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#84234 - 12/04/07 04:55 PM Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos
2brnot2b Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/07
Posts: 22
OK, let me preface this by saying I am a backpacker of little experience... a dayhiker for only a couple of seasons looking forward to expanding into multi-day hikes in the spring / summer. I am reading a bunch of hiking books and trying to plan intelligently, and there are a few issues such books deal with only briefly that concern me. Some topics, I guess, are almost taboo-- #2 below for example. Yes, the numbering is significant.

1. How hard is it to sleep on the trail? Obviously this is different for everyone, but does the cold or wet or noise keep a lot of people from sleeping well? Does anyone use earplugs at night? Obviously this would present a SAFETY issue... one might want to HEAR what is going on around you at night, BUT a few nights of poor sleep leading to exhaustion ALSO present a safety issue! What is your experience?

2. After eliminating bodily wastes, how do you get clean? I mean, if one is not showering daily, things could get really UNCOMFORTABLE down there... dare I use the word "itchy." Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about; toilet paper does not get one as clean as soap and water if you know what I mean. And your hands... what is the best way to really clean them after the business end is done?

3. What happens when your gear gets wet? Say one is on a longer hike, walking for a couple of days in heavy rain, setting up camp, packing up, unfortunate little leaks in the tent or bag... I can imagine everything getting pretty much SOAKED. What do you do besides start to lose your mind or walk off the trail?

4. I met a throughhiker on the AT (in MA - Beartown State Park area) in August while I was on a dayhike. He was clean shaven! I know beards aren't mandatory, but I wondered if he shaved regularly and if so, what water he used. I didnt think to ask him... we chatted about the usual things.

5. Do you "bathe" in streams, ponds, or lakes? Obviously, traditional soap is frowned upon because of its environmental aspect. What do you use? Do you worry about being interrupted while trying to get clean?

I hope this doesn't all sound like trolling-- they are meant as serious questions, except maybe #4. I am sure the first three are concerns shared by others people when they are just starting out.

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#84235 - 12/04/07 05:28 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

1. How hard is it to sleep on the trail? Obviously this is different for everyone, but does the cold or wet or noise keep a lot of people from sleeping well? Does anyone use earplugs at night? Obviously this would present a SAFETY issue... one might want to HEAR what is going on around you at night, BUT a few nights of poor sleep leading to exhaustion ALSO present a safety issue! What is your experience?


For me, easy in a hammock. Although I'm not too bad on an insulated BA mat either. I'm not cold
if I'm prepared. I usually sleep better on the trail than at home.

I don't tend to take earplugs, bug have friends who do - if you're bothered by others noise you
may want them for in a campsite.

Quote:

2. After eliminating bodily wastes, how do you get clean? I mean, if one is not showering daily, things could get really UNCOMFORTABLE down there... dare I use the word "itchy." Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about; toilet paper does not get one as clean as soap and water if you know what I mean. And your hands... what is the best way to really clean them after the business end is done?


For me, I take a few baby wipes.

Take TP and wipes to privy - Go. wipe with tp. Take baby wipe, wash hands a bit if you want, then clean backside with baby wipe. deal with the TP and baby wipe appropriately. then once leaving
privy, a dab of alcohol gel (if carried) or a little touch of alcohol stove fuel.

Quote:

3. What happens when your gear gets wet? Say one is on a longer hike, walking for a couple of days in heavy rain, setting up camp, packing up, unfortunate little leaks in the tent or bag... I can imagine everything getting pretty much SOAKED. What do you do besides start to lose your mind or walk off the trail?


If stuff gets wet, I get wet. I don't melt <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Seriously, if you're getting your sleeping bag wet, you're not in practice. Sure, occasionally
you can get a little wet, and if so, you dry it out. probably not SOAKED.- The only time
I've gotten my sleeping bag wet was a full on spill in a river crossing where my whole pack
went in with me.. But yes, in such a situation you might have to walk off the trail if
you couldn't dry off.

As for wet clothing, I just wear it till it dries, or hang it up at night, or both..

Quote:

4. I met a throughhiker on the AT (in MA - Beartown State Park area) in August while I was on a dayhike. He was clean shaven! I know beards aren't mandatory, but I wondered if he shaved regularly and if so, what water he used. I didnt think to ask him... we chatted about the usual things.


Not hard to shave with minimal water, I don't.

Quote:

5. Do you "bathe" in streams, ponds, or lakes? Obviously, traditional soap is frowned upon because of its environmental aspect. What do you use? Do you worry about being interrupted while trying to get clean?


Sometimes. depending on the location and the water. I usually don't use any sort of soap, You'd
be surprised how pleasantly clean you can scrub out a pair of polypro underwear and socks off
on a rock and scrub yourself down with them. If I'm truly filthy I may pre-wash my underwear
and myself in my pot with a little campsuds and discard the water appropriately.

More often than "taking a bath" in lakes and ponds, I just do a little "underwear and sock" laundry
in my pot, and scrub myself down at the same time.

No, I don't worry about being interrupted, but others might not like the scenery if they do <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#84236 - 12/04/07 05:39 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: Portland, OR
I seem to have given away my copy of the classic book on this subject, titled (without the expurgation): How To Sh*t In the Woods. I cannot recall the author - which is why I went to my bookshelf looking in the first place. In any event, this book covers just about all aspects of the subject. try to locate a copy. It was published by Ten Speed Press.

The only real difficulty with a full and frank discussion of the subject on this board is not the embarassment of breaking of social taboos, but the fact that the software is set to automatically nag any poster who uses a taboo word. This requires a fair amount of ingenuity, or childishness, to circumvent - and tends to derail such discusssions into silliness. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

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#84237 - 12/04/07 06:28 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
Wolfeye Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 413
Loc: Seattle, WA
1. I sometimes hear about how poorly people have slept. Personally, a comfortable sleeping pad is the best thing to help get a good night's rest. Some people can take power naps anywhere, while others sleep hard because of all the hiking they've done.

2. I advise the use of baby wipes, in travel-size packs, every few days at least. I even use 'em on feet & armpits, etc. They're also good to have if you can't find any good water source for face & hand washing at the end of the day.

3. Having grown up in a temperate rain forest, I can say that things do in fact get wet... you basically pack things in ziplocks & stuffsacks and make do. It's really not so bad so long as you stay warm.

4. Some people think that optional things like shaving & using deoderant are important, but I figure that most people expect to "let go" when they go hiking for a while, at least in my group of friends. To each their own.

5. I've bathed a few times in the wild, just using a travel cloth & water. I've never worried about passers-by since I usually stick to the backcountry.

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#84238 - 12/04/07 07:21 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
[quote]
1. How hard is it to sleep on the trail? I get my BEST sleep in the backcountry.

2. After eliminating bodily wastes, how do you get clean? I wipe. If necessary, I wash with some water if I start to itch. Mostly, I hike and sweat till every thing is pretty much washed away.

3. What happens when your gear gets wet? Prep your pack with a trash compactor bag liner. Protect your gear. And learn to live with "comfortably damp".

4. I met a throughhiker on the AT (in MA - Beartown State Park area) in August while I was on a dayhike. He was clean shaven! I thru-hiked in '99. Trust me, he shaved during a town stop. NOBODY shaves in the backcountry unless you're forced to like I was in the Marine Corps. Be a mammal. Grow some hair.

5. Do you "bathe" in streams, ponds, or lakes? I 'swim". No soap. Not really needed. Just rinse off the sweat.
_________________________
http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#84239 - 12/05/07 06:38 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I answered in the quotes.

Quote:

1. How hard is it to sleep on the trail? Obviously this is different for everyone, but does the cold or wet or noise keep a lot of people from sleeping well?

I only camp where there are minimal people, and therefore, less noise. I prep for the cold and wet thing, and can almost eliminate it.

2. After eliminating bodily wastes, how do you get clean?

Baby wipes, petroleum jelly, alchohol jell for hands.

3. What happens when your gear gets wet?

I am annul about keeping my sleeping bag dry. I usually pack it in a waterproof bag that you can push all the air out, then put it in another garbage bag. My clothes are also in a waterproof bag that pushes air out. Also, no cotton, so in the event of wetness, not all is lost. I prepare my gear so that I could immerse it in water.

4. I was forced to shave in the military when in the field. The reason is a better seal on your gas mask. You can do it with a little cup of water. I don't ever do it if I don't have to.

5. Do you "bathe" in streams, ponds, or lakes?

No. I swim in streams, ponds, lakes, and use babywipes and petroleum jelly afterwards.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#84240 - 12/05/07 07:51 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
dkramalc Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: California
1) I bring earplugs, also an eyeshade for those full-moon nights. I only use the earplugs if I'm having trouble falling asleep, but I don't worry about being "unsafe"; maybe if I camped in grizzly country I'd consider that, but elsewhere, no. I'm one of those who tends to be jolted into awakeness by a leaf blowing across the ground <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> , so earplugs are very helpful sometimes.

2) I use TP. I don't use baby wipes, seeing them as unecessary waste, but will sometimes use a squirt bottle, filled from a stream or lake just beforehand, and a drop of camp suds to get the hiney clean after the TP. But I can see how the wipes would be very convenient.

3) It luckily hasn't happened to me in any major way, but I imagine I'd either try to dry it out in camp with a fire or walk out if that would get me dry sooner than waiting out the rain and drying. Prevention is the best method - pack liner, packing sleeping bag in a separate garbage bag, etc.

4) Again, stream/lake water (carried away from the source in a pot) would likely be what he'd use. But seems like a lot of trouble!

5) I swim when possible. If it's too cold or not feasible to swim, I carry water in a pot a good distance away from the water source and wash up with bandana, camp suds, & squirt bottle. I may even wash my hair, which usually requires a couple of trips to the water source. I don't worry about being interrupted; I find a private place, and if somebody finds me, it's their tough luck! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Hope this helps. With time, you will work out what's the best approach for you! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
dk

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#84241 - 12/05/07 09:20 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
This is actually a good set of questions.

1. Depends on how comfortable you are and how paranoid you are. It took me a while to realize that I need an inflatable pad and a pillow to get a good nights sleep. If I try to do the UL thing and carry a 3/4" foam pad and use clothing for my pillow I don't get a good nights sleep. As for the paranoid thing, the woods are a different place to be in if you are used to living in a city. It took me several times to get used to the "noises of the night" before I could sleep comfortably through it.

2. Wet paper towel, and water with a squirt of hand sanitizer. When I go to take the Browns to the Superbowl (got that from Larry the Cableguy) I carry my toiletry bag (TP and paper towels), my trowel and a water bottle. Once the transaction is completed I wipe, and then use a paper towel or two wetted down with water from my water bottle to clean up. When I get back to camp I rinse my hands with water and use a squirt of hand sanitizer.

3. Good question. I usually don't stay out long enough to get that wet. If the weather sucks that bad I try to reschedule my trip. Typically though I have everything packed inside trash bags in my pack. The only thing that usually stays wet for multiple days of rain is my tent.

4. I just grow the beard.

5. I rinse off in water sources without soap just to get the sweat and other stuff off.

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#84242 - 12/05/07 10:40 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: finallyME]
frenchie Offline
member

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 461
Loc: Lyon, France
1: It's a personal thing...I may be more disturbed by silence than "weird" noise. But no earplugs. It takes some time to find the good set up of bag/pad/pillow, so I usually do not sleep very much the first night. Temperature is of course a very different matter, I try to be prepared.
I absolutly love to fall asleep listening to the wind or rain on the tent fly (not severe storm, though...)
2: Wet TP as much as possible.
3: Essential gear to be kept as much as possible. I've been fortunate enough never to have stuff soaked in my pack. Myself, yes. No fun. I had to stop quite a few times. Put up tent, get gear inside, strip, dry up a little bit, wriggle into sleeping bag or spare clothes, boil some water.
4: I'm a woman...
5: I try hard to wash every day. I have never camped in ultra dry places. My Platy usually becomes a half decent shower.

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#84243 - 12/05/07 11:21 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas


Quote:
OK, let me preface this by saying I am a backpacker of little experience... a dayhiker for only a couple of seasons looking forward to expanding into multi-day hikes in the spring / summer. I am reading a bunch of hiking books and trying to plan intelligently, and there are a few issues such books deal with only briefly that concern me. Some topics, I guess, are almost taboo-- #2 below for example. Yes, the numbering is significant.

1. How hard is it to sleep on the trail? Obviously this is different for everyone, but does the cold or wet or noise keep a lot of people from sleeping well? Does anyone use earplugs at night? Obviously this would present a SAFETY issue... one might want to HEAR what is going on around you at night, BUT a few nights of poor sleep leading to exhaustion ALSO present a safety issue! What is your experience?

I sleep better in the boonies than indoors! Temp extreams (i'm in Texas) can keep me awake. Sleeping in 100 deg. is not fun. Not really bothered by noise. Wind/Rain noise is music, and I like hearing critters crunch about in the dark, especially the armadillos we have around here.

2. After eliminating bodily wastes, how do you get clean? I mean, if one is not showering daily, things could get really UNCOMFORTABLE down there... dare I use the word "itchy." Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about; toilet paper does not get one as clean as soap and water if you know what I mean. And your hands... what is the best way to really clean them after the business end is done?

This subject comes up monthly. I personally use water, soap and local veg. for this, trying not to haul paper around. Your milage may differ.

3. What happens when your gear gets wet? Say one is on a longer hike, walking for a couple of days in heavy rain, setting up camp, packing up, unfortunate little leaks in the tent or bag... I can imagine everything getting pretty much SOAKED. What do you do besides start to lose your mind or walk off the trail?

If my gear gets wet, I screwed up. I try to make sure this is a remote posibility....and my gear has never gotten wet yet. Boots/shoes, yes, but that's easy to deal with.

4. I met a throughhiker on the AT (in MA - Beartown State Park area) in August while I was on a dayhike. He was clean shaven! I know beards aren't mandatory, but I wondered if he shaved regularly and if so, what water he used. I didnt think to ask him... we chatted about the usual things.

I let it grow. Two reasons.....1) i love the look on wife and kiddo's faces when I return 2) why bother?

5. Do you "bathe" in streams, ponds, or lakes? Obviously, traditional soap is frowned upon because of its environmental aspect. What do you use? Do you worry about being interrupted while trying to get clean?

Nope....but I've been known to jump in for a swim, whenever possible, legal, and safe. Haul your lake/stream water to a responsible place to actually bathe using soap. Make yourself a silnylon water bag. For 'soap' I use Dr. Bronners...about as low impact as you can get.

I hope this doesn't all sound like trolling-- they are meant as serious questions, except maybe #4. I am sure the first three are concerns shared by others people when they are just starting out.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#84244 - 12/06/07 10:54 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
I use earplugs to drown out the snoring from other campers, bears I hear just fine! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

Use baby wipes to clean your hands, then your botoom, then place in ziplock for trail's end disposal. Gets your hands sanitized and keeps your bum somewhat cleaner between bathings IME.

If you are careful you prevent your gear from getting wetted out in the first place. If it gets wetted out, stop for a day when it's sunny out and wring out everything that's wet. Next drap them over an impromptu clothesline or over small bushes and shrubs. The airflow under the items that are draped over bushes and shrubs is better than a clothes line IME. The items get greater surface exposure for air to pass and Sun to hit. Pack and hit the trail!

Note: if you are going to attempt to wash your wool socks while on the trail I advise you do this when off the trail in town at a laundry. You WILL need to dry them in a dryer or else they will be wet for days on the trail <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> I helped out a guy who had washed all his clothing on a trail one time; and had nothing but wet wool socks to hike in. I gave him a spare pair of dry ones from my pack and we met up in a town down the trail a few days later; where he graciuosly returned my socks <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

Folks bathe and shave how they please on longer trips. Water sources are the same you'll use for cooking and drinking so be sure to do your bathing away from them. I suspect it's the folks who do so regularly at home that tend to be cleaner on the trail. I shave before I hit trail towns so as not to be too scruffy to go into a nice place if I so choose.

Again, bathing in any water bodies is frowned upon by those coming up behind you for their drinking water <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Use a large contractor type garbage bag to 'shower' in. Fill with a few gallons of water in a sunny spot where you might like to camp for the night. In a few hours the water solar heats enough to step in in your b'day suit and wash up. I suspend the bag edges with clips from nearby bushes sometimes in order to have the bag up somewhat while my hands are free to wash. This also makes a decent washing machine on the trail IME <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

Lastly, you need to dress much warmer going to bed than you would at home for your first few nights out for comfort. You can always take off extra stuff, but you can't put on what you have'nt brought...now isn't this right Leadfoot <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#84245 - 12/06/07 04:50 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
2brnot2b Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/07
Posts: 22
Wow, I was worried these questions wouldn't be taken too seriously, but thankfully I have received only truly THOUGHTFUL replies and helpful advice. I have a plan now, and really appreciate everyone's comments.

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#84246 - 12/06/07 07:16 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Personal cleanliness is an important consideration in a group situation. If you go solo, you can be as much a slob as you wish.

I bathe everyday, after hiking, by simply jumping in a water body, regardless how cold. I do this immediately after hiking. If I wait even 10 minutes I loose the motivation. This dipping gets the salty sweat off your body.

I wash my hair and do a soap bath once a week. This requires taking collapsable water bottles up away from the stream and sudsing and rinsing.

I use earplugs. As for hearing - I am convinced that there is little I can do if a bear comes anyway. Let him kiss me. I do not care. My S.O. snores so I wear earplugs sleeping ALL the time at home.

It takes a few days to get used to sleeping outdoors. If you are on a long trip, you will adjust just fine. I also found that if I sleep on a hard mattress at home I adjust outdoors better. When I slept on a warm soft waterbed, I had more trouble sleeping outdoors.

I like feeling clean and find that no matter how unpleasant the bath seems I ALWAYS feel better afterwards.

But then, I am a girl! We are a little more cleanliness oriented.

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#84247 - 12/06/07 07:29 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: wandering_daisy]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Personal cleanliness is an important consideration in a group situation. If you go solo, you can be as much a slob as you wish.
.....
But then, I am a girl! We are a little more cleanliness oriented.


Dunno about that - I solo a lot and while I'd say sure, I *can* be a complete slob, it's uncomfortable and makes me rashy and itchy.. While I'm not a about to shave or worry about styling my hair, keeping private parts and pits washed off keeps the worst of the funk off, and keeps me from becoming miserable.

As for the second bit and jumping into water - yeah, you're a girl, and you're in California. I'm not, and 'm in Canada - So while I'll occasionally jump into water most places even in summer have water temperature that'll make my cojones hide somwhere in my inner ear within seconds of hitting the water, and it might not be all that warm when I climb out. So, I've mastered the art of the campsuds bath in a 3 cup AGG pot with a liner sock as a washcloth - warming it up only takes a half ounce of alcohol, and the liner sock dries out real quick.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#84248 - 12/06/07 08:12 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: phat]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
Assumptions, assumptions! I perfected my dipping in Wyoming. Several times I have chopped off ice and jumped in. This summer I contiuned my dipping tradition-36 days in the Wind River Mountains - every day except two it rained!

But, I do admit, Sierra water is a bit warmer. You can actually swim in some lakes.

Actually, I am envious- I have climbed a bit in the Selkirks. I love Canada. I just cannot convince anyone from down here to go up there. My biggest feak-out about Canada is the grizzly bears. I would love to do the Rogers Pass traverse south to the Battle Range. The Adamants also are on my wish list. I have all the guidebooks and drool over them regularly.

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#84249 - 12/06/07 09:42 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: Earthling]
billk Offline
member

Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 1196
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Quote:
Note: if you are going to attempt to wash your wool socks while on the trail I advise you do this when off the trail in town at a laundry. You WILL need to dry them in a dryer or else they will be wet for days on the trail <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> I helped out a guy who had washed all his clothing on a trail one time; and had nothing but wet wool socks to hike in. I gave him a spare pair of dry ones from my pack and we met up in a town down the trail a few days later; where he graciuosly returned my socks <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


That may be true in rainy or extremely humid weather, but I've often washed wool socks, including thick "rag" wool. As long as the weather's nice, they dry quickly hanging on a line, bush, or tied on the pack. Must be a regional thing <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Quote:
Again, bathing in any water bodies is frowned upon by those coming up behind you for their drinking water <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Use a large contractor type garbage bag to 'shower' in. Fill with a few gallons of water in a sunny spot where you might like to camp for the night. In a few hours the water solar heats enough to step in in your b'day suit and wash up. I suspend the bag edges with clips from nearby bushes sometimes in order to have the bag up somewhat while my hands are free to wash. This also makes a decent washing machine on the trail IME <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />


That's a pretty good idea. What kind of clips to you suspend it with?

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#84250 - 12/07/07 06:56 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: billk]
bulrush Offline
member

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 132
Loc: Michigan
Re: getting wet
First, try not to get wet. Cover your pack in a garbage bag, cut slits for the straps if necessary. Inside the pack put your clothese in ziplock freezer bags or "space bags". The space bags are thick plastic and have a one-way valve to squeeze air out. They work great for compressing stuff, it still weighs the same though. They also sell waterproof bags for rafting, but those are expensive ($30-50 each).

Re: bathing
I have used sand to scrub my skin before. I put it in my hair also when I forgot my shampoo at camp once, and scrubbed and rinsed well. Basically you just need an abrasive to remove dead skin cells and oils. Sand worked surprisingly well.

The indians put mud caked onto their hair, let it dry and sit for a day or 2, then broke the mud shell off and touseled their hair (no water needed). The mud absorbs oils and dead skin cells stick to it. Yes, the mud might be stinky when wet, but after you remove it it should not be much of a problem. This is probably where "facial mud packs" came from.

Re: human waste
The boy scout book says dig a hole 8 inches deep, put waste and TP in there, and cover, then push a stick in the soil to mark the spot so no one else digs there. From experience, animals will dig 8 inches easily, so I suggest using a 12-14 inch deep hole.

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#84251 - 12/07/07 09:09 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: bulrush]
Xelif Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 241
Loc: Bay Area, California, USA
I'm definitely not trying to start a debate here, but usual practice (I'd understood at least) is a 6 inch hole for waste. I'd say a 12 inch hole would drop you down below the soil line in most areas, making it that much harder for decomposition. I've seen most people use 6, and a few recommend 12". I think a true 12" hole would be a royal pain to dig without dynamite, in most of the 'soil' I hike on.
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#84252 - 12/07/07 10:26 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: Xelif]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
True, 12-14 inches in tghe great majority puts you in mineral soil, where it is counterproductive to put it. Organic soil is the preferred medium, where the feces contributes to the growth cycle in the area. In the great majority of the places I hike, a 6-inch hole takes effort due to all the rocks.
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#84253 - 12/07/07 12:14 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: Bearpaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
What....you are suppose to dig a hole. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#84254 - 12/07/07 12:17 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
gmagnes Offline
Moderator

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 562
Loc: Upstate New York
1. How hard is it to sleep on the trail? Obviously this is different for everyone, but does the cold or wet or noise keep a lot of people from sleeping well? Does anyone use earplugs at night? Obviously this would present a SAFETY issue... one might want to HEAR what is going on around you at night, BUT a few nights of poor sleep leading to exhaustion ALSO present a safety issue! What is your experience?

Don't use ear plugs. Biggest issue for me has been experimenting over the years to find a comfortable setup. At this point, I am pretty comfortable and sleep almost as well as in my own bed at home--small pillow with clothes bag or something else under it to raise level to simulate two pillows I use at home, Big Agnes insulated air core air mattress, good bag (montbell super stretch is my bag of choice lately) and make sure tent or shelter is keeping you dry and sheltered from the mosquitoes and noseeum's.

2. After eliminating bodily wastes, how do you get clean? I mean, if one is not showering daily, things could get really UNCOMFORTABLE down there... dare I use the word "itchy." Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about; toilet paper does not get one as clean as soap and water if you know what I mean. And your hands... what is the best way to really clean them after the business end is done?

I do one thing that most others didn't seem to mention. I bring toilet paper and also a small tube of moisturizing lotion. A dab on the tp once I'm almost finished enables me to get further down and therefore more clean and also leaves a comfortable residue of the lotion. I also clean my hands with sanitizing lotion at the end of the process.

3. What happens when your gear gets wet? Say one is on a longer hike, walking for a couple of days in heavy rain, setting up camp, packing up, unfortunate little leaks in the tent or bag... I can imagine everything getting pretty much SOAKED. What do you do besides start to lose your mind or walk off the trail?
Not necessarily ultra lite, but I generally keep one change of pants, underwear and socks that I try to keep dry and switch to in camp or at night if I'm really wet and cold. In addition, as most here would be, I'm wearing synthetics that dry pretty quickly from the heat of your body if you're not out in the rain, so once I'm in camp, my pants, t shirt etc will dry over a couple of hours, depending on the air temp. Occasionally on long paddling trips, we've taken a layover day to dry out and dry clothes next to the fire or hung out in the sun if the weather cooperates.

4. I met a throughhiker on the AT (in MA - Beartown State Park area) in August while I was on a dayhike. He was clean shaven! I know beards aren't mandatory, but I wondered if he shaved regularly and if so, what water he used. I didnt think to ask him... we chatted about the usual things.

I normally wear a beard and don't bother to shave the small areas that I do trim when at home.

5. Do you "bathe" in streams, ponds, or lakes? Obviously, traditional soap is frowned upon because of its environmental aspect. What do you use? Do you worry about being interrupted while trying to get clean?

If weather is warm enough, then I like to swim. If too cold, then a hand bath with a wet bandanna can work. If feet have gotten very dirty and/or sweaty, then I'll rinse them in whatever body of water is nearby, dry them off in the sun or with a small camp towel, and then put shoes and socks back on. I generally only use soap on my hands when they get dirty and wash and rinse away from any body of water. I tend to use mainly water to clean the rest of me, and generally feel I can get pretty clean and comfortable.
May switch from dirty/wet pair of socks to clean, dry pair while in camp and will also wash one pair of socks on a long trip just by rinsing in water and squeezing out and drying. Will also sometimes try to dry socks and underpants inside my sleeping bag at night.

Gerry Magnes
Schenectady, NY

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#84255 - 12/07/07 12:20 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Be pretty clear about your body functions. One time I told a group I was going around the other side of the hill to check the view. I was about to have a bowel movement when two of my group came around the hill to "see the view" also.

Tell people what you are doing if you do not want company.


Edited by food (12/07/07 12:21 PM)

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#84256 - 12/07/07 01:46 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: phat]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“…then once leaving privy, a dab of alcohol gel (if carried) or a little touch of alcohol stove fuel.”

I don’t know about alcohol stove fuel. Methanol is pretty harsh on the body.

-Barry

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#84257 - 12/07/07 01:57 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: BarryP]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Reminds me of an experience my squad leader had in our first week in Iraq. Him, and three other trucks were driving around in the desert. At a fuel stop, he accidentally splashed JP-8 all over him, drenching his uniform. When they got on the road, the clothes started to burn, so he stripped down to nothing inside the truck while driving. I guess some fuel got on his seat, because his very sensitive areas (yes, THOSE very sensitive areas) started to burn a lot. He kept asking his co-driver for some lotion or something to put on his skin. His co-driver repeatedly told him that he had nothing. Finally, he conceded and squirted something in the drivers hand, which he applied, and screamed VERY loadly. The co-driver had squirted hand sanitizer into the drivers hand. Man, that must have hurt. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#84258 - 12/07/07 03:21 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: billk]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
That's a pretty good idea. What kind of clips to you suspend it with?

I use 3-4 of the cheapest clips you can buy like the Coghlans 'clothes clips' that come in 8 packs. they're plastic coated wire and can open to close around a 1" branch with the bag <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

Old timey wooden stick clothespins would work too in lighter brush I suspect, though those pins are hard to find <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
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PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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