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"I've gotta be - shoveling off."

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,807
136
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
One of the characters on a radio show, when I was a kid, was a friendly mortician. His ominous line as he departed, was always, "I've gotta be - shoveling off". Well, I bought a new shovel.

For years, the military entrenching tool - a small, folding shovel - had been a standsrd piece of gear for campers. Originally, it had a stout, wooden handle, with an attached shovel head that folded straight out for digging, half way to serve as a pick axe, and fully back over the handle for carrying. This shortened the overall length by about 7".

In the 60s, an all steel shovel started to be issued. The shovel head had serrations along one edge, to help cut through roots. The head folded to the same three positions. The handle was quite different from the original wooden one. This handle is all steel, and ended in a squared off loop. When digging, the handle was better aligned and more comfortable. When picking or chopping, you had a two handed grip. This handle also folded at the end where it connected to the shovel head - AND it folded in its center. The fully folded shovel is only 1/3 the length of an extended shovel. Also, it is more robust than the original tool. I think you could beat a boulder to death with this tool.

Recently, Gerber - maker of knives and hatchets - has tweaked the tool a bit. The handle is of a reinforced nylon construction. Just as robust, a bit lighter. The blade edges of the shovel head are sharper. Better serrations are there. And the angle of the head is different when folded to its "half cocked" position. Now, it takes a smaller, more manageable bite.

You can order one of these from Walmart, and have it shipped to you. It's easier if you get the Walmart app.
 
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oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
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Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
Sounds like a good improvement on the shovel ( entrenching tool ).

I still have a wooden handled one and the metal handled one with my preference being the wooden handled one. The real advantage of the metal handled one is that it folds up into a smaller package.

Both are handy for digging cat holes when group camping. As far as the original use I always considered them torture deices intended on torturing the user.

Digging a cat hole when solo camping , a trowell does a great job and is a lot easier to pack.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,807
136
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
It's difficult to find a trowel, with a handle sufficiently strong enough to stand up under digging a cat hole in ground that's pinctuated with roots-n-rocks. I have 3 or 4 trowels, and only one can be trusted. The others fold (plastic) or bent (metal). When you find a good trowel, hang on to it, and don't lend out.

But, when digging up the buried treasure that lies awaiting wherever I camp, a shovel works faster. ;-)
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
10,267
90
77
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
It's difficult to find a trowel, with a handle sufficiently strong enough to stand up under digging a cat hole in ground that's pinctuated with roots-n-rocks.
a shovel works faster. ;-)
That's the difference between you trying to dig threw rocks for a cat hole and myself digging a cat hole in a sandy area. As the realtors say... Location , Location , Location.

A shovel would be nicer if there was a rush for a cat hole but as anouther saying goes.......Prior Planning Prevents Panic. :eek:
 

PeteStaehling

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2020
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2
69
Tallahassee Florida
I've never felt the need for more than a snow stake for digging a cat hole. If one spot proves too hard to dig I try another until I have success. I camp solo most of the time that I am not staying in campgrounds or at least in small enough groups that folks manage on their own. Most of my camping I am minding my ounces and the snow stake weighs one ounce.
1555

I did own an M-1943 entrenching tool as a kid and figured it was a necessary item for camping. We dug little trenches around our tents for drainage and did all sorts of other things I no longer find necessary.
 
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,807
136
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
I admire your snow stake. By the way, WHERE in Florida did you buy that???

I also admire your pucker factor. Wandering around, trying to find a spot that’s private, easy to dig, and near a strongly rooted bush when I would prefer to NOT be doing those things, doesn’t meet my needs at the time. Roots of trees and shrubs, rocks, and such would soon render even the snow stake a piece of scrap metal. Your experience doesn’t match mine.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
10,267
90
77
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
All I like to use is one of those classic orange colored plastic trowels. It works pretty good here in the Florida Sand. I origenally got one of the folding Stainless Steel trowels but put aside after one trip. I also like to solo camp so finding a secluded spot serves a lot of uses.

Canoe Camping with the guy's we use a entrenching tool from Uncle Sam's O.D. Supple line. Harry brings a lawn chair that has a toilet seat attached to it , a cup holder on one arm rest and a magazine rack on the other side where you normally find the T.P.
Rainy weather you will find the T.P. in a old Folgers Plastic Coffee can. We locate a scenic view away from camp and set it up in that area. Canoe camp you can have comfort items without any problems. ;)

My solo hole digger.
( Coghlan's Backpacking Trowel )

1557
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,807
136
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
In sand, I don’t need even a trowel.

Dapper Al has a lawn chair throne too. One time, he’d loaned it out, and getting it back to him presented a problem. I ended up loading it into the Ruptured Duck and flying it up to him.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
10,267
90
77
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
We have Sand and also Mud , Clay , Peat , Sea Shells , Roots , Vegetation , limestone and sometimes a combination of them , depending on where you are at the moment.
On the Suwanee River if you are not careful you can even step on a lot of leaves and sink. What looks like a leaf covered river bank isn't , in some places. The mud under the leaves is slicker then grease and just as black and messy. I won't say anything about the islands in the Okefenokee. There is a reason they call it the land of trembling earth , looks are deceiving.

Don't know who made the 1st chair Harry or Al since they both canoed & camped down here. All I know is all of us sure liked Harry's Chair.