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  1. #1
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    New question here. Storing tools in the woods

    Do any of you stash your tools out on the trails? If so, how?

    Our trail system isn't that deep-woods yet, but there are some locations where we do extended work, and hauling tools in and out every time really starts to eat into our efficiency.

    Has anyone dragged a deck box out into the woods and camouflaged it? Just wrap the tools in a tarp and put a branch over it?

    Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to just build a little log cabin out there far from the trailhead.

  2. #2
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    If it's shovels/picks/handtools, I'd say the tarp approach will be the easiest. Have to put them out of sight of the trail (assuming people don't hike off the trail in that area) and just cover them up. Spray down the blades with some WD-40 or general lube spray and put some oil on the handles and they should be fine for a couple weeks. Use logs to set them on so they're aren't laying on the ground, and possibly some on top so the tarp doesn't sit directly onthe tools (prevent rust from condensation on the tarps underside). If they are well used tools and aren't floresent orange, I wouldn't even use a tarp. Just oil them up, use them, hide them, and go to town. Compared to what we put tools through, mother nature is usually quite tame.

    If theft is your biggest concern, nothing you do will prevent it other than hiding them well. If someone finds them and wants the tools, they will get them.

  3. #3
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    We just bought a job box to put on site were we're doing most of our building. The site is remote enough we're not too overly concerned with someone busting in or stealing it. I ordered the box through MSC Industrial, and got all the chain, and concrete blocks at Home Depot. Total price was less than $2k. We could have gotten smaller boxes (for half the price), but this one is 72" and long enough for a straight shaft weedeater and several long handle McLeods.




    We have plans to cover the box lid with a map and let it serve as a remote kiosk.

  4. #4
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    That job box is nice, but not exactly portable. Unless you plan on dropping a few of them throughout your network?

  5. #5
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    I've stashed tools out along the worksite for several years now, only one came up missing, and who knows, that could have been from someone using it and not putting it back.... I find heading off the trail 10 to 15 yards and I do use a tarp at times,, other times nothing.... most people out there are there for their own recreation purposes, so I doubt they will go missing... at trail head keeping a small pruning saw and such for folks to use if the encounter the occasional issue is handy as well. found them at tractor supply on sale for like $5...

  6. #6
    I build my own.
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    I've had some really junky tools stolen. Who knows what goes on in some people's heads. I hang my tools in cedar trees. It's almost like having them in a shed. It never gets wet under a good cedar. Most of my trails are bike specific and nobody looks up in trees.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  7. #7
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    A tarp (AKA a tool burrito) has worked good for us. Just don't create too many cause you may forget where your stash is. Or what may happen is months later you run across some lost tools and it is like Christmas!!

  8. #8
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    I haven't got enough tools to leave any in the woods. Sadly, that means I have to carry them in and out with me every where I work.

  9. #9
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    We just accept the loss of tools to weather as we have them stashed all over the place, usually under rock stretchers if they are there for a while. No mechanised building allowed and foot transportation only here. Sledge hammers give us the most trouble. We break the handles like crazy, probably because they get less use (lie there longer and lower in the pile) and there's no gentle way to caress with a sledge.

  10. #10
    I build my own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    We just accept the loss of tools to weather as we have them stashed all over the place, usually under rock stretchers if they are there for a while. No mechanised building allowed and foot transportation only here. Sledge hammers give us the most trouble. We break the handles like crazy, probably because they get less use (lie there longer and lower in the pile) and there's no gentle way to caress with a sledge.
    I have 3 words for you.

    Fi ber glas.

    I know we all love wood handles but if you insist on leaving your tools outside...


    Actually I like that plastic they're using now that's not fiberglas. I don't know what it's called.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  11. #11
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    We've used a bike cable lock around a tree and through D-handle shovels and such when we've needed to store tools on the trail.

  12. #12
    Unpredictable
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    I have 3 words for you.

    Fi ber glas.

    I know we all love wood handles but if you insist on leaving your tools outside...


    Actually I like that plastic they're using now that's not fiberglas. I don't know what it's called.
    Yeh, I know. Even after decades of using and loving glass and other composite products in skis, bikes etc etc it sounds strange to say, but I have not used a FG handle tool I would buy again. I want impact force to surface, not surface impact force to me. I am a real fan of vibration absorption, but not loss of momentum. I can control the impact of my tools by way of angle of approach and which bit of the tool contacts the surface first, so I don't like to lose power (I am not young) through the handle. I also don't like to lose force via broken handle, but mostly they are cheap and expendable. I am more interested in grip size. Oddly, most FG grips I have tried seem to have smaller handles than I need.

    Also, every Friday night, we have a little candle-lit ceremony for those tools gone before. Sometimes it is hard to remember their names, but we try Ninja, we try...

  13. #13
    I build my own.
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    You're right about the skinny plastic handles. I found that thicker gloves helps. Since my cancer surgeries I've had to give up some power for shock absorbtion. I've aged a lot in the last year or so. Also, as I get older I like the bright yellow plastic handles for finding that pulaski I just put down right here.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  14. #14
    middle ring single track
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    Modified gang box..

    For our volunteer group at Henry W Coe SP I was commissioned to make a portable tool storage locker; the were several constraints, needed to be able to be moved by wheels on a 2' wide trail, moved by one person if empty, needed to hold tools for a crew of +/- 12 and the material budget was $600 (I donated my fabrication labor and welding consumables)

    Here's start to finish:

    Most of the materials came from Home Depot.


    Here's the undersides showing the wheel wells for the narrow trail "wheelbarrow mode".


    ...and with wheels in place.


    ...and outboard for "ATV trailer mode" for wider trails. Note hole for tool handle extension sleeve. Also just visible is socket for trailer hitch tongue.


    Deee-lux forest green rattle-can paint job. Note extension for long tool handles.


    Inside details; landing gear doors seal box when wheels are removed for security.


    Finished; "wheelbarrow" setup.


    Ready for tow testing.


    First deployment in park.


    Wheels and handles stowed; ready for tools.


    Ain't goin' nowhere...


    After a couple of months in the first location it was time to move up the trail; rather than empty it of tools so one person could move it, the crew decided to team up and haul it full.


    In service...
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  15. #15
    FatBike Fiend
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    Wow! Nice job.

  16. #16
    middle ring single track
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    "Slim Jim"

    Another thing we built for volunteer trail worker's tools at Henry W Coe SP was a re-purposed side box for a PU:

    (chainsaw just happened to be setting behind it; it's not part of the box!)


    It's plenty long for any tool; it usually holds 4 McCleods, 4 shovels and a mix of 4 pick/mattocks and/or pulaskis. (the mattock handles need to be KD'd)

    The nice thing about this unit is that the cost was essentially zero; the box was State Parks surplus, handles/landing gear from a junk lawnmower and the wheels from a junk hand truck. I think we only paid for the hasp and padlock. (the original keys to the box had been lost)

    It's affectionately called "Slim Jim" or "Long Tom" by the volunteers.
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  17. #17
    FatBike Fiend
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    Trail Caddy

    I like to have a good selection of tools close to hand so I made this tool caddy out of scrap plywood after finding a good deal on a hand truck. I still need to paint the hand truck in camouflage and I'm thinking of welding on some brackets so I can put bigger wheels on the thing. The box comes off the hand cart with one wing nut. It has quick clips to hold all my tools without bouncing around. I drilled holes in the box so I can throw a camouflage tarp over it and lock it to a tree.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Storing tools in the woods-trail-caddy-front-small.jpg  

    Storing tools in the woods-trail-caddy-rear-small.jpg  

    Owner, Trailwerx Trails Contracting
    Palmer, Alaska
    www.trailwerx.com

  18. #18
    zrm
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    I've just used the burrito roll tarp method using a camo tarp. Put it on a bunch of logs/branches and piled a little slash on top and have never had anything messed with.

  19. #19
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    I too use the tarp fold-over method. Move it 10 yards off the trail, behind a downed tree or some brush.

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