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Backcountry Cleanliness

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby rlown » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:54 pm

hmm.. if i smell myself, and i don't like what I smell, I wash.

I used to have to do my hair everyday, or i couldn't sleep. Now with little hair, and what is there cut to 3/8" pre-trip, a quick head dunk suffices.

For me, the most important thing is the gallon of water and a towel back at the truck, with a change of clothes for the trip home. Civilization doesn't like stink, so much.



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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby oldranger » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:05 pm

Come to think of it Matt got wet, Mark got wet, I got wetbut I didn't see Tehipite Tom nor rlown near the water (except for russ to fish) the entire trip. Maybe that kept the bears away!

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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby rlown » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:08 pm

god, you're getting old. actually, i don't think you were back with your stringer yet. I went in. It was refreshing as heck.. Now, Tom.. :)
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby balzaccom » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:15 pm

yeah....

so washing hands every day when we wash up the dishes, once at breakfast, once after dinner.

Rinse off when I am really hot and sweaty, maybe once every two days.

Wash hair maybe once every three days...far from any stream or lake.

But I also wash my sock, undies, and even once in a while my shirt.

And yes, I bringin sleeping clothes so that my bag makes it past the current trip.
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby Hetchy » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:08 pm

I am somewhere betwee 0 and 1. My longest stretch without a shower was from Steamboat Springs Colorado to Rawlins Wyoming on the CDT.
Since I was totally solo and saw only antelope and elk it really didn't seem to make any sense to clean up.
However i always use Purell hand sanitiser after pooping.
I will admit that after about five days I begin to offend myself a bit.
Now why don't i have a girlfriend?
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby oldranger » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:24 pm

Oh yeah! I think last summer all of us that got together used hand sanitizer, especially before cooking for the others in the group.

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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:04 pm

rlown wrote:For me, the most important thing is the gallon of water and a towel back at the truck, with a change of clothes for the trip home. Civilization doesn't like stink, so much.

Yeah, agreed. If there's a shower near the trailhead I'll do that, but otherwise I'll do what I can at the car.
Oh yeah! I think last summer all of us that got together used hand sanitizer, especially before cooking for the others in the group.

Right. Not getting sick is key.
Come to think of it Matt got wet, Mark got wet, I got wetbut I didn't see Tehipite Tom nor rlown near the water (except for russ to fish) the entire trip.

Yeah, about that: cold water just isn't fun.
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby quentinc » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:37 pm

Negative 1?

God, one of the many great things about backpacking is not having to shower, shave or look in a mirror! My theory is that I build a protective layer of filth after 2 days, and that trying to bathe at that point actually makes things worse. Analogize to when orange groves are facing freezing overnight temperatures, and the farmers spray them with water to form a protective ice coating. :smirk:
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby Troutdog 59 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:08 pm

quentinc wrote:Negative 1?

God, one of the many great things about backpacking is not having to shower, shave or look in a mirror! My theory is that I build a protective layer of filth after 2 days, and that trying to bathe at that point actually makes things worse. Analogize to when orange groves are facing freezing overnight temperatures, and the farmers spray them with water to form a protective ice coating. :smirk:


Outstanding =D> :D =D>

Now that's my kind of 'scientific reasoning' ;) :nod:
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby SSSdave » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:58 pm

Hah! Knew I would be the only 2. While backpacking we almost always jump in a pond, lake, or stream unless it is really cold outside. We are infamous for getting into cold water and there is a way to do it without pain. See I strongly dislike getting into my sleeping bag grubby. Oh, of course have done so but dislike it. So nice feeling clean. When winter snow backpacking or desert backpacking of course there is no washing option.

So what about option 4? Is that like at one of the High Sierra Camps?
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby The Other Tom » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:17 am

SSSdave wrote: .....and there is a way to do it without pain.

Can you enlighten us on your method ?
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Re: Backcountry Cleanliness

Postby sirlight » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:31 am

Tolerance for my own filth has become better over the years. It's usually nothing but washing my hands until about day three. I do enjoy a dip in the lakes and will go for a swim even if temperatures are very cold, but it's bio soap far away from the lake to really get cleaned up. Usually I wash the clothes around day 4 or 5. It boggles how I can meet people on the trail that have been hiking for 10 days and look like they just left home. I am usually covered with trail grime after the first day.

My personal record stands at 6 days without a shower. I was with a friend and we were 100 miles up the Amazon in Peru. Just the boat ride took over 2 days and we went straight into the jungle for the next 4 days. When we returned to the village, it was grab a bar of soap and take a bath in the Amazon. It was very "comforting" when our guide told us not to worry if something is biting us, it's not piranhas! We talked to the natives in the village afterwards. My friend did the translating since he speaks Spanish. The told us "we did not want so say anything, but you guys really stunk!". When you are offending the natives, you really know you have reached your BO limit!

Would you like to take a bath with these guys:
DSC01444.JPG
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