Trail Tools: Miscellaneous Tools

These are the most commonly used Miscellaneous Tools with tips on using them safely and effectively.

by Jim Schmid

Flexible Post Tools (Post Driver, Pilot Driver, Post Puller)

A special driver must be used when driving fiberglass trail posts into the ground. A special pilot driver helps when you have to drive a post into hard or rocky soil. The post puller is specifically designed for easy extraction of flexible posts. It eliminates the need of digging out the post.

Safety tip: As with all pounding tools keep your hands and feet well out of the way.

Hydraulic Jack

Jacks are used to raise heavy weights such as a corner of a shelter that has settles, or a bridge beam so that shims can be places or the abutment built up. Can also be used to level heavy stone steps or any other structure—as long as room can be created to insert the jack under the object.

Safety tip: When working under heavy objects, there is always the danger of having it fall and crush whatever is under it. Extreme caution should be used when my part of the body is beneath the structure until it is securely in place.

MAX Multi- Purpose Axe

This implement incorporates seven basic hand tools into one compact, versatile unit: A Hudson Bay-style axe head permanently attached to a 36-inch fiberglass handle is complemented by six quick-attach tools: shovel, mattock, pick, broad pick, fire rake, and hoe. Each component slips into a specially designed socket on the axe head and is secured by either a hitch pin or thumbscrew tightener. All components are drop-forged from high-quality tool steel and fit into a compact canvas case that can be carried on a belt or strapped to a pack. Weights only 12-1/2 pounds.

Safety tip: Make sure each tool is securely attached before use.

YAK Trailer

The YAK trailer also known as the Beast of Burden (BOB) seems to be the most prevalent single-wheeled trailer being used by trail crews. This versatile cargo carrier attaches to the hub of the rear wheel of a mountain bike by means of a special quick-release skewer. It can be used to carry hand tools, chainsaws, and day gear very well. BOB Trailers ( offers a holder that zip ties to the inside of the trailer for carrying hand tools more securely.

Safety tip: Do not overload. Make sure whatever you are carrying is well strapped down.

Published January 2004

About the Author

During his career Jim Schmid served as South Carolina’s first State Trails Coordinator as well as working for the US Forest Service as a Trails Manager in AZ, ID, and FL and also had the pleasure of managing the Florida National Scenic Trail. Jim is a collector at heart. Check out his collection of trail quotes, terms, acronyms, sayings and more at In addition to updating his website and writing book reviews for American Trails Jim enjoys traveling around the country riding rail-trails and mtn bike trails.

Contact: [email protected]

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