Deuce of Spades Trowel Review
April 20, 2015
The Deuce of Spades – the lightest toilet hole digger you could possibly find. But is it worth taking with you on the trail? The simple trowel seems so simple yet some of the most heated debates I’ve heard between backpackers have been centred on this simple item and if it has a home in their kit. Here is what I have to say on the matter and if the Deuce of Spades makes the cut.
Leave no trace! Bury your poop! If you don’t you’re a jerk. The last thing I want to invade my pristine wilderness experience is coming across a pile of your leftovers. Because of this I, for many years, carried a $2 off brand, orange, plastic, “Coleman” trowel. It worked fine but I found that they would break with a surprising amount of regularity. Then the ultralight thing happened and I ditched the trowel and dug my holes with the end of a trekking pole. Obviously this works so why bring a dedicated tool to do the job? Well, the Deuce of Spades weighs a scant 0.6 oz. That is literally nothing so if it can do the job better why not bring it along?
I found the Deuce of Spades on Kickstarter but was too late to back the project. Now it’s commercially available and I’ve got one in hand to test out. The trowel digs quite well. It cuts through loamy forest top soil with ease and can get through hard packed clay or ice in the winter no problem.
While the Deuce of Spades digs with ease it also digs into my hand with the same amount of ease. This flaw is highlighted multiple times when reading other people’s reviews. Most people seem to solve this issue by wrapping something around the handle to provide some protection (an extra sock, some toilet paper, etc.). I tried this approach and found it lacking. The only way I was able to comfortably dig through hard packed soil was with a glove on my hand. A simple rolled metal finish along the edge of the handle might alleviate this issue. Hopefully a future revision will incorporate this.
After trying a few things the digging strategy that worked best for me was to use the Deuce of Spades to get through the light top layer then switch to using a trekking pole tip as a “pickaxe” and scoop the remaining dirt out of the hole with the Deuce of Spades.
I’m still not 100% convinced that a trowel is required but I will say that having the Deuce of Spades along made it noticeable easier to dig a hole.
The Tent Lab