GSI Outdoors Cathole Sanitation Trowel

Priced: $4.95 Rated:   - 4 stars out of 5 by 13 reviews.
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GSI Outdoors Cathole Sanitation Trowel -

Follow proper Leave No Trace™ principles by using the GSI Cathole sanitation trowel on your backpacking trips.


Support and Cushioning:

  • 1% of sales support Leave No Trace™


  • Trowel is made from repurposed GSI polycarbonate food and beverage products that were pulled from the shelves over growing concerns about the chemical BPA


  • Serrated edges make for easy digging in hard soil
  • Comes in assorted colors only; sorry, specific color requests cannot be accommodated
  • Leave No Trace™ guidelines are molded into the back of the trowel so you'll always remember to tread lightly
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Review RatingNumber of Reviews
Dimensions:10.3 x 2.6 x 1 inches
Material:Recycled polycarbonate
Weight:3.1 ounces
Compare specifications to related products.

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GSI Outdoors Cathole Sanitation Trowel Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

Even better cut in half!!

This trowel is about as light as the come at 90 grams, but I still got heat from my fellow ultralight backpackers for carrying a trowel. That was until I took a hack saw and cut off the handle. It now weighs only 1.4 oz, which I'm willing to tolerate, especially since there's no telling when nature will call and sometimes I don't want to waste time looking for a decent rock to dig a cat hole. If anything, I'd say it works better without the handle. I even drilled a hole in the top for a loop of cord to hang it on my pack.
JesseN at REI on 08/08/2012

the last shovel you'll ever buy

I may have used every trowel out there and this is the one I like best. It's much stronger than the old orange ones; I've abused mine for over a year now and it still hasn't cracked. I like the green color which is much less obvious than the orange, and I like that it's made from recycled material. It's simple and has no moving parts to malfunction or break; it has no itty bitty plastic parts that can get lost in the woods. Most importantly: it's inexpensive, lightweight and reliable.
carpediemkath at REI on 11/11/2012

You can't break it

Won't break. Serrated edges dig through stubborn soil. Lightweight, and readily modified with a drill and/or dremmel if you want to trim off extra grams. This is a fantastic backcountry trowel, and you'd be hard pressed to find a more reliable and well-designed piece of equipment for under $5! In fact, this little digger is probably the best tool of its kind unless you spend 10x as much on a titanium, and even then its close... Great gear, thanks GSI!
zalsentzer at REI on 02/02/2012

Simple and Effective Tool

I have used this tool while day hiking and backpacking. It works very well in soft soil. I really like the depth measurement molded right into the plastic. The serrated edges work well at cutting through small roots.

It does about as well as can be expected on hard and rocky soil. I'm pleased that it did not chip or break when trying to cut into rocky soil. It seems pretty durable based on these experiences.
Michael Z at REI on 04/04/2012

Stronger than plastic,Lighter than steel

Let's compare this to the U-Dig-It and Sanitation Trowel that REI carries.

This is stronger than the sanitation trowel yet only 1 oz heavier.

The U-Dig-It doesn't have serrated edges or measurements and the lock can be somewhat flimsy.

It is also very green(literally). The only con about this might be using it as a spoon since it has BPA.
Jo mum at REI on 02/02/2010

Much better than orange trowel

I am a Leave No Trace Master Educator. This is such a great improvement over the orange trowel. We would get many complaints about that one breaking, and difficulty in rocky soil, or many small roots. This one works so much better, and less than 5 bucks. We give it to all our LNT Trainers who take our course.
LeonardPDX at REI on 06/06/2010

It digs holes!

Unlike the orange ones everybody is familiar with, people won't be able to spot you walking from camp with this in your pocket and know exactly what you're up to. It's also a little more rigid than those orange ones.
Been at REI on 07/07/2011


A cheap alternative to the other trowels out there and does the job well. Used extensively on my recent 21 day backpacking trip of the John Muir Trail. Very sturdy.
greatdane91 at REI on 12/12/2013

Great Trowel!

This trowel beats the folding ones by not folding. Also it has a ruler and instructions that stay with the trowel. Love it for being recycled as well.
ShrubLover at REI on 05/05/2011

good product

This product is a backpacking trowel for waste disposal. My only complaint is that the color of the trowel is too dark.
ID Doc at REI on 10/10/2013

Neutral Reviews:

It Works, Butt...

This worked well for three weeks straight with no problems. My next trip I woke up the next morning and in a hurry went to dig a hole in some reasonably soft Rocky Mountain soil, rocky but loose, and the shovel broke. I'm sure I hit a rock which broke it but it seemed too easy still. It's not a bad shovel and will take care of you if you take care of it but I'd rather go with a collapsable metal shovel to avoid a repeat.
Tom the Dude at REI on 09/09/2012