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beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

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beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby guyd » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:14 pm

Questions for a first backpack experience:

- in bear country (Yosemite and Kings Canyon), what ones should do with toothpaste after brushing: spit in toilet paper and put in garbage zip-lock...? Swallow with water...?

- how to estimate the amount of isobutane cartridges needed? For example how much is consumed to boil say 2 cups of water with a lid, at 7000 ft?

Thanks for your lights



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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:22 pm

guyd wrote:Questions for a first backpack experience:

- in bear country (Yosemite and Kings Canyon), what ones should do with toothpaste after brushing: spit in toilet paper and put in garbage zip-lock...? Swallow with water...?

- how to estimate the amount of isobutane cartridges needed? For example how much is consumed to boil say 2 cups of water with a lid, at 7000 ft?

Thanks for your lights


Since no one else is jumping in...

Toothpaste.. spit it out away from camp.. 15 oz of ISO will last you 12 days, easy.. unless, you cook fish.. then you need more.
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby guyd » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:51 pm

rlown wrote:15 oz of ISO will last you 12 days, easy


Was that for one person? We will be a family of five using stove for ten meals, mainly for hydrating meals in zip-lock bag + coffee and hot chocolate...
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:56 pm

guyd wrote:
rlown wrote:15 oz of ISO will last you 12 days, easy


Was that for one person? We will be a family of five using stove for ten meals, mainly for hydrating meals in zip-lock bag + coffee and hot chocolate...


ok.. take more.. take 3 canisters..
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby lambertiana » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:15 pm

Fuel usage is highly variable, depending on cooking habits, stove, and cookware. A very conservative number is to take 2 oz fuel per person per day, unless you plan on doing a lot of cooking.

For comparative purposes with canister stove cooking, on some of my backpacking trips I used an MSR Windpro stove coupled with a Jetboil GCS pot, which is a very efficient combination. I cooked for two people - oatmeal plus boiling cleanup water in the morning (about a liter), mostly freeze-dried dinners but a couple meals that required simmering (about a liter), and a couple lunches that needed a liter of boiling water. One 8-oz isobutane/propane canister lasted for six full days for two people - that was 12 person-days out of one 8-oz canister, all at high elevation (up to 11,400'). Now, to be very conservative, double that amount of fuel, and you will need to bring four 8-oz canisters. And you will definitely take some fuel home with that amount; you could probably get by with two or three canisters.
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:21 pm

Certainly don't swallow any tooth paste if it is not natural! Sodium Fluoride is a toxic waste product and would do you allot of harm to swallow that much of it!
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby markskor » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:55 pm

guyd wrote:Questions for a first backpack experience:

- in bear country (Yosemite and Kings Canyon), what ones should do with toothpaste after brushing: spit in toilet paper and put in garbage zip-lock...? Swallow with water...?

- how to estimate the amount of isobutane cartridges needed? For example how much is consumed to boil say 2 cups of water with a lid, at 7000 ft?


Interesting the questions that come from backpacking rookies (no offense meant; we all started somewhere).
1) Methinks perchance you have some un-necessary fear of the bear. Respect is one thing, paranoia another. Think of brown bears as big , hungry, timid, sneaky dogs, hiding in the shadows, not as predatory ferocious beasts, and act/treat them accordingly. They are not after you/ will not bother you (unless provoked), in fact, you will be lucky/privileged, just to lay eyes on one, They generally fear man, are just looking to bag a quick meal, and from the easiest source available - could be you or could be the next campground up as they travel on their nightly rounds.
Keep all stored food in bear cans or bear boxes, open all pockets of your backpacks at night, and just spit the toothpaste out behind any convenient rock, just not close to the water. The bear is looking for thousands of calories, not spit. Do not worry about it.

2) Regarding isobutane canisters - at altitude: I cook dinners, usually not a foil bag type of guy. Generally, one of those $6.00 canisters will easily do me for 5 - 6 days of morning coffee and cooking real dinners...another coffee after dinner too, Since you are just boiling water, not actually cooking anything, two canisters should be fine. BTW, stopped at REI yesterday, and saw they now sell larger (double-sized), 1 pound isobutane canisters ($9.50). One of those big ones should cover your entire trip. Also, since you are hiking well below 10,000 feet, fires are legal/available for boiling water too.

FYI, Feel free to ask any other questions...whatever is on your novice backpacking mind - just ask. Admittedly, we have a few old cranky guys here (who will rain on your parade some), but all have been where you are at one time too. Someone here will always know the answers...a very knowledgeable group here.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:31 pm

markskor wrote:1) Methinks perchance you have some un-necessary fear of the bear. Respect is one thing, paranoia another. Think of brown bears as big , hungry, timid, sneaky dogs, hiding in the shadows, not as predatory ferocious beasts, and act/treat them accordingly. They are not after you/ will not bother you (unless provoked), in fact, you will be lucky/privileged, just to lays eyes on one, They generally fear man, are just looking to bag a quick meal, and from the easiest source available - could be you or could be the next campground up, as they travel on their nightly rounds.


He means black bears. The brown, gold and black bears in California are all black bears of various colors, not brown bears. :)

In Yosemite I sleep with my pack under my head or feet, or put it in a bear locker if in the backpacker camps. Some of the bears there will drag off even an empty pack left out in the open. Everywhere else, don't worry about the pack, clean it out, leave the pockets open.
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby Mike M. » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:38 pm

What brand/model stove are you planning on taking on your trip? Do you plan to heat water for one meal each day, or for more? The stove you use and the number of times you boil water each day will help us estimate how much fuel you will need to bring.

I use an MSR Pocket Rocket. I cook one hot meal a day (dinner, which usually involves bringing three to four cups of water to a boil and then cooking noodles at a rolling boil for about 10 minutes or simmering soup for the same amount of time). An 8 oz canister will last me 8 or more days.

To be safe, it's probably best to take at least two 8 oz canisters rather than one 16 oz canister -- you never know when you might have a canister failure. (It fortunately has never happened to me.)

Also, inexpensive fuel canisters (selling for around $4.00 each) can be found at large supermarkets and discount stores and perform perfectly well. One such brand available here in Portland at Fred Meyer Supermarkets is called MasterGlow; another is called GlowMaster.

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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby gary c. » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:00 pm

Here is a couple links that might help with fuel consumption. I normally burn a lot of fuel because I enjoy a cup or two of coffee with my morning double pack of oatmeal, sometimes a Ramen or instant soup at luch, then maybe another cup of coffee while I set up camp and after boiling water for dinner I almost always enjoy a cup of hot cocoa after the sun goes down.

http://www.trailspace.com/articles/2007 ... wdown.html

This link will even calculate for you.
http://howardjohnson.name/Backpacking/Stove/Stoves.htm
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:53 am

If you camp at a well used spot, spitting toothpaste all over creates an aesthetic mess. Do not spit all over leaves of brush. It leaves an unsightly white coating. Make a small hole away from camp, spit in it, and cover it up. If there is a fire ring with charcoal, spit in the pit and stir the coals. Charcoal is great for cutting down odors. Never spit near water sources, and definitely never directly spit in streams! Last year I saw two fellows literally brushing their teeth in the stream.

Bears are enticed by the smell and will bite the tube before they realize it is not food. Put toothpaste inside the bear cannister at night. Marmots can also be aggressive. They love the salty sweat on your pack straps and will chew up your pack at night- same for treking pole handles and straps. Hang these off the ground or bring inside the tent.

Being a neat and clean camper will reduce critter problems. Wash dishes after use. Do not throw food scraps near camp- pour out wash water well away from camp (again- NOT in the stream). Make a point of eating all food you cook - plan meals so there are no left-overs. Garbage also goes inside the bear cannister so it is best not to generate a lot of garbage. If you run across an established fire ring, stop and burn garbage occassionally and be sure to put the fire out thoroughly- douse with water and actually feel the coals with your fingers to be sure it is out. I do not eat inside my tent. I take a handkerchief a napkin and rinse it out after the meal. You may find that using a spoon vs. a "sporke" is neater. Also, if you use the freeze dried meals that you pour water in the packet- rinse out the packet before you put it in your garbage bag.

A mistake I still make is forgetting to check my pack pockets for trail snacks that I took out for the day and did not eat. Put any unused food or wrappers back in the bear can.

Bears are unpredictable. For the most part they will avoid you but treat every bear as a potential "bad boy". They need to fear humans- so if they come into camp make it obvious to them that they are not welcome.
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Re: beginner's questions: toothpaste and how many butane

Postby yosehiker » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:04 am

To prevent leaving those toothpaste marks after I brush my teeth I just pee on the spot where I spit it out. I know this is rather male-centric, but it works well. Otherwise I would suggest rinsing thoroughly and use that rinse water to dilute the toothpaste or spit in a firering if available.

Also, I would hesitate against burning trash. While it may be obvious to members of this forum, but for whatever reason a lot of people don't know, or care, that foil or other metal doesn't burn. I see firerings all the time full of trash. Plus I think there is a reason we don't incinerate our trash in the 'real world'/front country as it pollutes. I wouldn't want to breathe in burning plastic, etc. If you are just burning paper or orgranic trash I think that is ok, but I think that is a fine line which is hard for many people to decipher and therefore should not be recommended at large.
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