Outdoor Products Hand Shovel
By Jason Davey
October 17, 2010
Panama City, Florida, United States
5' 11" (1.80 m)
190 lb (86.20 kg)
I backpacked in high school with little concern about the weight, but as I got older I found backpacking more enjoyable with 20 to 25 pounds (9 to 12 kg). I have a tendency to travel in Florida's Panhandle. However, I have traversed about De Soto National Forest in Mississippi, and am making plans to start exploring the northern areas of Georgia. Primarily, I use a tarp shelter supported by trekking poles unless the ticks are out in force, then I use a tent.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Products
Website: Outdoor Products
Product: Outdoor Product Hand Shovel
**(Item in review was formerly listed as "Mini-Folding" instead of "Hand" on the website)**
MSRP: Not listed on website. (The representative was unwilling to note it in the emailed response to my query post on the website.)
Listed Weight: 4.59 oz (130 g)
Measured Weight: 5.8 oz (164 g)
Listed dimensions: [OPEN] 9 1/8"L X 2 3/4"W X 7/8"H
[CLOSED] 5 7/8"L X 2 3/4"W X 7/8"H
Measured dimensions: 1 inch (2.5 cm) x 2-3/8 inch (6 cm) x [9-1/5 inch (23 cm) open] /
[5-5/8 inch (14 cm) closed], 0.039 inch (0.1 cm)
H x W x L (open / closed), Spade thickness
|Shovel Head 01|
|Shovel Head 02|
|Shovel Handle 01|
|Shovel Handle 02|
I purchased the Outdoor Products Hand Shovel in April of 2010. There were no instructions, but the item was preassembled, and easy for me to figure out. Upon opening the box, I found the shovel tucked inside the sheath, wrapped in plastic. The item was not damaged. To open, I grabbed the spade in one hand, and used the other hand to pull the handle away from the spade. To close, I cupped the spade, squeezed the handle at the base, and depressed both together.
My initial concerns involved the spade thickness, and handle attachment method. However, my initial tests in the yard dissolved these worries. In my daughter's garden, the spade easily handled removing pebbles, and cutting/scraping through 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick roots.
I have taken the Outdoor Products Hand Shovel on three distinct camping trips where I used the item the most since purchasing it.
The first trip was to Florida's Torreya State Park, for a three-day stay in June (11 - 13) 2010. The atmospheric conditions had the high in the 90s F (30s C), the low in the 80s F (20s C), and humidity percentage in the 70s without precipitation experienced. The terrain is actually some of the most non-flat, and irregularly graded in Florida. With the ground being mostly dry in the wooded hills along the Backpack Challenge trail, I did use the spade to scoop a deeper spot in the creeks when I needed to refill my canteen with the filter pump. The stainless steel construction allowed me not to even hesitate with a thought about rust. Later at the campsite, I used the spade again to clean out the fire ring. Knowing the popularity of the park, I was not surprised to be scooping out odd hard objects. The thin blade of the spade did not disappoint me with its durability. Another chore endured by the item was trenching a rain channel around my tarp tent, breaking roots and dislodging semi-decomposed pine cones. After each use, I dissembled the item and cleaned the item as to minimize possible tarnish. I was impressed that the only signs of use were nicks on the edge, instead of bending and rusting.
The second trip was to Mississippi's De Soto National Forest along the Black Creek for three days in June (23-25) 2010. The atmospheric conditions had the high in the 90s F (30s C), the low in the 80s F (20s C), and humidity was around 60% along the Creek, and in the 70s further away from the banks. The 13-person group I was in encountered one rain shower on the first day, no more after that. Since the group was using 6 canoes and a kayak, I was not so worried about weight conservation, but rather I was space conscious. Also, I did not want something that my niece could hurt herself with in the canoe, or rip our gear bags. I chose to take the folding spade primarily for these reasons. During our first day, I had used the spade to dig "duty holes" about four different times. One hole had 10 inches (25 cm) of pebbles and sand mixed together before reaching just sand for another 10 inches (25 cm). Most of the holes averaged 20 inches (51 cm) in an effort to allow the matter to decompose [a lot better than the animal droppings we found on many of the shore heads]. On the second day [which was spent entirely at one campsite], I dug two "duty holes" to a depth of 20 inches (51 cm) each. I did encounter some roots around the top half in one hole that averaged 1/2 inch (12 mm), but proved no match for the edge of my spade. The second hole had pebbles about the top again. Little by little, the shovel helped cover the holes throughout the day before finally filling in the remaining depression prior to leaving on the third day. The third day only demanded another three holes.
The third trip was down a 4-mile (6.5-km) stretch of Econfina Creek in Bay County, Florida on July 17, 2010. Using only one canoe and one kayak for this 4-person group, I just grabbed my water bag from the previous trip. The atmospheric conditions were 98 F (37 C), high humidity, and mostly sunny with no rain. Either side of the creek had limestone walls lifting 20 feet (6 meters) above the water when it was not nearly flat. There was plenty of foliage from ferns and trees. I was thankful that I had not rearranged my pack from the last trip because I ended up needing to dig another "duty hole" through intertwining roots that would have been difficult for bigger shovel spades from my past experience with them. After filling the hole back in, and finishing up the trip, I cleaned the shovel again.
Even though I had some initial concerns on the Outdoor Products Hand Shovel's durability, I am happy with its performance. It performed better that I thought it would by not breaking, nor becoming bent. I have yet to see any rust, or other corrosion, among the nicks and scratches on it. I have not had to coat the stainless steel construction to prevent anything undesirable from occurring. The sheath is in good condition still. Altogether, the item is a durable, lightweight, inexpensive camp tool that I have made a permanent item on my gear checklist.
THINGS I LIKE
1. Lightweight - I can carry the folding shovel without worry of how much weight I am adding to my pack.
2. Durable - I can use the folding shovel in the ground composing of sand, pebbles, and roots without concern of damage.
3. Compact - I can store the folding shovel [in its sheath] on my pack's external straps so as not to take up internal space. Also, I have not had to worry about the sheath snagging on objects (either on the hiking trail, or the canoe).
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1. Compact - I cannot dig a foxhole in an efficient time frame.
2. Multi-function - I was unable to clue in to another chore outside of digging for the item.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
"Hoping to add to the connection between the classroom, and the outdoors."
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