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View Full Version : Do you have privacy to change in a shelter?



Michele
06-10-2006, 07:41
Hi everyone,

I was thinking that after a long day of hiking, and perhaps there are open spots in the shelter, so you don't want to set up your tent, where do you change out of your sweaty hiker clothes and into your dry camp clothes, if you don't have the privacy of your tent, and there are people in the shelter? Oh heck...let's go ahead and say it's pouring rain too...so you can't really change outside. Do people just "turn around" or how does it work?

I'll put a disclaimer on this post in that I think in general...clothing is just stupid...I hate it, and I'm not the most modest person (nor am I a size 5....or 10....or 12 for that matter:D ), but that's an entirely different discussion. I just wondered what us ladies do. Thanks!

Big Dawg
06-10-2006, 08:03
No privacy, really. Best thing to do is drape your sleeping bag over you while you change, or just change in the open if you don't care who see's you.

SGT Rock
06-10-2006, 08:06
Some of us have manners, I would turn around if asked, probably even if not asked.

Fahrenheit
06-10-2006, 10:04
Well if not raining I usually just go behind the shelter or off into the woods a bit. If I'm stuck in the shelter I'll just crawl into my sleeping bag and change in there. Its kind of a pain but thats just life in shelters.

Crazy Larry #1
06-10-2006, 11:02
Some of us have manners, I would turn around if asked, probably even if not asked.i'm with you on that, most of us men on the trail give you gals the respect that you need out there.......i have never encountered any lady telling me they had any problems out there other than some guy being more interested in them than they want........

Wonder
06-10-2006, 11:08
I've changed in a shelter many times......may crawl into the bag for undies and such....but most, even if they see you start to change will just face the other way........ There is a different standard of respect on the trail....better then in the real world I've found

Footslogger
06-10-2006, 11:35
All you have to do is ask. From my memory the majority of lady hikers I met on my thru in 2003 just went to the back of the shelter (all of 6 feet away), turned around and changed clothes. The other alternative that I saw somewhat frequently was to crawl in your sleeping bag and change clothes.

Either way, you will not have COMPLETE privacy but from my experience your needs will be respected by other hikers.

'Slogger

Ridge
06-10-2006, 12:09
This question reminds me one time of a girl that did a cloths change inside her sleeping bag that would make Houdini look like an amateur. I don't think you'll have any privacy problems on the trail, but don't blame me if your picture shows up in the WB Gallery. LOL

orangebug
06-10-2006, 12:37
I've never seen or heard of a problem with simply asking for folks to turn their backs. Except once...

That was a case of a hiker coming to the shelter with a family of tourons already spread out over the place, and unhappy to share. When the hiker proceeded to change into dry clothes, the parents were aghast at what they felt was exhibitionism.

Ridge
06-10-2006, 12:40
Tourons, they are sometimes trouble. For those that don't know thats a cross between a tourist and a moron.

Skyline
06-10-2006, 12:42
Go to a corner of the shelter, and just announce, "If y'all don't want to see it, look away now!" Most hikers will respect that, and if one doesn't, oh well...

Ridge
06-10-2006, 12:47
This thread has helped me answer a question I've had for a long time, which is: "Why do some shelters have holes in the rear wall"

2Ply
06-10-2006, 13:02
Some bags are a tight fit so a cheap poncho could do the covering up and give you lots of room to move around under.

cannonball
06-10-2006, 13:21
Wooooooooooo....... lets get some prespective here. We generally refer to the hiking community as sort of a " brotherhood", each respecting the other and watching out for each other. With this said, I got to believe all any one needs to do is ask others to turn away for a moment while I slip into something a little less ripe.:eek:

mweinstone
06-10-2006, 13:48
no clothes for you ,.......one year.!

stoned bear
06-10-2006, 17:28
well ive seen women start to change and I just look the other way... Most other hikers will look away when you change, its just the way hickers are..

Frolicking Dinosaurs
06-10-2006, 18:42
As others have noted, the fellows will look away when asked (or even without being asked). I have changed while in my poncho - arms and all - in crowded situations. I did this at Trail Days.

Amigi'sLastStand
06-10-2006, 21:03
I'm always afraid some woman may ravage me, so I hide in the woods. Well, some women find beer guts irresistable.....

Hitch
06-10-2006, 21:45
Some of the new privys are wonderful dressing rooms or behind the shelters or please turn your back. They all work.

latte
06-10-2006, 23:16
Don't be afraid to ask someone to turn their head. I've had guys ask so they could change underware! If the shelter is crowded, I usually change behind the shelter. I've run into shelters where the privy had no door. Then we all agreed to use a bandana tied to a tree at the beginning of the privy trail to indicate "occupied"! Panties aren't too hard to swap under the sleeping bag, however, a wet sports bra is impossible. I usually just face an unoccupied corner and quickly change it.

Michele
06-11-2006, 01:16
Wow...had no idea I'd get this much feedback. This is what I figured was the case. It sounds like the hiking community overall works the way larger society should...respecting others and helping when needed. Honestly...if someone doesn't turn around after I ask them to, then I'll just pull one of my old Marine "kill them 100 different ways with a Lexan spoon" moves. :)

SGT Rock
06-11-2006, 02:01
Well when you see people on the internet argue over guns, cell phones, dogs, shelter rights, or whatever - that is how people act on the internet on just about any forum in my experience. They act on the trail like some of the best people you will ever meet in your life.

Nokia
06-11-2006, 02:39
People change after hiking? Huh.

Michele
06-11-2006, 10:00
How could they not? You learn to trust yourself and your instincts again, and that you don't REALLY need that big plasma tv hanging on the wall, in order to feel content. My only fear is that I'll like it too much, and never want to get back into "real" life again. :)

Just Jeff
06-11-2006, 10:29
I think people change on the internet. Most of the trolls and holes on the internet would show the same common courtesy as everyone else if they were face-to-face and could see the reactions. It's easy to hide behind the anonymity of a keyboard.

Hiking changes people, too - but in this case I think it has more to do with common courtesy, and the lack of it on the internet.

SGT Rock
06-11-2006, 11:00
I agree with Jeff

Crazy Larry #1
06-11-2006, 13:32
I've never seen or heard of a problem with simply asking for folks to turn their backs. Except once...

That was a case of a hiker coming to the shelter with a family of tourons already spread out over the place, and unhappy to share. When the hiker proceeded to change into dry clothes, the parents were aghast at what they felt was exhibitionism.that reminds me that one time as i had hiked with these two ladies on the trail just south of waynesboro one decide she had to go to the bathroom. since there was a cliff on one side and nothing but solid woods and brush on the other she decides to get off the trail as far as she could and let it go. i was watching the north part of the trail as she did her business when all at once i heard kids behind us and whipped around to find a boy and a girl and their parents staring in disbelief at that young lady as she arose and zipped her britches. they stormed past us and i can't recall the name of the next shelter we came to but here were these people and they began to tell us that we couldn't stay there.

so i says oh yes we are going to stay, we really hadn't planned on staying in the first place, but since they decided that they owned the appalachian trail we thought we just show them that we would just dare them.

so i ask the father what was the problem? he says "that young lady was peeing in the middle of the trail and i just don't want your kind around our children!"

So i says, "man your very observant. by the way where do you think you are at? where else did she have to go?"

needless to add, that settled the issue...........

Blissful
06-11-2006, 19:36
I've carefully changed in a privy before. If there are two tiered shelters and your on the top bunk in the corner, it's dark enough up there to change too, which I've done.

This weekend I was out with hubby and his Boy Scouts. I went down the trail out of site of the campsite, looked both ways, and changed quite rapidly. I did it while they were cooking. Can't tear away hungry men and food, ha ha. :)

Just Jeff
06-11-2006, 20:54
Well, give a boy scout a choice and I bet...nevermind. :p

Moxie00
06-12-2006, 19:49
By the end of five or six months on the trail chances are you will see a few people naked or partially naked and someone may even see you. All hikers I have known greatly respect the privacy of other hikers, look away even when not asked, and try very much to respect the wishes of their fellow hikers. I once joined a young female hikeing topless and we hiked a few miles together and the subject of her dress never came up. I remember once being in a shelter and a very attractive lady came in and without a thought changed all her clothes. I did comment on a very attractive tattoo she had where you would not see it if she had on a bathing suit. She thanked me and gave me the artists name in case I was intrested. You can be as modest or not on a thru hike. Others will respect your wishes. Remember, June 21st is hike naked day on the AT but no one will notice if you are fully dressed. Hikers do their own thing and all thru hikers I know greatly respect the wishes of their fellow hikers.:o

Lone Wolf
06-12-2006, 19:52
Hi everyone,

I was thinking that after a long day of hiking, and perhaps there are open spots in the shelter, so you don't want to set up your tent, where do you change out of your sweaty hiker clothes and into your dry camp clothes, if you don't have the privacy of your tent, and there are people in the shelter? Oh heck...let's go ahead and say it's pouring rain too...so you can't really change outside. Do people just "turn around" or how does it work?

I'll put a disclaimer on this post in that I think in general...clothing is just stupid...I hate it, and I'm not the most modest person (nor am I a size 5....or 10....or 12 for that matter:D ), but that's an entirely different discussion. I just wondered what us ladies do. Thanks!
There ain't no privacy in a shelter. Show your stuff and get on with it.

TIDE-HSV
06-14-2006, 17:57
in the shelters pretty much echoes the others - "changing!" usually does it. As an aside, kayakers, as a bunch, are less modest than hikers. Usually, a quick change behind an opened car door sufficed (we used to joke that we were so fast, we were just a blur, anyway). When I kayaked the Grand Canyon, we all just adopted nudity while bathing because any other policy was going to cause a lot of inconvenience, because of the tiny beaches where we had to camp. When I did the Gauley, in WV, our shuttle driver was the son of a local judge. He had just gotten out of jail on a MJ charge. He warned us - no nudity at the takeout. The takeout is at, and requires a walk through, a trailer park. The previous week, some guy changing out in the open had had several shots fired over his head...

grrickar
06-18-2006, 22:52
I never saw anyone changing in a shelter - I guess they did it fast, got in their bag and did it, or went behind the shelter to do it. I consider the shelter public spaces, so when I stay in there I don't expect any privacy. In the end you are pretty much sleeping shoulder to shoulder listening to the guy next to you snore.

I typically change in a privy or behind the shelter, not so much for my sake but for fear of offending others. If it is raining I guess I would announce what I was doing and try to do it quickly.

I doubt anyone would give you grief one way or another, but I have seen posts where people were offended by someone undressing in a shelter.

glenda
06-20-2006, 15:17
Well. I just asked the males present to please turn backs for a few minutes which they always did and with no objections. (Okay, maybe you will get a few snide remarks...but just ignore.) I even had guys to the same to me. Or, I just got in my sleeping bag and changed undercover. Hope this helps.

Vi+
06-20-2006, 17:48
Privacy without exclusivity.

kap
07-17-2007, 01:59
Ive been hiking in the huts with my father since I was about 8. As an avid athlete I run into this problem alot, I have learned to do the change the shirt without taking off the shirt, and change my underware in my sleeping bag. However sports bras present more of a challenge. Here I impliment a poncho, I throw the poncho on over my head, and use it to protect myslef from unessesary exposure.


Honestly Ive never had a problem, the only akward times were when I was 12 or 13, but really what isnt akward at that age?

aaroniguana
09-19-2007, 17:45
I can see few of you are cavers or have ever been to OTR...

We cave a lot in WV and VA. In winter after you've been underground for 6+ hours and are all sweaty, the last thing you want to do is try to hike two miles back to your car in February. So we just change at the entry point and move on. In the summer and when we're allowed, if we're in a cave with a large lake or stream we all often go for a swim. It may be 100F outside and 68F in the cave, but you still get overheated going up and down chimneys and such.

If anyone takes issue with nudity, either by individuals or group, they just go on and leave us to relax. It's just the human body, we're all pretty much the same...

Jack Tarlin
09-19-2007, 17:48
I think some folks should read the original post in this thread, and also remind themselves of where it was posted.

The original comments were directed at "us ladies," which makes sense. This section is a Female Hiking Forum, and I think men should make a conscious effort to keep out of it.

Just my two cents, but this seems to be happening a lot on the Women's forums, and the comments made by some of the men are often pretty foolish.

And now I'm outta here.

aaroniguana
09-19-2007, 17:54
Usually happens when we look at "Today's Posts" and fail to see the source of the thread. As I often do and did today. Apologies...

dixicritter
09-19-2007, 17:56
Good rule of thumb to remember is if the background of the forum suddenly changes from green to another color you've probably moved into one of the "special" forums.

Jack Tarlin
09-19-2007, 17:56
I didn't mean you! Your post was fine. Some others, tho........ :-?

BumpJumper
09-20-2007, 17:32
I thought I was gona die laughing at the one who asked if you were supposed to change after hiking. I cracked up for 10 minutes.....

I too have wondered what a gal is to do.
I have not been in a shelter yet so I dont know what they consist of. Is there any beams or rafters to hang a fly from or something to create a little dressing room? I dont meant to sound foo foo here...It is a girls forum so I CAN ask....

Tennessee Viking
09-20-2007, 23:52
Privacy at shelters...its the other side of the wall. Usually most hikers are polite to the modest. Turn the head, close their eyes, or step away for a bit. Or if a shelter is privy accessible, change there. Or find a patch of high thick brush. Usually using the sleeping bag for cover or another ask a husband/boyfriend or another female hiker to assist in blocking.

Hiking is not really kind to the modest.

Sorry privacy on the trail is one of the best things to joke about. You will see a lot of people on trail changing clothes, talking to a tree, and laying naked under a waterfall or in a stream to clean off.

But we are all one big HIKING FAMILY.

mindi
09-21-2007, 00:34
The few times I didn't sleep in my tent, I changed in the privy if there was one (then I could freshen up with the baby wipes too), or in my sleeping bag. Lots of women change in the shelters, everyone will generally turn around until you're done. I've never seen anyone have a problem.

Smile
09-21-2007, 11:16
No worries.

99.9 of the guys are respectful, the other few don't last long out there amongst the 'hiking family', news travels fast.

The Weasel
09-21-2007, 11:38
No worries.

99.9 of the guys are respectful, the other few don't last long out there amongst the 'hiking family', news travels fast.

I've been in a lot of shelters when a woman (or others, including youth) need a moment of privacy, and I've never seen a man who, when asked for privacy, didn't willingly give it. If there are such, they never will disagree as long as other men are there who are gracious, and I've never seen a shelter where that didn't happen. Just ask, "Would you mind giving me a moment to change?" and it will happen.

As for the 1/10 of a percent, the rest of us keep them from causing the problem, unless no one else is there but the jerk. And if you're alone with someone like that, it's a good time to repack and start walking down the trail. Doubt it will happen, though. Just mention it at the next shelter if it does, but, as I say, that's going to be very, very rare.

The Weasel

Pringles
09-21-2007, 11:57
I've changed in my sleeping bag a couple of times.

I can remember two instances when guys asked for a bit of privacy, and I turned away. I must say, I wished they had said, "OK," or "thanks" or something when they were done. I was still staring at the shelter wall when I started hearing one cooking something, that's when I felt I could go back to doing my own chores.

Privacy on the trail isn't exactly the same as we're used to at home, where we can close our bedroom doors. But there is "trail privacy," and it works pretty well.

Beth

Smile
09-21-2007, 12:11
Weasel's said it well.

I was in a shelter once with several other women, about 14 hikers total. There was one guy who was making rude/sexist comments to the men, not being respectful and generally putting every one at ill ease. Five or six of the men got on him and told him to shut up or leave, he left. It was nice to see that sort of thing happen, and put the ladies there more at ease.

The guys out there are not just hikers, but husbands, fathers, brothers and for the most part I've found they are willing to offer a fine example of modern day chivalry given the chance.

On trail, you start to not 'worry' about things like changing, it just happens.

The Weasel
09-21-2007, 14:04
Weasel's said it well.

I was in a shelter once with several other women, about 14 hikers total. There was one guy who was making rude/sexist comments to the men, not being respectful and generally putting every one at ill ease. Five or six of the men got on him and told him to shut up or leave, he left. It was nice to see that sort of thing happen, and put the ladies there more at ease.

The guys out there are not just hikers, but husbands, fathers, brothers and for the most part I've found they are willing to offer a fine example of modern day chivalry given the chance.

On trail, you start to not 'worry' about things like changing, it just happens.

To perhaps provide a bit of reassurance to women who haven't done the AT, I not only second what Smile just wrote, but add this perspective:

I've seen other "men" told off like that and, once, encouraged to leave (and did). I don't think people can understand the level of ostracism that can happen to someone like that: Women don't want to hike with/shelter with men present like that, and the word gets out fast. Men don't, either, because most of us - good point, Smile, that we're husbands, dads, brothers - not only aren't like that, but don't have much use for "men" who are. That means that hiker is now one pretty lonely cowbow, and without 'trail friends' you just can't last long on the AT. So boorish behavior of most types by guys ends up like that, ladies.

TW

BumpJumper
09-21-2007, 14:54
I am glad to hear that there are men still in the world that look out for the ladies.

Though I am an ex cop of 10 years, feel I can hold my own (as I have had to do oh.....so many times in 10 years) when wearing a gun, badge, cuffs, PR24, etc.....you feel a little "naked" in the woods with some ole prevert, (I know it is pervert, but I like prevert cause most of them havent amounted to a full pervert yet) butt munch, sassing off about nonsense.

Thanks to all the men of the AT who dont mind keeping an ear, eye and boot up the butt of a butt munch, for us ladies out there...:sun

mustang
09-21-2007, 15:01
During my thru-hike, I think I had maybe one or two nights in a shelter without any men around. But, I honestly never thought about the changing issue-I just changed in my sleeping bag, or asked people to turn around...it was what everyone around me did, too- men and women. It was maybe something I was worried about before I hiked, but was never an issue when I was out there.

The Weasel
09-21-2007, 15:03
Well, that's a nice thing to say, Bump. But actually, I think it's more of a 'hikers look out for each other' thing rather than a buch of Wally Raleighs being full of chivalry. Someone acts out of line and it gets mentioned a lot, regardless of sex.

But it's a good place to be. Not to worry. Just do what Baden-Powell said to do.

The Weasel

Free Spirit
02-20-2009, 14:41
Don't be afraid to ask someone to turn their head. I've had guys ask so they could change underware! If the shelter is crowded, I usually change behind the shelter. I've run into shelters where the privy had no door. Then we all agreed to use a bandana tied to a tree at the beginning of the privy trail to indicate "occupied"! Panties aren't too hard to swap under the sleeping bag, however, a wet sports bra is impossible. I usually just face an unoccupied corner and quickly change it.
So I've been reading this post mostly out of curiosity, and I just felt like "What?" the whole time. It just was never an issue on my whole hike. I turned away from other hikers, took off my shirt, put my new shirt on, then took off my bra under my shirt. Then I realized! I wore a regular bra, not a sports bra, the whole time. I found sports bras to be uncomfortable while backpacking.. it worked for me. As far as the other half goes, I wore a skirt for hiking, and I know some of you would never do this but it made getting changed very easy AND also cleanliness.

mindi
02-21-2009, 22:36
I never, ever had a problem with this. Every male hiker I was around turned around and they were all very polite about it. Not really an issue.

Dancer
02-26-2009, 09:25
The last time this was an issue, my hiking partners and I had pulled into the shelter and it was getting cold fast. I quickly offered to one guy to walk out of the shelter if he wanted privacy to change. He said no thanks....then it hit him....I was offering to do what I wanted him to do. He suddenly needed to do something outside the shelter.

Lillianp
03-01-2009, 13:52
As I haven't slept in a shelter w/guys around yet, I don't have that experience, but hiking does tend to reduce your need for modesty, especially when it's cold and windy and you're sweaty-getting into drier clothes takes precedence over modesty. I would assume that when I run into this situation I will either change in my sleeping bag or I will ask the men to turn away.

Hikes in Rain
03-01-2009, 16:50
You most likely wouldn't have to ask. Can't count the times I've suddenly found something urgent that needed doing. "Nudity is often seen but seldom looked at" or something like that. Robert Heinlein quoting an ancient Japanese saying, I think.