Picking a Pocket Shovel

The MVP of my backcountry bathroom ensemble is my pocket shovel.

Some hard core ultralight backpackers extol the virtues of a sharp rock or stick for digging their cat hole (if you haven’t read up on burying your poop, read this. We’ll wait.). Most of us, however, are willing to deal with the tiny amount of extra weight in order to enjoy the convenience of a reliable digging implement. If you’re in the market, here are a few pocket shovel options to choose from.


Price: $4.95
Material: Recycled polycarbonate
Dimensions: 10 x 2.6 x 1
Weight: 3.1 ounces

Why You’ll Love It:
 Trowel is made from repurposed GSI polycarbonate food and beverage products that were pulled from the shelves over growing concerns about the chemical BPA

Effective: Serrated edges make for easy digging in hard soil

Educational: With a 6″ deep blade, this shovel shows you exactly how deep your cat hole should be to conform to the Leave No Trace™ recommendations. Leave No Trace™ guidelines are molded into the back of the trowel so you’ll always remember to tread lightly.


Price: $21.95
Material:  Aluminum
(Collapsed) 6 x 2.5 x 1
(Expanded) 10 x 2.5 x 1
Weight: 3.5 ounces

Why You’ll Love It:
Light but Strong: Lightweight aluminum alloy handle and hard-anodized aluminum blade are strong and durable—great for digging holes in hard ground

Built-in Storage: Pop the rear cap off to store toilet paper, lighter or hand sanitizer in the hollow handle

Compact: Handle collapses to fit within the blade for compact storage.

Bonus! Carry sack included… but I NEVER use it. I’m a ziplock girl.


Price: $19.95
Material: Aluminum
Dimensions: 6.8 x 2.5 x 0.84
Weight: 0.6 ounces

Why You’ll Love It:

Light. So Light! Weighs just 0.6 of an ounce (the weight of 3 quarters)

Tough: Thin edge and aerospace-grade aluminum cuts through small roots and tough ground

Teeny: Minimalist, incognito design