The McLeod is one of the tools most favored by trail builders all over. Originally designed as a wildland firefighting tool, it has a large, hoe-like blade on one side, and a tined blade on the other. Essentially a burly rake mated with a hoe, the McLeod is a staple in constructing bench cut trails. The rake is used to remove slough, while the hoe cuts the backslope. The flat surface works well as a tamper to compact the tread. The long handle makes it possible to work long hours with minimal fatigue. It is an excellent finishing tool, and combined with a pulaski, you have a trail crew armed and ready to cut some new trail sweetness.
During our stint as trail builders, we encountered quite a few folks working on their own take on creating a portable McLeod. Most of the ideas we heard were similar in concept: make a trail tool with integrated couplers that could break down in a similar fashion to a pool cue so that it could be carried in a regular pack.
While we talked to a lot of folks that had plans to create one, the Trail Boss by Trail Insight looks to have created the best rendition of this concept we’ve seen to date. Is this the portable trail tool we’ve all been waiting for? This modular tool features a number of attachments to aid in the trail building cause: a McLeod, axe/ mattock (similar to a pulaski), and saw head (a shovel head attachment is in progress) in an all-in-one solution that can break down small enough to fit a large hydration pack.
It isn’t cheap, but stuff built in the US in small production runs generally isn’t. However, if you factor in the cost of all the tools separately, as well as the value in having a portable tool, it looks to be a worthwhile investment. For comparison, a McLeod will set you back betwen $40-$130. A Pulaski: $27-$55. Shovel: $12-$35. For the tools separately you’d be spending $79-$220.
Personally, I’ve love to get one with the McLeod, shovel head, and pulaski attachments. I love my Rogue Hoe, but its time to put some cash aside- I think I just convinced myself I need to have one. Packages with a 3-piece handle set with the McLeod Head start at $195.
check it out: the Trail Boss