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#115374 - 05/03/09 01:05 AM serious question: Toilet paper! *****
Teej Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/03/09
Posts: 4
Loc: USA

I am very interested in taking a NOLS course, but I do not know how I would survive practicing their minimalist bathroom procedures. It seems that they have a "leave nothing behind" motto, which encompasses toilet paper. I think that if I had to wipe with pine cones and twigs for two months I would be in serious pain by the end of my journey. Is there a semi comfortable way to survive outside without toilet paper?

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#115375 - 05/03/09 01:50 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Teej]
JWE Offline
member

Registered: 04/08/09
Posts: 70
Loc: Salem OR USA
I can't think of one but I know people who will put there used tp in ziplocs and carry it back out with them. I've seen biodegradable tp too but have never used it.
_________________________
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#115393 - 05/03/09 01:04 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: JWE]
intrek38 Offline
member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 430
Loc: Hesperia, Calif
Leave nothing behind means if you pack it in, you pack it out. Not sure if there's a substitute for TP other then leaves and pinecone. In certain area's of the Sierra's, it mandatory you pack out your used TP. Mt. Whitney supplies Wag bags for more then just TP, and that mandatory as well. Kinda hard to get past our old ways of just bury and forget, but it's for good reason.

You could try nettles or poisen oak...

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#115394 - 05/03/09 03:02 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Teej]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Teej

Its true, most of the people who inhabit this planet do not know what a roll of toilet paper is eek. As a skier I can attest to the effectiveness of snow, ;)but then its a form of water, so without toilet paper you will want water and soap, grin biodegradable soap. goodjob Otherwise you might wanna invest in "scent lock" hunting clothes that keep your human scent in. sick sick

Cowboys had 2 bandannas, a red and a blue. One they wore around their neck, the other was for washing his rear end. goodjob

Enjoy your trip. A bandanna is sustainable and soft. Heck take 2, they're light. smile
Jim YMMV
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#115395 - 05/03/09 03:36 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Jimshaw]
Wolfeye Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 413
Loc: Seattle, WA
That's interesting, Jimshaw. I've heard that in the "old days" people used to use old towels, hankerchiefs, etc.

Supposedly there's TP made for mobile homes that completely dissolves in water. Technically I don't know if it's biodegradeable.

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#115404 - 05/03/09 05:48 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Teej]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Do an archive search on the subject and you should come across about a brazillian posts on the subject.

In a nutshell, and Jimshaw's right, learn to use water, soap, local leaves/grasses, and you'll be on par with most of the world. If your hike is long enough, you'll eventually run out of TP, so why not learn to do without from the get-go. You'll save several ounces from you pack weight.
I do sometimes carry a 8" "washrag" cut from that yellow 'camp-towel' stuff from Walmart's camping section. It dries out quickly and is used just like your wash cloths at home. Lean what "lambs ear" is. Soft moss too. grin
I personally can't think of anything grosser to put in your pack than a weeks worth of used TP, baggie or not...ick. confused
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#115408 - 05/03/09 06:23 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Dryer]
Knaight Offline
member

Registered: 03/31/09
Posts: 50
Loc: Massachusetts
I don't know about the soft moss suggestion. I don't like the idea of ripping up something that takes a fair bit of time to grow just for the purpose of cleaning myself.

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#115413 - 05/03/09 07:25 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Knaight]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Quote:
I don't like the idea of ripping up something that takes a fair bit of time to grow just for the purpose of cleaning myself.

Depends on where you are. In a national park or protected area, no. But then you are digging through top soil that took many years to form, for your cat hole.
Around here, plants like lambs ear grow like weeds and pulling off a leaf or two isn't a problem. Use what you want, but don't kid yourself about TP being an 'environmental friendly' solution.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#115415 - 05/03/09 07:50 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Dryer]
Knaight Offline
member

Registered: 03/31/09
Posts: 50
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By Dryer
Quote:
I don't like the idea of ripping up something that takes a fair bit of time to grow just for the purpose of cleaning myself.

Depends on where you are. In a national park or protected area, no. But then you are digging through top soil that took many years to form, for your cat hole.
Around here, plants like lambs ear grow like weeds and pulling off a leaf or two isn't a problem. Use what you want, but don't kid yourself about TP being an 'environmental friendly' solution.


My issue is definitely not with a leaf or two. A couple of leaves missing from your average tree will go unnoticed. A clump of missing moss is a bit more obvious and takes a longer amount of time to grow back, that's all.


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#115435 - 05/04/09 12:47 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Jimshaw]
jasonklass Offline
member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 551
Loc: Denver, Colorado
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
Teej

Its true, most of the people who inhabit this planet do not know what a roll of toilet paper is eek. As a skier I can attest to the effectiveness of snow, ;)but then its a form of water, so without toilet paper you will want water and soap, grin biodegradable soap. goodjob Otherwise you might wanna invest in "scent lock" hunting clothes that keep your human scent in. sick sick

Cowboys had 2 bandannas, a red and a blue. One they wore around their neck, the other was for washing his rear end. goodjob

Enjoy your trip. A bandanna is sustainable and soft. Heck take 2, they're light. smile
Jim YMMV


Jim, your use of emoticons is out of control!!! Maybe a side effect of using too much snow? laugh
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#115441 - 05/04/09 05:49 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Teej]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Maybe someone needs to come up with an attachment for a water bottle or bladder to "hose" yourself off with. Something that detachs so it can be put away or even a light, separate bladder with a simple way to pressurize it so you can hit the right spot. Could even be hung around your neck to use elevation to create some pressure, but a longer hose then what comes with a bladder may be needed. Don't have time to grab mine to check its length.

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#115449 - 05/04/09 08:15 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: hikerduane]
mmendell Offline
member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 76
Loc: Western Iowa
I use a dedicated .5L platy with a spout. It works just fine by either "shooting" water where it needs to go or pouring it down my arm. Add a drop of Bronner's, and I'm all set.

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#115456 - 05/04/09 09:22 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: jasonklass]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Jim, goodjob thanks 2 bandanas wink probably a long forgotten practice thanks sounds like it's much better than a corn cob. eek My next trip out I'm using bandanas thanks grin wink laugh laugh laugh
_________________________
Enjoy your next trip...

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#115461 - 05/04/09 10:14 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: mmendell]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
The backpacker's bidet? Now I've seen everything.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#115467 - 05/04/09 12:56 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: mmendell]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Do you use purified or unpurified water with that bidet?

Yeah, that sounds like smart-aleck question, but it's really intended to be serious. Since you're introducing water near the opening to the intestines, would unpurified water offer an increased risk of introducing potential intestinal bugs/infections/parasites? I don't know nearly enough about physiology and biology to know if this is a risk or not.

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#115469 - 05/04/09 01:10 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Glenn]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Quote:
Since you're introducing water near the opening to the intestines,


Ever go swimming in a lake/stream/river/ocean? Same difference and TP is anything but sterile. It's abrasiveness can cause raw skin, and now you are into the blood stream! smirk
"Death caused by overuse of toilet paper" is what your death certificate will read. grin
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#115473 - 05/04/09 02:04 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Dryer]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Good points, Paul - I should have thought of the obvious. blush

The only difference I can think of is that, when swimming in that lake or stream, the opening is, well, closed; when cleaning, maybe not so much, er, closed? (And I do remember a time, in the early 70's, when the Gulf was so polluted at Biloxi, Mississippi, that the Air Force allowed us on the beach, but made the water off limits. (Of course, that's not your typical wilderness lake, either.)

Awkward phrasing, I'll admit; and, again, I'm not informed enough to know how this physical process works.

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#115476 - 05/04/09 02:26 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Glenn]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Take 20 prunes and call me in the morning.:)

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#115477 - 05/04/09 02:34 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: hikerduane]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Duane: I love prunes as much as the next guy - but what you're suggesting would REALLY open things up! grin

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#115493 - 05/04/09 07:37 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Teej]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
I taught with NOLS from 2001-2003.

When a NOLS course goes out, usually with about 15 hikers, 12 students and 3 instructors, they take one roll of TP with them for emergencies only.

The rest of the time, you make due with natural TP. My first choice if it is available: SNOW. Cleans as it invigorates. Very effective.

Second: western pine cones. They are thoroughly different from those I grew up with in the east. No sharp edges and they are basically brushes that work quite well. I've actually known students to fill a plastic bag with the softest, "downiest" pinecones they can find at each campsite so they have a ready supply of natural TP.

In Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Oregon, and Washington, I was always able to find decent wiping material. It just takes a bit of practice.

Back east, it's tougher. Rear-ripping pine cones and crumbling leaves laugh Bad s*** in more ways than one...
_________________________
http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#115516 - 05/05/09 08:33 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Glenn]
mmendell Offline
member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 76
Loc: Western Iowa
I use filtered water in my backcountry "bidet," but only because I use a gravity filter and it's the easiest way to fill it.

I managed to convince my 2 girls, 12 and 15, to go paperless on a 5 day hike in Canyonland a couple of weeks ago. The 12-year-old did very well, and the 15-year-old just didn't go for 5 days. She hit the potty at the trailhead when we finished and was just fine!

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#115519 - 05/05/09 10:12 AM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: mmendell]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
I try to pack out as much TP as I can on hikes. I have a system I have developed over the years for garbage. Pretty it isn't, it works though.

I don't like going TP-less. So I am willing to carry it both ways.
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#115532 - 05/05/09 02:28 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Glenn]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
A family survived by giving each other a enema of untreated water, as that is all they had. I guess the lower intestine isn't vulnerable at that point. Does anyone else remember that story?

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#115549 - 05/05/09 06:16 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: hikerduane]
hoz Offline
member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 138
Loc: midwest
That was sea water enemas. Their ship had sunk and they were confined to a rubber life raft.
_________________________
We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking. Finis Mitchell

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#115554 - 05/05/09 08:38 PM Re: serious question: Toilet paper! [Re: Teej]
Ecrow Offline
member

Registered: 02/02/08
Posts: 85
Loc: N. New Mexico
If you use mullein leaves, you won't mind so much. Mullein is a plant with a very tall woody stalk and buds on the top part. The leaves toward the ground are thick and like velvet. Mullein grows like a weed out west and is easy to spot because it is usually about 5 ft. tall. Some people like mullein tea as a medicine, it tastes better than chamomile. Chiggers like the moss, by the way.
_________________________
Ecrow
Live to tell.

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