What is a Deuce of Spades trowel?
The Tentlab Deuce of Spades trowels are the king of toilet trowels. They have everything just right – other than the obvious – the price. This is one expensive way to go to the toilet in the outdoors. But I think it’s worth the money.
- What is a Deuce of Spades trowel?
- What’s the Deuce made of?
- How much does the Deuce weigh?
- How big is the Deuce of spades?
- Tentlab Deuce #2 vs #3
- Use of the Deuce
- A cheaper alternative to the Deuce of Spades.
- The negatives of the Deuce of Spades
- Do I need a trowel for backpacking?
- What do you do with toilet paper when backpacking?
What’s the Deuce made of?
Aerospace grade aluminium, namely 7075-T6. this is a very high strength to weight ratio alloy that could be seen as overkill for a trowel. But that is the whole point of this trowel – to be the best you can get. And it is, you can’t beat it for strength and weight.
Using this material means they can make it thin, which is good for cutting through roots and makes your digging task easier and more effective. You can actually dig a deep enough hole.
How much does the Deuce weigh?
The trump card that the Deuce of spades is holding is its weight.
17 grammes or .6 of an ounce for the #2
27 grammes or .97 of an ounce for the #3
Yep, you read that right, this thing weighs next to nothing, which means it lives in my bag instead of on the shelf at home. I would describe the weight as negligible.
How big is the Deuce of spades?
The Deuce #2:
6.5″ x 2.4″ x 3/4″ (166mm x 61mm 20mm)
The Deuce #3:
8″ x 2.6″ x 1″ (203mm x 66mm 25mm)
Tentlab Deuce #2 vs #3
The Deuce of Spades #3 is slightly thicker and larger than the #2. It is the toughest one they make.
I use the #2 and can see no need to go for the #3. What I have works perfectly and it is smaller and lighter.
If you really need the toughest one you can get, then go for the #3. The extra weight and size are negligible.
I have deliberately ignored the #1 version of the Deuce of Spades, as it is too extreme to my mind. It shaves off the grammes, but if you are reading this site, then that is probably not the extremes you will go to.
Tentlab, the manufacturer, describes it as “FOR FANATICS ONLY’.
Use of the Deuce
In short, the trowel is great at digging holes in tough ground. Just dig.
You’ll find that the thinness of the trowel will cut through roots and stuff, where other trowels will fail.
If you are digging in to tough stuff, it will hurt as the metal is thin on the handle end too. It’s a small price to pay for getting the job done, but it can be unpleasant to use.
A cheaper alternative to the Deuce of Spades.
The standard toilet trowel in the UK is the Coghlan Backpackers Trowel, which is considerably bigger, heavier, and less durable.
It is also crap at digging holes in tougher ground. It’s easy to bust one.
If your budget won’t run to the Deuce, then this is your best bet. Sometimes weight and size are less important than saving the money.
An even cheaper option is to use a tent stake you are already carrying for your tent. As you can imagine, this isn’t easy to use, and it is nigh on impossible to get a good hole with one. It works though.
The negatives of the Deuce of Spades
I thought the price was a negative, but it’s not. It is good value over time because it lasts so well.
The one downside I have found is that it is difficult to stow in my backpack. That pointy end, that is so good at cutting roots etc, is also something you need to protect your bag and kit from.
It fits well around a fuel bottle or water bottle and can be taped in place.
Another option is to use the hole in the handle to attach it to the outside of your pack.
Do I need a trowel for backpacking?
Yes, you need a trowel if there is any risk that you will need to take a “nature poo”. If it’s a day hike or an overnighter, you will need to bury your waste.
It is not acceptable to do anything else, other than dig a 15cm hole. There are other implements you can use, but you try digging a 6″ hole, big enough to aim into, with a stick. It’s not going to happen, so do yourself and the rest of us a favour and get a trowel.
You may like to read: an entire article on taking a poo outdoors.
What do you do with toilet paper when backpacking?
Take it home, or put it in a bin when you get a chance. This means bagging it and packing it. Don’t be tempted to bury it in the hole.
Burning is another option, but I don’t recommend this if there is even the tiniest risk of fire.
Bag it and pack it.
I balked at the price but, having worn out a few other trowels, I gave it a go, to see if it was actually economical and the best way to dig a hole. It has proved well worth the cash, as it has now dug a ton of holes and is still as good as new. The strength and durability offset the price and make it good value. So it works better, and it’s not expensive in the long run.