Deuce of Spades, Update & Give Away!


In the early part of 2014, I came across the Deuce of Spades on Kickstarter. Now, I will admit, on most of my hikes I usually end up near a privy (they’re all along the AT), but there has also been a number of times in which I found myself poppin’ a squat next to a fallen tree… As well, in these moments, I have had great success in finding a nearby stick to dig the appropriate sized hole to do my business in… So, I haven’t really “needed” a potty trowel, but when I came across these, at only 0.6 oz, and only $15 (Kickstarter price), I thought why not…

The project was successfully funded, and as promised, the trowels were delivered… early actually! When it arrived, I found it to indeed be only 0.6 oz, so I happily added it to my pack. Now, I will also admit, since adding it to my pack, it has seen very little use, but I have been fine keeping it in my pack. In use, it does its job, however, its thin profile can be a little rough on the hands in really rocky, or rooted ground. But to be fair, in this type of ground, even using a stick, or a stake (which many ULer’s prefer to do) can be just as rough. In my opinion, the only way to get around this is to carry a larger, heavier, more contoured trowel… For me though, this isn’t an option… I am fine with carrying an item that only gets used on occasion and weighs half an oz as opposed to one that weighs many times more…

After the Kickstarter project was over and he had fulfilled his orders, Mike went on to continue selling these on his own site. But, as any good manufacturer, Mike continued to look for ways to improve upon his gear. Throughout the Kickstarter project, he went from “Shape A’ all the way “Shape K” (IIRC), which is what was delivered. Now, on his site, he has continued to push on and has just released the Deuce of Spades, “Shape N”. (For a complete run down on all the design changes, click HERE.)

Mike recently sent me one of these updated trowels in each color, and as far as I can tell, the handles are a little wider, rounded at the end, and the shape of the hole in the handle went from being a boxed oval shape, to an oval star shape. I can’t say just yet if these changes will improve comfort while using, but it is good to see that he is continuing to push his design to try and make it even better.

However, as one can imagine, I do not need one of every color. I have already given a few away to some other friends (one of which is about to set out for his first thru hike along the AT… Go Hiking  Shoes!) and have decided to keep the yellow one for myself. So, I am going to give the other 3 away here on my blog. (I am not sure which colors they will be just yet.)

So, if you are interested in winning one of these, leave a comment below (here on my blog) with your most “interesting” backcountry “bathroom” story… Next weekend, the kids and I will read through the stories and they will pick 3 winners (so please keep it clean…. well, you know what I mean!) I will post the winners by next Sunday night (March 8).

(Also, due to shipping fees, this give away is limited to those in the CONUS.)

But, if you can’t wait that long, or just want to show Mike some love, you can head over to his site The Tent Lab and pick one up for yourself now!

So, on with the potty stories… 🙂


Disclaimer: I paid for my original Deuce of Spades, however, these that I am using for the give away were sent to me free of charge, to do with as I please. I am not affiliated with Mike, or The Tent Lab. These thoughts above are of my own opinion, which I formed after carrying/using my own Deuce of Spades Trowel for a little over the last half of a year.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
This entry was posted in Gear, Give Aways, Trowels and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Deuce of Spades, Update & Give Away!

  1. Bryan says:

    It never fails that I’m always in the rockiest hardest ground when it comes time to make a deposit. I’ve used boot heels, trekking poles, sticks, and tent stakes and it always seems like a huge coincidence that I never need to go when near a privy or at least at soft ground. A space would be a great addition to the pack.


  2. Jason Miller says:

    Two years ago I was hiking the Wild Azalea Trail with Friends. Weather forecast predicted no rain. It poured the entire 3rd day. All I had was an emergency Walmart poncho. Had do a #2 leaning against my trekking pole with a Walmart poncho kind of tarped over me. A poncho really holds the smell inside with you, good times.


  3. arthurvino says:

    very nice tool. I like how both ends wcould be used.


  4. Brian says:

    As an avid hiker with Chrons disease I have plenty of experience with digging a hole and leaving a deposit. Always looking for a good way to lighten the load and these look like a great way to do it. My story comes from volunteering at an camp in Canada last summer taking teenagers on canoe trips in Algonquin Park.

    We were midway into our trip just after dark when one of the kids asked me to show him where the toilet was. You are required to stay in designated sites there so each one has a cedar box over a hole for taking care of business. I grabbed my light and brought him back there. About 10 seconds later he calls out for me to come back saying he needed some help. I walked back slowly wondering what kind of help he could need. He was standing next to the box and, thankfully, still fully dressed. I asked what was going on he said that he had dropped his light into the box. I leaned over and sure enough there it was lighting up everything that been deposited.

    My mind raced with what to do and say finally letting him know that there were limits to what a counselor can will do. If he wanted to try and fish it out that was up to him, but I advised against it and he agreed pretty quickly. Glad to be out of that mess I was about to leave when he asked to borrow my light to do his business. I passed it over making sure it was around his neck before heading back. The only good news was that no one else had to ask where the box was as you could see a faint light coming from down below the rest of the time.


  5. nate says:

    When I was younger I was in Boy Scouts. One of my buddies did not want to get up in the night to take care of his business, so he took advantage of a potato chip bag he had just finished off. He was quite proud of himself at the time, but in the morning he found out that potato chip bags are only “mostly” waterproof when left to sit overnight.


  6. Bears12th says:

    Thanks for the opportunity. Here’s a story about hiking with my 4 year old (at the time), it’s not great, but a memory I will never forget.

    We are on our 1st mile, hoping to make two miles for the day. He says poo poo and I think, uh oh. We walk off the trail a bit, find a stick and I get the privilege of holding him in the seated position while he does his thing in the hole. The whole time, he’s looking up at me, smiling with an evil grin, amused at the moment no doubt. After a little pee on my shoe I help him clean his backside, and we cover up our hole. I turn to put my backpack on and of course, he takes a standing jump right onto the hole to make sure its packed. It wasn’t, but now his feet sure are if you know what I mean. Yeah – kids. You gotta love em. We walked with a little more of a stink that day all the while, he just kept looking at me with that evil grin, that evil genius. Yeah – kids. (shaking head still).

    Can’t wait for the snow to disappear and the trail to come back to life.




  7. Derek Dutton says:

    At .6 ounces I cant really see a reason that one wouldn’t be an asset. I am definitely not the guy who digs his “cat hole” with a tent stake, nor do i really ever see myself becoming this guy. Id for sure like to win this new spade.


  8. Subiefrontline™ says:

    Everyone Needs one of these Deuce Of Spades in there lives.. HaHa.
    Here’s my experience..
    So first thing in the morning of an overnighter I had to Go Deuce & all I packed is a good sized ziplock with toilet paper, wet wipes & a trash ziplock. No Trowel. I really had to go and attempted to make do with what I had on the surrounding area around the camp. It was Nicely secluded but I was too uncomfortable & now in a panic trying to dig a hole with a stick, my shoe, anything. My body started to alarm me & it was now becoming to be an emergency.. I simply just had to go. I knew, from scouting the day before, that there was a junction on the main trail by camp that led to the pit toilet.. & now I am Like I may have a better chance at going, #2, if I just Check it out.. My thoughts, while walking there, were that it’s so early in the morning.. then that led to thoughts of why is the trail to the pit toilet so steep!! I thought it would’ve been closer forsure but it wasn’t. At that very moment is when I had realized that I had made a rash decision as when approaching the Pit toilet and seeing it.. it was a wide open platform that was a Neglected Mess & rather a put off.. with a broken toilet seat on top of it all.
    Oh well, I couldn’t hold it anymore due to all the anticipation. So I go ahead and start making.. I’m minding myself & looking out at what view I had & am just taking precaution as I am alone and away from the group.
    But Then surprisingly there’s another fellow hiker who walks up on me handling.. Like omg.. he’s literally posted a few strides away from me in a not at all “not far distance view.” Lol.. I’m like in my head thinking.. Gees buddy I get that you have to go but I’m here now and it’s not helping me go any quicker with you staring and why won’t you just wait at the junction down the hill or even better just beyond the first switch back out of each others view. My mind is just going now.. & all that I am thinking is that “this is all bad.”
    I pack out my mess as best I could Then head out passing the guy who was waiting all while trying to make absolutely no eye contact. In my head I’m saying to myself.. Awkward.. Ha. Yeah.. Seriously really awkward. Man.. All I got to say is I would’ve enjoy My Deuce so much better if I had a trowel. Those stories that you read on the forums about how you don’t need a trowel or toilet paper or anything.. “just find what you need At the location where you are at” is absolutely not for me. It’s not efficient nor is it ideal. I realized that having a tool to make a Hole is necessary after that experience.. When you gotta go.. Go.


  9. kylepeckcpa says:

    These are sweet. I would love a deuce of spades! I am a long time scoutmaster and to be prepared my pack usually has extra items that I carry for emergency or as backup for ill prepared scouts. Needless to say keeping my pack light can be a struggle. One thing I always pack heavy on is toilet paper because without fail, I always have a young man who for whatever reason thought he could go days on the trail without needing to hover over a hole. I personally teach the boys in all our preparation-when nature calls take care of business, however, some of them are too cool for my words of wisdom.

    It is a little funny when they come to the realization that “holding it” is no longer an option its usually a combination of desperation and panic. I typically hand them my toilet kit and point them in a direction that will afford them some privacy. By our next trip they’ve figured out that they need their own toilet kit.

    I am also a certified Leave No Trace trainer and my wife is a Cub Scout Den Mother. For one of the den meetings my wife invited me to come and talk about Leave No Trace. As part of my presentation on disposing of waste properly I asked “what do you do when you need to go #2 in the woods?” To which a young Cub Scout who regularly goes RVing replied “you just go in the trailer” I chuckled and thought to myself boy are you in for a surprise. Teaching 8 year olds about pooping in the woods is about as greasy, grimmy, gopher guts as it gets.

    I would also be curious to see if the Duece of Spades could double as a snow anchor as well.


    Kyle P.
    Meridian, ID


  10. John Higgins says:

    nice little give away, keep up the good work on the blog. now to the story

    so on this nice calm day i went out with my hiking partner, strolling along the trail. what do is see bear scat, at least it looks like bear scat. so i stop my hiking partner and go up to what i think is bear scat. unsure i go up and smell it. smells like bear scat. still unsure i put my finger in it. feels like bear scat but just doesn’t seem right, why would a bear go right where hikers have to walk so i taste it. o yea that’s defiantly bear scat. so i look to my hiking partner. “sure glad we stopped i wouldn’t want to step in that, lets go around”


  11. thejaydub says:

    I don’t even know an interesting story, I can just remember kicking my heel in enough dirt to make a hole…. I’d love to add this to my pack.


  12. Brett Swift says:

    deuce droppers unite and take over


  13. TNBubba says:

    My hiking buddy was in a hurry to take a dump and did not check properly for crawling creatures (spiders) and received a bite. If he had a proper digging implement he will never again need a log.


  14. Dave Newlun says:

    Really cool, love the ultra light weight, great colors too!!!


  15. I have never left a comment somewhere before so I will give it a try because it is totally Worth the possibility of winning one! As mentioned above, this is a story about a Friend! A few of us were out for a couple of days in the Sierra mountain range, breaking in some of our new gear. A friend of a friend brought along a young man who he didn’t know very well, but who knew quite a bit about hiking, so he allowed him to come along. Well, this young man acted like he was the best hiker in the group, he had the Most expensive gear, and thought he was better than everyone else. Anyway, I just tried to ignore his stuck up comments until he mentioned he that he didn’t need to follow the Leave No Trace rules or suggestions, especially about packing out whatever you bring in, including toilet paper. He proudly showed off his huge roll of expensive, thick toilet paper that was definitely Not biodegradable. After breakfast and coffee, he headed off to do his business in the woods, bragging about how he was just going to leave his dirty TP and not dispose of it properly. Well, a couple of minutes later he came out of the woods and we all packed up our gear to head out for the day. I was the last one to get my gear together so I was bringing up the rear, so to speak, no pun intended!, and was behind the rude guy. Well, unknown to him, there was a long piece of toilet paper, having out the back of his trousers! In the end, he DID end up taking out his TP trash!


  16. soobie123Sue says:

    My story isn’t as exciting as some, but it was plenty exciting for me. I stopped in a thicket of pine saplings to take care of some business, and was leaning against the one big tree of the bunch. After I was done I stood up to rearrange my clothing and put my pack back on, looked up, and there was a large porcupine just sitting there looking at me from a branch about six feet directly above where I had been squatting! Peeping Porky!


  17. Hikin' Jim says:

    My favorite is the time that my dad was camping up high above tree line. He couldn’t find any trees high enough to hang a bear bag. Thinking himself clever, he slept UNDERNEATH the bag. “If the bear comes, I’ll wake up and scare him off.” Sure enough, a bear stepped on my dad’s leg in the night. Dad sat up with start and let out a shriek. The bear ran off.

    Well, good timing, my dad thought, I need to go to the bathroom anyway. So he ambled off to the bushes around his campsite, unzipped and started to pee, when much to his surprise, the bushes moved! It was the bear! He hadn’t run away, he had just backed off a bit to figure out what was going on. Apparently getting peed on was enough, for ambled off.

    Yes, not a #2 story, but a potty story none-the-less. 🙂



  18. Jared Marcus says:

    I was on a hike with some friends, well I normally bring a little libation with me and for this one I had a little shine. Well I decided it was a good idea to have some at lunch, and a little more during the rest of the day. Well I “had to go” and had to god BAD so I went off trail to handle my business (as it were). Well I dug the hole just fine, buuuut my aim wasn’t too good. Needless to say “I missed” but the poopy part was I fell over with my pants still down (fell backwards that is), man am I glad I carry wet wipes and I used ALL of them to clean my backside off. Lessened learned that day.


  19. John Giesemann says:

    As with the comment above, not my story, however:
    One evening while hiking the AT through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we had stopped for the night and a group of college age kids came up later. The potty field nearby was quite full and comments and stories began to flow. It got around to telling the worst potty stories and one young lady related how she had been on a long hike with a group and had not been able to go for several days. Finally, it was just unbearable so they called a doctor and he recommended as enema. Of course, they couldn’t do that on the trail, so he recommended a lubricant of some kind. The only lubricant available was butter (don’t ask me how they found that, but they did). She was the only female in the bunch and was truly humiliated to have to ask one of the guys to help her with the process. But (no pun intended), being in such dire straits, she broke down and asked; he complied; and all became right with the world after a few minutes. The girl and boy and still friends!


  20. Chris says:

    A couple of summers ago my wife and 4 kids day hiked up Mt LeConte via the Rainbow Falls Trail and down Bullhead. My oldest son found himself in the need to go #2. He grabbed the necessary supplies and went off trail to take care of business. As he did we ridiculed him from afar. “What’s taking so long?” “Don’t fall backwards” and so on.
    He then took it upon himself to start making loud grunting and farting noises. But then he realized his mistake – the switchback. He was not aware that the trail turned back and gave the three older women heading in the opposite direction a glorious view of him in all his glory, pants down, making farting noises.


  21. Jared King says:

    I’d love to have one of these trowels! Last summer, my brother and I hiked the AT thru the Smokies (Sobo). We were setting off from the Davenport Gap Shelter, and I decided to “lighten my load” some before heading up Mt. Cammerer. I had just sat down and started to do my business when I heard my brother yell, “There’s a bear at the shelter!” I, of course, though he was messing with me. However, a few seconds later, I saw the bear, a little ways down the hill from me, strolling along. This, being my first up-close bear encounter, was pretty scared. However, the bear was strolling across–in front of me–about 30 yards down the hill, and not towards me. I was scared, but maintaining composure, until the bear turned and started heading up the hill straight for me. Needless to say, this literally scared the poo out of me. I began yelling at the bear and throwing rocks at the bear—all while trying to wrap up my business. Thankfully, when the bear was about 10 yards away from me, he turned again and headed off into woods. Terrified and shaking, I finished up, and we packed up and headed up the mountain. It gave use something to laugh about for the rest of trip.


  22. Jason Linkous says:

    Not my story but a guy I was hiking with. We had besided to bushwack down into a valley for that night instead of taking the trail the long way round. This put us on the opposite side of a huge open field that left the tree line on the other side looking small. We found that all the “established” site where on the other side and talled with a few people setup over there. They told us tales of a group having their bear lines cut the previous night and to keep a lookout for and bears. We dutifully hung are bagger higher and at a far distance, but saw not marks or scat and let our guards down. One guy went for a “walk” with shovel and paper in hand. A while later he came back white as a ghost. When asked what happened he relayed his story of finding the perfect tree to lean against as he “communed with nature”. He had just settled in about to do his deed when he heard a rust of to the side. Thinking it was one of the group about to walk up on him he went to yell a warning. That is when he saw a large bear stroll out into the open and plod a path across the woods. He said he was frozen in fear and was afraid to move to attract the creature’s attention. When asked which came first he looked confused. “Well, which was first? Did you say it or do it?” Never did get a straight answer.


  23. Glad to be the first comment. Would love to have this product. Also, I have an opportunity to travel to Phoenix next summer (2016) and backpack in Arizona. Grand Canyon, maybe? Any suggestions on a good blog to follow or group to find to prepare me for the trip?


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