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#84259 - 12/07/07 05:14 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
Serac Offline
member

Registered: 09/04/02
Posts: 101
Loc: Washington State
Excellent questions! Funny how you just take things for granted after doing them for so long.

1) Sleeping can be tough, especially the first couple of nights. Usually, by the third night I am sleeping fine. I find that I sleep best by washing up prior to bed (just a sponge bath) and wearing clean clothes. Have not used ear plugs, but I do carry them just in case. A good pillow and pad make all the difference when you are on the ground. I have been trying hammock camping, and must say that that is by far the best sleeping I have done in the backcountry. Slept like a log first night out.

2) I have found that TP never gets me clean enough. I now use a portable bidet that is really just an old campsuds bottle. It holds just enough water to allow me to rinse and use my left hand to scrub things out (bit of a yuck factor the first few times, but you get over it). Then I wash up with more water and antiseptic soap afterwards. I also pay lots of attention to keeping things clean back there during my sponge baths.

3) I, like others, line my pack with garbage bags which has never failed me keeping stuff in there dry. I also use an umbrella which looks goofy to some, but works amazingly better than a parka or even poncho. For rainy, windy days I use Frogg Toggs, which to my experience are just the best light raingear you can have. I have even had wet clothes dry out under them while I hike. If you stick with mostly synthetics during the day while hiking in the wet and protect your down bag in plastic for nights, it's not bad.

4) I don't shave on the trail. Do that at home or town days.

5) Swim, you bet! But no baths in the water. I take the cut off bottom third of a gallon milk jug and use it for a wash basin for nightly sponge baths, or as a bucket for washing and rinse offs well away from the water source. I use bottomless shelters pretty exclusively now (Megamid, Silshelter or just a tarp) so I can setup a "bath house" by just removing my ground sheet and doing my cleaning in there if need be. On a warm day the ground will dry quickly or just throw your ground sheet back down.
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#84260 - 12/08/07 09:25 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: BarryP]
phat Offline
Moderator

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


I doubt it's too bad in small doses for skin contact. I wouldn't take a bath in it or drink it.

OTOH about half the time I'm fuelling my stove on everclear so it's "dual use" It's also pretty harsh on
the body, but dribbling a bit on hands isn't the issue <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#84261 - 12/08/07 10:08 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: finallyME]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
oowwww................. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
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#84262 - 12/08/07 12:49 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
mockturtle Offline
member

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 251
Loc: WA
Wow! Looks like everybody's weighing in on this one!
1. I do camp in grizzly country and the first night out I almost always have trouble sleeping. Combination of nerves and excitement. After that, I sleep very well.
2. Unscented baby wipes.
3. I don't usually let things get wet. My kayak camping experience has taught me how to keep things dry. I keep my clothes in a dry bag, sleeping bag in two layers--nylon and heavy-duty compacter trash bag. Camping over on the other side of our state [the wet side], if something gets wet it will never dry out. At least, not without a fire. And because it's seldom very warm--even in summer--hypothermia is a big danger. So--keep things dry!
4. As a woman, I don't shave my face <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> and don't feel compelled to shave my legs and underarms on a hiking trip. And if I were of the male gender, I definitely wouldn't shave unless I had some kind of skin condition that required it. Beards are cool!
5. Only if it's warm [the air, not the water]. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#84263 - 01/02/08 07:23 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
Spock Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
Quote:
1. How hard is it to sleep on the trail?

You are right about the ear plugs; they reduce your awareness. Get used to the woods noises; learn what is dangerous and what is not; listen to the screech owls and other critters; enjoy it. And learn that the stealthy thing creeping slowly toward you is really just beetles going about their business in the leaves. You may have a few creepy nights until you learn that the sounds that are natural for the area are not a butcher knife wielding psycho or a hungry panther. Learning to sleep securely after taking a sound inventory is just part of camping in the wild.

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

Wash. A Platypus cap with 4 holes melted in the top with a hot needle makes a dandy backwoods bidet. In any case, soap and water beats toilet paper and solves the problem completely. While you are at it, spot bathing works for feet, hands and faces as well. Spot baths are sometimes referred to, indelicately, as whore's baths.

Quote:
3. What happens when your gear gets wet?

You die... No, really, First, don't let it get wet. Bag your sleeping bag and a change of clothing kept sacrosanct for wearing in camp, sleeping and, otherwise, only for dire emergencies. It is easier to keep gear dry than you might imagine. A simple plastic bag inside a stuff sack is usually good for full emersion.

Quote:
4. Shaving?

Disposable razors, Dr. Bonners and a little water are relatively light if you insist on being clean shaven instead of looking like a rugged backpacker. Wimp.

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

Swim - don't bathe with soap in any body of water; it kills important things. Keep soap at least 200 feet from any body of water. Skinny dipping is up to you. Some don't worry about it; others fret. Hike your own hike.

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#84264 - 01/02/08 08:35 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
MattnID Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 317
Loc: Idaho
1) I don't find it very hard to get to sleep when backpacking. I usually get to sleep faster but wake up more often while out there. I never really don't get enough sleep, my body goes into outdoors mode and I always seem to be able to feel more awake with less sleep as well as feel less hungry. I'm sure if the noises bother you (which I don't really know how much more noisier it is in the middle of nowhere compared to back home) you could wear ear plugs. It just depends on how comfortable you are having decreased hearing.


2) On this issue, I usually go out and buy some scentless, bio-degradable wet wipes. That alone is usually good enough to get the job done and eliminate any potential problems a few days in. You don't have to use them everytime you happen to go, but they'll get the job done. The ones I buy usually double as body wipes too if any other areas seem to be uncomfortable from being dirty for whatever reason.

3) I've never had the problem of the inside of my tent being overly wet or my bag either. Whe it comes to the sleeping bag, my own suggestion would be to wear more clothing if it makes you cold at night and/or hope your body heat can dry it up. I really don't have any experience with that. As for clothes, socks and stuff like that. I usually dry anything that got wet from rain or river crossings at night in my sleeping bag by putting them next to my body.

4) I would assume he used whatever water he happen to come across or have before/after he refilled. Or, I've done this before myself, he may have dry shaved. Not always comfortable, but it'll get the job done if need be. I usually just let me face go though, lol.

5) I don't usually bathe unless I'm just that dirty(covered in mud or something) or I've just been out that long. Like I said in #1, I usually just use body wipes. Rarely have I gone into a body of water for a swim and never have I used soap if in that water. The only places to really be concerned about cleaning in my opinion are the groin area, armpits, around my eyes, mouth and nose, feet and I usually bring hand sanitizer along for the hands. Pretty much anyplace that would rub and get irritated or any place where germs have easy access my inside, hehe.

Hope this helps.
_________________________
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle

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#84265 - 01/18/08 09:09 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: billk]
Kate Offline
member

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 45
Loc: On top of the North Downs, UK
Friends who camp regularly have these: http://www.outdoorgear.co.uk/eshop.asp?wci=product&wce=53902001&CameFrom=png
Even on a dull damp day in England they warmed up enough for a decent shower & hair wash for a medium sized lass with long hair. On the HOT day, they were warm enough in a hour.
_________________________
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Mad sewing witch!
http://www.katedicey.co.uk

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#84266 - 01/18/08 11:10 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: Kate]
layla17 Offline
member

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 22
I've been looking for the portable showers for a long time. I had one before, but it didn't heat up, so I was constantly taking cold showers. The solar power is a pretty cool feature.
_________________________
I'm currently trying a colon cleanser .

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#84267 - 01/18/08 11:27 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: 2brnot2b]
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
Sleeping - I sleep very well on the trail when I go solo. I have had bad nights in group settings where someone is a snorer or has serious body odor issues. Once I was shacked up in a tent with a guy who had too much to drink. I woke up when his pee started soaking into my sleeping bag. (What? A leak? Doesn't sound like rain...) I even had one experience where two of my friends decided to have a fling in the neighboring tent, complete with sound effects loud enough to quiet the crickets. And people ask me why I hike solo!

Is there some tongue-in-cheek reason that you made the topic of pooping #2? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Last year I went hiking with an Indian friend. The morning after our first night on the trail he excused himself from camp, grabbed a cup of water and wandered off. (Do you see where this is going?)

For half of the world's population, toilet paper is a western barbarism (can you say unclean?). They wash their bums when they go. It's just a matter of a few handfuls of water. No bidet required. This is why in India it is frowned upon to use your left hand to offer anything to another person or to eat with - the left is traditionally used for sanitary duties. I tried it on my last outing - it works and no, your hand doesn't stink when you're done and you don't get monkeybutt. A little soap and water afterward takes care of any sanitary concerns. My pack is now 2.5 ounces lighter because I don't carry TP or wipes. Extra bonus: I don't have to pack out TP. Now THAT's gross!

Wet Gear - As most have said, don't get it wet. If it does get wet, either bail on the trip or be prepared for a cold night next to a hot fire. Personal Story: On a canoing trip my canoe was holed by a submerged branch. As it sank we cut the lashings on our gear and started tossing it on the shore. Unfortunately, my sleeping bag rolled back down the bank into the river and began an epic journey that I don't have time or space to tell you about at the moment. Now we could have done the three-guys-huddled-under-two-sleeping-bags thing, but machismo won out. That night I made TWO fires and slept between them. I still didn't sleep well because the fires had to be stoked every couple of hours, but I made it through the night so we could paddle out the next day.

On Shaving - Some don't need water. There were guys in the Navy who would dry-shave on inspection days. I guess someone could also use a travel electric razor - they weigh about 2-3-oz without the batteries.

Bathing - Nope. I take showers if I must be clean. A solar shower is pretty darn light, and for a few ounces it doubles as an untreated water carrier/dispenser. I was doubtful the first time I used one, but it sure beats a cookpot bath. The only drawbacks are that you need a sunny day to get the water hot and a place to hang the bag.

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#84268 - 01/18/08 08:02 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: NiytOwl]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Or Nity you could fill the sunshower with the warm cook pot water as I do and have a nice warm shower on a cloudy day.....'least that's what we do on my planet <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#84269 - 01/19/08 01:10 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: Earthling]
NiytOwl Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/04
Posts: 501
Loc: California
Quote:
Or Nity you could fill the sunshower with the warm cook pot water as I do and have a nice warm shower on a cloudy day.....'least that's what we do on my planet


Well, I hope you'd fill it with warm liquid from your cook pot! Don't want to think of any other warm liquid you could fill it with <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

Maybe those who skinnydip for their baths could take a tip from the Romans. They didn't use soap - they used oil and wooden scrapers. I think a plastic scraper from Home Depot might do the trick.

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#84270 - 01/19/08 01:17 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: NiytOwl]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
[
Maybe those who skinnydip for their baths could take a tip from the Romans. They didn't use soap - they used oil and wooden scrapers. I think a plastic scraper from Home Depot might do the trick.


Carry a scraper for that? forget it - Anytime I do this it's either a handful of sphagnum moss, or just a liner sock. liner socks make great washcloths and dry out quick after.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
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#84271 - 01/20/08 08:58 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: phat]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
My 3 foster kittens have run off with at least one of each of my liner sock pairs <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif" alt="" /> So I have plenty of new washcloths now Phat <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#84272 - 01/20/08 10:05 AM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: Earthling]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
My 3 foster kittens have run off with at least one of each of my liner sock pairs <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif" alt="" /> So I have plenty of new washcloths now Phat <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


I dunno about using kittens for that purpose Earthling - not only are they murder on compression sacks, but the 5 sharp ends make them a suboptimal washcloth.

I'll stick with the socks <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
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#84273 - 01/21/08 04:26 PM Re: Bodily Functions / Discussion Taboos [Re: phat]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />No Phat, i meant using the sock leftovers not the actual kittens, though they are sooooooo soft <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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