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Toilet Paper Free Expeditions
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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
TP Free Hiking on 07/23/2006 16:44:28 MDT Print View

How about a small pump spray bottle. I have some Deet that came in a 2 ounce pump bottle. You could also use a small Bulb syringe.

Nick Shepherd
(ropeman) - F
Another way? on 04/06/2007 21:18:20 MDT Print View

One thing that may differ from the 'wipe all you troubles away' paradigm is to use a dab of vaseline applied pre-emptively. Helps exegis of yesterdays dinner without leaving a trace. A quick brush with some grass (not always necessary if you've had enough fibre) and you're ready to hit the trail.

Cuts down on chafing too.

Don't forget to wash the hands though, even if you haven't wiped, you've still applied the vaseline.

Love the drawings Mike.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
backcountry bidet on 04/12/2007 19:04:54 MDT Print View

We saw a great "Demo" of the backcountry Bidet on the recent NOLS/BPL/GoLite seminar and training. I know Ryan J. is heading into the field right now, but I think he got a recording of it.

It basically uses a water bottle and one's hand and then thorough washing and disinfecting. Becoming more and more popular from what I hear. I still need to try it out myself.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Well....... on 04/16/2007 13:30:55 MDT Print View

Where I live, almost every thing growing has stickers or thorns. I'm not that tough.

Christopher Williams
(clwilla) - F

Locale: The Bluegrass
Some good ideas and some bad on 07/22/2008 11:40:07 MDT Print View

Whatever you, NEVER, EVER use Spanish Moss in Florida (or most of the Southeast for that matter), as it's the #1 favorite home for chiggers. And chiggers in my bum would not be cool at all.

Snow would be okay, but those in the Southeast don't get enough of it to use the snow method all that often. I realize that Mike is stationed in the Rockies, but it would be nice to have seen some plants that can be used by us Easterners. Any ideas that won't leave one with a wicked rash?

River rocks are a cool idea. There are plenty of those everywhere. But pick them up along the trail? That seems to be against the entire idea of UL backpacking. After just a small handful of rocks, you will have added a couple of pounds, if not more, to you pants.

Michael Wands
(walksoftly) - F

Locale: Piney Woods
Some good ideas and some bad on 07/22/2008 11:56:10 MDT Print View

C'mon. TP doesn't weigh very much and has multiple uses on the trail. I use paper towels cut in 4 pieces. Doesn't get all soggy when wet.

Used to carry a trowel. Then I found that an Armadillo can dig a much better hole than I ever could. So now I carry an Armadillo.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Some good ideas and some bad on 07/22/2008 16:07:55 MDT Print View

I've been going without TP for a few years now- desert, alpine...whatever, I've yet to come across a situation where I couldn't get the job done- grass, leaves, rocks, snow, sticks- it does help some to wipe with something, but worst case scenario you simply just wash (always one clean hand, one dirty hand) and sanitize.

Quite liberating to do it enough to never have to think about how you'll crap in the woods.

I refuse to carry around a bag of my own used poo-paper; I think it's totally strange given how easy it is to go without.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Toilet Paper Free Expeditions on 11/28/2008 09:46:10 MST Print View

Right on Craig!

You summed up that long-winded article in three sentences!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Toilet Paper Free Expeditions on 11/28/2008 10:39:05 MST Print View

The "Toilet Paper Free Expeditions" article you did was one of the best here; it should definitely be included in BPL classics.

I truly believe going TP free should be a prerequisite to true mountain(wo)man status. I don't understand why this isn't the first thing anyone traveling outdoors learns to do.

Thanks for your great work...

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Toilet Paper Free Expeditions on 11/28/2008 10:50:51 MST Print View


Edited by greg23 on 11/28/2008 10:51:36 MST.

Sharon Bingham
(lithandriel) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
TP liberation for women? on 12/16/2008 16:18:03 MST Print View

I noticed no women (or at least no-one with a name that seemed to belong to a female) have commented on going TP free in the wilderness...

Obviously the mechanics of poo-wiping apply equally to us...

I was curious, though, if there are any women who think it's do-able - since absorbency of the wiping material seems more critical if you're trying to wipe pee...

Maybe just a water rinse since it would dry quickly?

Anyone have other ideas?

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
Re: TP liberation for women? on 12/16/2008 18:16:36 MST Print View

Is it just me or are there multiple anti-TP threads floating around the forum right now? Anyway, an in-depth response:

1. Absorbency issues: Unless you're lucky enough to be using a soft, downy plant like wooly lambs ear... you'll find that leaves work, but obviously are not incredibly absorbent. Dead leaves and moss are both somewhat crumbly, which can be not the cleanest feeling. But they get the job done in a pinch.

2. you can drip dry... which I'm always too impatient to do.

3. you can do what some female hikers do and carry a "pee-rag" - a hank of bandanna pinned to the outside of your pack used solely for wiping - I haven't tried it but some swear by it. Apparently you drip dry/ then dab, and what little pee is on the rag dries out fairly quickly. Then you wash it at your leisure. Well-hydrated pee has very little odor....

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: TP liberation for women? on 12/16/2008 18:59:12 MST Print View

I'm a little apprehensive to address this topic, mainly because I’m not equipped with the proper plumbing being discussed, but I have/am raised/raising 4 daughters and I have had to deal with this issue at home or in the backcountry.
When the girls have tried drip drying, after a day or two those in my family have developed a yeast or the like infection, making for an unpleasant time had by all those involved/informed.
My question is, does rinsing with water solve this problem or is TP the best option? With 5 females in the house this sort of topic surfaces regularly.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
the glorious pee rag! on 12/16/2008 21:02:02 MST Print View


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: TP liberation for women? on 12/16/2008 21:44:32 MST Print View

Hi Tad

Rinsing with water DOES help females, quite emphatically.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Toilet Paper Free Expeditions? Pooey! on 12/17/2008 05:19:17 MST Print View

OK, this will be rather frank, coming from a woman who's been backpacking or otherwise getting into the outdoors for 66 years.

Some of us have hemorrhoids (varicose veins of the rectum). They are a common complication for us women who have given birth to several children. I dare anyone to try rocks, leaves or grass on those! They make that area a lot harder to clean and also make it more important to get that area thoroughly clean to prevent further irritation.

In addition, due to a knee injury 20 years ago, I can't squat down completely, which means there's more waste left on me to clean up.

I've had no problems with infections after urinating, but I do use a moist towelette at least once a day to clean the entire perineal region (wiping front to back). I noticed long ago that female horses after peeing stayed in the position, straining and then relaxing several times to get rid of drops of urine. It seems to work for me.

The Turkish method (a narrow hose connected to a water tap for washing off the nether regions) worked fine for me while using toilets in Turkey. When I try to imitate it out in the wilds with a squirt bottle, the water runs down my legs into my pants and shoes. Forget it!

I carry TP (actually, sections of paper towels) and moist towelettes. The used ones go into my garbage and are packed out. Perhaps not the greatest solution, but the only one that works for me.

Sharon Bingham
(lithandriel) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Female perspective: Toilet Paper Free Expeditions on 01/16/2009 13:47:00 MST Print View

So since I posted my initial question, I've had the opportunity to use, what I think, is THE most liberating invention to hit woman-kind since the... the... well - ever?

Devices which allow you to urinate standing up. Freshette is the kind I used, but there are many versions out there.

I actually found that the funnel catches most excess moisture as you pull it away from your body once you're done, and that cleanup in the evening was pretty much all that was necessary for me.

Never thought to try the bandana idea, but I may if I am in a situation where my clothing isn't as breathable. It's mostly a psychological protest - since urine (or so I've read) is actually sterile when it leaves the body...

But for any woman who hasn't tried a female urinary assistance device: really, you DON'T know what you're missing.

Some of the newer designs are even made of a single molded piece, in a material that is antimicrobial, anti-fungal, AND hydrophobic (sheds fluid).

I never leave home without one nearby - also great for road trips!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Toilet Paper Free Expeditions? Pooey! on 01/16/2009 14:02:21 MST Print View

Not sure why I didn't comment back then - having read the article.

In regards to getting bad infections: yes, you can, and yes, they are god awful to get in the back country.

If as a female you get yeast or bladder infections, toilet paper is your friend.

A roll of TP weighs an ounce or so after you take the core out. I never go TP less. The risk of a UTI just is not worth it. Men rarely get UTI's (and if they do, it is a BAD thing) so I think often that many men just don't realize how debilitating one can be. Urine crystals are nasty in some women.

As for the pee rag? Yuck-o.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Leaves for TP: Un-Environmental? on 04/30/2010 17:12:12 MDT Print View

Isn't it, um, un-environmental to rip up grass or tear the leaves off a bush? If these practices were widely adopted, wouldn't that cause environmental damage, particularly above tree line or in arid areas?


Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Jokingly, on 04/30/2010 17:28:37 MDT Print View

Going to the dark side, quite literally.