The Trail Boss Packable Trail Tool

Feb 6, 2012 at 10:06
by Transition Bikes  

Views: 24,619    Faves: 170    Comments: 24


bigquotesBellingham, Washington has one of the most vibrant and active trail building communities in the world. We take our trail building serious and with tons of amazing mountains, there are no shortage of options. It is no surprise that a Bellingham trail builder decided to create a tool to make trail building more convenient, especially when you want to ride and do trail work and don't have a tool stash. Bill Hasenjaeger is a one man show that designs and manufactures the tools in his garage. After several months of use I can say the tool is worth every penny. Flawless operation, lightweight and easy to fit in most hydration packs, the Trail Boss has become something I can't live without. Check out the video to learn more about the tools and Bill's shop. -Kevin Menard (Transition Bikes Owner)





For more information on the tool and ordering, check out: trail-insight.com
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111 Comments

  • + 85
 A shovel attachment would make it perfect
  • + 16
 You think they would have one, it doesn't seem like a 'trail building tool' without one. Still a great idea none the less. I would never pay that much it though.
  • + 104
 How about a jousting lance, or a mace, you know in case of hipsters !
  • + 1
 i agree, seems like a cool idea, but it seems like it needs a shovel attachment. I think shovel and mattock (the hoe/rake thing seems like it would make a good mattock type thing) are the two things that really come in handy to trail builders.
  • + 0
 finnally im deffinatley getting one of these
  • + 6
 might be harder to make a shovel, think of how much more stress a shovel takes, the shaft may not be able to handle that repeating stress, whereas a that hoe thing (forget the name) only takes force one way.
  • + 3
 Those worried about the price, just give it some time and it will either drop, or there will be used ones for sale. This is an awesome idea and I can't wait to get one, when the price is right, haha.
  • + 2
 They mention quite a few times on their website how durable and strong the trail boss is.

"The Trail Boss’ strength and usefulness is in its multiple-segment handle. Made from pultruded structural fiberglass and precision machined 6061-T651 aluminum couplings, the handle is both strong and durable, while being supple enough to absorb the shock from hard blows to the dirt."

"Tested in extremes ranging from Pacific Northwest rain forest to Southern California coastal mountains and deserts, the trail tool can tackle it all: mud, roots, rocks, forest duff, glacial till, hard-packed clay, sand, brush. "

Both of those quotes are taken right from the website. I dont think strength is really in question with this product.
  • + 1
 a shovel would be perfect, but they do say that it was made in the idea of just fixing the trail up so it makes sense for what it is made for
  • + 1
 Living in a city, I usually get a few weird looks when I carry around my trail-building kit; and this would solve all my problems. LIke everybody else I want a cheaper option and a shovel, though.
  • + 7
 nicholas - a lot of manufacturers like to state how 'strong' and 'durable' their products are. I don't want to be totally negative, but it doesn't mean a whole lot in terms of real-world use. It would be nice if these could back up the manufacturer claims though.

Personally though, I think I'll stick to carrying around proper tools, given how cheap they are (£20 or so) and how short our trails are over here, it's probably not worth spending so much on a tool that packs down so small. I appreciate that it's a totally different thing in canada though where the forests/hills there stretch for miles and miles, and you don't want to be carrying a full size mattock or whatever with you.
  • + 1
 how much are they? are they selling them? id buy one for sure!
  • + 1
 nvm....down there..SODAK
  • + 4
 @sam: I totally agree with you. Manufactures always claim how strong their product is. I just see the fibre glass being light weight and durable. But for 190 everyone can gtfo. Even though it may be a quality product I'm much happier sticking with my shovel and mattock for 30 bucks.
  • + 5
 its pretty sweet but way to expensive. if i was gonna spend $200+ on tools id rather just buy a bunch of tools and stash them on the trails i usually ride
  • - 1
 Um...Ok, I don't get how someone was smart enough to design this, and then neglect putting a shovel head on it...I have to build jumps WAY off the beaten path here or else they'll get torn down so I definitely need a shovel to move big amounts of dirt...Carrying a shovel and pick while riding 2+ miles sucks. Oh wait, what's that? It costs $450 for the whole package? haha...HAHAHA...HAHAHA. No.

My tip, Buy one of those half-length shovels, make a strap, and throw it across your back diagonally...just make sure you wear your helmet cause it hurts to get smacked in the head by it. Razz
  • + 8
 But will it BLEND?
  • + 3
 I'd probably be ordering on right now if there was a spade/shovel attachment... Hope the manufacturers read these comments!
  • + 5
 As great an idea as it is, I won't be buying one simply for the amount it costs. An alternative design idea would be to make it with one long handle similar to a spade instead of the multiple joining poles, while keeping the interchangeable attachments like it is now. I for one wouldn't mind carrying just one tool while keeping the attachments in a bag, would make a more affordable product which would probably sell more. Just my two cents.
  • + 2
 ^ my thoughts exactly, it would be more affordable and since the handle is very light you could just carry it on top of your bag.
  • + 1
 Looks like a good tool. Those who build regularly and appreciate hand-made goods will be into this. Me, I've gotta save my nickels for the time being but I do like the appearance of this tool.
  • + 1
 seems a bit to fancy, making parts of a rake thing on a laith seem silly to me. i would prefer it to way a little more and be cheaper. i understand i will be neg proped for not being a rick kid!
  • + 3
 little to expensive for 250 id sooner buy all of the actual tools and hide them under a downed tree or in a hole and save 150$
  • + 5
 for 250, I could hire illegals to build an entire downhill course in a weekend.... or hit up Walmart and get the proper tools for half the price
  • + 2
 It is pricey, but as with any other products, bike-related or not, you get what you pay for.
[Reply]
  • + 12
 Great idea! I want one... it would prevent me from looking like some kind of serial killer walking through the woods with a saw, axe, and shovel on the way to chop up and bury the bodies...
  • + 3
 I know that feeling !!! I feel so weird trying to sneak past rangers with shovels and shit
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  • + 7
 Its an amazing idea for sure and I'd love to have one.. But a little too expensive for me at the moment. Your looking at $450 for the full set up.
  • + 6
 how much ! :0 i guess i will have to stick to my cut down spade Frown
  • + 1
 Totally, I think I'd rather put that kind of money towards a new pair of forks or anew bike...
  • + 2
 you can buy similar things thats are just extendable shovles with a detatchable spade pretty much anywhere
  • + 12
 @mph51 You could probably save some money if you only bought one fork.
  • + 1
 Dammit... Good one konodo Cool
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  • + 4
 Don't think that just because there's no shovel you will be lacking. In my neck of the woods (central NY) we build all the time and RARELY need a shovel. Only time you should need a shovel is if you're talking moving big amounts of dirt.

Seems the perfect solution for the rider who is dedicated to keeping his local trails in tip-top shape. I probably wouldn't use it if I was going out with a group for a big work day, but definitely a great tool for a quick ride and work session.
  • + 1
 This! I rarely take a shovel out when I build, and when I do I know I need it for sure. With that being said, I don't build sets of dirt jumps.. I was pretty excited about the first attachment, but my mind was blown when he put on the saw. So handy. Excellent idea.
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  • + 2
 This guy : www.trail-tools.com ,almost had it but due to high cost he never came up with the finished form of the break down kit like this one. And yes a shovel is necessary but if you think about it, if there were 2 guys doing the trail one had the multi tool and one had a shovel then the stuff worked would've been done better and faster than 1 MTB'er. This tool is still pricey though and no shovel Frown .
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  • + 4
 NICE! now if it will have a shovel attachment, it would be a perfect tool! this seems like a great design for any type of trail building, legal or not.
  • + 0
 I want one terribly!!!
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  • + 2
 I think a lot of folks are missing the point of Bill's tool. This is meant for rolling trailwork/maintenance or doing work where it's a long hike in to a work zone. It's not meant to necessarily replace every tool you'd need for trail building. Like most builders, we usually have 1 or 2 tool stashes on trails that are in the build process. However, moving them up or down the hill either requires a crew of folks or many trips by one or two guys...either way, it can be a total P.I.T.A. With this tool, it would be easy to stop mid-ride to fix blown out sections, dig drainage, etc. There are a lot of riders who like to do rolling maintenance and this is THEIR tool....30 minutes here and there goes a long way. And, yes, a shovel attachment is in the works.
  • + 1
 Totally agree. Living in the Pacific Northwet, I can't count the number of times I've stopped to kick in drainage for water puddles. Sometimes I even resort to a stick. This tool allows it to be done quickly and as a much longer term solution. It's a great idea, and yes, it has limitations. As ebx stated, it isn't meant to replace every tool for building. It can, however, allow for a quick trail tune in remote places where trail maintenance doesn't get done because it's too far to hike in tools.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This is by far the single coolest thing I have ever seen on PB. As a builder and a rider, this helps out the mountain bike community as a whole. No more hiding tools or looking like a jackass biking through town carrying your stuff. I love it!
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  • + 1
 I think I'd hate not having a smooth handle. And I do use a shovel a lot for trail work, we have more rock then dirt and if you want to smooth something out you have to carry dirt in sometimes. Also very expensive, more so then how convenient it is I think.. I also hate the feel of fiberglass handles.
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  • + 1
 what a load of cobblers.... spend £12/$20 ish for an army surplus folding entrenching tool. get one with a pick and shovel head. and with a serated edge on one side it'll do almost as much as this over engineered beast. I've had mine for years.
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  • + 1
 not only do i ride mountain bikes, but i am also a machinst aswell...a $450 price tag does not seem like a lot considering the time spent ":engineering" something like this..the materials that are used, also the amount of time that it cost to run the machine and also wages....standard shop cost are about $60 an hr...the shop i work in sells products that are worth $450 to $600 a piece, but we do have products that range in the $50/$120 range...also take into consideration the market...this is the first of it's kind...so...cost will be high, but you should see it go down....
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  • + 1
 For all you guys thinking its no good without a shovel, where I live a shovel is the most useless tool of the bunch. I only ever bring one if I am taking more than a few tools and some buckets. Pick axe, mattock and rake are much more useful. Hopefully you're building dirt jumps, or it's different in your area, because otherwise it sounds like you don't do trail work if you don't think this is the one tool to have if you only have one tool.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hah all of you talking about it needing a shovel are out of your minds. A Macleod is the perfect tool for nearly every part of building a trail except big roots and rocks that need moving. This thing isn't for building dirt jumps in your back yard.
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  • + 1
 I was up on the hill for a dig day yesterday and met the guy that designed and builds these. Let me tell you all from first hand experince these are tuff as 1 peice tools and he had a shovle head just needs perfection. He is also working on other heads.... It may be a little pricey but very portable and safe to ride with. Remeber if you buy and help get this product out to the market it could go big time. Help a guy out with his killer idea.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Love the concept. Before I buy one I would like to see someone beat the shit out of it so I can see the durability on one of these.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Who is there demograph , who in the hell would pay that much ($240) for a make-shit garden hoe. For that price you can purchase a season pass to a bike park, if you spent $240 at a Walmart for trail building equipment you would be way better off. For $240 I can pay 2 illegals minimum wage to work 7 hours for 2 days, you could build an entire course with that
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Holy shit... Most AWESOME thing I've seen all day!!! Salute

Edit: Whoa.. wait... what... $240???
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i want one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • + 0
 awesome tool. we need more minds like Bill Hasenjager : simple and it works ! We also need him to design a multi tool; i JUST purchased the latest and greatest TOPEAK multi tool only to find that there is only ONE torque bit and it is too big for my Formula The One brake levers ! First, why in beejeezus name would F1 have screws on the brake levers like this that are so soft and easily stripped instead of an allen configuration - i was told by a LBS that eventually almost everything would be torque ! jeezus on a stick, first Metric WITH Standard so that confusion reigns supreme [ ever try to figure out instructions on a bike part that uses both terms but never with a complete description aaaarrrrrggghh ! ] CRICKEY, we should bring hanging back; first the metric purveyors and then the torque twits ! Bottom line: ALLEN WRENCHES WORK WAY BETTER THAN TORQUE WITHOUT STRIPPING THE NUT OR WHATEVER - IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT.
  • + 6
 Firstly, you are a ham fisted monkey if you are stripping torque bits, they have more surface area than a conventional allen key, so spread the load more.
Secondly, are you seriously suggesting that the rest of the world steps in line with Canada and America and Switches to the imperial system? The imperial system is the bane of my life, why the hell you guys continue to use it is beyond me
  • + 2
 Well technically Canada is supposed to be on the Metric system but our big neighbor the USA seems to want to stick to Imperial despite the fact that the rest of the world operates on Metric. We have to use both Metric and Imperial since lots of our goods come from the States as well, especially construction materials. It's a pain in the ass and honestly we should all be on Metric.
  • + 1
 Good god. There really are people out there that like imperial. If there's three things I dislike about Canada, it's pennies, non hidden sales tax and the bullshit attachment to an archaic measuring system. Tipping sucks ass too, so lets call it 4 things. Or should I say 2 bits of one thing and 16/32 of another thing that have no round relationship to each other.
  • + 0
 Metric is far more precise. imperial is easy.
  • + 3
 How is imperial easy? You need to study for a week to remember how many inches in a foot, feet in a yard, yards in a mile, square feet in an acre, ounces in a pint, pints in a gallon, oz in a pound, pounds in a tonne. And that's just scratching the surface. What about how much energy it takes to move a 5 tonne 3 pound 4 18/32 oz object 8 miles 22 feet 11 19/64th's of an inch. Or how about rasing the temperature of 8 gallons 6 pints 4 oz of water by an F.
The only way you could make it any more difficult than it is, is if you actually made a foot the size of the individual doing the measuring. The system should have died when the person who came up with it presented it for the first time. Smile
  • + 1
 Im sorry youre so simple... break it down to the small commons. 25mm = 1" , 1 gallon = 10 lb, 1 Usgallon 8.33 lbs

and as far as raising the temperature of water 1 btu raises 1 lb of water 1' F, 1 Joule raises 1 gram of water 1'f

C to F conversion x 1.8 = 32 .

and how many inches in a foot? really, you cant be that dumb.
  • + 1
 You're right, I'm not that dumb, but for completely missing my point I'd counter that you're the simple one.

My examples were mixing units which is standard fare for imperial. The fact that the relationships are twisted makes it anything but simple.

You say imperial is easy. Try this basic problem and ponder its simplicity. Off the top of your head, how many inches are in 1.39 miles?
  • + 1
 5280 feet in a mile, SO.

5280 x 12 = 63,360

I get that mixing units makes things difficult, I was not challenging that. I was saying only that metric is more accurate.
  • + 1
 @ feazel: if i'm a ham fisted monkey, then you are a irish idiot : the surface area on a torque may be more but it is very shallow and tapers to 0 in the center which absolutely makes for stripping an easier possiblity, whereas an allen shape is deeper and grabs with more consistent force - as for your rant about the merits of torque, try tightening your head on your shoulders with whatever means available - preferably an allen key, cause obviously a torque didn't work.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i had literally thought of making something like this over a year ago, pretty much exactly the same design....that will teach me for being lazy no good bum!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Hey guys, Bill has a shovel attachment prototype he is working on right now so a shovel will definitely be added as an option for the Trail Boss.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Funny, just got back inside from fixing my McLeod in the shop to find this post. Not cheap, but looks great.... wonder how it will stand up to daily building abuse. Think I'll have to get one.
  • + 2
 Oh yeah, checked out their website... looks good. Can't see a need for the saw, but want to try the McLeod and the pick/mattock.
Often want/need to work on part of a trail but would prefer riding without a bob trailer or packing in a number of tools. This (plus a chainsaw) would fit the Dakine builders pack nicely.

I agree with sambs827, I rarely build with a shovel. McLeod and a pick is perfect. If I'd add something it would be a super sturdy rake attachment.... and maybe a build-in Scotch flask in one of the handle parts.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 DAMN!! I want one so bad! It's perfect for going deep in the woods or being stealthy IN TOWN! No Mr. Officer, this is just a backpack. I wonder how many beers it will fit.
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  • + 1
 This idea has been on my drawing board for a few years. Damn my lack of access to a machine shop! It's nice to see a finished product, though.
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  • + 3
 Sweet idea and tool but expensive
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  • + 1
 195 for a maintenance carry in a backpack tool is not bad a all. I had a similar design awhile back, I'm glad someone is out doing it. props for crafting this great tool.
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  • + 1
 Wicked this is the perfect tool for a ride and fix day. After storms we often go check the trails with our bikes while fixing sections! This looks amazing!
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  • + 3
 Its a great concept Big Grin I want one .
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  • + 1
 Buy a folding shovel from a military surplus store for $30. Mine has never done me wrong and it fits great on the back of my pack.
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  • + 1
 Impressive machining work. While it is expensive, if he's the only one producing them, then its understandable that he has to make it worth his time. Sweet idea tho!
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  • + 1
 Really nice concept and looks high quality ... however it can be done cheaper, prices on the website are a bit steep
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  • + 2
 I want to order one, they look awesome!
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  • + 0
 I can see many hidden illegal trails coming forth with this... But still really sweet, would rather have a shovel head also though
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  • + 2
 Excellent idea, and the final product looks great
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  • + 1
 0_o I swear I had this idea first! hahaha glad someone with the resources made it happen ! id buy this for sure
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  • + 1
 Amazing! Finally maybe we can carry appropriate tools to tidy up Khyber and Babylon.
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  • + 2
 He has a Helmet but isn't wearing it...SENSE ???
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  • + 1
 will wait after they finished doing the trail before I ride...or I will use my SWISS KNIFE for building a trail LOLSmile
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  • + 1
 awesome would really use this but the price is huge which is the thing that is stopping me from buying it.
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  • + 1
 looks like a great tool, not for heavy building use, but for some improvised work. nice!!
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  • + 1
 Make a shovel attachment and you will have a lot more customers. myself included
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  • + 1
 Interesting design. looks like a well thought out and very portable tool set.
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  • + 1
 Axe head looks a little punny too
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  • + 1
 I loved the idea... Untill i saw the price...
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  • + 1
 Put me on the list cuz I want one bad!
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  • + 1
 great idea, wonder if I can make one in my garage for 100th of the price?
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  • + 1
 sick idea! hope i can get my hands on one soon!
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  • + 0
 sweet idea, glad i'm welder/fabricator and can make this at home for a quarter the cost.
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  • + 1
 this is pretty cool...i guess i can dig it (eh eh eh)
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  • + 2
 sweet how much are they?
  • + 8
 I am replying to you so that if you get a response I'll see it.
  • - 1
 190 I believe for the base model.
  • + 2
 16" Handle Segment ($45)
12" Handle Segment ($45)
3-Piece Handle Set ($150)
4-Piece Handle Set ($195)
McLeod Head ($55)
Saw Head ($40)
Axe/Mattock ($55)
Pick/Mattock ($55)
Collar ($10)
End Plug ($5)

$195 if you buy the 3 segment + macleod head setup
  • + 2
 Two of mine... $20 telescoping paint sticks and some scrap steel. Got a few plates of aluminum sitting here now, but will be a bit till I can get around to it...too much riding to do!

www.pinkbike.com/photo/5892522

www.pinkbike.com/photo/6551333
  • + 2
 here in the uk, if we was stopped by the police and they found it all in our bag we would be charged with having a offensive weapon Frown
  • + 1
 how do those paint poles work? id think theyd break very easily when you actually dig with it
  • + 4
 Great so far. For SERIOUS trail work I prefer a pulaski, pickax, and a chainsaw, but even for some pretty heavy dirt work in loose soil it has never let me down yet. The multi-head is a tamper, pickax, hoe, rake and scraper, back end works like a shovel. I've chopped 2"-3" roots with it and no arguments yet. But I do take it easy with it, considering I've broken pickaxes!
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  • + 0
 That and a shovel and your set!!
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  • + 1
 like like LIKE!
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  • + 1
 this guys my neighbor!
  • + 2
 his name means rabbithunter if you translate it
  • + 1
 Jah Herr Ganschlanger...!
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  • + 1
 YES YES YES!!! AWESOME
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