I must confess I’ve had poor backcountry bathroom etiquette for much of my adventuring life. When it came to pooping in the great outdoors, my approach was, well ... kind of crappy. This year I made a pact to myself, the planet and all nature lovers that I would do better. The natural first step was to acquire an ultralight titanium backpacking trowel from QiWiz so that I had no excuse not to do good on my doo.
When the package of QiWiz cathole trowels made their way across the border and into my hot little hands, it was so light that I wondered if they forgot to put the items in the box. Upon opening, I was delighted to see two beautifully handcrafted titanium trowels with bright yellow handles and a unique rainbow sheen. I never thought I’d consider a digging trowel a piece of art but these two changed my mind.
The size of your business and how quickly you want to make a cathole will help you differentiate which trowel is for you. The Big Dig option is 7.25” long and weighs in at a paltry 0.6 oz while the Original size trowel comes in at a not-even-noticeable 0.4 oz for its 6” length. For the heavy hitters among us, the Mega Dig is your move at 8” long and 0.8 oz in ultra lightweight.
All this lightweight beauty made me wonder, why the heck did I wait so long to make the leap?
The first true test came at the halfway mark of my morning trail run. I was deep in Vancouver's North Shore mountains when my bowels said it was time to go. Since I’m the kind of person who waits until the last moment before making my move, I knew I needed to act quickly. So, I pulled out the Big Dig.
I was a bit nervous that I had waited too long since I had to get into the all-signalling squat to dig the cathole. I scanned the area for a good place to go, thinking back to the hilarious and in-depth ‘Advanced Cathole Users Manual’ that came with the QiWiz. “Away from water sources, inconspicuous, maximum sunlight, organic soil.” Check. I found the perfect place and started to dig.
If you’ve ever visited the North Shore mountains, you know they are home to some of the rootiest, rockiest terrain around, making it the perfect testing ground for the trowel … but also a bit sweat-inducing if you really have to go.
To my utter amazement and deep relief, the seemingly not-so-sharp blade of the Big Dig chopped straight through the tough soil, severing any small roots in its path. The contour of the handle fit perfectly in my sweaty palms and the coating protected the edges from cutting into my hands.
When the hole was the same depth as the trowel itself, I knew it was time. Success! My first cathole digging and waste depositing session was as smooth as could be, and following protocol from the ‘Advanced Cathole Users Manual’ I found myself a long, sturdy stick to whip up some “Poop Soup”
The whole process was so simple, efficient and worry-free that the Big Dig now lives in my backcountry adventure bag, while the Original size fits perfectly in my running vest. Not having to move the trowel from one bag to the next reduces my chances of forgetting it … and then being poop-out-of-luck when the time is nigh.
As QiWiz mentions might happen in the ‘Trowel Fun Facts’ the yellow Plasti-dipped coating on the handle did start to peel off a bit, but not enough to need any intervention yet. I’ve noticed that some people double dip it, wrap it with duct tape or add a layer of paracord to the trowel’s handle.
While some people seem to feel that the price is an issue, I think the peace of mind that these trowels bring is absolutely priceless. Think of them as a work of art and an essential tool for any backcountry adventure. I know I’ve paid more for less in my lifetime.
All in all, I’m proud to say I’m a changed woman when it comes to my backcountry bathroom etiquette. Bringing an ultra lightweight, QiWiz titanium trowel with me on every single adventure gives me the confidence to know that whenever Nature decides to call, I’ll be able to respond by doing the right thing.
Ali Becker is a freelance adventure writer and narrative storyteller who shares compelling conversations about personal transformations, overcoming limitations, wellness education and adventurous situations. You can follow her rambling adventures on social at @thisisalibecker or at her blog thisisalibecker.com.