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35 votes

Can groundwater still be consumed if after boiling the water turns brown with an oily substance floating on top?

It is likely caused by iron in the pump or pipes. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health: Iron is mainly present in water in two forms: either the soluble ferrous iron or the ...
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  • 8,011
25 votes

How is hygiene possible with ocean water only?

Early this year I crewed on a yacht that was crossing the Atlantic and all of the crew were doing this for the first time. For our leg from Lanzarote to St Lucia we had 1,000 liters of fresh water in ...
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  • 281
23 votes
Accepted

Toothpaste in the back-country and the principle of leave no trace

Even for "multi-week" trips, brushing with water alone is not going to compromise your tooth health. The abrasive action of the brush does most of the work, and missing the flouride hit for a few days ...
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  • 18.9k
22 votes

Toothpaste in the back-country and the principle of leave no trace

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). It's naturally occurring, and to get a level of toxicity to animals you would need to get to 450mg per liter. Unless you're operating a mine or using literally tons ...
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  • 2,138
21 votes
Accepted

Should you pop a blister?

There's a lot of dubious assertions in the answers here, and frankly some bad advice regarding how long to wait before treating a blister. We just had a lecture on blister management in my WFR class ...
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  • 8,600
18 votes
Accepted

How to clean vomit from camping gear?

I'll caveat this with -- I've never vomited in my gear, nor do I know anyone who has. But I did sit and figure out how I'd try to solve this if it happened to me. Dry the liquid. This will depend ...
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18 votes
Accepted

During high-altitude lengthy expedition: To shave or not shave?

Apart from the practical advantages mentioned in practicality of beards, there's also some aspects that are special to remote and/or high altitude trekking: Melting snow to obtain water costs a lot ...
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15 votes

Can groundwater still be consumed if after boiling the water turns brown with an oily substance floating on top?

Cause of coloring: As you specifically referred to Groundwater, I believe it is most likely due to the Manganese and Iron contents in the water. Iron and manganese are common metallic elements found ...
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  • 31.5k
15 votes

How can I clean teeth in the backcountry?

Those are some of the problems I have encountered and solutions which have worked for me. P: Water is scarce. S: Brush, spit (profusely), rinse, spit, rinse, spit. This amounts to only 2 small gulps ...
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  • 6,613
14 votes

How do I disinfect my wool hiking socks?

Simply throwing them in the wash should suffice, but if you want to be extra sure the fungus dies, you could soak your socks in a 1 part bleach to 10 parts water mixture for ten minutes. Keep in mind ...
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  • 53k
11 votes

How to clean cookware?

I like using a soap and sponge, but it's not the only solution. It is possible to cut the weight of a soap and sponge setup pretty significantly. Using a small scrubby like the one shown below works ...
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  • 8,600
11 votes
Accepted

How can I make sure there are no more ticks around?

You can't. All you can do is throughly inspect yourself or have someone check you over to see if they can find any. But there's nothing you can do to ensure there aren't anymore around, you can only ...
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10 votes
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What are safe/effective leaves from around the world for use in tidying up your backside after answering the call of nature?

The leaves of the Striped Maple ("Moose Maple") are a no-contest winner, at least in the forests of the northeastern US. The leaves are large, and softer than some forms of toilet paper. As for ...
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10 votes

What are safe/effective leaves from around the world for use in tidying up your backside after answering the call of nature?

Thimbleberry leaves are my favourite (Rubus spectabilis), They're all over the place in the Kootenays in British Columbia (Southern Canadian Rockies). They're soft and they're about the size of your ...
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  • 53k
10 votes

How do I disinfect my wool hiking socks?

(Late answer here.) A scholarly report discusses fungus and laundry Several years ago, a scholarly report was published. The report's "Appendix A" discusses, among other things, how you should do ...
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10 votes

How can I make sure there are no more ticks around?

Sauna. And not that joke-of-a-sauna but a real Scandinavian sauna with 80°C / 176°F. One thing with ticks is that they can take an enormous amount of beating and other forms of killing attempts but ...
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9 votes

Big Wall Climbing Portaledge Toilet Etiquette?

To my knowledge, all popular routes in the United States require packing out all waste. Here are the rules for Yosemite, which has good guidelines applicable everywhere: http://www.nps.gov/yose/...
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  • 10.6k
8 votes
Accepted

What should I do if I get sprayed by a skunk?

The magic skunk-smell-be-gone recipe: In a plastic bucket, mix well the following ingredients: 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 1/4 cup of baking soda 1 to 2 teaspoons liquid soap First thing you ...
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  • 53k
8 votes

How to clean cookware?

Nhinkle gives an amazing answer here, but I wanted to add an option which we quite often use, which is to soapy wash less often throughout the day. This will depend on what you cook / eat / water ...
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  • 15.4k
8 votes
Accepted

Selection of toilet area, its distance from the trail, its size with respect to number of people in group, placement of holes

The two thoughts are correct. The other considerations should be: The layout should ought to be like Trail - Campsite and Kitchen area - Thickets (if there are any) - Toilet area. Preferably it can ...
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  • 31.5k
8 votes

How can I clean teeth in the backcountry?

My go-to solution for backpacking teeth brushing is to use baking soda. It is: odor-free, so you don’t have to worry about treating it as a smellable extremely light, as it is a powder does actually ...
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  • 2,360
7 votes

Reusing the same water bottle for drinking tap water

Given that your water is clean I don't think cleaning the bottle is a major concern. Personally I would rinse a water bottle out with tap water before filling (or maybe once a day if using it lots) ...
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  • 7,069
7 votes

During high-altitude lengthy expedition: To shave or not shave?

Would have to agree. In the west we have been accused of being overly clean. after a few days you will likely reach some form of equilibrium with the mess. And while I don't recommend going more than ...
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  • 71
7 votes

Where can I find public water tap for cleaning/bathing in the Netherlands?

There is a website which has a map listing all public fountains, some examples of how the fountains look can be found here. But most Dutch people tend to be friendly, so if you ask them if you can "...
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  • 230
7 votes

Should you pop a blister?

I haven't tried @Vorac answer, but it sounds interesting. I'm not going to say if popping a blister is correct or not. But, if you do, this is how I was taught to pop a blister: Get a needle (...
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  • 1,612
7 votes

What are safe/effective leaves from around the world for use in tidying up your backside after answering the call of nature?

I'll start with a local favorite: great mullein or common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) Introduced to the North America. I've found it from New York to North Carolina. Apparently originated in Europe ...
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