keeping it clean. It has a hole already in it for a small rope or carabiner or however you want to use it (I attach a small bottle of sanitizer so I always have it handy). So far about the only downside is a little loss of comfort in the handle because of the fact that it’s a fairly thin piece of aluminum and the edges can be a little tough on the hands. But it gets the job done and it’s pluses far outweigh a little comfort. Now, let me just say that this is a very small issue but I saw an opportunity to make it work a little better for myself. So I wound several feet of small diameter cordage around the handle which simultaneously took care of the issue and provided a piece of emergency cordage
*HERE IS THE OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION AT THE TENT LAB WEBSITE*
This trowel is a “simple” little thing I came up with recently. It looks as self-explanatory as one can imagine. How much could there be to a backpacking trowel after all? This one is delightfully deceptive – you really have to feel it for yourself to see how surprisingly light, effective and tough this trowel really is. Added to that is a mind-bending stealth feature: you can use it handle-down for FOUR TIMES the digging power in hard ground. Use the handle end for breaking up tough dirt and wheedling out rocks; then use the scoop end to get it out quickly and easily. The combination makes the Deuce out-dig every other trowel, stick, or stake hands down.
Anyone who poops in the woods should have this baby in their pack! • revolutionary new design: it can be used handle UP or handle DOWN!! – QUADRUPLES the force for hard ground! • only .6 ounces (17 grams, the weight of 3 quarters) • digs down and carves unusually well because of its thinness • moves soft material fast because it’s scoop is relatively large • cuts right through small roots • elegant, minimalist design • strong and tough because it’s made of aerospace grade 7075-T6 aluminum • works as a sand stake but even better for burying other things as anchors • NOT DORKY • a great gift – no matter how many toys they have, they ain’t got this yet • formed in Colorado by Arrow Sheet Metal (ISO 9001 certified) • engraved in Colorado by Sterling Edge • designed to need no packaging • nice colors: red, yellow, green, blue and black (note that colors vary a little, especially yellow) • Two new colors: Purple and Orange • pretty funny: it makes a very good boot- or shoe-horn • 100% recyclable • Yes, yes, yes. You CAN open a beer bottle with it. Lever-pop, wot?