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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Trowels > The TentLab The Deuce of Spades > Owner Review by Frances Penn

June 05, 2015


NAME: Frances Penn
EMAIL: oldhikergirl AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 58
LOCATION: Santa Ana, California USA
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for eight years mostly on long weekends in Southern California with two or more 5-day trips per year in the Sierras. My total daypack weight, including food and water, is usually 15 lb (7 kg) and my total backpack weight, including food and water, is usually 22-26 lb (10-12 kg) depending on the need for a bear canister. I have converted to a tarp and bivy sleep system instead of a tent to keep my pack weight down. I have experienced all night rain, hail, heavy winds, camping in snow once, but mostly fair weather.


Manufacturer: Inkling Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $20 each plus $2.75 postage
Listed Weight: 0.6 oz (17 g)
Measured Weight: 0.6 oz (17 g)
Colors Available: Black, Purple, Orange, Marigold, Blue, Green, Red
Color Tested: Black

my trowel up close

In my constant quest to lighten my pack, I found this ultra lightweight potty trowel and had to have one. It is made of aerospace grade 7075-T6 aluminum and can be held by either end depending on how hard the ground is. There is a hole at the end of the handle which can be used to fashion a rope handle, or to hang it or tie it to your pack as desired. Honestly, I haven't found a use for the hole and it doesn't affect the function of the trowel.

dimensions from TheTentLab website

The trowel is 6.8 inches (17 cm) long and 2.6 inches (6 cm) wide at its widest end and has six bends in it to create the shovel shape. It is constructed in Colorado by Mike Cecot-Scherer who has been a product designer in the outdoor industry for 30 years. He didn't want to carry that ugly orange plastic trowel so he went to work to create this cool item that can double as a shoe horn by holding the larger end and using the smaller end in the shoe.

all colors available from TheTentLab website

When I purchased my trowel last year, the only color choices were black, yellow, red, blue and green. It's nice to see that some other colors are available now. The trowel can only be purchased on the website at the moment, but the manufacturer says it will hit retailers' shelves later this year.


I purchased the trowel in October 2014 and have used it on every trip into the backcountry since then. I estimate it has been used on at least 10 backpack trips of two nights or more and too many day hikes to count. The trowel has performed well in all ground conditions.

digging from both ends from TheTentLab website

In Joshua Tree, the ground conditions are sandy desert with rocks. In Big Bear, the ground conditions are forest dirt of varying density with some rocks. In the Sierras, the ground conditions are forest dirt of varying hardness with rocks. I have mostly used the trowel holding the small end and using the large side to dig in the dirt. I used the smaller end to dig in some hard dirt on a few of the trips. Both ends of the trowel work effectively to create the desired cathole. My trowel has some minor scratches but there are no rough spots along the edges and it still functions well.

the underside of my trowel

I really like that the half circle shape of the trowel fits snug against a roll of toilet paper in my bathroom bag. That way, I have it with me in my bag and can take care of business in one trip. When I was using the larger orange plastic trowel previously, it did not fit in the bag and was stored in an outside pocket of my pack. When I would go off for a "nature call", I often underestimated my needs and then had to make a trip back to my pack to retrieve it and then return to the area to complete the process.


This is a very useful trowel and I plan to carry it until I can no longer walk, hike or backpack in the woods. I am expecting it will last that long considering how sturdy it is. Well worth the $20 investment and a fun conversation starter with friends. I can't wait to see what other cool items Mike designs for backcountry use.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Trowels > The TentLab The Deuce of Spades > Owner Review by Frances Penn

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