I just got back from a couple back-to-back trips in central and southeastern Arizona. The weather was superb, and except for some very irritating bugs in the place I least expected—the driest desert—it felt great strapping on my pack and stretching out my legs again.
On this trip, I took a new piece of gear that is definitely going in my backpack from now on. It is MontBell’s Handy Scoop; not a “romantic” piece of gear, certainly, but an important one nevertheless. The Handy Scoop is a 6 1/4″ long, 1.3 oz. stainless steel trowel that puts everything else I’ve tried to shame!
If you’ve tried plastic trowels because they are lightweight, you know they are worthless in our rocky soil and break almost immediately. Metal trowels are heavy and the tips often bend even as you use them. Even those made for backpacking seem so heavy—until a friend introduced me to this one. What a great tool!
It is small so you won’t be digging any holes to China with this thing. But it is strong and effective and does exactly what it was made to do—and lighter than anything else I’ve found. Can’t beat that!
MontBell’s Handy Scoop can be hard to find in stock, but the place I had the best luck finding it was ProLite Gear. Not only do they have it in stock, but their customer service is fabulous! I remember calling them to ask a question about another product that I was ordering at the same time. They were amazingly friendly, helpful and actually measured the product right there and then! I also got the order in record time. Love this place. Check them out if you are looking for quality gear and appreciate excellent customer service.
For more information on “Leave No Trace” principles and backcountry waste management, please visit my Backcountry Etiquette page.