- Feb 2, 2019 at 7:44 pm #3576421
I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas on these forums, and also some duds. You know it’s cold and dark when I take the time on a weekend to do this crazy, gram-weenie stuff. But I decided to try alternatives to a mini tube of toothpaste and get it even lighter. I dried out toothpaste drops on wax paper for a few weeks, saw that suggestion somewhere on here a while back. Chewed one up today, and I’m still chewing, brushing, spitting, 20 minutes later. Waiting to have coffee later, since it won’t taste good right now. OTOH my mouth is nice and fresh, with small wads of toothpaste clinging to my molars. Epic fail on this one!
I loved the bidet idea so much, and not carrying out dirty TP last summer, that I’m even having my husband install a bidet hose at home. I have a relative from Iran who has always used these and wonders why anyone would scratch their bottom with TP and still not really be clean. Baby wipes were a total mystery for her; why not just wash the baby’s butt so it’s clean?! Until she said that, I’d never thought about it. Good to get another cultural perspective. Regardless of method, you have to clean your hands afterward, nothing unsanitary at all about it. Probably this is someone else’s idea that didn’t work. Wouldn’t work without a convenient water source. For me it’s a game changer.
I didn’t care for the pee-style things for women. An extra thing to carry, that smells like pee. Ick. Do you put it next to your trail mix in your hip belt pocket? Have a separate pee pocket for stinky pee stuff? Another fail for me, although I hear enthusiasm from others. It could be useful in extreme cold weather, but I’m still not carrying another thing I’ve lived without for this long. I’m also not embarrassed if someone sees me, just really not that modest; is that more of a hangup for younger women due to the conservative cultural shift in the last 30 years? Or perhaps just one’s upbringing. I go behind a bush off trail, but don’t take major pains not to be seen. Being 54 and of the streaker generation, when it wasn’t a sex crime, plus a Danish dad who hung out in his boxers even when my friends came over; it takes a lot to embarrass me. Just drop em and pee.
The pee rag. Tried that, but it rains so often that the thing is always wet anyway, so not useful. If I ever manage to get a permit for a dry area, I’ll try it again.
What else just didn’t work? It’s still minus 17, so until it gets a smidge warmer today, I’m reading forums for ideas.Feb 2, 2019 at 7:47 pm #3576423
What didn’t work: trying to brew “real” coffee on the trail. Just a lot of trouble and gear that smells like coffee.
What did work: Using baking soda instead of toothpaste. Brush, rinse, swallow. Nothing left behind and it has many uses…it is also a great antacid.Feb 2, 2019 at 7:51 pm #3576424
Can you use baking soda long term on the trail? not too abrasive for teeth? I tried briefly to research this, but most of the info out there is put out by toothpaste companies, not exactly objective and unbiased.Feb 2, 2019 at 8:00 pm #3576425
Bri WBPL Member
Since I bring a pill contained, I found toothpaste pills on amazon that work really well and I just pack them in my container! Regarding the pee stuff, I don’t get it either, and I’m 30. I think peeing on trail behind a tree is way more convenient than peeing in a toilet! Lol I’ve never used the pee rag, but I usually have time to drip dry so that’s never been an issue for me. I learned about the bidet trick on accident when I go sick about 50 miles out from civilization and my entire group ran out of toilet paper (we each thought the other was going to bring some. Doh!). I definitely agree though; you need a steady supply of water for this method to work. I still bring biodegradable TP with me, though, as that steady supply of water isn’t always available.
And just to add to the discussion, what didn’t work for me was trying to use a 1/8” CCF pad. Who in the hell actually sleeps comfortably with one of those?? I don’t even use it for extra insulation over an air pad, as I’m pretty sure it’s R Value is -1.0!
I also learned that Soylent meal replacement powder is NOT sufficient on trail. I thought I could replace one meal a day with the powder and thus save weight, but the weight really wasn’t saved and I was always hungry.Feb 2, 2019 at 8:10 pm #3576428
For all trips I take, I simply don’t take toothpaste. AFAIK, the only thing toothpaste really does for you is add flouride, and I think going without for a week or so isn’t that big of a deal. I floss and then brush with water alone. Works for me so far.Feb 2, 2019 at 9:43 pm #3576443
Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
Anything labeled organic or natural that purports to repel mosquitoes.Feb 2, 2019 at 10:14 pm #3576448
W I S N E R !BPL Member
+1 on no toothpaste Doug. Water is fine and it’s one less thing to carry.
I can do without fancy cooking, baking, etc. Been there, done that, it just doesn’t resonate anymore. So far as I’m concerned, the simpler the food, the better, I’ll save the culinary adventures for home.Feb 2, 2019 at 10:17 pm #3576449
The toothpaste companies actually make toothpaste containing baking soda and sell it touting that ingredient. As you said, lots of “research” out there showing one result or other. Some I found actually claims commercial toothpaste is MORE abrasive than baking soda.
I’ve been using it for quite awhile on the trail with no issues. HYOH.Feb 2, 2019 at 10:31 pm #3576452
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
We’ve had an actual dentist chime in that for a week or two, you don’t need toothpaste, just the mechanical action of brushing to remove food, bacteria and tartar.
My wife, 51, also just squats and pees. She knows enough botany to not grab a nettle or poison oak to brush things a little drier.
I do like flushable baby wipes as stronger and more cleansing than regular TP. Someone did backyard experiments (literally in his backyard) and confirmed they degraded in a few months (although maybe not with my and Karen’s soil temperatures).
I’m not going without some TP-like stuff. I could see it if I always ate like a rabbit, and therefore pooped like a rabbit, but I don’t.
The “zero-drop” shoe thing didn’t work for me. Not because of the angle, but because of the minimal sole stiffness. I can wear anything for 10 miles a day, but 20+ miles/day and my feet get too beat up wrapping themselves around roots and sharp rocks.
I haven’t used FD food for 30 years now. There are so many cheaper, more real options that are just as easy to prepare. I will bring FD food as back-up, and after it’s gone on a dozen trips and is getting ratty, finally cook and eat it.
I could never get on board with pumped water treatment – even 35 years ago I’d cobble together my own drip system a la BeFree* or Sawyer Squeeze. I’m glad to see they’re finally on their way out.
*How did BeFree get used first for a feminine sanitary product?!?
Sitting on a river bank in NZ one afternoon, I did a survey of mosquitos on my lemon eucalyptus oil-treated leg and the DEET one. Lemon eucalyptus oil beat DEET by several fold. It’s CDC approved as effective. (Light clothing is another factor of 3 to 5-fold over dark clothing).Feb 3, 2019 at 1:47 am #3576482
Your spare socks as shoulder padding. Great if you want a fresh pair of sweat soaked socks.Feb 3, 2019 at 2:31 am #3576490
Getting married. Or did you only want backpacking-related ideas that just didn’t work?Feb 3, 2019 at 2:32 am #3576491
Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I made a pee device. I keep it in a bottle holder along with a small squeeze bottle of water attached to my hip belt. It’s pretty helpful if it’s raining or otherwise inconvenient to pee while squatting. I rinse it off with the squeeze bottle.
The pee rag works for me. I’m in So Cal. I hose off with the squeeze bottle then use the pee rag. The no TP is great. I use three handfuls of folded up grass, folded up sage or some other thing that’ll work, then blast off with the squeeze bottle. So much better.
The hiking skirt works great, especially after I lose some of that thigh fat. Being a true Scotswoman under my skirt is fresher, less stinky. While I’m waiting for the thigh fat to go, lycra bike shorts work well and the skirt hides my fat thighs so I feel less self-conscious.
Alcohol stoves worked for me but if I’m honest, I started the ground or the picnic table on fire more times than I can count. I have a canister stove again.
The wood burning stove was a fail. I do not like the sooty, sticky pot.
Esbit also makes for a sooty, sticky pot. I bought a whole bunch of Esbit that simply would not start no matter what. I still have it. Someday I’ll remember to take it down to the hazardous waste disposal center.
Minimalist shoes are a fail. I burned my feet, got big blisters on the balls and heels of my feet too many times on the hot dirt. I realized feeling the hot dirt through my shoes was the problem when I put some reflectix in my shoes and stopped getting blisters. Other than that, the zero drop and even the minimalism itself when the ground’s not too hot or cold is not a problem.Feb 3, 2019 at 2:39 am #3576493
I had real coffee on trail during my last trip. So worth it. You do need proper storage though. Nobody likes coffee flavored peach oatmealFeb 3, 2019 at 1:15 pm #3576538
Ken – Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee. Every morning, whether at home or at the office, I hand grind fresh bean and make coffee with a Chemex. Yes, I have both grinder and Chemex at both locations.
The best trail option I found was the MSR MugMate, but it was a pain to clean, which consumed (sometimes) precious water, and still smelled like coffee. Dang, the “coffee on the trail” discussion on BPL has been had too many times on count…sorry to bring it up again.Feb 3, 2019 at 2:31 pm #3576548
Diane, there are plenty of Esbit enthusiasts here. I’m sure someone would be happy to cover shipping and take the tablets off your hands.Feb 3, 2019 at 3:15 pm #3576553
JCH I admit I don’t bring it every time for the same reasons. Really enjoy it when I do though.
Those weird packs with the specialty foam pad as a cylindrical frame.
Or mesh packs that load from the bottom.Feb 3, 2019 at 3:45 pm #3576558
MJ HBPL Member
I use three handfuls of folded up grass…
I thought it was supposed to be sea shells.Feb 4, 2019 at 5:37 am #3576694
Dave HeissBPL Member
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
For me it was an ultralight, un-insulated air mattress. Warmth fail. Probably a great product for hiking in the South, or Hawaii, but in the Cascades the one I tried was cushy but COLD. And that was in the summer.Feb 4, 2019 at 12:52 pm #3576705
Erica RBPL Member
Permethrin. Tried it instead of DEET, thought it might be more benign. Made me dizzy and nauseous (probably just me). Didn’t keep the bugs away as well. Why use an insecticide rather than a repellent anyway?
What does work against insects: Bug shirt and long pants. Spray DEET on the Sunday Afternoons hat usually both sides of the brim. Haven’t needed to apply it to my skin much, though I don’t live in Minnesota or Alaska. Maybe I should try the lemon eucalyptus oil. Alaska Dave knows his bugs!
Another thing that does work: A lighter Pack makes my adventures so much more fun! Thanks all for your excellent suggestions.Feb 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm #3576709
Bear bag hanging sucks for me. I do it, PCT style, but it’s always a hassel. The time spent looking for that branch away from my campsite.. Then hoisting up and down.. Up and down.. Geeze.. and I always seem to be the only one doing it .. Everyone clips their food bags with mine.. I used to use an Ursack ..I still have it, now I am going to go back to using it for winter months, and for other 3 seasons i will try using the Ursack Allmitey. Yes, it’s some added weight, but I really have my entire system(s) dialed in, so they few extra ounces for ease and convenience are more then worth it for me. If I need to use a cannister when I make it to the Daks, I will gladly carry a Bearikade scout or weekender, I’m not scared😝Feb 4, 2019 at 2:39 pm #3576712
Diane – before you sell those Esbit tabs…they make great fire starters. I too experimented with, and abandoned, Esbit and that left me with an entire raft of the little 4g tabs. I always carry 2 or 3 in a small vacuum sealed bag as emergency fire starters. Cutting the big ones in quarters works well too.Feb 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm #3576716
Paul WegemannBPL Member
@peweg8Locale: Western Colorado
Things that didn’t work for me –
Feb 4, 2019 at 11:27 pm #3576768
- Too light a shoe. I love my Lone Peaks for hiking, but I need more support for backpacking.
- Thinking I could easily save 8 oz by replacing my NeoAir Xlite large with a small.
- Alcohol stove. I need to easily see that flame.
- Esbit. Too dirty and smelly for my taste.
- Except for car camping, any shelter that can’t use hiking poles to set up.
Steve BBPL Member
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
Hanging food at night. So time consuming.
Using my pack under my feet when sleeping.
For the OP, the bidet can come with you, https://www.amazon.com/Medline-Perineal-Irrigation-Cleansing-Bottle/dp/B01M2BKNLE and tooth powder that is better than just baking soda, https://www.amazon.com/Eco-Dent-Baking-Powder-Toothpowder-Original/dp/B000OLE96GFeb 4, 2019 at 11:43 pm #3576773
Greg MihalikBPL Member
okayyyyyyy ….Feb 5, 2019 at 3:24 am #3576818
Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I have never bear-bagged. I have never in my life been able to throw the line over a branch. I don’t even try anymore. If it’s required (Glacier), I let someone else do it.
The esbits I have would not start on fire. I think they are no good. Can they really be mailed? I can’t even remember how I obtained them. If they can be mailed and someone wants them, I have about 2 1/2 boxes. 31 blister packs.
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