Poo Trowels

9/19/2019

I've been thinking about camping recently and watched a YouTube video on gear you don't need to take. One of the pieces of gear the presenter said you didn't need to take was a trowel, which in the backcountry is used to bury your poo.

The presenter was waving around an orange trowel like the one in the center of the above photo saying that she doesn't take a heavy trowel like that. She said she just digs a hole with a tent stake.

Hmm. Have you ever tried to dig a hole with a 1/4-in dia rod, which is about the diameter of a backpacker's tent stake?

Couple of thoughts about that.

That orange trowel weighs about 57g. Imagine the kind of person who can't be bothered to pack a 57g trowel and then imagine the kind of hole they would dig with a tent stake. I imagine a very small hole indeed. "Hole" is probably not the word we'd use to describe the result of their diligence.

The presenter went on to say that if you wanted a trowel, there were lightweight alternatives like the Deuce of Spades (blue, at right) which weighs 27g. For some perspective, The Deuce weighs about half as much as the orange trowel. The Deuce and $1.25 in quarters (+1.06oz) gets you to the weight of the orange trowel.

The fold-up metal monster on the left weighs 121g without its nylon sheath and 133g with. You could chip through dry clay with that stainless steel beauty. My Android phone weighs 212g.

The days of covering your mess with a rock, a log, or a handful of leaves are well past us. At least they are for those of us who value outdoor skills and understand the impact of people on our nation's wild places. Everyone should promote the message of leave no trace and carrying a good trowel is one of the things you need to do to ensure that no trace is left.