Sep 6, 2010 at 10:07 am #1263005
After reading a thread on hand washing I figured I would ask a question. I typically use soap to wash up after using the restroom and/or before cooking. One of the big draw backs to soap vs. hand sanitizer for me is trying to get water in my hands to either lather up or rinse off without getting germs/soap all over the water container. Do any of you have a trick you can share? I saw on Jason Klass's site a hands free idea but it seemed like a lot of work if your on the move.
I usually use a 100oz camelback for water. My technique to this point is usually get a mouthful of water and spit it onto my hands. If I have bottles they usually have some type of flavored drink in it. Anyway, just looking for suggestions.Sep 6, 2010 at 11:05 am #1643361
Can't picture any "hands free" method of washing hands… perhaps you mean "water free"?
Why not just carry a small (half ounce) bottle of Purell to sanitize your hands when needed? And at a water source, give your hands a good wash (w/o soap) — and then sanitize with a few drops of Purell afterward?Sep 6, 2010 at 11:52 am #1643368
I guess I meant hands free in terms of not having to touch your bottle & lid / camelback mouth piece with your contaminated/soapy hands in order to get water flowing. I do use hand sanitizer quite often but wash with soap before meals and after restroom breaks. So this is what I'm looking for suggestions on.Sep 6, 2010 at 11:56 am #1643369
Oh, I see…
I smear my bite valve with Purell too — from time to time — whenever I feel the need. But this is, of course, totally unscientific. I know of no truly "hands free" hydration system — but would love to hear from other hikers too.Sep 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm #1643371
I seriously think people are getting overly worried about this stuff.
Follow me for a second:
What is the fundamental difference between crapping at home or in the woods? A toilet, a roll of TP, a sink, and soap right next to you. So replace that with a cathole, TP or natural stuff, a water container, and soap next to you…
Same thing! The only difference is holding a container to pour water instead of touching a sink knob.
Do you panic at home because the hands that touched your wee wee and then washed also touched your sink knob?
I sometimes think I might be cleaner in the woods because I don't use TP and I wash my bum with water…
At home it's just TP followed by handwashing. Much of the world thinks we're barabarians because we don't wash with water after.
Think about it. If you got crap in your armpit, would you just wipe it with TP and call it good? NO! That would be gross!!! You'd wash!!!
While wiping at home would you get crap on your hand then grab the soap bottle and sink handle with that same hand? I hope not- or I'm not coming for dinner!!! You'd use the clean hand for the soap and sink, right?
Just like backpacking!!!…only the clean hand holds a water container instead of turning on a sink.
Uh oh! The other CONUNDRUM…So how does the dirty hand wash itself?
The same way you do it at home!!! The clean hand touches the soap, pours some on, turns on the water for it, and then helps scrub and rinse. At this point do we have to fear the clean hand touching the sink for a final rinse? I hope not, otherwise I think we're getting into extreme germ paranoia. I don't know anyone that gets paranoid about this at home.
Do you use Purell to sterilize your hands and spit water them to minimize contact and worry about touching things after washing your bum with nothing but soap in the shower?
Why does simple soap and water work so well at home and yet as soon as we step in the woods it's no longer good enough and we're hyper-concerned about spreading pathogens all over ourselves?
Wash your hands after wee wee, use soap and water, don't touch stuff with a poo poo hand, and use a little common sense folks…Just like at home…I hope.Sep 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm #1643392
Tee Hee Craig said wee wee. Thanks for a completely logical post. Off to go wash my hands.Sep 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm #1643404
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
The difference is that at home we have plenty of running water, which comes freely out of a tap already treated. The soapy water goes down the drain and ends up being treated in a sewage plant. We can wash our hands as often and as thoroughly as we like, using plenty of water.
On the trail we have to pour water out of the same water bottle we drink from, which we've had to purify ourselves and which we may have carried quite a few miles. There is often not an unlimited supply, so we need to use the water we have for drinking, to prevent dehydration. We also have to be extremely careful how we use soap, which, if it gets washed into a water source (in a big rain or next spring's snow melt), can be deadly to aquatic life.
That's why I use hand sanitizer when out backpacking.Sep 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm #1643413
Craig, I'm not overly worried. It's simply not the same process you use at home. Using your example of touching a sink knob with dirty hands then clean hands is different than touching your mouth piece with dirty hands then putting the mouth piece in your mouth. Would you touch the sink knob with dirty hands and then suck on the knob?
To be honest, my big problem is after getting my hands wet and lathering with soap. Getting soap all over the bottle/camelback mouth piece as I'm trying to rinse is annoying.
This really isn't a debate over soap vs. hand sanitizer. I use both but am looking for a bit of help on the soap issue.Sep 6, 2010 at 4:37 pm #1643458
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
The solution is extremely simple. Have a partner drop the sop in your hand and provide the water flow. Lather, drop soap in small plas bag, rinse, dry. So easy.
Ah well – harder if you are solo I guess.
CheersSep 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm #1643463
I remember seeing this awhile back.
definitely used during camp, and not on trail, unless you want to set it upSep 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm #1643469
OP wrote, "I guess I meant hands free in terms of not having to touch your bottle & lid / camelback mouth piece with your contaminated/soapy hands in order to get water flowing."
OP is talking about a truly hands free hydration system — not about washing one's bottom! :)Sep 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm #1643478
The hardest of the hard core gram weenies will probably get the hammer and nails but here goes….
I actually carry an extra piece of gear to facilitate backcountry hygiene. Drumroll please………………….
a nylon collapsible doggy drinking bowl. I picked up this trick about six years ago on the AT from a crazy lighweighter from Long Island, New York. The guy schooled me pretty well on alll things lightweight. I don't have my scale and dog bowl handy but it is pretty light. You take the bowl pour some water in, dip your hands, soap up, rinse your hands, and scatter grey water well away from the no no areas like springs and streams. The doggy bowl when coupled with a doo rag and some Dr.Bronner's also makes a sponge bath into an easy undertaking.Sep 6, 2010 at 6:03 pm #1643484
@snusmumrikenLocale: SF Bay Area
The sink / bowl is a simple solution. A lighter alternative to a doggie bowl is a plastic ZipLock bowl, weighs about half an ounce.Sep 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm #1643493
Nice suggestion on the ziploc bowl. Definitely lighter than the doggy bowl but I don't think I can fit my hands in the ziploc bowl to wash them. I really prefer the size of the nylon doggy bowls and they are fairly light in the scheme of things. What size ziploc bowl are you using Kristin? I am always interested in shaving some weight so if I can fit my hands in the 1/2 oz ziploc bowl bye bye doggy bowl it is. Peace and Trail Grease.Sep 6, 2010 at 6:46 pm #1643502
Glad Stand & Zip bags are just the thing. I prefer to hike with my wife though; she's multipurpose.Sep 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm #1643507
Nice suggestion Will I shall try them out and see if the stand up ziploc bags work for me.Sep 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm #1643549
@snusmumrikenLocale: SF Bay Area
ZipLock bowls come in many different sizes: half cup, one cup, two cup, three cup, four cup. Currently I'm using the 3 cup (24 fl. oz) for a sink. That's the one that weighs in at about half an ounce.Sep 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm #1643557
Thanks for the suggestion on the doggy bowl and the ziplock. Both seem like easy ways to complete the job at hand. These are exactly the type of ideas I'm looking for.Sep 7, 2010 at 5:10 am #1643578
@jmathesLocale: Southeast US
I use a one gallon ziploc freezer bag for washing my hands, socks, bandanas, whateverSep 7, 2010 at 11:05 am #1643667
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I carry a small squeeze bottle with a flip-top lid. This is what I use (in addition to leaves) instead of TP. I can also wash my hands with it. It is not for drinking. It can be washed itself, or sanitizer can be rubbed on it, if there's concern of contamination.Sep 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm #1643684
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
"instead of tp". No thanks. I gladly carry the weight not only of Tp, but even hand sanitizer and baby wipes for the end of the day, which I obviously pack out. Not going to count grams on this one.Sep 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm #1644014
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
There are some threads here on the no tp method. Also there is a really good youtube video called the backcountry poo poo clinic. I decided to give it a try after researching and I have found it to be cleaner, in my opinion. If you search for the backcountry poo-poo clinic you might get some ideas for hands-free washing even if you aren't interested in no tp sanitation.
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