Obsessive Trailbuilding Tools

by April April 28, 2016

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It’s trailbuilding time! We originally posted this Journal entry last year to familiarize our fellow Obsessives with a few essential tools for trail work. We proudly present it again now that the mountain bike season is here (not that we ever really stopped). Great rides always start with great trails, and great trails always start with having the right tool for the job. Right now is a great time to support your local trails organization with a donation. Whether you donate money or sweat is up to you. We think that spending a day doing trail maintenance can be just as much fun as riding.

Refresh your trailbuilding toolkit with a folding Opinel Trail Saw. We’ll include this essential handtool for free with any purchase of $120 or more (available for a limited time only). Just be sure to use code OPINEL at checkout. Show us your trail work on Instagram or Facebook – tag #EnjoyTheTrail on a photo of the trail you built or your favorite tool. We’ll see you out there!

 

Whether you’re already enjoying near-summer conditions, or just getting thawed out, it’s time to take care of your favorite trails. Trail work takes trail tools, and being obsessives, tools are half the fun. We’ve come to know a few trail tools and have formed… Opinions.

 

Shovels, Rakes, Pick Axes, Hoes… these are the basics and readily available. But these are, again, basic. As obsessives, we seek The Right Tool For The Job. This leads us to the heart of the tool shed of any serious trail builder. Here we find cool multi-purpose tools that handle the unique trials of scratching out a trail without carrying a whole shed – the the McLeod and the Pulaski – tools cool enough to have proper names.

 

McLeod’s are probably the most popular trail tool. They’ve got sort of hoe/axe like sharp edge that let’s you “grub” or shape. They’ve got tines so you can rake or chip into soil. And they’re pretty broad and have a long enough handle so you can tamp. Only draw back is that they are usually a little flimsy so when the hard pack is more like hard pan you won’t be moving much dirt. Or when you’ve got a lot of rocks, or roots bigger than your finger, the McLeod prangs, bends, and chatters.

 

Enter the Pulaski. The Pulaski starts where the McLeod gives up. It’s got a real axe blade for chopping stuff. Big roots. Trees even! And it’s got a tough combo hoe/pick for busting up hardpan or rocky soil. This thing is invincible, but limited: you can’t finish what you start without having a McLeod along too. It’s a heavier tool for busting up the tough stuff, but it’s not so good for the finesse of finishing the job.

 

These are cool tools, but then, we met Rogue Hoes “ProHoe.” Yeah, that’s right… ProHoe. When you cannot carry an arsenal, this is the One Tool To Rule Them All. We are particularly fond of the 60A: the 40”, curved-ash-handle-variant. Made from a recycled agricultural disc blade, it is incredibly tough due to the disc’s tempering, which also means it will hold an edge. It also has some nice heft. The triangular shape lets you rake, chop, grub, dig, and tamp. Watch Mike Westra make short work of a small trail repair in our video here… (at  And you can even use it as an adz to make a flat side of a log, if you are feeling brave. Watch your toes.

#EnjoyTheTrail!

 

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