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Trowel time

Trowel time

Postby rgf101 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:39 am

Anticipating getting back out into the hills and looking at upgrading a few bits of kit. One of which is the trowel for digging my little mini-toilets. I currently have a plastic one which is quite flimsy and usually ends up doing quite a sh... abby job. So I had a look and the recommendation seems to be another plastic one, the GSI Cathole Trowel. However I also see people saying they prefer a steel one, but no actual recommendations.

So before I buy the GSI one, any other recommendations? In gratitude, I will think of you every time I squat in the heather.
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Re: Trowel time

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:22 pm

I use one that looks the same as this, though it was a few quid cheaper.


Its OK, though occasionally the spring-loaded handle can depress and fold on you. I find it a bit small really, but that's the price you pay for being able to carry it! It is heavier than the plastic type obviously, and I'm not convinced its much better except perhaps in rockier scrapes. A friend has a ridiculously expensive Sea-to-Summit one, but its also very small blade-wise, though the sharper edge is fairly effective.
When we're canoe camping, we have a couple of army style entrenching tools with us. They are SO much better, though probably too heavy for backpacking with! You can cut a proper square of turf with them though.

I have a specific small dry bag for trowel, loo-roll and hand gel. I use ecologically friendly loo roll, but where appropriate I burn the paper in-situ, giving it a good soaking with available liquids when finished.
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Re: Trowel time

Postby Phil the Hill » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:32 pm

I have an i-Poo'd. Bought it for the silly name, but it's actually a good lightweight trowel that folds up.
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Re: Trowel time

Postby WalkWithWallace » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:38 pm

Deuce of Spades, weighs something like 17g. 8)

To lessen your impact on the environment consider carrying out used toilet roll in dog poo bags.
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Re: Trowel time

Postby Marty_JG » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:09 pm

The Deuce can be a bit of a fiddle, it's ultralight but you use it wrong and you bend it. See the instructions:


GSI is a monster. Indestructible. Will easily saw though anything and then you just lever & scoop out as you would expect, and the handle is comfortable. It's also light (90 grams) with it's biggest flaw being it's bulk.

As others have said, do not bury standard toilet paper. Either take it home with you or get the biodegradable stuff (and even so, only bury that at lower altitudes, not on hills).

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Re: Trowel time

Postby rockhopper » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:04 am

I currently use the Gsi Outdoors Cathole Trowel (transparent clear plastic). I used to use one the same as Mal Grey but it developed some rust and I also found when digging in harder ground that it wouldn't stay extended. I like the cathole trowel as it's strong and also lightweight although it doesn't fold up.
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Re: Trowel time

Postby Ian Johnston » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:43 am

Hi rgf,

Take a look at the Alpkit Arlo folding trowel - neat, strong and pretty light, and reasonably priced. Comes in a sheath so you're not paking a muddy trowel back in your pack


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Re: Trowel time

Postby Skyelines » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:14 pm

Stainless steel garden trowel, totally reliable.
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Re: Trowel time

Postby Woodsy Boy » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:04 pm

Woodsy Boy
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Re: Trowel time

Postby rgf101 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:11 pm

Ok, I was sceptical about how much difference the serrated edges would make, but they were actually really helpful. A definite upgrade which made the less pleasant part of wild-camping slightly more pleasant. The GSI Cathole Trowel hereby gets my recommendation. £7.50 in Tiso.
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Re: Trowel time

Postby Themasterpiece » Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:24 pm

I use an MSR Blizzard Tent stake. 21g, 24 cm long and can use as a tent stake if you need it :)
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