In what world is this thing a shovel? That’s the first thing that crossed our minds upon seeing the Prairie Dog Ultralight Camp Shovel. It looks more like a half-funnel. But then, we realized it’s actually meant for use as a backcountry trowel. No, not the kind you’ll use to mix plaster in job sites, but the kind you’ll use to dig holes when you need to… uhm… discharge some of that food you ate yesterday in the woods. Or make some clearing for the campfire. Yeah, definitely the campfire one.
Like other backcountry trowels, the tool can be used on its own to dig through soil, sand, and most other ground surfaces. Unlike them, though, it comes with holes at the end that allow you to attach a stick, branch, or trekking pole at the narrow tip, turning it into a functional shovel with a convenient handle, making it usable for digging deeper holes in much harder surfaces.
The Prairie Dog Ultralight Camp Shovel is a longer-than-usual backcountry trowel that measures 7.5 x 2.25 inches (length x width), which you can use on its own by grabbing the narrow end and using that as a handle. Used this way, you could easily clear ground and dig shallow holes, making it functional all on its own. If you want to dig deeper holes or dig into harder ground, though, you can use the four pairs of holes at that narrow section to attach a handle by securing it with the included zip ties, turning it into a survival shovel. The best part? You can choose your own length of handle, allowing you to use a short one or a long one, based on what you prefer.
Both ends of the trowel, by the way, are sharp, so you can dig using the narrow one, too, if it works better for a particular situation, such as prying out rocks and cutting through roots. Basically, the wide part is best for scooping while the narrow part works best for piercing and cutting. The best part? The sides aren’t sharp at all, making this very safe to grab ahold of when digging without attaching a separate handle.
The Prairie Dog Ultralight Camp Shovel can be attached to, pretty much, any reasonably long and narrow object you want to use as a handle. You can use a trekking pole, a tent pole, or the fishing pole you broke when you went to the lake this morning, as well as use branches, sticks, and whatever other similar item you can find lying around in the woods. Construction is 7075-T6 aluminum, which should be durable enough to survive regular contact with tough mountain soil, all while being lightweight at just 0.7 ounces, so it won’t add any heft to your backcountry pack. According to the outfit, the trowel can also serve as a spare stake for your tent – just bury it in the ground and use the holes to tie down your shelter.
The Prairie Dog Ultralight Camp Shovel is available now.