Gear Guy

The Best Packable Trail-Building Tools: McLeod Head

I work on trails to help my local mountaineering club. Is there anything light enough to carry with in my backpack?

McLeod Head (Photo: Courtesy Trail Insight )

Trail Insight started in 2012 when machinist and avid mountain biker Bill Hasenjaeger wanted to improve trails in Bellingham, Washington, while on a ride. Finding no lightweight tools up to the job, he made his own.

The McLeod is a classic known to anyone who’s worked in trail restoration or fire fighting, and it was created over a century ago by Forest Service ranger Malcolm McLeod. The sharp, flat side cuts small branches, severs roots, and levels the treadway. The toothed side clears out sticks, leaves, and brush.

Hasenjaeger's take on the tool is 48 inches long and breaks down into four structural fiberglass segments at just 12-inches long, and screws onto the hardened-steel McLeod head. All the pieces are hand-fabricated in Hasenjaeger’s warehouse.

Weight: 4.25 pounds
$240 ($25 shipping in the US)

Lead Photo: Courtesy Trail Insight