Do I Actually Need A Backpacking Shovel?

Over the years I have changed the way I approach backpacking.  At first the shift was nuanced, simply bringing fewer items along on every trip.  Eventually this curiosity transitioned into something resembling delightful problems that I enjoyed solving.  I agonized over the age old ultralight questions...

  1. Did I need the item?
  2. Did I need as much of it?
  3. Was there a lighter version?

Once "gaming" my pack list became a "thing" for me; I was hooked.  I began systematically eliminating items from my pack list, making my own gear, and buying my way to lighter/smaller/better.  Perhaps a story for a future post...  That said, eventually my critical gaze fell upon my camp shovel. 

My quest for the best backpacking shovel led me through a number of other options before finding the sweet spot in The Prairie Dog.  I went from a large military style folding shovel weighing over 1 pound, to a smaller stainless steel folder coming it at nearly a 1/2 pound.  Then I found my way into several of the plastic trowel products.  I saw them as an improvement, but questioned their durability when I'd see chips snapping off the end of the shovel.  I even tried a couple of the premium lightweight shovels on the market at the time (their names shall remain nameless), but I felt like the handles and edges were hard on my hands, and prone to snagging my other camp gear.  

Finally I discovered The Prairie Dog.  It reimagined how a backpacking trowel should be designed.  This tool was actually engineered to be comfortable and compatible with ultralight materials.  The weight was impressive at only .6 oz, and stamped eyelets allow it to be easily lashed to other items.  I immediately purchased the shovel, and believe it or not, it has made my pack list ever since.

Why wasn't the trowel something that I simply eliminated?  Great question! 

  1. The Prairie Dog encourages me to do the right thing relative to Leave No Trace Principles.  It allows me to perform the necessary functions correctly, and with relative ease.  Trying to dig a hole with a Trekking Pole or something else like that just seems silly in my opinion.
  2. I do not bring many camp tools.  A small knife is usually all that comes along, so a small trowel like The Prairie Dog gives me access to another tool with a wide range of use cases. 

With a little luck your trowel might not get used on every trip, but when nature does call, I am so thankful to have it.  I have come to believe that a small shovel is an essential tool in the backcountry, so for me it simply comes down to which one?  Garage Grown Gear called our Prairie Dog "Your #1 Trowel for #2".

We'd be honored if you chose The Prairie Dog to tag along on your epic adventures!

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