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toiletries... what do you take?
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roberto nahue
(carspidey) - F

Locale: san fernando valley
toiletries... what do you take? on 04/22/2011 12:27:12 MDT Print View

what do you take?

toilet paper? bug spray (i don't know if this is considered a toiletry but...)?

and do you make this part of your base weight? i know this changes depending on how long you'll be on the trail but...


William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
Toiletries on 04/22/2011 12:35:01 MDT Print View

A small amount of paper towels for general clean up a very small thing of hand sanitizer ".40ounce" same size thing of bug juice a Sm drilled Out toothbrush and some salt to use as toothepaste and some unscented baby wipes

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
toiletries... what do you take? on 04/22/2011 14:24:28 MDT Print View

A lot of this depends on your personal situation. The following is what I take.

Dental: small travel toothbrush, dental floss (Crest Glide threader floss for cleaning bridgework), baking soda (dentist recommended). The floss is removed from its individual envelopes and put into a small plastic bag. Floss doubles as sewing thread and baking soda is useful for various medicinal purposes. I've spent too many thousands of $$$$ on dental work to stint on dental hygiene!

Sunblock--in tiny dropper bottle (I keep covered up so I don't need much)

Bug repellent--ditto.

Hand sanitizer--either in tiny dropper bottle or sample bottle, depending on length of trip. Because of the effect of even tiny quantities of soap on aquatic life, I will not take soap.

Lotion, unscented--also in tiny dropper bottle. I use just a few drops massaged around each fingernail twice daily. If I don't use it, I get horrible hangnails which inevitably get infected.

Body Glide (for feet), repackaged in small plastic bag.

Lip balm--I really like the Burt's Bees stuff, although I do worry about bears being attracted to the beeswax.

If my hair were longer (I keep it quite short), I would take a small pocket comb. I wear a hat most of the time when backpacking. Back in the days when I had long hair, I took a pocket comb and combed out and rebraided my hair daily. My mother used to French braid hers, but I never mastered that skill. I do take a comb for my dog (to lessen the amount of dog hair and eliminate possible creepy-crawlies from the tent), which he carries in his doggie pack.

For the thick liquids (sunscreen, lotion), I remove the little dropper insert from the dropper bottle.

I take one and a half "Handi-Wipes" (semi-disposable towels found in a package at the supermarket) which usually last me a season. They are lighter and dry several times faster than those expensive pack towels and are just as absorbent. The half-towel is my washrag/dishrag and the whole one is my towel/dishtowel. I like to sponge off hands, face, neck, ears and body areas most likely to sweat each night at bedtime.

The controversial (on this forum) subject of TP: Because of medical conditions, I take, per day, three paper towel rectangles (11"x6") (far more absorbent than TP) and one unscented diaper wipe for cleansing of the nether regions. Needless to say, I pack out the used items. We women need to be extra careful here, especially those of us prone to infections. As for me, I absolutely won't pluck any green vegetation in fragile alpine areas, and if I tried to use rocks or pine cones I'd end up in the hospital!

I include all this stuff in base weight except the TP and a couple other items I need for the nether regions. Those are the only ones that vary enough from trip to trip to be worth recording as consumables, or, as I prefer to call it, "variable weight." (That's my accounting background coming to the fore.) I just eyeball to make sure I have enough in the little bottles for the trip, and the total difference between a 3-dayer and a 7-dayer might be 0.3 ounce.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/22/2011 14:28:39 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: toiletries... what do you take? on 04/22/2011 14:34:37 MDT Print View

The whole key to that is tiny containers. You want containers that hold just the necessary quantity of each item to cover the length of your trip. My tube of toothpaste is less than half of the diameter of my little finger, and it lasts for about a week.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: toiletries... what do you take? on 04/22/2011 15:59:18 MDT Print View

Depends upon the length of the trip. On weekends I take:

Dr. Bronners soap in mini-dropper
Toilet paper (sorry Mike C)

Deet if there are bugs
Maybe sunscreen if I don't have a tan yet

That's it except for some minimal 1st aid stuff.

Your teeth won't fall out if you don't brush or floss them for a couple of days. But sometimes I might take toothpaste and a finger brush.

Longer trips are pretty much the same, but I will always take toothpaste and a finger brush.

I include soap, toothpaste, deet, and sunscreen in my base weight for no particular reason.

roberto nahue
(carspidey) - F

Locale: san fernando valley
Thanks on 04/22/2011 22:25:41 MDT Print View

That was more information than I needed.

Thanks so much guys and gals

I'm going to get mini droppers tomorrow fromthe store. I'm only going in overnighters right now but I want yo make it a habit of taking the same stuff evrytime.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
bob on 04/22/2011 23:05:20 MDT Print View

bob where do you get a squeezable container that tiny?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: toiletries... what do you take? on 04/22/2011 23:29:47 MDT Print View

All liquids decanted to the smallest possible container to cover the duration of the trip:

Insect repellent
Gel toothpaste
Alcohol gel hand cleaner
Dr. Bronners

Other items:
Mont Bell Ti potty trowel
Toilet paper (travel size)
Micro towel (or bandana)
Floss (tiny sample roll or sewing bobbin)

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: bob on 04/22/2011 23:38:09 MDT Print View

>bob where do you get a squeezable container that tiny?

My guess is he squeezes it into a drinking straw?

You can also dry little dots of toothpaste on some wax paper, and take exactly the amount you need. Mike C describes this somewhere in the, if I could only get the search function to work...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: bob on 04/22/2011 23:41:13 MDT Print View

One toothpaste tube, shown larger than life:

toothpaste tube

Where did it come from? I used to have to fly to Japan on business, and this was in the overnight amenities kit on JAL. The original toothpaste was awful, so I cleaned it all out thoroughly and then just re-used the squeeze container.

To get toothpaste INTO it, you just hold the big tube opening tightly against the small tube opening and squeeze until you get one or two spoons full of it across.

When I use it on a backpack trip, I use only a bean-size portion. That helps keep the odor down to avoid attracting animals.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: bob on 04/22/2011 23:43:18 MDT Print View

I stand corrected.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: bob on 04/22/2011 23:48:17 MDT Print View

"My guess is he squeezes it into a drinking straw?"

I use portions of plastic drinking straws mostly for single-use quantities. The photo of the toothpaste tube shows it after it was used for one week.

I finished up loading my empty gelatin drug capsules with single-use quantities of foot powder and that sort of thing. Feet can become problems if you are walking around in wet boots for long.

The aerosol bottle is shorter and wider, so it holds DEET.


Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Contact lenses on 04/23/2011 00:17:16 MDT Print View

I have to wear contacts. Glasses just don't work for me and I need to put up with the extra hassle of carrying saline solution. I find that the 4 oz. bottles will last me about 3 full days.

Eugene Hollingsworth
(GeneH_BPL) - F
toiletries... what do you take on 04/23/2011 01:15:42 MDT Print View

About the only thing I can add to this thread is support for what Mary D mentiond:
The controversial (on this forum) subject of TP: "...take... per day, three paper towel rectangles (11"x6") (far more absorbent than TP) and one unscented diaper wipe for cleansing of the nether regions. Needless to say, I pack out the used items..."

If you ever run into a..uhhh..problem, it's well worth using cut-to-size paper towel and baby wipes to clean up. They don't disintegrate when wet. Keeps you smelling better and you'll never get kicked out of a shared tent. I rinse the wipes at home, then re-energize them with a little mild soap. Somewhere in one of the BPL articles I read that hand sanatizers don't work as well as we would like, so I rely on plain soap and water, well away from camp or waterways.

Because I only carry 2 different amounts - one set for 4 days, and one for longer trips, these are part of my base weight. Taking home extras is better than running out.

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: bottle source for toiletries... on 04/23/2011 06:09:10 MDT Print View

usplastics has the full range from 3 cc on up.

How do people feel about flip top caps? Too big a chance of failure?

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
soap not sanitizer on 04/23/2011 08:10:35 MDT Print View

I'm still gearing up, but I think I'm going to be a "soap, not sanitizer" guy. Too many articles on the webs doubting the effectiveness of sanitizers. Example.

[update: reading more carefully, I see Gene also mentioned this]

Edited by JohnJ on 04/23/2011 08:12:43 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: bottle source for toiletries... on 04/23/2011 09:00:08 MDT Print View

I've bought small plastic vials in small batches on eBay. Stores that sell scented oils often have a great selection of small vials.

Flip tops are an accident waiting to happen. In prefect world, use screw tops and a small odor proof bag. Raccoons love toiletries: my daughter had her pack raided for the lipstick. Peppermint soap and toothpaste make them crazy.

roberto nahue
(carspidey) - F

Locale: san fernando valley
Deodorant on 04/23/2011 21:27:10 MDT Print View

Nooneentioned this. Why?

Also what soap do you take?

I was thinking of putting some of my regular 3 in 1 shampoo that I use everyday. Shampoo conditioner and body wash but it has a really strong smell.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
How long are you out there? on 04/23/2011 21:34:51 MDT Print View

Unless I was thru hiking, I wouldn't even consider shampoo. 5 day trips with no real shower is not a big deal...honest

And deodorant attracts bears...for real

If I feel like I'm out there long enough to require soap, I take dr. bronners. That stuff will take care of your hair, body and teeth and its biodegradable.

For sanitation, I carry purell.

Edit* Just read the link above. Interesting to hear about hand sanitizer not being what its made out to be. I think I'll still carry it though. I don't like the idea of washing my hands with fresh river water ( giardia, crypto etc etc) which would mean that I need to tap into my drinking water to thoroughly wash my hands with soap...not sure I'm into that, and even less so considering that I can't recall any time I've gotten ill because of a trip

Edited by Konrad1013 on 04/23/2011 21:43:43 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Improvise. on 04/24/2011 01:06:24 MDT Print View

A toothbrush is unnecessary, even on longer trips.
You can tear the fibers off of plants, I like to use thistle, and actually use that to floss your teeth. A simple carved toothpick helps too.