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Backcountry hygiene is a critical skill that everyone should hone. Doing so greatly reduces the number of gastrointestinal and genitourinary infections in the field. I am often disgusted by the amount of toilet paper I see scattered about the ground or attempting to hide under a small rock because people do not wish to pack out their trash. I personally do not bring any toilet paper in the field. I teach my clients and students to use natural forms of toilet paper, the backcountry bidet method, and for those who have female genitalia to use a pee rag.

So what is this “pee rag”? It’s a trusty ‘ole bandana I use to wipe myself after I urinate. You might be thinking “iieewww gross”. Not so gross. Imagine how gross your underwear gets by not wiping as the “drip dry” method is never truly dry. Now imagine how much toilet paper you use on a daily basis. Why add the weight when you can take a bandana. Cut it in half. Pack one half in your personal hygiene kit. The other half can live on you or your backpack. I keep mine in a pants pocket or I tie it off to the top of my backpack or on the deck of my kayak. The UV rays of the sun and/or the water help bleach/rinse it out. Each time I launder my underwear (about every few days) I wash it with soap and water.

There you have it. The infamous pee rag! Stay clean and leave no trace!

Stay tuned for more posts on what I carry in my hygiene kit, what I use for natural toilet paper, how I launder my underwear, and about the backcountry bidet method.

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