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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Trowels > MontBell Handy Scoop > Owner Review by Gail Staisil

Owner Review:
MontBell Handy Scoop

September 10, 2012
Reviewer InformationAuthor
Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 60
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (68 kg)
Email: woodswoman2001 AT yahoo DOT com

Location: Marquette, Michigan USA

For the last two decades, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably, but my base weight is under 14 lb (6.35 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages over 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero (0 F/-18 C) temps.

Year of Manufacture
Handy Scoop
Stainless Steel 1mm/0.04 in (in thickness)
6.25 in (15.88 cm) long
Listed Weight
1.4 oz (40 g)
Measured Weight
1.4 oz (40 g)
$16.00 US

Product DescriptionMontBell Handy Scoop
The MontBell Handy Scoop is a lightweight trowel or shovel that is used to dig cat holes to bury human waste in the wilderness. The size is very compact but the stainless steel construction makes it one tough product.

As aforementioned the construction of the trowel is stainless steel which measures 1 mm (0.04 in) in thickness. The handle of the trowel is covered with a rubber-type material. I find this helps with the grip while digging. The handle also provides comfort from touching cold stainless steel. The end of the trowel has a loop made out of webbing. This would allow the Handy Scoop to be attached to a backpack with a carabiner if desired.

My purchase of the Handy Scoop simplified and downsized my toilet kit for the backcountry. Formerly I had used several different types of generic plastic trowels which were sturdy enough to dig in most areas I travel to, but not tough enough for very compact soil. The other trowels were also at least twice as large and were harder to store with associated items.

When I first bought the Handy Scoop I did wonder if its small size would be a hindrance time wise to digging a cat hole. I mean sometimes one is in a hurry! I actually have found it to be very fast as it effectively cuts through almost all dirt surfaces quite readily except for solid rock. The only downfall is that with its short handle I do often end up with more dirt on my hands from digging but that usually  brushes off quite easily.

I always keep my Handy Scoop in a small ditty bag along with fresh toilet paper (in a small Ziploc bag), another Ziploc for used toilet paper plus hand cleaner. Even though most areas I travel to do not require the removal of toilet paper, I have seen animals dig it up so I always pack it out. All of this takes little space in the side pocket of my backpack. When I need it, I grab the ditty bag containing all four items and everything is ready to go!

Field Information

Ditty bag contains all necessary itemsI have owned and carried the MontBell Handy Scoop for over three years. It has proven to be a durable and very functional product. It has made my toilet kit much more convenient. There are only a few deep scratches on the Handy Scoop which don't affect its performance.

Although the majority of my backcountry trips were in the state of Michigan, USA,  I have also traveled to many hiking destinations in Canada and various places stretching from California to New Hampshire in the USA. Much of my area of travel covered hilly boreal and deciduous forests, tundra, and mountainous terrain. Elevations have ranged from over 600 ft (183 m) to 14,508 ft (4422 m) and temperatures have been as high as 95 F (35 C). 


  • Small size
  • Very lightweight
  • Durable
  • Rubber-coated handle is easy to grip and makes it non-cold to the touch 


  •   I sometimes get my hands dirty when digging due to the short handle

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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Trowels > MontBell Handy Scoop > Owner Review by Gail Staisil

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