Share the Work on the Trail with Modular Packable Tools

Trail Boss has pushed forward the idea of ‘rolling maintenance’, or the collective efforts of individuals to maintain mountain trails for running and cycling before conditions get to the point where organized action is required. This push in priority allows organizations to focus their resources on the problems that are out of reach for the individual. Namely trail access and advocacy.

Back in 2013, Bill Hasenjaeger filed his patent for a modular trail tool that would allow riders and hikers to create their own hand-built singletrack trails in remote locations. The current embodiment of this singular innovation is under the Trail Boss moniker, a set of tools that have enabled the idea of ‘rolling maintenance’, or the collective efforts of individuals maintaining trails with packable tools that are functional and lightweight.

The Crucible of Boss Innovation

The fledging operation hails from Bellingham, Washington, a storied coastal port, punctuating the north coast before entering Canada. The location hosts a thriving community of explorers and adventurers, and the terrain to keep them occupied. Out of this synergy of time and place, and with Hasenjaeger’s modular trail tools in tow, a new paradigm in trail building has emerged, one where continuous trail maintenance is enabled by portable, packable and lightweight tools. It allows individuals to contribute along the way, on their own schedule, to help prevent more resource consuming issues.

Compared to the seasonal ‘trail days’ many clubs and organizations lead, the distributed efforts of individuals allow for scheduled events to focus on the larger projects that demand more organization and manpower.

Trail Boss does not have any retail distribution or sell in physical stores, opting to sell direct to customer on their website. Hasenjaeger told us there were several reasons for this, but the most important one being customer interaction, “The knowledge we gain from our direct customer contact feeds-back directly into our product development.” In our world of layered and ‘umbrella’ branding, this resistance to third-party customer support and designed obsolescence is refreshing.

In Practice on A Trail Near You

Earlier this year, the SDMBA (San Diego Mountain Bike Association) received a donation of three complete sets of tools by The Law Offices of Richard Duquette (, sponsor of this magazine.

Richard Duquette (center) with Ben Stone and Susie Murphy of SDMBA with the Trail Tools donated by The Law Offices of Richard Duquette. Photo: Pedal for the Camera

Susie Murphy, Executive Director of SDMBA, boasted that the, “finely made, packable tools are great for our trail crews on maintenance and building projects.” Speaking on his own volunteer experience with the tools during an SDMBA trail building project, Duquette related, “I used my Trail Boss tools along with a friend on the Black Widow trail under construction on Black Mountain in San Diego. We both had a set, and they worked great. These tools were lightweight, and chopped, dug and raked the dirt trail with ease.”

Speaking on his motivation for the donation, Duquette mused, “I envision … a trail strike team of hot shots who would go out on mountain bikes and carry their tools into to the wilderness to do repairs and build more trials.” Though these hotshots may never be named, the work they do maintaining trails is recognize and appreciated.

SDMBA Black Widow Trail Building
SDMBA volunteer using the Trail Boss Trail Tool to help clear the Black Widow Trail in San Diego. Photo courtesy SDMBA

Trail Boss tools are great for organizations like the SDMBA, but the appeal extends to a range of groups including fire services, trail running clubs and backcountry travelers that are looking to do their part in keeping trails clear and maintained. For the wilderness adventurer and conservationist, the Trail Boss has everything you need to keep your trail blazing.

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