Sea to Summit Reinforced Nylon Pocket Trowel Review

A toilet trowel may lack glamour but it is arguably an essential item in any hillwalker's pack - particularly if you're out overnight. You can't leave faeces lying around after all, and best practise is to bury it (see How to Poo Outdoors). However that does mean carrying something to dig with - ideally a lightweight, collapsible trowel designed for the purpose. The Reinforced Nylon Pocket Trowel from Sea to Summit is a solid, well-designed option.

All the essentials covered  © Dan Bailey
All the essentials covered
© Dan Bailey

At a tenner this may not be the absolute cheapest folding trowel available, but it is both light and tough, making it pretty good value. An alloy version is also available at a slightly less recommendable £23.

Contrary to what you might fear the trowel is for digging a hasty toilet hole, not literally shifting crap around - so there's no yuck factor in carrying it in your pack or even, as the name suggests, your pocket (if you insist). 

Toilet roll can be stored in the handle  © Dan Bailey
Toilet roll can be stored in the handle
© Dan Bailey
Collapsed for storage - neat and compact  © Dan Bailey
Collapsed for storage - neat and compact
© Dan Bailey

Blade 

The business end has a good scooped shape for moving quantities of earth, and is made of surprisingly tough nylon; however to contradict Sea to Summit's summary (below) I've found the cutting edge a bit blunt for very hard ground, particularly if you're trying to get through a dense covering of grass and roots - typical UK turfy, reedy hillsides for instance. Truth be told it's more shovel-shaped than the classic pointy trowel you might dig your garden with. This is no problem in looser soil of course.

Handle 

This slides into the shovel end for compact carrying, making the whole thing a mere 15cm long. Inside the hollow handle there's storage space for some toilet roll, though if you have a meaningful quantity then it needs to be rolled very tight, and it's a fiddle to extract. There is not also room for the obligatory lighter (better to burn used paper than bury it, provided there's no fire risk).

In use

While it may not cut through the toughest ground as efficiently as a gardening trowel it is far smaller and lighter. And you still end up with a hole eventually. However there is a catch - literally. Where the spadey bit overlaps the handle there's a sharp-edged plastic rim that unless careful you can snag your hand on painfully when digging with force. It would be better if this edge had been rounded off. Aside from that, there are no niggles. It digs; and that's about it.

Conclusion

An object of desire this is not, but the Reinforced Nylon Pocket Trowel does the earthy job required. Though in effect just a plastic spade this is a good one - light, durable and compact, and worth £10 of any walker's money. The hollow bogroll-stashing handle is a good idea too. 

Sea to Summit Reinforced Nylon Trowel product shot  © Dan Bailey

Sea to Summit say:

The cousin of our Pocket Trowel, this latest tool is made with extra tough reinforced nylon 66 to uphold your outdoor ethics in cold temperatures and hard ground.

  • Strong, ultralight reinforced nylon 66
  • Compact, lightweight design for easy packing
  • Storage space in handle for lighter/toilet tissue
  • Withstands extremely cold temperatures
  • Weight: 87g
  • Price: £10

 

For more info see seatosummit.co.uk

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17 May, 2016
I've had the metal blade version of this for years and perfectly good it is too, but my greatest regret is that S2S had to change the original name - no doubt after a sternly worded letter from that Californian mega corp with more cash on it books than God - as they were originally and wonderfully called the "iPood".
18 May, 2016
Surely a solution looking for a problem? I just use the heel of my boot to kick a bit of a hole in the ground before dumping into it. One less thing to carry.
18 May, 2016
Probably not deep enough to keep your poo from coming back to the surface during heavy rain, if an animal digs it up, or to keep the topsoil from squelching into it if someone steps on it.
18 May, 2016
To be honest I doubt a lightweight plastic trowel is going to get a great deal deeper than my heel. Doing it somewhere out of the way where it shouldn't get stepped on helps.
18 May, 2016
You'd be (pleasantly) surprised - I've had the equivalent coghlans version for 15 odd years and it is much better than the alternatives, i.e. boots, stones or sticks, and it's quicker. Or it could be that as an archaeologist, I find digging a hole with a trowel second nature...
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