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Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

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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Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby TCHN DAD » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:57 am

Hi,

I have been researching what to do with sweaty chothing when backpacking in bear country. I am still confused. Do you clean them using lake or creek water and bio soap, and lay them out to dry if you have sunlight near your campsite?

or do you hang them in a bag from a tree?

I did laarn you need to have some sleep clothing that you just sleep in. The clothes you cooked in should not be worn into the sleeping bag. So, then what do you do with the clothes you cooked in?

Thanks

Rod



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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:06 pm

NO SOAP EVER!

rinse, rinse, and then rock dry. then if wind, dry them hanging on a tree, if you have one.

As I don't wear clothes in the bag other than underwear, i have no opinion on that.

Don't worry too much about bears unless you're in a bear infested area. 30,000 of them in the state according to the DFW. Depends on where you go. What are you cooking?

Russ
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby k9mark » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:36 pm

Here's my two cents; Have some sleepwear just for that....thin polypros, etc. For washing clothes I do the same thing rlown suggested. For body cleaning I use a one gallon zip-lock bag filled about half full. Get a small micro fiber cloth, some unscented Castile (biodegrade, all natural) soap, and wash. Then take that gray water a good two hundred feet from any water source, dig a hole, dispose, and cover. Put your micro fiber cloth in your zip-lock and back in your pack for reuse.
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:58 pm

Everyone has thier own preference, but I echo rlown: no soap ever in lakes and streams. I don't care if you made it yourself from Jeffery Pines and granite, never dump soapy water anywhere but very far from a water source.

As for clothes, I usually have two outfits: one I hike in and one I sit around camp/sleep in. I jump in wearing my hiking clothes and rinse off. On shore I wring them out, put on my camp clothes, and hang the wet stuff to dry. On a clear night, it almost always dries out by morning. I wouldn't worry about cooking in your clothes unless you are using them as a kitchen towel.

Edit: I think some of your concerns with cooking clothing apply only in Grizzly country, which the Sierra is not (anymore).
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:58 pm

What to do with sweaty clothes? if it's pretty cold at night, take them off and put on a base layer to sleep in, or shorts, or something dry at least. Put the sweaty clothes back on in the morning. If they are wet to dripping, put 'em in a ziplock and keep them in the bag with you to at least have them be warm when you put them on.

If it's warm (above freezing) they'll probably be dry by bedtime, but if they are dirty - take 'em off to keep your bag clean.

Washing is something that only enters the picture if I'm more than four days out, and even then, it's minimal. Doing laundry aka using soap should be done far, far, far from your water source. I helped someone do this once, using a bear can and a few drops of campsuds. You go fill the water container and tote it several hundred feet from the lake and wash wash wash wash. Then you disperse as broadly as possible across the ground, get more water, rinse the container, disperse far far far far from the water source, get clean water, rinse rinse rinse the clothes, disperse the water far far far far from the water source, get more clean water, rinse rinse rinse, disperse the water far far far far far from the water source....

This is why when you are at the trailhead starting your trip, and people are coming out to their vehicles, you will notice eau de trail wafting ... well, pouring off them in waves. Washing clothes in the back country without contaminating water sources with soap takes work.

Some of us just settle for swimming in our clothes and letting them dry - early enough in the afternoon and there's little to do to dry them other than just wearing them.

When taking a group my last recommendation is to bring clean clothes and wet wipes to use at the end of the trip. That makes the restaurant visit and the ride to it moderately less stinky.
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby Rockchucker » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:34 pm

I just clean them when I get home, while hiking they just get stinky again after a few miles so forget about it.
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:35 pm

When taking a group my last recommendation is to bring clean clothes and wet wipes to use at the end of the trip. That makes the restaurant visit and the ride to it moderately less stinky.


I always carry a spare set of clothes and a towel in the truck for the trip out. and a gallon of water for washing off. I demand all that i go with do the same. Except for Markskor. He refuses to. :\
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby Vaca Russ » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:23 pm

rlown wrote:
When taking a group my last recommendation is to bring clean clothes and wet wipes to use at the end of the trip. That makes the restaurant visit and the ride to it moderately less stinky.


I always carry a spare set of clothes and a towel in the truck for the trip out. and a gallon of water for washing off. I demand all that i go with do the same. Except for Markskor. He refuses to. :\


This is exactly what we do. I believe the original question included a discussion about bears. I think beginners worry way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way too, too, too, too, too, too, much about BEARS. :bear: :bear: :bear: :bear: :bear:

Chances are you have NO chance of seeing one. I haven't seen a bear in years. I have NEVER been able to photo a bear. Anybody else ever photo a bear???

Worry about staying dry, warm, hydrated, fed and know where you are. Have fun! If you see a bear, consider yourself lucky.

-Russ

PS: Markskor impresses me as somebody who doesn't worry about bears or what other people think. :thumbsup: :bear: :thumbsup: :bear: :thumbsup:
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:17 pm

I have photos of bears. The best place to see one is on the trail from Roads End toward Mist Falls.

We scared bears out of camp multiple times in Ansel Adams Wilderness, heading south on the JMT.

We shooed bears out of camp in Yosemite.

We shooed bears away from camp at Rancheria Falls near Hetch Hetchy.

You will never hear them if they don't want you to, but they are there.... and they don't care about you. Just store the food properly.
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby TCHN DAD » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:25 am

Hi,

Thanks for all the valuable replies. The hygiene answers are very valuable. So much to learn.

I need to learn to be more specific in my questions. :D

I wanted to know what to do with the sweaty clothes, if anything, if I go on a day hike from my tent when backpacking? Will the scent attract bears if left in the tent, inside the my main pack? Can I just leave them there, or do I need to put them outside. I only right now have time for a 2-3 day out and back, so I won't need to wash them.

I read in Mineral King the dear and marmots are salt deprived and go after sweaty items. I don't plan on going there and that's not the main thrust of my question, I just mention wondering if that's the only place it might be an issue.

cheers

Rod
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby rlown » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:08 am

i don't think you have to worry about deer. If you're in Marmot country, don't leave stuff on the ground. Even your trekking poles if you use them get stuck in the ground upright when away from camp so they can't chew on the grips. Put the sweaty clothes up on a tree above 5'. that would deter deer and definitely marmot from approaching your sweaties.

My sweaties are usually rinsed and dried regardless of trip length. at night, they are generally in the tent with me. As are my boots.

One note on Marmot country. If I can identify a Marmot den, I don't camp near that. That belongs to him. Anything you take off and leave hanging out in his territory belongs to him at that point.

Since '76 i've never had an issue with varmints touching my stuff. Only one bear incident where it took my friends pack, but we were in Yose and that was before bear cans.

Russ
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Re: Beginner asks what to do with sweaty clothes, cooking clothe

Postby maverick » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:13 am

TCHN DAD wrote:
I wanted to know what to do with the sweaty clothes, if anything, if I go on a day
hike from my tent when backpacking? Will the scent attract bears if left in the
tent, inside the my main pack? Can I just leave them there, or do I need to put
them outside. I only right now have time for a 2-3 day out and back, so I won't
need to wash them.


Bears want food, not your sweaty clothes. I usually do not wash clothes no matter
what the duration of my hike, but do wash my body and have sleep wear that I put
on every night, but only after I am clean.
In marmot country follow rlown's recommendations.
Fun read: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7798&hilit=marmot
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