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women's wilderness poop cleanliness

So I just finished reading the conversation about pee rags.  I've been thinking about converting for awhile.  When I read the info on the Kula Cloth (which was highly recommended in the pee rag conversation) website they specifically state the Kula Cloth should only be used for pee and should not be used for poop:  "Note: the Kula Cloth® is NOT for wiping anything OTHER THAN pee. Do not wipe from front to back like you might with toilet paper - keep the Kula entirely in the pee-zone."

So how do other women backpackers handle the non-pee zone?  I've always packed a shovel (of course) and wet wipes, which I bag and pack out after use.  These are heavy and not sustainable but they do an excellent job of cleaning up the "mess" on my skin after a bowel movement.  I'd love to hear ideas from others.

Found Myself Outside
15 Replies

Compressed towelettes. Add water. Cellulose, no chemicals.

Less volume packing out, burns in campfire.

Sorry for being another guy "butting" in on the conversation.

@Luv2Kayak - What a great question! I find a few methods/strategies help me stay clean after a bm in the backcountry.

First of all, the deeper and wider you can squat, generally the least amount of "residue" will be left on your skin, and some biodegradable toilet paper (still pack it out) may do the trick.

If you need a little "extra attention," personal wipes work well. They can be heavy, so unless I am doing a really long trip, I grab a few from the packaging and carry them in a ziplock bag. They may dry out a little, but you can rehydrate them with a little clean water. Just make sure and do this with clean hands, so you don't accidentally get fecal matter on your drinking vessel.

Happy squatting! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks for the tips.  My further problems is that squatting is no longer my friend.  Before my total knee replacement (I didn't have pain; my knee would just decide to spontaneously dislocate) in January of this year, I could sit on my heels.  No longer is that an option.  So I have lots of kinks to work out in the system.

Found Myself Outside

My Dad, bad knees & back, brought a short length of rope and set up facing a tree trunk, where the rope is wrapped. Hold on when you need to get lower.

@Former community member , yeah, I did something similar prior to the knee replacement as once I squatted I couldn't get back up without my knee doing something goofy.  My problem now is just range of motion.  Unfortunately replacement knees have a limit of how much bend they will allow and your own body modifies that even further!  I wasn't thrilled when I found out about that but the alternative was to have a knee that was literally falling apart.

Found Myself Outside

Pretty sure all genders poo the same? Following along to learn specific female challenges so I can help encourage more of my friends to backpack regardless of how they poo.


@Former community member although all genders may poo the same, women's anatomy is internal and any fecal cross-contamination can lead to urinary tract and yeast infections, both of which can be uncomfortable, painful, and even dangerous, especially if left untreated (an issue that can be exacerbated in the backcountry). Thus, there actually are some unique considerations for women on this topic. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Not quite.  If you have ever had to use a river "groover" you'll know that most women also leak a bit when they poo.  Also, we can't just shake it off, so we have to have some way to wipe.  Hence accommodations like Kula cloths, wet wipes and peri bottles. 

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