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  1. #1
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    Default washcloth towel dilemma

    Since day one when I started to backpack 35 years ago, I carried a bandana. I was told it is used for 1000 things, Weird thing is I hardly ever use it. I now have bought a buff and love it as a piece of clothing, but it doesn't do a 1000 things either. The Buff will also melt if it touches something very hot. The main thing I used my bandana for was washing but it did a horrible job cleaning of the dirt and did an even worse job drying me off. Needless to say I have ditched the bandana. Now comes my dilemma, I have tried a few light weight towels and they all kinda suck too. I have tried Zpacks light load towel, clorox reusable hand wipes, MSR Nano light towel, sham wow, car drying towels from wally world and the original Packtowel. They all where weird in some way or another. On the last trip I took I just brought a normal cotton washcloth and loved it. I could wring it out and it was no wetter than any of those fast drying super light towels. I don't need a towel for kitchen duties because I do the freezer bag thing. The washcloth i brough was just for cleaning my body. Does anyone see a problem of ditching the bandana and replacing it with a washcloth and a Buff? Weight is minimal.

  2. #2
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    If it works for you, go for it. It's not like a washcloth is mission critical, nor will a wet cotton washcloth kill you in the winter.

    On our last hike I brought a small pack towel, maybe 12x12 inches, and used it as my only towel when taking a shower at a forest service campground. I was surprised at how well it worked. A washcloth would probably do as well.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  3. #3

    Default

    I use bandanas for just under 1,000 things myself, so I would not part with it easily. I have tried the Buffs as a headband and found them lacking in their ability to disperse moisture (even on low dew point days) at a rate that keeps up with or gets ahead of the moisture I create. Though that may be a personal comfort issue, for me it's a pretty big deal so I will typically carry two of them.

    Other things I have used bandana for include;

    Hot pot/beverage holder (buffs shrivel up and towels are a bit bulky)
    Bandage for a gash that small time first aid materials can't manage well
    Wet down and use it to cool my head on very hot days (especially useful in the desert)
    Use as a head scarf to cover the hair
    Use as mending material when garments are torn or require a patch
    Holding down hats to my head in high winds
    Treading through handles of water containers to carry several to/from water sources
    Cleaning rag for dishes
    Wash cloth for the body
    Makeshift sack for berries or other mast snacks
    Quieting down things that may like to rattle, clang, or squeak
    Makeshift gloves to protect the palms of my hands during steep descents on rock faces
    Makeshift gloves when temperatures drop
    Performing macro filtering of leaves and other flotsam from water before secondary filtration
    I have seen them used to hold tea or coffee for brewing (I've not done that myself due to staining)
    Secure splints on broken bones (I've not used them this way but have seen it done)
    As an accessory to my hiking wardrobe as a neck piece for that rakish, devil-may-care, John Wayne look

    Writing out these uses I came to realize the bandanas I have are probably one of the most often used and certainly one of the most versatile bit of gear I carry. As your post pointed out, their weight is minimal and for what they provide I doubt I would go far without them. If you prefer the Buff and the washcloth, given that weight is also next to nothing, I see no reason not to carry them as well.

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Default

    Carry what works for YOU. Don't worry about what others think. There is no normal in hiking.

  5. #5

    Default

    A microfiber cloth works fine for me..........

  6. #6
    Garlic
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    I think a small non-lethal scrap of cotton is a good thing to have, in whatever shape it takes. On a recent two-week hike I flouted my UL rules and tried taking both my bandanna and a microfiber cloth--oh, the humanity. It turns out I never once touched the microfiber, and used the bandanna daily. If it came down to a first aid use, I'd rather have the bandanna, too.

    One additional thing I use my "PCT Class of 2004" bandanna for is hitching. It conveniently has "HIKER TO TOWN" printed on one edge and "HIKER TO TRAIL" printed on the other.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I use a small washcloth that I tie to my pack with a 1 foot length of string, that works well for wiping my face on hot days.

  8. #8

    Default

    Shemagh.

    http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Shemag.../dp/B004B8E3E6

    Not a very popular look, but it does 1,001 things (and does them very well.)

  9. #9
    Registered User Walkintom's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a good solution. HYOH.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by g00gle View Post
    Shemagh.

    http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Shemag.../dp/B004B8E3E6

    Not a very popular look, but it does 1,001 things (and does them very well.)
    I've been thinking of getting a shemagh during colder weather. Tired of stretching out my wool buffs on my neck and pulling over my fat head lol

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  11. #11
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    I use a McNett microfiber washcloth, and then I added a Light Load towel to my first aid kit. The washcloth feels like the real thing, and it get decently dry (but not completely) overnight.

  12. #12
    Registered User
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    Hey vegan I'll have to check out the Mcnett washcloth I hadn't see that before


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  13. #13
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    Tomorrow I'm going out for a 4 day trip in the UP of MI. I'm packing a Buff this time instead of my micro fiber pack "towel" (about the size of a wash cloth really). I'll let you know how it works out.

  14. #14
    Clueless Weekender
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    I carry a bandana AND a piece of Sham-Wow. But nobody ever said I'm an ultralighter. Nobody's asking you to carry my gear.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    I carry a bandana AND a piece of Sham-Wow. But nobody ever said I'm an ultralighter. Nobody's asking you to carry my gear.
    If you were an uber-ultra-lighter I would guess the Sham-Wow is used as underwear replacement in a retro bold Tarzan style fashion statement

    I know, it will take me a few days to clear that mental image stain too, my apologies but I had to swing at that one.

  16. #16

    Default

    A fleece glove:
    Dollar store grade........... for washing. Soaps up quick, rinses quick, dries hanging anywhere quick. Light as air, takes up minimal space for what it does. Will also work for drying off.

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