Trail maintenance tool to carry while riding?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Trail maintenance tool to carry while riding?

    What single, lightish weight, tool would you recommend for carrying lashed to my pack for doing minor repairs, such as smoothing braking bumps or tamping down loose sections?

  2. #2
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    Although, I've never done this I would suggest a folding-type surplus-style shovel. Akin to a boy scout shovel. I hiked with one in boy scouts many moons ago so I know they're pretty light. Amazon has one that's about 2lbs.

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    I carry a small shovel (10 and 3/4 inch) with the rivet taken out. That way it breaks down into two parts. A little tap on the ground gives it enough friction to hold together. I wrap the business end in a plastic bag before I put it in the Camelbak.

    Lowes has one for $9.98 - Ames True Temper 10-3/4" Professional Wood Handle Cub Shovel
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  5. #5
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    The Council Combination Tool works good. Its a little heavy. I was given a half shovel by a Forest Service trail crew that works great and is lite. The half shovel is just like the Combi tool but you have to build it. Take a normal shovel and cut the just above the face of the shovel and weld it back on at 90 degrees so it looks like a hoe. Proceed to cut the face in half and sharpen the edge. It works great on braking bumps and cleaning drainage features.

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  7. #7
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    I never leave home with out a folding saw, especially after heavy winds.

  8. #8
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    I always carry a folding saw, one of the red Corona's from Lowes.

    I've used a small cheap folding shovel to clean out the occasional grade dip that's too far in for a typical 2-hour workday. I've also used a flat rock a few times, the shovel wins! I really want to upgrade to the Glock folding shovel.
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  9. #9
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    A buddy of mine likes to treasure hunt in the woods with a metal-detector. He has gone through all folding shovels but this one. The key he says is the square peg type folding system. The twisty-type just loosen up after some use. I have one and it is heavy duty! You can't see it, but it also has a pick. Hoe, pick, shovel, weapon, whatever!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail maintenance tool to carry while riding?-military-shovel-entrenching-tool-compact-b.jpg  


  10. #10
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    Small pickmattock with 24" handle, mount like ice tool (shown above) works very well in my experience. We're working on a telescoping rake that will hold up to some dragging abuse.

  11. #11
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    I puzzled by some of the replies....I've never found a folding saw of any time that is effective in earthwork described in question by OP.

    The shovel recommended by pebbles is absolutely the best all around small, easily transported item to perform the tasks you describe. The one shown is a German constructed military issue with high quality steel and sturdy wooden handle. As he pointed out it also has a pick on it which is helpful if your soil has any rock content. It's quick engage bolt and spring system is a durable and a big time saver. The only con I had with it was with the type of camelbak I ride with the wooden handle would every once in awhile hit me in the back of the head.

    The "screw" type shovel fold more compactly but does take a little longer to assemble and does not have a pick. Our soil is heavy clay with little rock so not having a pick on this shovel is not a problem. I used that type of shovel heavily for a decade with great results. Go to an Army surplus shop and you can normally find either of these shovels for about $14-15 without a case. Be sure to buy durable military issued and not a $9.99 import special (which will not hold-up to heavy use) from a big box store.

  12. #12
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    The OP gave examples of the types repairs he might do, but he didn't say earthworks is the only kind of repair he wants to do.

    The OP was looking for a recommendation of what single lightweight tool to bring, and a folding saw makes a lot of sense as a recommendation. Depending on the terrain of course. Around here, we have thin rocky soil and frequently tree fall. Folding/compact, lightweight earthworks tools would not function that well or last long in these conditions, but a folding saw is very effective and can make quick work of a large fallen tree before trail braids around it become established.

    You'd be "surprised at the size of many trees that are easier to take 10 minutes to cut by hand without lugging in a chainsaw and PPE". Those words probably sound familiar .

    But in different terrain -- easy digging soil, fewer or no downed trees to worry about -- I could see a military-type shovel being useful. I agree with you, go for the genuine thing and not a knock-off that won't last.

  13. #13
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    I guess it depends on the make-up of your trail. In the Pacific Northwest the digging is pretty easy. Thus, the lightweight $9.98 big box shovel works pretty well for doing "minor" repairs. It fits nicely in a camelbak, and will never hit you in the back of the head while riding.

    When a section of the trail requires heavy repairs I suggest making a day of it, and breaking out proper trail maintenance tools.
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  14. #14
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    If you do any backcountry ski/snowboard action the folding avy shovels are pretty light and stow well in a camelback.

    One of my faves is a stiff bristle sweeper that I don't ride with but keep stashed on the trail. Works great for repair/grooming berms that seem to be a constant maintenance issue with the soft loose mix on my trail. I'm thinking of attaching a telescoping handle so I can ride with it.

  15. #15
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    i carry a small fold able shovel from ww2 has saw/pick/hammer/hatchet/wrench/nail puller/bottle opener love it for minor work no real work get done its about 16 inches long and fits in my camelback

  16. #16
    "Fred Rider"
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    The important part of that shovel pebbles had the picture of, is it also has a small pick.

    Unlike a bunch of the wannabe crap, that tool was made to use and though a bit heavy (for the weight weenies) it is HELL for stout.

    I think Sportsman's Guide sells them and the local army surplus had 15-20 the last time I was there. Local supplier did not have the leather cover.

    Current version of US Army entrenching too is pretty strong, lighter in weight, and folds down smaller.

    For the intended purpose I think pebbles has hit it outa the park with the recommended tool.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidinLou View Post
    For the intended purpose I think pebbles has hit it outa the park with the recommended tool.
    I agree. I've had one of those German ones for around a year, and have put it through a lot. I managed to break the wooden handle where it enters the head recently. Need to find a source for a replacement, or make one. Local shop I got the shovel from no longer has them.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickboers View Post
    I agree. I've had one of those German ones for around a year, and have put it through a lot. I managed to break the wooden handle where it enters the head recently. Need to find a source for a replacement, or make one. Local shop I got the shovel from no longer has them.
    Look for a replacement shovel handle that you could cut down. The part that goes in the head is the most critical match. Or maybe you could epoxy in part of a fiberglass/plastic replacement handle of some type. Grind the head off the rivet that goes through the head/handle, extract the broken end to take with you for a guide. A good welder could weld on a thin steel tube handle. Don't know exactly what your tool looks like so just brainstorming.
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  19. #19
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    Lightest trail maintence tool.....
    How bout ....
    WILL
    The "will" to stop your ride and fix other peoples [email protected] ups
    The "will" to do hard work on your only day off
    The "will to maintain something you love"
    The "will" to carry a tool on your back to fix a trail for the betterment of all
    Next tool would be "hands" or your
    "brain" ....ya know to do the job correctly...
    Last edited by ImaFred; 01-25-2012 at 07:18 PM.
    I dig dirt!

  20. #20
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    It's just like the one pebbles posted a picture of. I have drilled the rivets and have the handle pieces out. I've thought about cutting down a shovel handle, but I don't believe the taper is correct. I've got it with me today so I can stop by the hardware store to compare. The knob on the end of the handle is a good indication of where a hand is on the tool without looking.

    I haven't been in a big rush to fix it yet, as the ground has been too frozen to dig for a while and will be for another 2 months.

    I may just end up making a new one on a lathe.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pebbles View Post
    A buddy of mine likes to treasure hunt in the woods with a metal-detector. He has gone through all folding shovels but this one. The key he says is the square peg type folding system. The twisty-type just loosen up after some use. I have one and it is heavy duty! You can't see it, but it also has a pick. Hoe, pick, shovel, weapon, whatever!
    So I took a chance and bought one of these from fleaBay. $25 + CA tax, free shipping. Obviously used but still solid. Even came with dried dirt stuck to it which may be from East Germany!

    Folds to 17", came with spiffy leather cover:




    Shovel and pick each latch out at 90 deg (one or the other or both as shown). The shovel additionally locks out at 180 deg.

  22. #22
    SamIAm
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    Quote Originally Posted by random walk View Post
    So I took a chance and bought one of these from fleaBay. $25 + CA tax, free shipping. Obviously used but still solid. Even came with dried dirt stuck to it which may be from East Germany!

    Folds to 17", came with spiffy leather cover:




    Shovel and pick each latch out at 90 deg (one or the other or both as shown). The shovel additionally locks out at 180 deg.

    yes. those shovels are awsome. wish i still had one.

    now i have a gerber tri-folding shovel with D-handle that can be locked at 90 or 180 as well. just no pick.
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  23. #23
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    Check this out.
    Trail Boss Trail Tool
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  24. #24
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  25. #25
    Just roll it......
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    More on the Trail boss here.

    Bill is an awesome guy. I REALLY want to buy one of these for rolling maintenance.

  26. #26
    SamIAm
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    anybody strap fullsized shovels/rakes to bike like a jousting lance or whatever to get them around?

    i can deal with a pick in backpack but shovel too long
    <(*-*<) Go Ride (>*-*)>

  27. #27
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    i just tie my shovel and rake together with 2 pieces of rope, at the top and bottom and throm 'em over my shoulder and ride one handed. helps that my front brake is on the same side as my rear shifter

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailYoda View Post
    I puzzled by some of the replies....I've never found a folding saw of any time that is effective in earthwork described in question by OP.

    The shovel recommended by pebbles is absolutely the best all around small, easily transported item to perform the tasks you describe. The one shown is a German constructed military issue with high quality steel and sturdy wooden handle. As he pointed out it also has a pick on it which is helpful if your soil has any rock content. It's quick engage bolt and spring system is a durable and a big time saver. The only con I had with it was with the type of camelbak I ride with the wooden handle would every once in awhile hit me in the back of the head.

    The "screw" type shovel fold more compactly but does take a little longer to assemble and does not have a pick. Our soil is heavy clay with little rock so not having a pick on this shovel is not a problem. I used that type of shovel heavily for a decade with great results. Go to an Army surplus shop and you can normally find either of these shovels for about $14-15 without a case. Be sure to buy durable military issued and not a $9.99 import special (which will not hold-up to heavy use) from a big box store.
    I have to disagree...let me explain.... When doing ground excavation with a small folding shovel... ( I have an identcal folding model with pick as shown)... it is hard as hell to cut thru large roots.... thus the folding saw..... (to which I use the Corona from Lowe's)... which cuts them like butter.

  29. #29
    zrm
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    I carry a small folding saw with me this time of year. Other than that if I'm doing any kind of trail work I'll use whatever is available. A stick, a flat rock, the toe or heel of my shoe, etc

  30. #30
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    That Trail-boss tool looks very handy.

    I have one of those folding pick/shovels like in the picture above and can confirm that they are a strong tool.
    Because the handle is not too long they can be a little awkward to use in some situations, another tip for using them is to sharpen the leading edge of the shovel to make them cut through dirt a little more efficiently.

    Another great trail work tool that is light and portable is a strong sheet, when you are digging all your dirt can be saved instead of being lost between grass and plants.

    If your trail-work does not use all your dirt then you can transport what's left to another section of trail that needs it.
    Dig, Ride, Repeat. Trust in 4130. Single Speed Pride.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Berms View Post
    That Trail-boss tool looks very handy.

    I have one of those folding pick/shovels like in the picture above and can confirm that they are a strong tool.
    Because the handle is not too long they can be a little awkward to use in some situations, another tip for using them is to sharpen the leading edge of the shovel to make them cut through dirt a little more efficiently.

    Another great trail work tool that is light and portable is a strong sheet, when you are digging all your dirt can be saved instead of being lost between grass and plants.

    If your trail-work does not use all your dirt then you can transport what's left to another section of trail that needs it.
    The shovel sharpen suggestion is good for all shovels, that is why I love my R5!

    Dirt tarps! We make them square and rectangular with six loop handles, fit in your pack, but one or two people can handle loose dirt, gravel, and good sized rock.


    From our SBS work day with 220 volunteers. Just the best pic we have of a dirt trap in action, usually we are too busy working to get photos.
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  32. #32
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    Well after seeing that picture of your dirt tarp I had to make one for myself.


    I have also used a bag for smaller repair work, this will fit into a backpack or large camel-back with a folding shovel and can do great trail work.


    And slightly off topic sorry...
    Here is a picture of a rock tarp with 40mm aluminum tubing as the handles.

    And we also have another dirt tarp with 45mm aluminum handles running length ways like a stretcher, But unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it right now.
    It is very useful as a wheelbarrow when the terrain is too rough for a small wheel like on a wheelbarrow.
    Dig, Ride, Repeat. Trust in 4130. Single Speed Pride.

  33. #33
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    I think I'll put a pair of hand pruners (pruning shears) in my pack. Small branches are making some trail sections a bit uncomfortable to ride. Using larger, less discriminate tools would change the character of those trails too much.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    The shovel sharpen suggestion is good for all shovels, that is why I love my R5!

    Dirt tarps! We make them square and rectangular with six loop handles, fit in your pack, but one or two people can handle loose dirt, gravel, and good sized rock.


    From our SBS work day with 220 volunteers. Just the best pic we have of a dirt trap in action, usually we are too busy working to get photos.
    Is the little girl for hire? She brought her own supplies and can work one-handed

  35. #35
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    Here is a new trail tool to go with the shovel. Will fit in my Camelback and has a hefty blade.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail maintenance tool to carry while riding?-s7_513557_999_03.jpg  


  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    Is the little girl for hire? She brought her own supplies and can work one-handed
    Her Mom is awesome! Carries Zoe two miles and 500 vertical to the work site, swings a pick, and moves dirt, then carries Zoe two miles back, with that smile always in place. Dad, in the background, carried supplies, water, and three tools.

    @MrBerms, we often use the longer rectangular dirt traps with six handle loops like a stretcher with McLeods as the handles. Works best with the tool heads at the front as you carry it. Works great if you only have to move rocks, gravel or dirt 200 feet or less.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

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  37. #37
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    you'd be surprised how much dirt you can move if it isn't concrete dry.... with your feet! I've kicked miles of trails into shape just by kicking and stomping dirt. Next to my Macleod, they are my favorite trail tool.

  38. #38
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    Dig, Ride, Repeat. Trust in 4130. Single Speed Pride.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Berms View Post
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by boostin View Post
    you'd be surprised how much dirt you can move if it isn't concrete dry.... with your feet! I've kicked miles of trails into shape just by kicking and stomping dirt. Next to my Macleod, they are my favorite trail tool.
    Man, I hear you. I too have kicked miles and miles of trail into existance, as well as heeled benches. Good boots and leather gloves are the best tools next to a working brain.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by pebbles View Post
    Here is a new trail tool to go with the shovel. Will fit in my Camelback and has a hefty blade.
    More info on this please! It matches my KaBar and would work perfect for some of the smaller annoying things that hang in the trail.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Berms View Post
    Well after seeing that picture of your dirt tarp I had to make one for myself.


    I have also used a bag for smaller repair work, this will fit into a backpack or large camel-back with a folding shovel and can do great trail work.


    And slightly off topic sorry...
    Here is a picture of a rock tarp with 40mm aluminum tubing as the handles.

    And we also have another dirt tarp with 45mm aluminum handles running length ways like a stretcher, But unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it right now.
    It is very useful as a wheelbarrow when the terrain is too rough for a small wheel like on a wheelbarrow.
    how have you attatched the canvas to the bars?

  43. #43
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    We just folded the material back on itself and used one of the commercial sewing machines at work.
    The thread colour matches the canvas, so my phone camera doesn't show it very well.
    And the canvas happens to be folded under the tube in this photo so it doesn't show what we did very well either. (sorry)
    The stitching on the dirt tarp shows our stitching far better.
    Each end has four rows of stitching, so it is very strong.
    Dig, Ride, Repeat. Trust in 4130. Single Speed Pride.

  44. #44
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    Ok thanks. Will give it a go

  45. #45
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    Berms has forgotten the tool he packs and chooses as the "one" tool. His bike. He's a crash test dummy!

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