Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

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maverick
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Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by maverick » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:54 pm

How many of you wash clothes in the backcountry? Do you take less clothing and wash every or every other day? What do you wash you clothes in, empty bear canister? What ecco/green detergent, if any, do you use? Do you take a rope to dry them on or use trees, how about clothespins?
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by rlown » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:01 pm

I take two shirts, two pairs of underwear, and two pairs of socks. I change them when I start to stink, which generally includes my dip into the lake to get clean. The dirty ones get washed in the lake without soap. The fleece uppers and lowers, and the my pants never get washed. They dry on a rock or on a tree. I have some parachute cord but isn't used for drying.

A gallon of water for a quick spritz before the ride home in the truck, and a fresh change of clothes for the inevitable meal on the way home.

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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by markskor » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:41 pm

Wash clothes in the backcountry? Blaspheme!
On a week-long trip, there is really no need to wash anything besides socks, as personally, I just don't stink. In regard to any soap used though...No soap in the wilderness - ever!

However, as the OldRanger's company usually doesn't include week-long trips - (usually 2-week invites are his norm)...if he invites me along, then will rinse out everything, maybe even a few times too, provided the sun is out on wash day. I use the time-honored "rinsing, beating the clothes on granite, rinsing, repeating if necessary" method.

Socks, (also carry 2 pair) - I do every other (third?) day and dry them overnight by hanging them over my trekking poles stuck upright/vertical in the ground (pole ends inside the socks - grips all the way to the sock toe). BTW, this strategy not only dries the socks quickly, it also protects the pole grips from gnawing night critters.
As for drying clothes (carry 2 long-sleeve shirts/ 1 fleece layer/ 2 underwear/ bandanna)...sometimes use a clothes line and other times convenient trees and/or rocks.
Amazingly, my Columbia shorts (which I live in) never seem to get soiled. :^o
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rlown
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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by rlown » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:47 pm

markskor wrote:Wash clothes in the backcountry? Blaspheme!
On a week-long trip, there is really no need to wash anything besides socks, as personally, I just don't stink.
I've seen you wash your clothes.

Mark, let me just say when you took your boots off after our last trip together, Paul and I had to gag for about an hour. Water down and bring a change of clothes please!

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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by markskor » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:50 pm

Never said my boots didn't reek... and bite me!
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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by maverick » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:53 pm

Mark, let me just say when you took your boots off after our last trip together, Paul and I had to gag for about an hour. Water down and bring a change of clothes please!
:lol:
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by Dave_Ayers » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:31 pm

I'm a sweaty person so I usually also bring 2 sets of hiking clothes (lined shorts, socks, sleeveless shirt, 9-10 oz for the extra set) for trips more than 3 days. I wash one set each day (weather permitting) and leap frog them. No soap, just water and elbow grease. I take 4 lightweight clothes pins and clip wet items on my tent poles to dry. Usually they are dry by nightfall. I also shower every other day using a MYOG sun shower (1.8 oz). I supplement this with selective minimal application of Neosporin to stinky spots every 4-5 days. The combination keeps the backpacker stench at bay and keeps clothes acceptable for at least 10 days. For the occasional longer trip I sometimes put spare clothes in the resupply box and wash overpants, overshirts, and sleeping items about once per week.

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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by oldranger » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:52 pm

Underwear, shorts, socks and the longsleve shirt I wear when hiking get regular rinses. Last september, when it was really cold my long hiking pants never got rinsed. In the summer I will often jump in a lake fully clothed in midday or at least before 3 pm. Pants and long sleeve shirt will be dry by the time I need to wear them. Oh yeah nothing smells worse than mark's feet after a day of hiking, unless it is after multiple days of hiking!
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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by Tom_H » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:56 pm

We always took a Reliance water carrier and went at least 100' from any stream or lake/pond/tarn/puddle (looking @ u Mav :D ) and used a little biodegradable soap in a #10 sized billy can (one of those commercial sized steel vegetable cans-which is also what we cooked in). Wash, rinse, spread out on manzanita or hang on one of the lines of a pitched rain fly. When you haul heavy loads wearing 2 pair of expedition weight wool socks, those things get pretty ripe. Boxers, socks, and T-shirts got washed every time we set up a base camp and taught classes in climbing, etc. That gave them a day and 2 nights to fully dry out.

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Re: Washing Clothes In The Backcountry

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:11 pm

I really like to stay clean. I wash myself daily regardless of weather, and my clothes daily if weather permits drying. Take 3 pr socks, wash one pair every day, rotating each pair. Always keep one dry pair for night. Wash underware every day, no extras, just go without until they dry. Wash hiking shirt every day, unless I get into camp later than 5PM. Seldom need to wash hiking pants, because I wear knee-high gaiters which get the burnt of the dirt. Those I wash when needed. I do not wash insulating layers on the trip, unless it is an unusually long trip (2 weeks or more). Wash kerchief that I use as a towel daily.

The more important question is HOW do you wash your clothes? Never, never use soap near a water source! If soap is needed, then wash clothes in a pot or the bear can, at least 200 feet from the water source and empty the soapy water in a depression or dig a hole so that it will not run off into streams later. Because it is really a pain to do this, I rarely use soap at all. An empty bear can makes a perfect washing machine. Just roll it back and forth! If I use a "bugs-off" shirt which I wash in a pot away from the stream or lake. The insecticide may leach out into the waters. Aquatic critter sare sensitive to these poisons. That also goes for washing yourself off, if you have put on a lot of insect repellant. Soap, insecticides and toothpaste need to be kept out of backcountry waters. I also insist that "biodegradable" soap is still soap until it biodegrades - not nice to put in water that someone else will soon use.

Hang on to those socks if washing in a swift stream! Or else it is bye-bye socks!

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