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Thread: Personal hygiene in the backcountry

  1. #1
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    Personal hygiene in the backcountry

    The matter of personal hygiene in the backcountry has become more complicated as I get older.

    In my younger days I wasn't much concerned. On multi-week trips I discovered that I had to wash at least once a week, or the discomfort level rose too high. I did this by heating up water with a stove and washing my stripped down body. No soap involved. I seldom washed my clothes. Since I carried only one set of clothes (underwear, pants, shirt) this meant high odor/dirty clothing to the max by the end of a long trip.

    I stopped carrying toilet paper many moons ago, relying on natural stuff, leaves, pine cones, rocks, sticks. After the age of 50 or so I found this no longer worked for me (too much irritation), and I began carrying wet wipes. I carry out the used ones as trash.

    I once had a bad experience on Owls Head. After descending the slide it started to rain and I decided to return the way I had come, by bushwhacking. I should have taken the trail. I was constantly drenched as I brushed through the wet vegetation. The last part of the walk was agony. I arrived back at the parking lot with a serious case of crotch rash. I checked into a motel in Lincoln to dry out, then took a bee line for the pharmacy to buy triple action Gold Bond powder. That brought welcome relief!

    Nowadays I sometimes need to apply powder to feet or crotch, either as a preventive or to gain relief. I have tried various methods of application, without finding one I like. I haven't found a good way to avoid making a mess on the floor and/or getting powder all over the hands. Bad enough in town, even worse in the backcountry. Have you found a way to minimize the mess? Please share.
    散步 Sanbu

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    Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanbu View Post
    Nowadays I sometimes need to apply powder to feet or crotch, either as a preventive or to gain relief. I have tried various methods of application, without finding one I like. I haven't found a good way to avoid making a mess on the floor and/or getting powder all over the hands. Bad enough in town, even worse in the backcountry. Have you found a way to minimize the mess? Please share.
    Last few years for my long runs and long hikes I've been using Gold Bond's friction stick. Just like a roll-on deodorant stick but I use it on my inner thighs, toes and shoulders. Body Glide is a similar product. They work well for me and don't make a mess. Easy to reapply as needed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    For my chronic athlete's foot, I find powders more effective than creams or liquids. To get the powder just where I want it, I tape over all but one of the holes in the cap of the container. For backcountry use, you might want to transfer the powder to a smaller container with a built-in nozzle, like for glue.

    If you're spilling more than a teaspoonful per application, you're doing something wrong. That should not even be noticeable in a sleeping bag or tent, and certainly not outdoors.

    For keeping my wife from complaining about a half-teasponful of harmless white dust on the floor or carpet, nothing beats using a towel as a drop-cloth.

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    Senior Member iagreewithjamie's Avatar
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    I find an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Exofficio makes the most amazing undergarments for hiking that I've used. I've jumped into a lake in them, and been dry only 5 minutes after. Lifetime warranty, too. Pretty much everything I have is wicking... and since making that change, I find chaffage (even when bushwacking through wet nastiness) to be at a minimum.

    I'm the opposite of you on the toilet paper thing. Its the 11th essential.
    Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop
    And an illustrated book about birds.
    You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
    who needs actions when you got words?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanbu View Post
    Nowadays I sometimes need to apply powder to feet or crotch, either as a preventive or to gain relief. I have tried various methods of application, without finding one I like. I haven't found a good way to avoid making a mess on the floor and/or getting powder all over the hands. Bad enough in town, even worse in the backcountry. Have you found a way to minimize the mess? Please share.
    I use spray powder on my feet, when required. Doesn't make a mess. Here's one: https://www.cvs.com/shop/gold-bond-n...prodid-1130469
    Last edited by jfb; 10-25-2018 at 04:35 PM.

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    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Very long distance ultra marathon canoe racers (think Yukon River 1000 mile race) tend to develop butt crack rash from the internal friction of rocking side to side at each "hut", when changing paddling sides in the seat ("monkey butt"). Body glide works well, as does any slightly greasy first aid cream you may have (known from personal experience). Don't leave the start line without it.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 10-25-2018 at 08:54 PM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    I am a body glide user for the groinal regions. Solved my chaffing problems. Only down side is it seems to leave a little added funk to my base layer, but a small price to pay for comfort! My base layer tends to be compression shorts, which cuts down on thigh rub for me, but I have big thighs.

    If you get rubbing on your feet, you might consider adding a base sock under your regular sock.
    | 63.0% W48: 19/48
    Trail Adopter of the Guinea Pond Trail (Pemi District)

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    This thread is valuable, but most disgusting...

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    A+D ointment, comes in handy tube

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    Don't use Desitin diaper rash ointment for this, it's thick and very greasy and doesn't want to come off.
    Steve H.
    NH4000 1976-1984
    NE4000 1984-1991

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