Re: sanitation on the trail
- I was trying to resist the annual toilet paper discussion but what the heck. My thoughts after a few trail miles and trial/error experiences.
1. I use 1/4 sheets of blue shop towels. I find one per dump works by the wipe fold, wipe fold method so it's easy to figure how many to take. Initial wiping with whatever is handy may help. Make sure if you use a pine cone that it's facing the right direction. You may find that on the trail your pooping more efficiently than at home. Something about the food we eat out there and the way we squat. I personally think toilet seats are poorly designed and not conducive to efficient pooping. After you've had some experience pooping in the woods you may agree. If you really want to lessen your impact consider not bringing any toilet paper. There's a book written on the subject.
The Whitney Zone wag bags have been talked about. I'd like to know where others put them before making it to Whitney Portal. The bottom was chewed out of my full wag by something at Guitar Lake one year and cleaning up that mess wasn't pleasant.
2. A bandana bath works for me. I'll soak my feet in water every night and rinse off the grime on my legs. No soap, sanitizers, wipes necessary. I rarely use bug spray and sun screen is minimal. Others may think I'm polluting the water-I don't, at least no more than we all do fording a creek. I'm getting to old to withstand the thermal shock of jumping in for a full swim/rinse. Warm Lake across the river from MTR is an exception (and of course the hot springs in the meadow there.
3. I carry on pair of pants (zip off), one pair of underwear, one extra pair of socks. One long sleeve and one short sleeve smartwool top. I do wash/rinse out my undies, tops and socks. When I "wash" clothes it's in a 2 gallon zip lock I use to store my shelter, with a few drops of Bonner's soap. It involves swishing everything in the bag and emptying it out 100 feet from the water source, back to the water source to refill, rinse and dump 100 feet away again. You get the picture. Remember you have a couple of opportunities along the trail to do an real wash (body and clothes) by using the facilities at Red's Meadow and VVR. Both have washer/dryers and hot showers available.
By the end of your trip you'll have worked out your own system and next year when the subject comes up you be on the answer side of the discussion.
--- In email@example.com, "eric" <samhandwich22@...> wrote:
> 5 days is the longest i have ever been on the trail and therefore have not had to ponder certain equipment needs and methods on staying clean. Would love some input on experienced long distance hikers on the following issues
> 1) How much toilet paper do you males typically pack and how do you pack it (taking its bulk into consideration)? I understand that we will have to pack out our poo on approach to mt. whitney, any suggested techniques on doing this? I was taught to bring plastic bags with cat litter in them but 2 or 3 of those sure seems like it would weigh alot.
> 2) I have been constantly debating the environmental implications of bathing while on the trail. I wonder if there is an appropriate technique for this or if I best just stick to use of hand sanitizer and the occasional use of baby wipes.
> 3) How many pairs of clothing to bring? Is there any merit in bringing two pairs of pants and shirts and river washing the soiled one pair when needed? Or do most long distance hikers just bring one pair of clothing with them and wear it the whole way regardless of how filthy it gets? Obviously I am trying to avoid bearing the extra weight. I plan on bringing a few pairs of underwear and a few pairs of socks.