Carry Light, Dig Right: The TentLab’s Deuce #2 Review

By: Ashley Vitiello | Last Updated on May 2, 2024

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The Deuce #2 is the best piece of equipment you could have for your camp bathroom because it’s affordable, lightweight, and extremely durable. You can dig cat holes in all kinds of terrain without worrying about it breaking or bending – and if it does, there’s a lifetime warranty. Shop now or read on to keep learning about why we think The Deuce is awesome!

Beneath the expansive canopy of the wild, where nature’s call can be unpredictably literal, a trusty companion emerges from the depths of my backpack—The Deuce #2. This lightweight trowel, an unassuming tool often overlooked by the less experienced, has become an indispensable part of my backcountry kit, garnering a status akin to a pocket knife or a dependable fire starter.

Though the topic may evoke a hint of the comical—after all, we are discussing pooping in the woods—the importance of responsible outdoor waste management cannot be overstated.

A piece of gear often underestimated, The Deuce #2 is no laughing matter. It’s a lightweight titan, an enviro-ethic champion, and, perhaps most importantly, a testimony to practical design ingenuity that one can hold in their hands.

I’ve put this product through the ringer in countless backcountry outings, and it has emerged triumphant and unscathed every single time. Let’s unearth (pun intended) why I believe this trowel is more than just a dirt-digger, but rather a game-changer in the realm of outdoor exploration and environmental stewardship. So strap in and get ready to dig deep into a Deuce #2 review.

What is The Deuce?

deuce #2 review

Formerly known as The Deuce of Spades, The Deuce #2 is a lightweight trowel made of aluminum that’s meant for digging cat holes and going poop in the backcountry. The design makes it super easy to use, lightweight to carry, and the measurements help you make sure you’re following Leave No Trace principles for depth and width for the cat hole.

It originally started as a KickStarter project, and now The Tent Lab is a successful company that has their products in nearly every outdoor gear store across the world. Despite its popularity in the outdoor gear world, a lot of people underestimate the importance of having a trowel, but it’s an essential piece for doing our part to preserve natural spaces.

We got our first Deuce several years ago, and don’t go anywhere without it now. It comes with us on pretty much every outdoor adventure and it’s one of our favorite and most-used pieces of gear.

What We Love About The Deuce #2

Here’s some of our favorite features that we love about The Deuce #2:

  • Weight: Any backpacker knows that cutting weight is a priority, but you don’t have to worry about that with The Deuce. It’s remarkably lightweight at only 0.6 ounces, which is the weight of three U.S. quarters or a single tent stake.
  • Quality: The metal used is aerospace-grade aluminum, so it’s one of the highest quality aluminums you could use for this application.
  • Dimensions: The Deuce #2 measures 6.8 x 2.5 inches. Since your cat hole is supposed to be at least 6-8 inches wide and deep, it’s easy to use the trowel itself to measure if your hole is large enough.
  • Design: Every piece of the design is well thought out, all the way down to the slightly wavy edges on the handle that create friction so your hand doesn’t slide down when you apply pressure.
  • Lifetime Warranty: If your Deuce bends or breaks, The TentLab will replace it for just the cost of postage (which is currently $4 for the U.S.). All you have to do is send them a picture and then recycle your old Deuce in any aluminum or metal recycling.
  • Versatility: It can be used upside down to test an area for rocks and roots, a scooper for moving the dirt, a bottle opener, an extra tent stake, and as a tool to easily open your bear canister.
  • Smooth Edges: the strong aluminum material can withstand the demand of a tumbler, so it’s tumbled to ensure that all edges are smooth and deburred. This means you can hold it in your hands and push it into the ground without worrying about getting sliced.

What’s the Difference Between The Deuce #1, #2, and #3?

Weight and size are the main differences between the different versions of The Deuce models, but here’s a further breakdown of their intended use and audience.

The Deuce ModelWeight
Weight (grams)DimensionsIntended Use
#10.45 oz.12.76 grams6.5 x 2.5 inchesUltralight Fanatics Only
#20.6 oz.17 grams6.8 x 2.5 x 0.8 inchesMost users
#31 oz.28.3 grams8 x 2.6 inchesRocky and tough ground
A table comparing The Deuce #1, #2, and #3 based on their weight, dimensions, and intended use.

The Deuce #2 is for those who prioritize weight but want more flexibility to use their gear as they see fit. It perfectly balances weight, durability, and price, so you know it’s the right fit for most circumstances.

The Deuce #2 is an upgraded version of the original The Deuce of Spades, and it offers a few upgrades to make it easier to use. TheTentLab added four small teeth on the blade to help cut through small roots, small undulations on the handle to improve group, and new directions for less user error.

The Deuce #1 is for ultralightweight fanatics only – those who are willing to sacrifice a little to cut back on weight as much as possible. Because it’s only 0.45 ounces, the aluminum in thinner and more prone to bending. This means the user must learn the ins and outs of their gear and know how to use it properly so that it won’t bend or break.

The Deuce #3 is stronger, larger, and more comfortable to use than #1 and #2. Because it’s a thicker aluminum, #3 is best for people who regularly have a tough time making catholes due to rocky or hard ground. Its size makes it easier to handle, but it’s still so lightweight that it’s only 1 ounce.

How to Use The Deuce

While it’s tempting to just hop in and use The Deuce like a regular trowel, this isn’t the first step in the process. Because there’s twice as much surface area on the scoop part of the trowel, you should first grasp that end and force the smaller point (up-side-down or handle side) into the ground.

This will test the area for large rocks or roots that may signal to choose a different place, but it also helps start the process of the hole digging. Use this method to cut the outline of your cat hole, then turn the trowel right-side-up and use it to scoop out the top layer of you hole.

You can then continue to use the scooping end to dig out the rest of the hole. Once you’ve done your business, cover it with loose dirt and replace the lid or top layer that you first scooped out. See the photo below for a visual explanation of this process.

Photo about proper usage from the manufacturer, TentLab.

Pro Tip: since nature seems to call unexpectedly and rather quickly, I like having a hole pre-dug for my next trip to the bathroom. Instead of frantically digging and clenching (and probably sacrificing the quality of your cathole in the process), you can just go whenever you’re ready.

You could also use The Deuce as an extra tent stake by using the hole in the handle as a guyline anchor. Just shove the scoop end into the ground and ta-da! As an alternative, you could use it to dig a hole for burying sticks and rocks as deadman anchors – see more about how to secure a tent without stakes.

The Deuce is also a handy tool for opening bear canisters. No more struggling to push in the little tab while simultaneously rotating the lid – just use the edge of The Deuce to hold down the tab while you slide it open.

Why You Should Use A Deuce

If you don’t already have a trowel in your gear, you need one. It’s part of our essentials and we don’t go anywhere without it. But what are the reasons you need to use a trowel to bury your poop properly?

  • For People: no one likes seeing human feces and toilet paper strewn across the ground, no matter if you’re in highly trafficked areas or out in the wilderness.
  • For the Environment: the bacteria and microbes in your poop can contaminate local water sources like ponds, rivers, and streams. By burying it properly, it can decompose in the soil and provide nutrients instead of toxins.
  • For the Ease: If you’ve ever dug a cathole, you know it’s quite difficult to ACTUALLY dig 6-8 inches deep like the recommendation. The Deuce makes it super easy to get to the right depth and acts as a measuring tool to make sure you got it right.

Final Thoughts – The Deuce #2 Review

So next time you suddenly need to use the bathroom in the great outdoors (since it always seems to be random and urgent), use your handy Deuce to dig a cat hole in no time. It’s proven time and again to be far more than just a lightweight trowel- it’s an indispensable tool for the environmentally conscious outdoor enthusiast.

Its lightweight nature, paired with its robust resilience, has earned it a permanent place in my pack. If you’re an avid adventurer who respects the sanctity of the wilderness, the Deuce #2 is more than a recommendation—it’s a necessity. Just as we don’t question the value of a reliable tent or a sturdy pair of hiking boots, it’s high time we recognize and celebrate the Deuce #2 for what it truly is—a cornerstone of responsible backcountry adventure

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About The Author

Ashley is an adventurous soul who loves all things nature, especially warm sunshine, wildflowers, scenic snacking, and mushrooms. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent years enjoying time outside doing things like hiking, camping, and rock climbing.
Her goal with Know Nothing Nomads is to make these hobbies easily accessible through knowledgeable content and how-to's based on all the stuff she's learned on her journey. If she isn't writing an article, she's probably in a forest looking at big mountain views and tiny pieces of moss on the side of the trail.

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We are Derek and Ashley of Know Nothing Nomads. Whether it is hiking, camping, or just generally being outside, we love it. We are so happy that you have found our little blog and hope that you stick around a while. Feel free to contact us with any questions or get in touch with us on social media!


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