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Backpacker Magazine – June 2008

The Backcountry Bathroom

Nature calls, even in the wilderness. We've found 5 products that will make your outdoor bathroom runs easy, hygienic, and safe.

by: Kristin Hostetter



OUR FAVORITE WIPES
 Adventure Medical Kits Fresh Bath Travel Wipes
The next best thing to a shower, these anti-bacterial wipes come in large (8” x 5”) sheets pre-moistened with vitamins A, E and aloe vera. Our tester appreciated the wash-cloth-like texture, and swears she smelled “just shy of a rose,” despite four showerless days of sweaty backcountry skiing. Bonus points: They’re biodegradable. (But you should still pack them out with your trash. Best to let them biodegrade in the landfill, not the backcountry). Resealable pack of 8 costs $4.50; (800) 324-3517,
adventuremedicalkits.com

A PLUSH TOWEL
Eagle Creek Travel Towel
Soaked after a swim? Dry off in spa-like luxury. We’ve tested many towels over the years, but this  textured terry-like one beat out competitors for its superb absorbancy. Though not the fastest drying in the field, it packs up small and has a snap-on hang loop, so you can hang it on a branch or tent pole to dry. The medium size is best for backpacking. $15; 3 oz; 15.5 x 23.5 in.; 3 other sizes available. (800) 874-1048; eaglecreek.com.

A NIFTY TROWEL
Sea To Summit iPood!
The iPood! handle collapses into blade for easy packing or extends into a bomb-proof 9.75-inch shovel that bites through the rockiest soil. Cool feature: The handle doubles as a storage compartment for a lighter and wad of toilet paper. Packed size: 5.5 in. $17; 3.5 oz.; (303) 440-8977; seatosummit.com. 

BEST POOP PACKER
Restop 2 Wilderness Waste Containment Pouch
Nobody wants to haul their own waste, but this device reduces the yuck factor. Simply lay the outer bag flat, unzip it, unroll the inner bag. When finished, pick up the inner bag by the tabs—the waste drops to the bottom of the outer bag and voila!—no smell and no dirty fingers. The  Mylar bag is gas-impervious—not only does it contain odor, but it reduces handling of the sewn-in inner bag. Our tester tried several different poop packers and this is the only one that didn’t offend olfactory senses on the drive home. Enzymes and a citrus odor- controlling agent processes waste into a spill-proof gel—an adult can generally make for 3-4 “deposits” per bag, depending, of course, on the dollar amount. The entire package is safe for disposal in any trash receptacle, once you hit the trailhead. Each 2.6 ounce bag comes with a moist antiseptic towelette and enough tp for a 3-day trip. $3 for single (.16 lbs.); $15 for 5 pack (.82 lbs.); (888) 924-6665; whennaturecalls.com.



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READERS COMMENTS

Joanna Allen
May 22, 2008

Restop 2 is awesome - I notice the web link isnt working... check out www.whennaturecalls.com

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