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WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - Printable Version

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WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - maki2 - 10-21-2018

I used to do a lot of gardening as well as remodeling work so I am more familiar that I might like with the various types of shovels.

Of course for boondocking, especially with pets, there will very likely be a need to take a shovel with you. You may want to bury your human waste, you will of course also have to deal with your pet's waste be it cleaning out a cat box or scooping dog poop. This is all part of the leave no trace requirements.  Follow their rules for how deep of a hole you must dig.

Shovel design and the effective use of them is about physics and of course ergonomics is a part of that. So I am going to talk about what I want in a shovel for travel. As many women might not have previously considered what kind of shovel they need and what one needs to know to make a good choice I am putting in a thread describing how I decided on the right tool for my needs that is based on my body.

I have a bad back, bending and lifting makes it hurt so I have to be careful in my choice. I don't want a short handled shovel as it requires too much bending. My knees don't like bending either, they have done too much of it over the years. So that means no little hand shovels,no small folding camp shovels, no short handled "car trunk" shovels either, those bad personal choices for myself. There is a balance for handle length, too short and it hurts my back. However too long of a handle is also a disadvantage as the further the load is from your wrist the more strain you will feel in them and in your arms, shoulders, neck and back. So I will choose a long handled shovel and then trim it to my own personal best length to reduce bending but not have it overly long. Too long also makes it more difficult to store as well.

Thin gauge shovels can break when trying to push them into harder soils so you do want something with heavier gauge steel. Pushing a shovel into  soil is not about pushing it in with your hands and arms, it is about using the strongest muscles in your body and those muscles are in your legs. To take advantage of those muscles I require a shovel that has folded over edges at that feature makes it easy to keep your foot on that upper edge letting you use those powerful leg muscles to do most of the work.

The primary purpose of taking a shovel along is to dig yourself out of trouble if a tire gets stuck and also for burying waste.  I don't need the typical, big, wide pointed shovel for those two jobs. I can't lift heavy loads of dirt so I am going to take small bites of soil which also means I don't need a typical shovel size. What I do want is a smaller version of that optimal hole digging shovel and those do exist. They are called "Floral" shovels. They are just right for digging holes for  plants that come in one gallon pots and that is also just the right size of hole for burying waste from your dog, cat or yourself. Not all of the big box stores and hardware stores have them in stock. But many of the garden supply stores do stock them. Of course there is always the option of purchasing them online.

Do an image search using the words "floral shovel" You will see lots of choices including choices in handle style. The best way to buy one is to go to the store in person and look at it, pick it up, go through the physical motions of putting your foot on the blade, lifting the shovel with your wrist and arms, etc.

Be sure you have something in your tool kit to use to keep a sharp edge on your shovel. A shovel with a dull edge makes the work a great deal harder. You can sharpen with a metal file or with a rotary stone. I travel with both of those items because I make things. It is easy to learn how to sharpen a shovel on youtube.  Also clean your shovel after use and use a rag or paper towel to rub a little oil into the metal to keep it from rusting. The oil you put into your vehicle engine will work just fine for that use.  You can check your oil, you need to wipe the dipstick onto a rag, and then use that oil on the rag to treat the surface of your shovel blade, two jobs done.

This is the shovel I have chosen. The link is to Wallmart, they don't carry it in the store, but you can get it delivered to a Walmart store at no extra cost.

RE: WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - Gardenias - 10-22-2018

Thank you for the comprehensive info!
I'll check it out, and compare it to my current shovels.

RE: WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - maki2 - 10-22-2018

It is also nice to have a longer handled shovel for pest control. Such as dispatching scorpions, ants or spiders and other biting small creatures who wander into your camp site. Plus you need to have a shovel handy if plan on having camp fires or use a charcoal grill. Smokey says "be prepared".

RE: WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - rosiemartinez1211 - 10-22-2018

Great info, thanks!! I'm new at this so I make notes along the way.

RE: WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - Marvonn - 11-02-2018

Thanks Maki2 for the info on the shovel. I am new at this also...have not purchased my van yet but I am collecting items that I will need.
Every little bit of info is very helpful for us new to the van life.

RE: WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - travelaround - 11-02-2018

Thanks Maki, for the comprehensive shovel guide! I learned something today because I finally took the time to read this!

I like how the shovel you chose has a hole in the blade.. good way to hang it up? I don't have a van yet but when I do, there will be a place at the back for tools, including large tools like a shovel. I appreciate you sharing all the considerations you took into account in choosing yours.

I haven't owned a shovel in almost 6 years because when I was moving out of the cabin I lived in, a neighbor decided I was already gone and came over to take anything else not nailed down. The shovels and rakes disappeared at that time and I was too exhausted from packing and cleaning the cabin, to make a fuss about that. Besides, I knew I was moving into an apartment where I'd have no real need for gardening equipment.

Consequently, I'm starting fresh with a new home (the van) and a new shovel. Thanks for bringing it to my awareness that I'll be needing one, and what I should look for.

RE: WOMEN ONLY!!! "Floral" shovels for women who boondock - RoamerRV428 - 11-03-2018

very interesting read Smile thanks for posting!