How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

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bobby49
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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by bobby49 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:39 pm

I shaved once, but that was back during the Truman administration.








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rlown
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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by rlown » Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:43 pm

I shaved once in '84 for the interview and again in 94 for fun.. Never again. It is just cold. Now I just trim maybe once a month.. I like the Drew Carey look, but Dave Letterman is way over the top.

Best backcountry approach is to dip your head in the lake and be good with it after the ice cream headache. Jumping in gets hard as you get older.

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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:37 am

I now use the "bucket bath" method; squat on a rock near shore and dip water over me. Although it is chilly it does not deep-cool your core as much as full submersion. Also avoids ending up dirty from muddy bottomed lakes or algae. All you need to do is quickly wash off the sweat. No suggestions for beards, never had one :D.

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OutdoorRandy
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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by OutdoorRandy » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:25 pm

I carry a 20-24 oz clear water bottle, fill it when I get to camp and set it in the sun. Later I use it to clean up far away from any water source.

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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:36 am

This brings up a side topic to staying clean- minimizing water pollution. A "bath" removes dirt, sweat, and skin products like sunscreen or bug repellent. I use the latter two very sparingly, instead I cover skin with clothing. Obviously the latter two are not good for water quality. However, how much is actually removed from skin with a few-second cold water rinse and no soap? By the end of the day, my sunscreen or bug dope appears to be absorbed into my skin. Does it get dissolved in sweat that then can be transported into water sources with a quick rinse? And then are the microbes on our body including e-coli. Visually, soap residue seems to be the primary problem, as well as its associated nutrient loading that supports excess algae.

I have done some commercial work with water quality. Two things to consider are the pollutant (how toxic) and the concentration required to do damage. Although used as an excuse some times, the old saying "dilution is the solution to pollution", it is valid when considering how to mitigate water quality problems. In heavily used areas I also haul water far from lakes and streams to rinse off. In more remote areas, I simply do the bucket bath at the water source. Either way, I do not use soap. In camp after dinner I use very small face wipes that contain a small amount of cleaning/foaming ingredients. I do this after finding a specific location that will not allow rain to wash the residue into water sources and burry spit toothpaste in a shallow cat hole as well as dishwashing waste (which is minimal since I fully "clean my plate" :D ). I always ask myself the question, where will these drops of waste end up after a rain?

There are "biodegradable" soaps and toothpaste, but I think these are really no better because they still take some time to biodegrade leaving a visual eye-sore and bad taste in water for the next person.

I have also read that much of the soapy foam in lakes is due to residual soap that gets into down-wind urban air due to dryer venting, as well as all the general air pollution blown into the Sierra. This builds up in the snow over winter and is released in melt, so fresh snowmelt sources can actually be quite polluted until diluted. Has anyone else heard of this?

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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by OutdoorRandy » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:47 pm

WD,

No specific knowledge of airborne pollution causing what seems to be soap residue but that is what I figured is happening. I've been to some very rarely visited high country lakes and seen what seems to be pollution at the shorelines. It seems very unlikely that anyone making the effort to visit them would be the cause of the pollution.

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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by rlown » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:55 pm

Foam can be formed when the physical characteristics of the water are altered by the presence of organic materials in the water. The foam that appears along lakeshores is most often the result of the natural die-off of aquatic plants. ... Once the oils reach the lake surface, wind and wave action pushes them to the shore.

A cut and paste but makes sense.

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Harlen
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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by Harlen » Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:43 am

It's timely that I find this topic up again, as I just had an interesting experience coming out of the Merced backcountry yesterday, and seeing my face in my favorite Priest Station Cafe mirror. It was a truly shocking and primal face staring back at me-- what a troglodyte would look like, or at least an old coal miner.* I took a long time in the restaurant bathroom, cleaning up my face, and then the sink. I explained my odd appearance to the nice young waitress, and she laughed, and then pumped me for knowledge about the state of the backcountry. [Her name is "Whitney," named by her Sierra mountain folks, and as it turns out, she and I have mutual friends working in YNP, her summer job.]

My state of unusual uncleanliness in the backcountry this time came from the combination of wiping thick amounts of sunscreen all over face and neck by day, and then hovering over smoky fires almost every night. Also from being cold and alone, and so not caring about my appearance, though I'm not sure that my snow scrubbing routine would have touched this amount of grime, may have have just spread it more widely. So, how about the name of those magic "wipes" you carry Nancy?

*I don't include you Wandering Daisy is that grubby black-faced coal miner image; I am sure you managed to keep clean during your coal mining days.

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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:26 pm

I use "Dove" brand foaming DRY wipes (in the makeup isle)- just dip in water and foamy suds. They weigh nothing. Some stores have generic brands that are much cheaper. You better have your wife buy them for you or some people may give you odd looks if you hang out in the makeup section! Nice thing about these little wipes, is that once you use the suds, they are great for wiping grease from a cook pot or other discrete uses.

LOL. Very ironic, but I have never worn make-up, EXCEPT when working in the thick of coal dust. (Don't spill this secret to my daughters; they kept buying me makeup as gifts hoping that "mom" would look more lady-like). Makeup first, then the coal grime wipes off easier than if it would be directly attached to your skin. I suppose you could also use bacon grease left over from breakfast although the smell may make you hungry all day.

As for your appearance, perhaps if you had not been so dirty you would not have had that nice conversation in the restaurant. There are some advantages of looking like a genuine "mountain man".

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Re: How do you keep Clean in the Backcountry?

Post by oldranger » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:14 pm

Daisy, You are my kind of woman. I hate makeup on women. My wife never uses it and if she did she probably wouldn't be my wife! Love women just as they are with no artificial additives.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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