User Review: Sea to Summit iPood Pocket Trowel
Price Paid: $20
I got this little trowel to replace a military-type entrenching tool. A lot of what I use the e-tool for is digging cat holes. Sometimes I use it for digging drain ditches when I anticipate water run-off from hills into my campsite, or for digging a pit to bury compostable trash, or fire pits if I'm building a fire, and sometimes I use it for whacking branches into kindling, whacking brush out of the way, or as a stool to sit on while at the cat hole. But I'd say at least 85%-90% of the time, it is just digging cat holes.
I bought the iPood trowel online, with the intention of lightening my load from 1.5 lbs to 0.2 lbs. While it is decently made, I think for $20 it is waaay overpriced. (minus 1 star). If this trowel were $10-$15 I would give a higher rating. If it were $7 I would say it was well worth having.
The description says you can put a spare lighter or toilet paper in the handle. While this is true, I haven't found a need to carry a lighter with me to a cat hole, and for anything more than an overnight trip of two people the handle doesn't hold enough toilet paper. I put a small hand sanitizer bottle in the handle with a micro photon LED light. But since I'm already rummaging in my pack for the trowel + toilet paper + flushable wet wipes, it isn't like its saving me a ton of trouble by having the hand sanitizer in the handle. I could just as well store it in the stuff sack. I wont take away any stars, but I award no stars for this (cough, *gimmick*) feature.
I found the collapsible handle kind of neat, I thought it seems to makes it slightly smaller, but after some use I found that stuffed into my pack I don't feel like it takes up any less space - just a different space configuration. It helps it fit in smaller pockets, like of a fanny pack, but in a large pocket of a pack it makes little noticeable packing difference. Also, lets remember this is just a hand trowel. No longer do I feel like digging drain ditches. A trade-off you might miss if you are used to being able to push an entrenching tool into hard earth with your foot, as now your wrist is getting the work-out.
Now the blade of this trowel is definitely strong. I don't have any problems with it bending or chipping on rocks. I wish it were pointed though, like NORMAL trowels, which would help it cleave into hard earth easier. I found that in wooded areas where brush ground roots were heavy this trowel had difficulty pushing through roots. I'm not talking grass roots, it will handle that just fine. But the flat front edge of this trowel is not as easy to use as a pointed spade. (minus 1 star).
Finally, my one gripe is that unless you have seen this trowel in person, be prepared for just how small it is. It is fully half the size of my gardening trowel. The spade part of the blade is like the three fingers wide and just as long. Digging anything now takes 3 times as long for me. I've heard people complain about using products like the MSR Miniworks because it takes 15 extra pumps over the 60 rated pumps to get a liter of water.
Well what if I told you that whatever time you save by purchasing a more expensive water filter will be negated by the amount of time you need to take to dig your cat hole every time you need to take a cr*p? Ok, so maybe it doesn't take you 5 minutes extra, but when I need to go, I need to go. And I like having a tool that in two - four scoops I've made my hole. With this little spade it takes 10 - 13 scoops. Ahh, such is life - a trade off.
Oh well, I wouldn't say that you get what you pay for. You get a puny little ultra-light trowel with bells and whistles for some pricey cash, but for usefulness this is really best for a someone other than me. Think ultra-light weight-weenie packer, or day hiker with very limited space. Everyone else, just pass.