The Rogue to Rule all Trail Tools -Which?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The Rogue to Rule all Trail Tools -Which?

    I normally use a Pulaski and a McLeod, but local riding club has a bunch of rogue tools.

    I'd like to buy (1) for personal trail use.

    (1) buddy is telling me 7" Travis Tool

    (1) other buddy is saying 55A

    I ride and trail work in the southern Appalachians in and around Pisgah/Brevard/AVL.

    Most of my maintenance work is cleaning drains, cutting in new drains, shaping grade reversals, and working through drainage issues. As you may know, plenty of rocks and roots to deal with around here. I'd really like to consolidate as much as possible. Our trails can be awfully remote, so hiking in 3-5 miles is sometime required.

    I'm 6'-2" and have long arms, so leaning towards long handle, ash. My back has seen plenty of wear and tear over the years, too.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts! Appreciate your time/insight. Hoping to order in next couple days.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    I would go with the 70AR Travis Tool. You're only giving up 2in of hoe width on the wide end, you still have a pick end, and you also get the rake and scraper sides as a bonus.

  4. #4
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    Which tool/tools is/are best depends on local conditions.

    I own quite a few Rogue tools but end up coming back to non-Rogue tools 95% of the time.

    The trail work I do is East Coast type stuff. Wet, slick, rooty, soil, rock, vegetation.

    One hand carries a cutter mattock, the other a fire rake. Corona folding saw in one pocket, hand nippers in the other. Flagging tape in the chest pocket. With that I can do 95% of the trail work I need to do. These tools also cater to the type of trail work I've evolved into. Minimalist, raw, natural. Trails that if you didn't rake after one Fall you wouldn't notice they were even there.

    Many Rogue tools are job specific and/or about moving a lot of dirt. They work well for those things.

    Rogue tools, IMO, seem to be favored by builders who like to excessively sculpt and buff trails. I know, I've been there and done it.

    Not saying I'm right, just saying what I've seen.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmaddux View Post
    I would go with the 70AR Travis Tool. You're only giving up 2in of hoe width on the wide end, you still have a pick end, and you also get the rake and scraper sides as a bonus.
    yup, I'm thinking the same.

  6. #6
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    It really depends on your typical soil you are working in. If its not too rocky and you plan on shaping things (berms / jumps), I think the Rogue Hoe 70HR is probably the best thing out there. I can make freaking butter smooth berms with it and still move a good amount of dirt with it. It also has heft so goes through roots super easy. The one place it doesn't shine as much is in super rocky terrain since you really need a pick end for that.
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  7. #7
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    70HR is my favorite single tool. I'm in North Texas so it's lots of clay soil, rocks and more rocks covered in more rocks in many cases. I usually have it and the 12" rake which makes a great tamp also

  8. #8
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    I do 90% of my trail with the Travis tool. The thing is awesome.

  9. #9
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    I've been mainly walking in to work sites where we have tools stashed. But once this build is done and we get back to basic maintenance I'll be riding in. As much as 7 or 8 miles. I was looking at the Trail Boss simply because it's light, breaks down, and fits into a pack. Thus, you could also get in a decent ride with an hour or two of cleaning drains or whatever. Rather than some sort of cargo bike like the Salsa Blackborow or pulling a trailer.

    Getting tired of hiking in my logger boots.

  10. #10
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    I think I've used every Rogue tool made and the Travis is by far the best IMO. It's not for everybody, as it's heavy and can get tiresome if you're not used to pulling a tool for hours. They also make one with a Pulaski-style axe on one side, which is convenient for root chopping but it's seldom the one I pick.

    The Trail Boss system would be a great choice if cost is not a concern. Wicked pricey though.

  11. #11
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    I have a 70HR which I love (it's what I'm using to build trail at home, as it's not terribly rocky in my yard) but on most Pisgah trails, it stays home because the rockiness of the local trails is such a pain with that tool.

    I also broke one chopping roots with it, so anything bigger than my fingers gets a different tool. I have a pick mattock that I use for that. The pick end is useful for levering rocks around. I've also used it to hack a bench cut into bedrock in SE OH. Being heavier, the mattock makes short work of deep bench cuts, too. The 70HR moves a lot more dirt and is better for finish work, though. It tamps well, too.

  12. #12
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    Between those two, Travis tool no doubt. Its the only trail specific tool I personally own. Use it for all sorts of misc clean ups and fixes.

    If I were to be building from scratch Id probably skip that and use a more purpose built tool with larger work surfaces for any one task. (Borrow from club or use at official work day)

  13. #13
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    Go with the 70HRH 7" hoe/rake. The concave hoe is great for drainage work, and the rake end is great for mucking crap out of drains. Also works well as a trail building tool. Get a long handle.
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  14. #14
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    Late to the party, but I have both the 70HR and Travis. Been using the 70HR for years and decided to be the guinea pig when the Travis was introduced and our club place a bulk tool order. I'm in the Midwest with mostly topsoil and clay to contend with and not much rock to contend with so keep that in mind.

    The Travis is nice for bench cutting in dirt. Use the narrow end for cutting the bench in on the high side, the wide end for shaping the tread, and the smooth straight edge for pulling excess dirt off the tread.

    I use the 70HR for "rake and ride" tread cutting, water bar shaping and cleanout, drainage cleanout, etc.

    If I had to choose only one, it might be the Travis but luckily I don't have to!

  15. #15
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    I ended up buying the "standard" (3) piece Trail Boss tool kit. The rogue was about $100 with shipping, so I said "screw it" i'm bought the Trail Boss kit. I got the McLeod Head, the Corona Saw and the 55A head along with their tool wrap. Also ordered another 16" length of fiberglass handle.

    It was like going into a bike shop looking for an entry level aluminum hardtail and leaving with a carbon, XTR enduro bike.

    I think I might buy a Travis head in the future. I really wanted the capability to pack the tools in, ride into local forest and do volunteer trail work. I'm a TCL (Trail Crew Leader) for local advocacy chapter, so I think it will be useful. As one would expect, the most remote trails need the most work in our local areas. Myself along with a few of my trail work buddies want to try my set out and see if local volunteer group want to buy 2-3 more sets.

    On a side note, i ended up talking with Bill, the founder of Trail Boss for 20 minutes one day confirming my order. What a great guy.

  16. #16
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    Where is everyone buying their tools? I was about to order a Rogue hoe and fire rake from a respected company in the wildfire world until I saw the estimated shipping. $85.00! Cleared my cart and will keep looking.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    Where is everyone buying their tools? I was about to order a Rogue hoe and fire rake from a respected company in the wildfire world until I saw the estimated shipping. $85.00! Cleared my cart and will keep looking.
    https://www.supplycache.com/ got me a (completely awesome & favorite) 55A without giant shipping costs recently.

  18. #18
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    I put a Travis in my cart just now at Rogue Hoe's site and it was about $30 shipping.

  19. #19
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    I also recently purchased a Travis Tool from SupplyCache.com. Shipping was $20 which with tax put it at pennies over $100 to my door in a refrigerator box. I like it far better than the cheap McLeod I had gotten from Amazon Prime last year when I started building my trail.

  20. #20
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    I ordered a Travis from Rogue Hoe a little over 2 1/2 weeks ago, $89.95 for the tool plus $26.50 in freight. Communication has been a little sparse, but not bad considering the beer virus and the time of year.

  21. #21
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    i own the 55a, 60a, and 70 hr.
    55a handle is too light weight, 70 hr always feels heavy, 60a always feels better in my hands than the other too. Handle is much more stout than the 55a.

  22. #22
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    Those that ordered direct from Rogue Hoe Distributors. How long did it take to get your tool? I'm waiting on a Travis I ordered a month ago. I've received one response to an email and they've picked up the phone once. I'm sure the virus and time of year has got them running in circles.

  23. #23
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    A few weeks, I think. Both times were bulk orders with our local trail organization so I wasnt tracking the shipment that closely \_(ツ)_/

  24. #24
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    If heading out to do mixed work on small projects the Travis is often what I will grab. If it's mostly benchwork I will grab the 70HR. It moves more earth than the Travis when getting after it. For finishwork the 115FR is a sweet tool with the 60" handle. The Trail Boss is great also for the days when the work is remote and not extensive. It disappears on the back. I have the 55A head for it and find its a good combo of weight and strength. IMO they do not replace a solid handle tool. They fit a niche for those deep trail issues which won't take all day to repair.

  25. #25
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    I had an epiphany last week. Two of us cut in a small extension to an existing trail so I brought the Travis tool and the 70HR. The Travis tool has a lot of miles on it but the 70HR is nearly new. I did the first bit of bench cutting with the Travis because it's my standard tool I am most comfortable with. Later I switched and started using the 70HR where there was a light layer of sod to remove. It was the first time I had used it and I was absolutely shocked at how much difference the new, sharp blade made! It might seem like an obvious reality, but the performance was night and day. I was able to make much quicker progress with that tool because it was so efficient.

    When I got home I cleaned up the tools and immediately tuned up the 70HR to keep its edge. I'll try and reserve that tool for when there is less rock and more cutting through sod and roots. The Travis will be hard to get a nice edge back on, but I did tune it up a bit. I guess the moral of the story is that it's not just the tool design, but how well you maintain them.

  26. #26
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    As of today my order is 6 weeks old. I've emailed 3 times and called 3 times. They've replied once and picked up the phone once. Both responses from Rogue Hoe were generic. I don't think I will order from Rogue Hoe again.

  27. #27
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    I mentioned this above, but I had a terrific experience ordering from supply cache. Got it within a week of ordering online. Just received a fire fighting equipment catalogue from them in the mail too which was fun to flip through.

  28. #28
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    I've owned or used much of the Rogue hoe catalog. The park I work in the most has little rock other than shale and soil ranging from organic to clay, but in general is good for digging.
    I own:
    • 60A (5 years)
    • 70H (5 years)
    • 55HX (3 years)
    • Travis (purchased this year)

    I've also used:
    • 55H (purchased this year)
    • 55A (purchased this year)
    • 70HR (3 years)
    • 80R (3 years)
    • 85H (3 years)

    I'm torn between the 70H and the Travis as my favorite single tool. If I had to pick one it would be the 70H. The stoutness of the axe handle cannot be beat for heavy digging and chopping tasks, but it can still scrape out drains or do just about anything. The Travis is good for misc maintenance tasks like cleaning drains, removing slough, or bench cutting on shallow pitch hillsides, but the handle flex is noticeable if you push it too hard.

    • Between the 70HR and the Travis, they are pretty similar, but the Travis is more versatile. The 70HR is slightly more functional but also a bit heavier.
    • The 85H is too heavy for most people, but the 80R is a good compromise if you have fairly loose soil to bench cut through.
    • I don't really care for the 55A or 60A, they have their uses but only occasionally.
    • The 55HX is great if you have a lot of roots or stumps to deal with.


    I'll agree that a factory fresh rogue hoe edge cannot be beat. I resharpen mine with a sanding disc on an angle grinder but it's not the same.

  29. #29
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    I finally talked to somebody from Rogue Hoe today. The response I got when asking for an update...Oh, we'll go pull a Travis from another order and ship it out today. I received a UPS tracking number about an hour latter.

    I don't think I will order directly from this company in the future.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    I finally talked to somebody from Rogue Hoe today. The response I got when asking for an update...Oh, we'll go pull a Travis from another order and ship it out today. I received a UPS tracking number about an hour latter.

    I don't think I will order directly from this company in the future.
    Something went awry there. I've ordered from them directly three times, once recently, and did not have any issues like you experienced. It sounds like there was some glitch in their ordering process for you and understandably it leaves a bad taste in ones mouth. I don't believe your experience is typical, but real nonetheless.

  31. #31
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    I've ordered Rogue hoe tools from both www.Roguehoe.com and www.Prohoe.com, both without issue. Prohoe has slightly cheaper tool pricing, but Rogue Hoe had better shipping rates. When I bought some tools a few months ago, I went with Rogue Hoe.

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