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Hands free washing system
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Beau Beveridge
(Roadtorque) - F
Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 11:07:07 MDT Print View

After reading a thread on hand washing I figured I would ask a question. I typically use soap to wash up after using the restroom and/or before cooking. One of the big draw backs to soap vs. hand sanitizer for me is trying to get water in my hands to either lather up or rinse off without getting germs/soap all over the water container. Do any of you have a trick you can share? I saw on Jason Klass's site a hands free idea but it seemed like a lot of work if your on the move.

I usually use a 100oz camelback for water. My technique to this point is usually get a mouthful of water and spit it onto my hands. If I have bottles they usually have some type of flavored drink in it. Anyway, just looking for suggestions.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 12:05:21 MDT Print View

Can't picture any "hands free" method of washing hands... perhaps you mean "water free"?

Why not just carry a small (half ounce) bottle of Purell to sanitize your hands when needed? And at a water source, give your hands a good wash (w/o soap) -- and then sanitize with a few drops of Purell afterward?

Beau Beveridge
(Roadtorque) - F
Re: No I mean hands free not water free on 09/06/2010 12:52:46 MDT Print View

I guess I meant hands free in terms of not having to touch your bottle & lid / camelback mouth piece with your contaminated/soapy hands in order to get water flowing. I do use hand sanitizer quite often but wash with soap before meals and after restroom breaks. So this is what I'm looking for suggestions on.

Edited by Roadtorque on 09/06/2010 12:53:19 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: No I mean hands free not water free on 09/06/2010 12:56:44 MDT Print View

Oh, I see...

I smear my bite valve with Purell too -- from time to time -- whenever I feel the need. But this is, of course, totally unscientific. I know of no truly "hands free" hydration system -- but would love to hear from other hikers too.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 13:11:52 MDT Print View

I seriously think people are getting overly worried about this stuff.

Follow me for a second:

What is the fundamental difference between crapping at home or in the woods? A toilet, a roll of TP, a sink, and soap right next to you. So replace that with a cathole, TP or natural stuff, a water container, and soap next to you...
Same thing! The only difference is holding a container to pour water instead of touching a sink knob.

Do you panic at home because the hands that touched your wee wee and then washed also touched your sink knob?

I sometimes think I might be cleaner in the woods because I don't use TP and I wash my bum with water...
At home it's just TP followed by handwashing. Much of the world thinks we're barabarians because we don't wash with water after.

Think about it. If you got crap in your armpit, would you just wipe it with TP and call it good? NO! That would be gross!!! You'd wash!!!

While wiping at home would you get crap on your hand then grab the soap bottle and sink handle with that same hand? I hope not- or I'm not coming for dinner!!! You'd use the clean hand for the soap and sink, right?

Just like backpacking!!!...only the clean hand holds a water container instead of turning on a sink.

Uh oh! The other CONUNDRUM...So how does the dirty hand wash itself?

The same way you do it at home!!! The clean hand touches the soap, pours some on, turns on the water for it, and then helps scrub and rinse. At this point do we have to fear the clean hand touching the sink for a final rinse? I hope not, otherwise I think we're getting into extreme germ paranoia. I don't know anyone that gets paranoid about this at home.

Do you use Purell to sterilize your hands and spit water them to minimize contact and worry about touching things after washing your bum with nothing but soap in the shower?

Why does simple soap and water work so well at home and yet as soon as we step in the woods it's no longer good enough and we're hyper-concerned about spreading pathogens all over ourselves?

Wash your hands after wee wee, use soap and water, don't touch stuff with a poo poo hand, and use a little common sense folks...Just like at home...I hope.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: Re: Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 14:08:59 MDT Print View

Tee Hee Craig said wee wee. Thanks for a completely logical post. Off to go wash my hands.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 14:29:38 MDT Print View

The difference is that at home we have plenty of running water, which comes freely out of a tap already treated. The soapy water goes down the drain and ends up being treated in a sewage plant. We can wash our hands as often and as thoroughly as we like, using plenty of water.

On the trail we have to pour water out of the same water bottle we drink from, which we've had to purify ourselves and which we may have carried quite a few miles. There is often not an unlimited supply, so we need to use the water we have for drinking, to prevent dehydration. We also have to be extremely careful how we use soap, which, if it gets washed into a water source (in a big rain or next spring's snow melt), can be deadly to aquatic life.

That's why I use hand sanitizer when out backpacking.

Beau Beveridge
(Roadtorque) - F
Re: Re: Re: Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 15:00:20 MDT Print View

Craig, I'm not overly worried. It's simply not the same process you use at home. Using your example of touching a sink knob with dirty hands then clean hands is different than touching your mouth piece with dirty hands then putting the mouth piece in your mouth. Would you touch the sink knob with dirty hands and then suck on the knob?

To be honest, my big problem is after getting my hands wet and lathering with soap. Getting soap all over the bottle/camelback mouth piece as I'm trying to rinse is annoying.

This really isn't a debate over soap vs. hand sanitizer. I use both but am looking for a bit of help on the soap issue.

Edited by Roadtorque on 09/06/2010 15:01:05 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 17:37:13 MDT Print View

The solution is extremely simple. Have a partner drop the sop in your hand and provide the water flow. Lather, drop soap in small plas bag, rinse, dry. So easy.
Ah well - harder if you are solo I guess.


john chong
(johnch) - F
Jason Klass's hands free water for camp on 09/06/2010 17:52:34 MDT Print View

I remember seeing this awhile back.

definitely used during camp, and not on trail, unless you want to set it up

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Hands free washing system on 09/06/2010 18:14:54 MDT Print View


OP wrote, "I guess I meant hands free in terms of not having to touch your bottle & lid / camelback mouth piece with your contaminated/soapy hands in order to get water flowing."

OP is talking about a truly hands free hydration system -- not about washing one's bottom! :)

Edited by ben2world on 09/06/2010 18:32:27 MDT.

Jeffrey Kuchera

Locale: Great Lakes
RE: Hand Washing. on 09/06/2010 18:40:10 MDT Print View

The hardest of the hard core gram weenies will probably get the hammer and nails but here goes....
I actually carry an extra piece of gear to facilitate backcountry hygiene. Drumroll please......................
a nylon collapsible doggy drinking bowl. I picked up this trick about six years ago on the AT from a crazy lighweighter from Long Island, New York. The guy schooled me pretty well on alll things lightweight. I don't have my scale and dog bowl handy but it is pretty light. You take the bowl pour some water in, dip your hands, soap up, rinse your hands, and scatter grey water well away from the no no areas like springs and streams. The doggy bowl when coupled with a doo rag and some Dr.Bronner's also makes a sponge bath into an easy undertaking.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Zip Lock Bowl on 09/06/2010 19:03:13 MDT Print View

The sink / bowl is a simple solution. A lighter alternative to a doggie bowl is a plastic ZipLock bowl, weighs about half an ounce.

Jeffrey Kuchera

Locale: Great Lakes
RE Ziploc on 09/06/2010 19:26:49 MDT Print View

Nice suggestion on the ziploc bowl. Definitely lighter than the doggy bowl but I don't think I can fit my hands in the ziploc bowl to wash them. I really prefer the size of the nylon doggy bowls and they are fairly light in the scheme of things. What size ziploc bowl are you using Kristin? I am always interested in shaving some weight so if I can fit my hands in the 1/2 oz ziploc bowl bye bye doggy bowl it is. Peace and Trail Grease.

Edited by frankenfeet on 09/06/2010 19:36:46 MDT.

Will Webster
Re: RE Ziploc on 09/06/2010 19:46:38 MDT Print View

Glad Stand & Zip bags are just the thing. I prefer to hike with my wife though; she's multipurpose.

Edited by WillWeb on 09/06/2010 19:49:08 MDT.

Jeffrey Kuchera

Locale: Great Lakes
RE Stand Ups on 09/06/2010 19:50:53 MDT Print View

Nice suggestion Will I shall try them out and see if the stand up ziploc bags work for me.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Sizes on 09/06/2010 22:17:31 MDT Print View

ZipLock bowls come in many different sizes: half cup, one cup, two cup, three cup, four cup. Currently I'm using the 3 cup (24 fl. oz) for a sink. That's the one that weighs in at about half an ounce.

Beau Beveridge
(Roadtorque) - F
Great idea on 09/06/2010 23:29:04 MDT Print View

Thanks for the suggestion on the doggy bowl and the ziplock. Both seem like easy ways to complete the job at hand. These are exactly the type of ideas I'm looking for.

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
hands free washing system on 09/07/2010 06:10:13 MDT Print View

I use a one gallon ziploc freezer bag for washing my hands, socks, bandanas, whatever

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: hands free washing system on 09/07/2010 12:05:52 MDT Print View

I carry a small squeeze bottle with a flip-top lid. This is what I use (in addition to leaves) instead of TP. I can also wash my hands with it. It is not for drinking. It can be washed itself, or sanitizer can be rubbed on it, if there's concern of contamination.