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#105693 - 11/03/08 06:25 AM Bathing
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I know that you can use a little hot water and wipe the daily grime from your body before turning in. But has anyone had experience in showering or bathing other than swimming? I now have three bags that could serve as showers. 1. is my hydration bladder. 2. is a solor shower bag setup I bought for car camping and 3 is the MSR gravity water filter. I robbed the on/off valve and showerhead from the solar shower to attach to my hydration bladder and it works ok. But If I carry the solar shower, fill it and leave it in the sun for awhile,it heats up nicely and provides a very warm shower. The MSR filter bag is a nice unit but on the bulky/heavy side. I will probably use the componets to construct a lighter water bag.
I also thought of using my fly as a temporary enclosure for the shower and could double as the latrine.
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#105694 - 11/03/08 06:47 AM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
I basic training in Chilliwack BC we used our helmets as a bucket of water for daily ablutions and it was great, especially in January. It's against one of our natural instincts to get wet when its cold out, but once you learn to overcome that it opens up a whole new world. I haven't tried the shower thing, or the bath thing, as others have done. So far I've just used my pot, and rolled in snow. I use a Kelly Kettle so I can make lots and lots of hot water. I don't need a hydration bladder, but I might get a bigger pot. My backpack is waterproof also, so I could use that somehow as a shower, mixing the boiling hot water down with cold water, and adding more hot water. Maybe my JAM2 needs a showerhead and spigot. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#105695 - 11/03/08 08:28 AM Re: Bathing [Re: JAK]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

If there is somewhere appropriate to take a dip, I'll do that, failing that I just use my pot and cup and take a bit of a sock/spongebath. I simply use a polypro liner sock that will dry quickly as a washcloth, and a tiny little bit of green campsuds to cut a big of the grime and smell. My technique usually looks like

0) if your sock is really grungy, wash sock first in seperate pot of water first with some campsuds and rocks

1) find place near water but where I won't be putting my suds in the water, downstream of any water collection points. Take my blue foam butt/standing pad, 3 cup pot, and alky stove with me.

2) fill the pot with water, set up stove with about 1/3 oz alky (only enough to warm up 3 cups of water). light stove, wait for water to warm up.

3) strip, placing clothing within reach, stand on blue pad with camp suds, liner sock, and cup.

4) take a cup about 2/3 full of water. take sock, wet down, put on a "pea sized" bit of campsuds.

5) scrub down everywhere, using sock as a washcloth, dipping in cup of water for wetness,

6) soak then wring out sock in what's left in the cup of semi-soapy water. dump over self.

7) use rest of pot as rinse. start with sock and use a spongebath style squeeze method dipping and squeezeing sock over self, finsih of with strategic pouring/spongeing with sock.

8) get dressed, go rinse out pot and cup, wring out sock, put on fleece, make dinner and be happy.

This is usually enough to wash me up nicely and prevent chafing and nastiness. If I want to
wash hair as well (other than a rinse) I usually use another pot of water. Trick to doing this
without lots of water is not to use a ton of soap.
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#105696 - 11/03/08 08:53 AM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
Eric Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 294
Loc: The State of Jefferson
If it's not too cold I use a 2 ltr Platty with a perforated cap as a shower. I heat a pot full of water on whatever stove I'm using and dilute it to with cold water. The 2 ltrs is enough for a wetdown and rinse but then I don't have much hair.

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#105697 - 11/04/08 07:38 AM Re: Bathing [Re: JAK]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Your training has made you more resourceful than I. Before rolling in the snow, I'll heat some water and sponge bath. The reason I posted the question was because when the temp dipped below my bags rating, I was clammy all night. I have since discovered info that tells me that being dirty and having closed pours could contribute to a clammy sleep. To save time and xtra stuff on my last trip. I deceided to go mountain man and not shave or bath. Not anymore...
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#105698 - 11/04/08 07:52 AM Re: Bathing [Re: phat]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Yes, staying away from a water source is important. At least the bloke downstream won't be trying to filter the gunk and funk from me. I just wonder what's up stream. I have avoided soap of any kind but did buy a camp towell and cut it down a bit. Although I didn't even pull it out last trip. Next trip I will. And I'll pick up some camp suds at our local Outdoors store. They have a small size that would last me a long time. I carry a heavy black trash bag that doubles as a place to step out of my hammock to put on my boots, line the inside of my pack and be used to stand on when cleaning up. I thought of using my fly. (homemade Clark style made larger), as a screen for showering if privacy is an issue.
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#105699 - 11/04/08 09:15 AM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I solar warm water in my 2.5 liter platypus, suds up with dry-soap facial wipes, and dump the warm water over me. This seems to work. The facial wipes are small enough that I do not "over-suds" so 2.5 liters is enough to rinse off. I just pour water out the opening - no need for a shower attachement. Probably about 90% of the time I simply jump into the lake or river. I only do the warm water bath every 5 days or so on long trips or occasionally if it is too cold out. Even with warm water, you are going to get cold standing there naked and wet! I actually think jumping in the lake even when it is ice cold, is actually faster and less uncomfortable.

I also find that if I plan a long hiking day, a bath at lunch break is sometimes better than waiting until late in the day when the sun goes down. Even if you get chilled, you will warm up with more hiking. And it really refreshes you for the afternoon hike.

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#105700 - 11/04/08 10:19 AM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
... as a screen for showering if privacy is an issue.


Well, I suppose I could give a tarp to those shocked by the bad scenery so they could cover their eyes, although I think you solution of a trash bag might be lighter - I could just hand them out to everyone around and tell them to put them over their heads <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#105701 - 11/04/08 12:39 PM Re: Bathing [Re: phat]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Cool. That would add more value to the multi-use of the trash bag. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#105702 - 11/04/08 02:00 PM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
rootball Offline
member

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 112
I used to hike with a nut that would swim in almost any temperature. I remember one Smoky Mountain trip where he stripped down and moaned his way out into the stream -then oohed and aahed down on hands and knees - then completely under. He came out screaming and his skin was as red as a beet. It was 26 degrees with a slight wind. We calculated that with wind chill it must have been 20 degrees. He called that his record cold swim. He did that kind of stuff all the time, claiming that getting out of his comfort zone made him feel fantastic. None for me thanks. I did my share of nasty winter swims on Section 4 of Chattooga, Upper Tellico, ect... when I was boating a lot. I'll do it to save my bacon, but not to wash it.

I agree with what Chaz said about feeling clmmy when dirty. There must be something to it- not sure if it is clogged pores, but I have noticed it.

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#105703 - 11/04/08 02:43 PM Re: Bathing [Re: JAK]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Quote:
So far I've just used my pot, and rolled in snow.


Rolled in the snow nekked? You are more a man than I.

In Iraq when I was away from a shower, I would just dump water bottles over my head. I did this at night before bed. The water bottles had been sitting on the back of my truck in front of the fifth wheel and next to the exhaust. Needles to say, the water was always VERY warm. I am a little girl when it comes to dumping cold water over me. I will do what it takes for a warm bath/shower.
_________________________
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#105704 - 11/14/08 10:39 AM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
Kekawaka Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/02
Posts: 262
I'm an opportunist when it comes to bathing on the trail, but I DO go out of my way to watch for opportunities, and I rarely go a day without a full bath of some kind. Rather than having just one bathing routine, I draw on a collection of different methods. Here are a few:

The "Canned Sunshine" Bath - If I find myself in a back country designated site with a fire ring and plentiful wood, I almost always celebrate with this late night solitary luxury.
When to use: campfire, water close by, solitude
What you need: a 3' square piece of plastic or silnylon, a pair of camp thongs (or a clean, wettable surface to stand barefoot on), a sit pad, 2 unscented dry facial cloths, pot for heating water
Method: Just before bed, when the fire is radiating heat instead of smoke, and companions have turned into the tent for the night, is the time to enjoy this solitary delight.
  • lay out sleepwear where it will get warm by the fire
  • make a ring out of stones or sticks of wood or simply dig a shallow hole; you want to create a basin about 6 inches deep and 16 inches across
  • place something clean to stand/sit on next to the basin
  • line the basin with a garbage bag or other bit of waterproof material. (check to make sure there aren't any sharp objects that will poke holes in your basin material.) fill with a calibrated mix of cold and boiling water. refill pot and return to fire to heat additional water for the last part of the bath
  • use an unscented, dry facial cloth to wash face. rinse.
  • strip clothing down to zip, and use a second facial cloth to suds the rest of your body. rinse (you could dip and pour from the basin, but I usually use my facial cloth to dip and sponge down as it conserves the warm water better).
  • "sun" yourself against the fire, turning frequently until well done (this is the blissful part)
  • put on warm top and bottoms, leaving socks off
  • last, but not least, add a bit more hot water to the basin. sit on your pad and soak your feet. nothing compares to a hot foot bath at the end of a long day's hike!


The "Three Uses" Bath - This one accomplishes three things: 1) purifies drinking water, 2) makes a hot water bottle, and 3) provides a warm(ish) spit bath first thing in the morning. Maybe the real reason I like this method is because it helps to justify my serious hot water bottle dependency!
When to use: cold weather, limited water supply, no fuel shortage
What you need: 1 Nalgene bottle, 1 unscented, dry facial cloth, stove and fuel
Method:
  • heat 1 quart of water to boiling, fill Nalgene bottle, close tightly
  • slip hot bottle into a sock, or wrap in a piece of clothing you want to dry out, and shove it all the way to the foot of your sleeping bag
  • after dinner, crawl into a cozy bed and sleep warmly all night long
  • first thing in the morning, drink half the bottle of water. (This is a good way to start your day well hydrated.)
  • Use the remaining tepid water to brush teeth, and wash face and other crucial areas. (An unscented, dry facial cloth works well.)


The "Solar Wash Day" Bath - O.k., I've never actually done this one as I've never had enough time on the trail. But I always wanted to try it. I read about it years ago on the website of a guide in the San Francisco Bay Area who led backpacking trips for women.
When to use: Hiking in warm weather? Need clean clothes? No "town day" coming up? Have a beautiful stream with a meadow at hand? Ah, this is the bath for you!
What you need: 2 large, heavy duty yard bags with draw strings, suds, sunshine, plenty of water, solitude, a half day to spare
Method:
  • before lunch: fill each trash bag 1/3 full of water from the creek. tie the bags closed and lay them in the sun to heat
  • after lunch: gather dirty clothes and add to the first bag. jump into the bag with the clothes. pull the drawstring to snug the bag over your shoulders.
  • suds up. slosh. have fun.
  • move yourself to the second bag to rinse off. wring clothes and rinse in second bag.
  • lay clothes in sun to dry while dancing among the wildflowers.... I'm sure you get the picture! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />


Cheers,

Kek

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#105705 - 11/14/08 11:38 AM Re: Bathing [Re: Kekawaka]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Good ideas. I think you have bathing down to an art. The first 2 are good and I can see the need to wash clothes and oneself if your out a long time. On the other hand, I can understand why you haven't tried the 3rd one yet.
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#105706 - 11/14/08 11:56 AM Re: Bathing [Re: Kekawaka]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Good technique and good to see you posting again.
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"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#105707 - 11/14/08 04:16 PM Re: Bathing [Re: ringtail]
RobA Offline
member

Registered: 05/21/02
Posts: 92
Silk liner to save the bag. Rinse my face, brush my teeth and wait 7 days until the next holiday inn with in house laundry.



I'm pretty sure there is no way i'd fit in a trash bag, especially to scrunch up and pull the draw string over my shoulders. lol

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#105708 - 11/14/08 05:19 PM Re: Bathing [Re: ringtail]
Kekawaka Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/02
Posts: 262
Thanks. ...haven't been out much lately, to be honest. I've become a farmer, and it's gotten hard to take time away. But I'm in the process of relocating and will have easier access to the Adirondacks this year, so should be able to hit the trail there a few times, at least.

I thought I should check in and see what's breaking news here, and couldn't resist adding my two cents worth. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Cheers,

Kek

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#105709 - 11/14/08 10:23 PM Re: Bathing [Re: Kekawaka]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6368
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Now you're making those of us who just wash exposed parts and just stink for 7 days or longer feel really guilty for not exposing the rest of our hide to mosquitoes and biting flies in the interest of cleanliness!

I did wade into a creek one day and splash a little water on strategic parts, making a hasty exit when I started shivering!
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#105710 - 11/15/08 04:25 AM Re: Bathing [Re: OregonMouse]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
I've heard that if your skin is too clean you are more prone to frost-bite. More precisely I think you want to get rid of the dirt, but stay greasy. I think hot water does 99% of the work, so I've never bothered with any soap. Sweating from daily exercise and hot water should be enough, most of the time. An alcohol and water splash as aftershave and under the arms and crotch feels pretty good. I do that at home with a capful of cheap gin. Doesn't cost that much more than aftershave and its a little more pure. The snow bath thing isn't that bad if your all fired up and do only half your body at a time.

I like phats idea of using a sock or whatever your washing as the sponge. Rinse it in cold water first to get most of the dirt out, then drop it in a pot of boiling water from the Kelly Kettle. Let it soak until its cooled enough to handle. Use it for your sponge bath, then rinse it again and squeeze it out and them figure out how your going to dry it. Drying socks or underwear is the tricky part. I think its easiest to dry stuff with a fire while wearing it. On a dry sunny day you can wear socks as mitts, and sometimes you can put your long underwear tops or bottoms on squeezed dried and wear extra clothing on the other half and hike or ski that way until dry. I don't bring extra clothes, just lots of clothes enough to wear all at once for the worst conditions broken down into layers. I find extra layers just get wet and stay that way, but enough clothes for the worst is manageable. Wool for what stays on mostly, and synthetics for the rest.

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#105711 - 11/16/08 12:52 AM Re: Bathing [Re: JAK]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Perhaps this isn't totally relevant, but in certain areas I frequent while camping, many times, I've ducked into a Starbucks or McDonalds' or similar, and in five minutes, cleaned my hair and certain various body parts at the sink.

I then make liberal use of paper towels to dry self and the floor etc........

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#105712 - 11/16/08 06:53 AM Re: Bathing [Re: johndavid]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I used to do that when I was a vagabond.
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#105713 - 11/18/08 05:39 PM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
Spock Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
A night-time bath in cold weather will kick your metabolism into high gear so you can sleep like a furnace. The only problem is it burns lots of calories. I get hungry about 3 a.m. Real hungry.

I carry a perforated cap for a Platypus and use that for spot cleanup - like instead of TP. In cold weather or when I'm feeling wimpy, I load the Platy with warm water.

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#105714 - 11/18/08 07:08 PM Re: Bathing [Re: johndavid]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
Perhaps this isn't totally relevant, but in certain areas I frequent while camping, many times, I've ducked into a Starbucks or McDonalds' or similar, and in five minutes, cleaned my hair and certain various body parts at the sink.

I then make liberal use of paper towels to dry self and the floor etc........
This post gives us all a bad name. No self-respecting vagrant goes to Starbucks. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

I did that sort of thing alot back when I was a competitive 'vagrant with sailboat'.
Price of starbucks though. That quickly adds up to a new racing sail. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#105715 - 11/18/08 07:15 PM Re: Bathing [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
It is fun when hiking with just enough spare change to take your foraging into town when you get a chance. Like all good things I wouldn't want to overdo it or make a habit of it. I did a solo paddle up the St. John River once. Not exactly remote, but not much traffic either, sleeping with cows on islands and stuff. Anyhow the last day I shoved off before dawn from Ox Island and pulled into the Gagetown wharf in the rain just in time for breakfast, still several hour paddle from home, all upwind. It didn't even dawn on me until I stopped that I had $5 on me, but that was just enough for the very best breakfast I've ever had. I think it was bacon and eggs and sausages and toast, and maybe some home fries. The $5 included a very modest tip but I think the waitress was just happy to see someone very wet and cold really appreciate a $5 breakfast. I apologized for only having $5 and she smiled and said she didn't mind. I try and bring debit and credit everywhere now, but somehow its just not the same. Something about cash and change is very dear when its very little but just enough.

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#105716 - 11/18/08 07:30 PM Re: Bathing [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
I agree that daily ablutions is a great way to start the day, especially in winter. I haven't done it at night so much. Perhaps I should. I won't get a chance for a long winter expedition for some time soon, but it would be interesting to do the backyard for a month, ablutions and all. If I don't get this thesis finished my wife says I might just get my wish.

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#105717 - 11/18/08 08:55 PM Re: Bathing [Re: chaz]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
In the summer, I swim as often as I can, and wash legs, hands, face (no soap) even if it seems too cold for swimming. On spring ski trips, when it's often pretty warm during the day but ther's no way I'm getting into the water (if there is any open water, which usually there's not) I have two tricks - the first is the snow wash - just rub my face and arms with snow. Feels great on a warm afternoon. The other is the air bath. I find a nice warm rock to stand on, strip naked, and air out. I also air out my long johns at the same time. you have to be real careful about how long you stay in the sun naked - I'm usually at at least 9,000 feet alitutude, and in late april or early may the sun is intense, you'll burn right quick. I keep it down to 15 minutes or less. I doubt I stink much less after that, but I do feel fresher.

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