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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Default (un)Packing Fears ~ Hygiene & Grooming

    Still coming up with questions and making sure I am not overpacking my backpack or brain. Thanks to everyone answering my silly questions as I prep for 2024 NOBO. Note that some of my silly questions are ones my wife asks me that I don't know the answer to.

    NAIL CLIPPERS
    ~ I rarely see these listed on gear list. How do thru hikers keep their nails trimmed? There is no way I can use a pair of tiny SAK scissors with my non-dominant hand. I am hoping not to lose every nail on my feet. Are there trail magic angels providing manicures and pedicures? Do you smear your nails with peanut butter and let the mice groom them while you sleep?

    RAZORS ~ Never been a beard guy and rarely have gone longer than a week without shaving. Do people buy a disposable razor at town stops or carry one with them? I am okay improvising shave cream by using soap or shampoo. As a long time bicycle rider/racer I am also in the habit of shaving my legs which I find is helpful when hiking for quick cleanup of mud and dirt as well as making tick checks easier.

    TOOTHPASTE ~ I assume trail towns always have sample sizes of toothpaste for sale.

    SOAP/SHAMPOO ~ Available where showers are offered?

    LAUNDRY DETERGENT ~ Been a long time since I was single and going to laundromats. I assume they have single load supplies for sale.

    HAIRCUTS ~ Are trail towns big enough to have a barber I can hit every 4-6 weeks?

    Rollers.jpg

  2. #2
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    I use a Swiss Army knife with nail clippers when I'm out that long. Model 580, includes scissors, blade, nail clipper.

  3. #3

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    Brought special toenail clippers, due to fungus.

    SAK for fingers, they don’t have to pass inspection.

    Also a non-beard guy. Would buy a small pack of the nicer disposable razors use one, leave rest in hiker box. Usually carried that one for a couple weeks and repeat. Just used soap, not special shave stuff.

    I used one small container of tooth powder for a whole AT Thru. Lighter and less waste. Brushed 2x day

    Laundromats still sell singles. Most now take ApplePay and credit cards now.

  4. #4
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    i'm sure people will disagree, but toothpaste is unnecessary. it's really just the friction of the brush to remove the plaque/tartar.

  5. #5
    Journeyman Journeyer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyslayer View Post
    As a long time bicycle rider/racer I am also in the habit of shaving my legs which I find is helpful when hiking for quick cleanup of mud and dirt as well as making tick checks easier.
    I think of leg hair as a "early warning system" for ticks. Mine is not thick enough to worry about making tick checks easier, YMMV. To me, hairs act like a tiny trip wire to notify me of unwanted intruders.

  6. #6
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    I always have nail clippers. If not, I will get a toenail infection that ends the hike.

    I always have a small bar of plain unscented soap. This is essential to wash hands after defecation and before eating. One bar can be used for shampoo, laundry (in a sink), and shave cream.

    I have not taken long hikes. For short sections, I don't bring toothpaste but I do use a travel toothbrush. I have read that the brushing is more important than the paste. I am not a dentist. Take medical advice from the internet at your own peril.

  7. #7
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    Get a good nail clipper…and yes you can use on toenails too with more effort. Trial sized toothpaste is fairly common to come across in larger gas stations, groceries etc. Don’t bother shaving your legs…it’s really not needed and I too wasn’t a bears fan until I hiked the AT….it just kinda happens and you can try something new….remember disposable razors last only a few real shaves and yes you can use shampoo or hand soap lathered up . Laundry detergent is sold in the laundromats and on a pinch I’ve had success on buying a cup from other patrons when asked politely. Toilet paper by the single toll and many crush it down. Haircuts in town once in a blue moon if desired and can be an experience…I got a reduced price once in a small shop as the other patrons were eager to hear of the trail and the adventure.

  8. #8

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    Would also suggest a travel size baby powder in this category. Slap a little into the pits and bits at night.

    When do you go?

  9. #9

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    From personal experience, oral care is something not to ignore. I probably had borderline issues that could stay in control with normal daily toothcare practices, like brushing in the AM and PM and flossing daily prior to a 6 week section hike, I ended up a few weeks after getting back having to see a specialist and going through several months of treatment including surgery. You really cant make up for four or five days of skipping brushing and making it up when you get in town, the plaque that forms on your teeth overnight turns solid fairly quickly. You really do not need toothpaste as much as a good toothbrush and floss. The floss and a needle can come in handy for emergency repairs. I have stitched up straps in the past with floss.

  10. #10
    Garlic
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    I limit metal items in my ultra-light pack, but nail clippers, tweezers, and a single-edged razor blade are always in it. The blade will perform minor surgery, to remove a deep splinter or thorn, debride a callus, etc.

    Ditto to all the other items. Small scrap of soap for everything including shaving is my method too.

    I agree oral care is important. After my first season of hiking, the dentist took one look and said, "What did you do?" I carry a ziplock with a tablespoon of baking soda for brushing teeth, another bag of wood toothpicks, and dental floss with needle as mentioned above. What I like about baking soda is no rinse and spit is needed if water is at a premium on a desert hike. But yeah, get in a good oral care routine.

  11. #11

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    I carry nail clippers. Your feet are so important, can't imagine not carrying them.
    I carry a folding tooth brush in my pocket and often brush while I'm hiking. I don't carry toothpaste.
    I sometimes pack laundry detergent, body wash/shampoo in my resupply package. especially if I'm staying at a hostel. Don't usually take them on the trail. Many hotel/motels that have laundry also have detergent for sale.
    I usually don't shave or cut my hair. I start with it short and live with it until I'm done.

  12. #12

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    What I like about baking soda is no rinse and spit is needed if water is at a premium on a desert hike

    And since spitting out toothpaste is probably not NLT. Plain baking soda can take a little getting used to. Whole Foods carries a tooth powder that is basically baking soda with a little bit of mint. One container lasted my whole thru hike and then some. Since then at home I’ve added a small amount of cinnamon which also works well.

  13. #13
    hikin' all my life..... asoutherndude's Avatar
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    Default Bronner's Soap is Your Friend

    I carry a small squeeze bottle of Bronner's liquid soap for all my hygiene needs: shampoo, body wash, tooth cleaning, and dish washing. Done this for decades
    "Dying in war is easy; anyone can do that. Living faithfully with a woman for 50 years and raising a family -- now that takes real courage"

  14. #14
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    04

    NAIL CLIPPERS ~ I rarely see these listed on gear list. How do thru hikers keep their nails trimmed? There is no way I can use a pair of tiny SAK scissors with my non-dominant hand. I am hoping not to lose every nail on my feet. Are there trail magic angels providing manicures and pedicures? Do you smear your nails with peanut butter and let the mice groom them while you sleep?

    I carry a simple pair for fingernails, toenails and use as very basic cutters/scissors. Btw I carry a lightweight simple SS sheath knife (similar to camping K/F/S but sharp in a plastic sheath) with can and/or bottle opener slot for everything else In any case, it won't fold shut so I can open cans with the knife end.

    RAZORS ~ Never been a beard guy and rarely have gone longer than a week without shaving. Do people buy a disposable razor at town stops or carry one with them? I am okay improvising shave cream by using soap or shampoo. As a long time bicycle rider/racer I am also in the habit of shaving my legs which I find is helpful when hiking for quick cleanup of mud and dirt as well as making tick checks easier.

    I shaved every 3 - 6 weeks off-trail with a purchased as needed disposable(or 2) but in the future would use a barber. Check hiker boxes. Forget the legs. In any case you can buy one along the way. Rub mud off if desired with wash cloth, knife, spoon handle, long fingernails... btw Avoid dogs and shelters with dogs as they carry the ticks to camps or drop them onto you when touching. Sweep out the shelter or wipe off your picnic spot when you arrive even for lunch. Make basic check after sitting on the ground or log. Keep your tent zipped. Take appropriate precautions with other shelters

    TOOTHPASTE ~ I assume trail towns always have sample sizes of toothpaste for sale.

    Also minimarts, grocery stores, hostels, some motels, outfitters(have everything), hiker boxes. If not get larger size and squeeze some out or just carry it.

    SOAP/SHAMPOO ~ Available where showers are offered?

    Soap usually or nearby. Most people start with some soap: small bar, small tube camping soap, Bronners (try at home first). Wear a crewcut and forget the shampoo. Btw Sanitizers aren't real effective against norovirus. Washing hands and not sharing food is much more important than in the past.

    LAUNDRY DETERGENT ~ Been a long time since I was single and going to laundromats. I assume they have single load supplies for sale.

    Yep, bring cash for vending machines. Many/all vending machines and laundry take credit cards but watch your statement and/or set up approvals. Some hostels etc. have machines with a donation box or pay the owner. If none available, ask to buy from customers - most will offer it free. Never go shirtless at the public laundromat. Wash you shorts/shirt in the shower. Do not mail laundry soap with food.

    HAIRCUTS ~ Are trail towns big enough to have a barber I can hit every 4-6 weeks?
    Yep and most can probably give you a shave. Used to get a "free" haircut at Trail Days. Crew cuts are much cheaper along the trail than elsewhere. One barber opened the shop for me in the South. Got a hitch with one in VT.

    WHAT ELSE

    Remember that you can completely outfit yourself about every four days on a NOBO. A lot of stuff is available in the hiker boxes. You can also order stuff online. If you want to carry some extra stuff, you can mail it home, trash it, or donate it at these stops. You need to hike fewer miles at the start to break in your body and feet so some luxury items (to the extent they fit) are fine. You will also have shorter days and ugh longer nights.

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