Wednesday, January 22, 2014

148. Repurposing Baby Wipes

"Oh... Oh my god."

"What?" I looked up from my activity, which was systematically emptying all of the contents out my backpack to try and find one of my gloves. I was up to my armpits, leaning over my pack, scrabbling my hands blindly around inside. I had been digging deeper and deeper into the contents of my bag, pulling out a ridiculous assortment of things. It was like being Mary Poppins, if Mary Poppins had suffered a terrible head injury and completely forgot what it meant to be a proper British lady.

"What," I saw that the stranger was pointing a dramatic finger at one of the things I had pulled out of my backpack, "is THAT?!"

I followed her accusatory gesture and saw that she was indicating the gallon-sized ziploc bag of filthy brown rags sitting by my foot, where it had been tossed moments before.

"Oh, those are just baby wipes," I shrugged.

I was momentarily confused by her look of utmost horrified revulsion, but then I realized the mistake.

"Oh! No! It's not that. It's just mud!" I cried out, pulling my arms out of my backpack and waving my hands back and forth as though to scatter away the nightmarish notion of saving and carrying around baby wipes that had been used in their intended manner. And yet, in response to this, she gasped in an even more scandalized way.

"Oh my goodness," I rolled my eyes, "Mud from my LEGS."

She raised an eyebrow, shook her head at me and then walked away. This young hiker was a very fancy young lady who was visiting her thru-hiking boyfriend and hiking with him for a few days. We were at a shelter in Vermont, and most of the night was had endured her fancy-lady protestations about the dismal conditions in which we were living.

Meanwhile, I had been feeling rather clean and well-groomed because Dumptruck and I had just received a new shipment of dehydrated baby wipes from my mom.  This was a trick that a previous thru-hiker had taught Dumptruck and I before we left, and we had thoroughly enjoyed it throughout the entire trail.

1. Get baby wipes!
2. String up a bunch of clothing lines and clothespin the baby wipes up to dry. This has the added benefit of making your kitchen or living room look like there's a lovely afternoon tea party going on, decorated with 100 tiny white flags.
3. Let it all air dry! This takes just about a day.
4. Pack out the baby wipes with you! If you are lucky enough to have folks send maildrops to you, you can have them send you these! They will be super light because they don't have any water or moisture.
5. At the end of a day of hiking, if you're wearing shorts, your lower legs will be COVERED IN MUD. Frankly, even if you're wearing pants, there will be mud inside your socks. This is one of the certainties of hiking life. Take out a dehydrated baby wipe and pour a little bit of water from your water bottle onto it to rehydrate it.

Campers! Bum wipes: Not just for bums anymore.

Some of you folks that know a bit about outdoor gear might be wondering why we didn't just wear shoe gaiters. Mostly it's because we were too cheap to buy any, but it's also because a lot of gaiters just can't stand up to the long-term abuse of thru-hiking.

This is a completely unnecessary luxury, but I loved it because it kept the inside of my sleeping bag from accumulating months worth of dirt and mud. It also helped me feel a little cleaner in general, considering I wouldn't shower for a week at a time.

The only downside was then having to pack out a bag full of used baby wipes and scandalizing  the general population.

Worth it.

Clever Girl

1 comment:

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