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.

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]

More articles by this author

Webinars on YouTube that you might like

Trail Assessment for Accessibility and Sustainability

Feb 29, 2024

This webinar will explore the process of assessing natural surface pedestrian trails for accessibility and sustainability and will focus on developing new trails as well as conversion of existing trails.

Systemic Condition Analysis and Management for Multi-Use Trails

Feb 8, 2024

This webinar addresses the critical need for cyclical assessment and repair of a multi-use trail system to keep up with the usage and level of service demands from the public with a limited budget.

More resources in this category

Essential Tools for Trail Building: Warwood Tool's Pulaski Axe, Forest Adze Hoe, and Perfect Axe

posted Jul 5, 2024

In this article, Warwood Tool's highlights three of their essential trail building tools.

Hand Tools for Trails

posted Sep 11, 2023

The tools shown here are those used most often by Forest Service trail crews. They are categorized into tools for sawing, chopping, grubbing, digging and tamping, pounding, and hammering, lifting and hauling, peeling and shaping, and sharpening and rehandling. Each tool is described along with helpful techniques for use and maintenance.

Tools for Trails: Measuring and Surveying Tools

posted Nov 8, 2022

Before trail builders start digging, they first have to lay the trail, flag the line, and more to ensure a grade that not only matches the terrain but also is well throughout to prevent erosion.

Trail Tools: Grubbing Tools

posted Aug 8, 2022

Let’s talk about grubbing and raking tools! You might have heard the term grubbing before, but if you’re new to trail building, it may be unfamiliar. Grubbing is when you are removing earth and topsoil. Basically digging into the first while removing vegetation in the process. Trail builders may also call this process hogging.

2,345 views • posted 04/13/2018