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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to get a trowel for digging & earth moving tasks.
I got to thinking that an E-Tool would best be suited for a
vehicle kit, for a substantial campsite build-up, for Winter
use and for a GOOD scenario. But for general tasks, I'm
thinking I can see significant weight savings by going with
a Trowel for 3-Season use.

For those of you who've made the switch, did you miss
anything significant when you left the E-Tool home for
overnights or week long treks (besides the weight)?

:)
 

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I just use my boot heel and a stick for scooping out cat-holes for sanitary purposes. I know I'm supposed to dig a latrine and bury it every time, and yes a trowel would be good for that. I figure Native Americans didn't bother with anything at all. I always go well away from the trail and any water sources to do my duty so I figure it is good enough.
 

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I used to take a front end loader with me to the woods, but then all my friends were saying, dude that is wayyy to much, so I then stepped down to a backhoe. Man the gas alone was a huge savings. Then one of my friends was cruising a skidloader with a digging arm. Oh right there I knew I had to have one of those things. It worked awesome for a while, then one of my primitive buddies said why not just bring a shovel. So I gave it a college try and low and behold it worked pretty well. Then when the whole "small is better" movement came around I noticed my shovel started shrinking, smaller, smaller, until my GI friend handed me her e-tool. I have to say that worked pretty good. Now after much counseling I am on a twelve step program to cure me of my CDD (compulsive digging disorder).

Its been 10 months, and I have the coin to prove it. I have not dug one hole.

So SR69, I have to decline, though your shovel sounds wonderful, I just.... well .... can't mess this up.... I really need to get control of my CDD. yeah uh hu I'm not biting...:taped:
 

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For your general,everyday,run of the mill civilian hole all you need is a trowel.
On the other hand if you're going for a more tactical,military hole I'd go with the E-Tool for sure ;) .

Decisions,decisions.......

Cliff
 

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Numquam Succumbe
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I don't use the E-tool anymore because of the weight restrictions in my pack, but I have a 99% Gerber E-tool that I'd sell you for 30 bucks plus shipping.

Honestly, the E-tool wasn't worth the weight for the few tasks it preformed, though. :thumb:
 

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When I first got into camping and backpacking back in the 90s there was the old army e-tool in my pack. It didn't take long at all for that thing to get left at home. I found that by using it I worked harder and not smarter. Once it was gone I found I could get the job done without it.

Then I later I carried both metal and plastic trowels to dig cat holes and such. I have since left this behind as well. If I need to do a cat hole a rock or stick works. And I just don't find myself really needing to dig many holes when backpacking, and those I do I simply do by hand.

Now if you do want to carry something, and your options are e-tool or trowel, I'd go with a good metal trowel. Peferably a folding one that you can get for 5-20 dollars.
 

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Oh! One exception when I fully support bringing a shovel. WINTER backpacking. Great for avalanch rescue, quinzee building, snow trenches, etc. However, I still wouldn't bring an e-tool, but rather a collapsable snow shovel. A trowel has come in handy too, while working on the inside of a snow cave. For winter snows I'd go with plastic over metal.
 

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Fringe Element
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One encounter with having to dig into glacial deposit while under fire from
illegal Aliens from Mars, and you will want the VN era E-tool with the wooden
handle and the **pick** "option".

I.e. the "foldup" ones are OK... but when you really gotta dig in you need a
pick. In fact, the best setup is the WW I - era issue with a separate pickaxe
and shovel. but it's heavy... I'd just carry one of those per group of people
(and yeah, make the girls use them too... Good for 'em - Builds character.)
 

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The Walmart folding stainless trowel, which is now about US$ 5, is very low-key, handy, and amazing quality for the price. But I'd much rather have a Japanese Hori-Hori garden tool -- essentially knife-edged-trowel, which typically sells for US$ 30 or thereabouts. The Fiskars Big Grip Soil Knife is a less expensive almost-knock-off of a Hori-Hori, and can be had for about US$ 10 in the big-box garden or home center.

A quick word of caution about the Fiskars tool: The blade is welded to the handle, and I've heard that the welds can be a weak spot. I have two of the Fiskars, and haven't had any problem with them, but if you get one, proof-test it before you depend on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the input guys.
Ill definitely be adding a trowel to my tools arsenal.
Ill probably go with a one piece solid steel trowel.
More likey, itll be an industrial grade landscaping brand.
The camping trowels I've seen look a little weak.
I will absolutely consider every option suggested here.

:thumb:
 

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I've always had a love/hate relationship with shovels. They're typically heavy and limited in their uses ie digging holes.

The only benefit of a trowel is saving on weight, other than that, the USGI shovel is better in every aspect. Typically, I don't bring a shovel with me camping unless its just car camp sort of deal. Other than that, I use a stick and my boot heel.

Its just that tool that nobody wants to carry but every group should have. Though my E-tool has dug me out of many a whole in winter.
 

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The trowel is definitely NOT an item to go cheap with :eek: .

It might even be worthy of a dedicated thread.
What do you think???
"Only one trowel to survive" would probably get at least a dozen pages of replies here & it would surely start at least one good argument ;)

Cliff
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The trowel is definitely NOT an item to go cheap with :eek: .

It might even be worthy of a dedicated thread.
What do you think???
"Only one trowel to survive" would probably get at least a dozen pages of replies here & it would surely start at least one good argument ;)

Cliff

LOL!

Seriously though, it'd be more costly to get a cheap trowel.
The U-Dig-It looks interesting, but I'm dang sure I'm gonna
go with a solid trowel. Having a weak point in such a small
tool isn't worth the space savings for me.
 

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That's the old "folder vs fixed blade" debate. ;)

All kidding aside,I don't dig many holes that are critical for survival so I don't have a need for a trowel or an E-tool.
Not enough to bother with having a digging tool.
I've made some holes with a free stick from time to time though.
They're not pretty holes,but they serve the purpose.

Cliff
 
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