Tag Archives: backcountry tips

TP tip

On many Outward Bound courses, toilet paper was left at home and local natural items substituted to cut down on backcountry environmental impact. In some desert environs, where the most popular substitutes of snow or vegetation weren’t available, toilet paper was carried and then burned or carried out. It should be obvious (but unfortunately not to all) that burning toilet paper is a great hazard in forest fire conditions, so carrying it out was then prefered.

In some damper times and places, burning works well. Here is what I like to bring (in addition to using snow and other substitutes). Weighs 23 grams and is enough for 2 weeks.

Tiny cuben fiber stuffsack lined with thin plastic for water tightness.
14 half sheets of paper towel (more durable than tp and burns readily)
7 feet of jute cord

I cut a 6″ section of the jute cord and fuzz it up and use it to catch a spark from a mish metal flint which then catches the paper towel and with care will burn the whole thing to ash.


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Filed under Do It Yourself, Oware Backpacking Gear, Tips for the Backcountry

Ten Essentials

Develop your own “Ten Essentials” for your trips.

Here are my categories.

Clothing and Shelter
Light Source
Knife and Tools
Sun Protection
Fire Making
First Aid

Each time I head out, I take a quick look at my list and match
categories with items suitable for the activities expected.


Half Day Hike in Know Territory:
Water– Pop bottle with water in pack or back pocket
Food – eat before I go
Clothing and Shelter – Fleece hat and garbage bag in pocket or pack.
Navigation – known terrain, not needed
Light Source – button flashlight “Fauxton
Knife and Toolspocket knife
Sun Protection – sunscreen before I go
Fire Making – bic lighter or firesteel, toilet paper
First Aid – (Very small), bit of tape, aspirin, large dressing
Communication – cell phone, whistle

All day or night ski tour, new territory:
Water – Quart and 1/2 of water, metal cup to melt more or for hot drinks

food – lunch, extra energy bars, energy drink or juice in one of the water bottles (also makes “bread crumbs” in the snow for navigating back), tea bags, (fruit and water in car for return)

Clothing and Shelter – Layered clothes of synthetic and wool, gloves and spare mittens,
hat, waterproof parka and pants, spare socks, ski boots, gaiters, vbl socks silnylon tarp and foam sit pad for stops and emergencies.

Navigation – Gps, compass, topo map in plastic.

Light – LED headlamp with fully charged batteries, spare batteries, couple of “Fauxtons”

Knife and Tools Pocket Knife, Screw driver that fits ski bindings, Duct Tape,
Wire, Spare binding screws, Steel wool for filling loose binding screw holes,
Cord (for emergency rope climbers, towing, building a rescue sled or shelter building,) pocket wood saw for trail maintenance
and fire/shelter building,
avalanche shovel, avalanche beacon, avalanche Probe, ski Skins and skin wax, ski poles, red wax, wax scraper

Sun Protection – Sunscreen, brimmed hat, sunglasses, Clown White for extreme ‘sun on snow’ days.

Fire Making – Matches, bic lighter, Fire Steel, cotton balls rubbed with Vaselene, toilet paper, maybe a pop can alcohol stove

First Aid – Tape, Bandaids, 2nd Skin, Super Glue, dressings, aspirin and Ibuprofen, hand warmers.

Communication – Cell Phone, Two Way Radios, Signal Mirror, Whistle, Paper and Pencil

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Filed under flattarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps, Tips for the Backcountry