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  1. #1
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    Default TP &/or Wipes Question

    With so many real good, important questions to be asked, I thought I would have a simple, yet perplexing question for a thru... having done only moderate Section Hikes of a week+, I've never carried more than a partial role & a few wipes. I really like wipes, for so many uses, but they are a bit heavy for the obvious reason. So if you carry a full load of wipes & a full role of TP, you are adding bulk & weight. What is the norm? How much should you carry? I know it's not a luxury, but with frequent towns, hostels, etc., what do you all do? I did hear of one guy who went sans TP, and only carried Wipes ( Huggies, One & Done, I believe)... that actually sounds doable?

    Thanks.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  2. #2
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    As a male, on EVERY LD hike I've done I've NEVER carried TP or wipes. No absolute need. Smooth sticks/stones, leaves, handful of moss/ferns/grass, etc is fine. Dampened bandanna for wiping down the grime and sweat off face and non genital/private area works just fine.

    Judgmental this is but I find hiking creates the opportunity to push beyond normal comfort zones. This is actually freeing not depriving oneself.

  3. #3
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Here's another possibility for those more squeamish than Dogwood: use rocks/sticks/non-spiny cones/snow (snow is highly recommended) for the first few wipes. Then use one piece of TP to clean up a the end (pun intended).

    Whatever you do, don't put wipes into your cat hole or the composting privies. Those things will never break down.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    As a male, on EVERY LD hike I've done I've NEVER carried TP or wipes. No absolute need. Smooth sticks/stones, leaves, handful of moss/ferns/grass, etc is fine. Dampened bandanna for wiping down the grime and sweat off face and non genital/private area works just fine.

    Judgmental this is but I find hiking creates the opportunity to push beyond normal comfort zones. This is actually freeing not depriving oneself.
    rabbits work pretty well too...hard to catch though, but they fight less than ground hogs.

  5. #5
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    Some types of pine comes work well to wipe IF you wipe in the right direction. I can sense the women grimmacing.....eewww.

  6. #6

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    If you are interested in "leaving no trace", either TP or wipes should be put in a plastic bag and carried to the closest trash can. And Do Not leave wipes in a shelter privy. A trail maintainer once told me they had to fish out all wipes from the shelter prives.

  7. #7
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    Default Squirt bottle & a "special bandana"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    As a male, on EVERY LD hike I've done I've NEVER carried TP or wipes. No absolute need. Smooth sticks/stones, leaves, handful of moss/ferns/grass, etc is fine. Dampened bandanna for wiping down the grime and sweat off face and non genital/private area works just fine.

    Judgmental this is but I find hiking creates the opportunity to push beyond normal comfort zones. This is actually freeing not depriving oneself.
    Speaking as a woman, when I had my children the hospital issued me a small squirt bottle, something akin to the smart water bottles. If you fill that up with water, and DON'T TOUCH IT TO YOURSELF, but squirt with enough pressure you can clean up any mess going on and refresh the whole place, rinsing away sweat and other grime too. Then just dry off with a bandana reserved for that purpose only. Very light weight, very LNT and easy, if and when water is plentiful.

    Also, not so much risk of wiping a tick on to your body and any other animal excrement.
    " Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. "

  8. #8
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    In winter, snow works quite well for both wiping and cleansing. Too bad it's not around year round.

  9. #9
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    TP and some wipes. I don't do wipes only anymore because frankly, humans were made for a dry wipe at least initially. I don't make the rules, just point them out. As for sticks, stones, and pinecones...see my last point. As you say, TP is not a luxury.

  10. #10
    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    IMO TP is OK but the wipes are not needed.They do not degrade like TP and I'm finding more of them used , just tossed into a fire pit and some left on the ground next to shelters.If you can't stand being a bit sweaty for a while maybe you should stick to day hikes...
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

  11. #11
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    .............
    Last edited by Lyle; 12-31-2015 at 09:25.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by burger View Post
    Here's another possibility for those more squeamish than Dogwood: use rocks/sticks/non-spiny cones/snow (snow is highly recommended) for the first few wipes. Then use one piece of TP to clean up a the end (pun intended).

    Whatever you do, don't put wipes into your cat hole or the composting privies. Those things will never break down.
    Precisely what I do.
    Natural materials for the bulk of work
    tiny tiny bit of TP for final polishing

    My standard TP carry for a week is 1/2 oz., and theres been few times Ive used it all.

    Yes, wipes are verbotten unless you pack them out, and who wants to do that???

  13. #13
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    Default

    I've heard of some thrus drying out their baby wipes, then wetting them as needed. I tried it on a couple section hikes. Just be sure to pack it out & not bury it.

    Coleman makes a biodegradeable wipe- I have some but never tried to see how long it would take to decompose. Better to pack it out too.

    As for wiping with sticks, rocks, moss...uh-uh. Nope. Trust and believe, I'd lose my extra socks, bandana, and sleeping clothes before I'd go that route. There's only so much nature I want getting around my girly-parts...
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep."

  14. #14
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    Sometimes, like this one I surprise myself at my own naïveté. I did not know that wipes were verboten in privys, but since I do now ( and it makes sense) I just won't take them. That solves that. As for the Cleaner's thought of doing day hikes if you don't want to be sweaty, I'll let that pass, and assume he did not really intend to insult all day hikers. Personally, I love being sweaty.

    I may not be able to go the sticks & smooth rocks method, but I always appreciate the varied answers to my questions. Please remember, and take it all in stride that some of us genuinely don't know everything, thus the reason for the question.

    Thanks. In the end I believe this is something that'll figure out very quickly.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  15. #15
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    One thing I've noticed is that the most of the extreme LNT types who claim to use pine cones or at most one sheet of TP and NEVER a wet-wipe tend to be extremely thin youngsters with zero body hair. I'd just like to point out that we all don't enjoy a completely hairless body with a big gap between our thighs that lends itself to such minimal hygiene. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that there walk among us those who would probably require airlift rescue due to terminal monkey butt if we attempted such nonsense.

    So if you happen to be one of those unfortunates who can't survive weeks without a shower on one sheet of TP a day, relax. There are plenty of skinny youngsters out there pretending to use one sheet a day to allow you to use three and a wet wipe without guilt.

    As for the wet-wipes-in-the-privy problem, if fishing them out of the compost really bothered the trail maintainers (assuming anyone actually does it -- I've never noticed any evidence of it), they could solve that problem by simply providing a plastic bucket with a lid to put them in. And this would simultaneously solve the tampon-in-the-privy problem.

  16. #16
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    I think it would depend on the wipe. There are bio-degradable ones out there.

  17. #17
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison Bergeron View Post
    As for the wet-wipes-in-the-privy problem, if fishing them out of the compost really bothered the trail maintainers (assuming anyone actually does it -- I've never noticed any evidence of it), they could solve that problem by simply providing a plastic bucket with a lid to put them in. And this would simultaneously solve the tampon-in-the-privy problem.
    You know what would also be great? If every time I showed up at a shelter, there was a steward there to hand me a cold beer and take my order for dinner. Massages would be nice, too.

    Harrison, it's a hiking trail, not a hotel. Pack out anything non-biodegradable that you hike in. If you find the services provided inadequate, then stay out of the woods.

  18. #18
    Registered User OldGringo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lnj View Post
    Speaking as a woman, when I had my children the hospital issued me a small squirt bottle, something akin to the smart water bottles. If you fill that up with water, and DON'T TOUCH IT TO YOURSELF, but squirt with enough pressure you can clean up any mess going on and refresh the whole place, rinsing away sweat and other grime too. Then just dry off with a bandana reserved for that purpose only. Very light weight, very LNT and easy, if and when water is plentiful.

    Also, not so much risk of wiping a tick on to your body and any other animal excrement.
    I'm with Lnj, a portable Bidet is the easiest most sanitary thing to carry. Of course your water usage goes up a bit but I think it's worth it...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  19. #19

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    Guess I'm in the opposite camp from most. I haven't carried TP in years, but won't go anywhere without wipes. They clean much better than TP, so a single wipe goes further. I can use it to clean my face and body, making it multi-purpose. A freezer bag ziplock makes packing them out clean and sanitary. Sometimes I let a stack airdry for a week or so, for lighter weight, and dehydrate them with a little water.

    Yes, they're heavier than TP....but for me, being happy, clean, and comfortable, with no monkey butt is worth a couple extra ounces.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

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  20. #20

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    Though many manufacturers make what they claim are "biodegradable" wipes, their claims tend to be exaggerated, or the definitions are altered to fit a product that may breakdown over several decades instead of days. This is a huge issue in sanitary sewer systems, costing a significant amount of money and labor to unclog pumps, remove deposits in pipes, and maintain treatment facilities where wipes tend to get caught or build up. Wipes can destroy septic systems by floating out of the septic tanks into the leech field and preventing or greatly slowing percolation.

    Basically, the definition of biodegradable for sanitary waste (which applies to hiking use) breaks down into two groups, dispersible and non dispersible. Dispersible requires the material to disperse in water within 20 minutes of emersion with minor water movement (think a jug of water half filled being tipped slowly side to side). TP for example will break down fairly rapidly, however kleenex requires three times longer to break down than TP, surprisingly. Suffice to say, most anything made from natural fibers will be biodegradable, even if it takes a year to break down. Things made from man-made fibers will not break down unless they are chemically treated, which also leeches into the ground around the product during this process, which can take many years to complete.

    There is a lot of science and engineering behind all this. INDA - the Association of Non-Woven Fabrics Manufacturers is currently involved with product testing to assess claims of biodegradable (so far its the coatings on the wipes that are, not the wipes themselves by definition) and avoid regulatory actions on behalf of septic system and sanitary sewer owners. Independent testing by sewerage agencies around the US have not yet found any non-woven materials to be dispersible at this point.

    Bottom line remains, if you need to use wipes, please haul them out. The treated material has an attractive aroma to it and virtually guarantees it will be dug up by small animals. It's difficult to burn (baby wipes are made in part from kevlar manufacturing byproduct), and inhibits the ability of outhouses to compost waste effectively and efficiently.

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