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For the past year, I’ve been working hard at coming up with the minimal necessities I need while backpacking. By necessities, I mean hygiene items that give a good balance of size, weight, needs and wants.
Your mileage is going to vary considerably from mine, especially for the females reading this, but what I’m presenting here is a Lightweight Backpacking Dopp Kit that I’ve developed, along with some thoughts and considerations on how to develop your own.
Lightweight Backpacking Dopp Kit
The first thing you have to ask yourself is “what do I need to sustain myself for “X” number of days?” Take a look at what you use on a daily basis and what’s necessary. What isn’t? Make a list of those items and then start to think outside the box.
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You may find a few of these suggestions I’ll present to be gross, or not what you’d do and that’s fine. If you have a true desire to do more with less in the outdoors, hygiene items are a good place to trim weight. If you remember from Brian Green’s awesome post on Lightweight Backpacking, he mentioned weighing everything. You’ll be amazed if you haven’t tried this yet. It’s neat to get your brain thinking about how to trim ounces.
Take a travel size deodorant for example, do you really need all that plastic? The actual deodorant is all you’re using, right? As you’ll see in the photo, I’ve repackaged a travel-size deodorant into a small .25 fl. oz. container. I just use two fingers to apply it daily. I’ve done this with many items that you see here. I’ve even got a few that I don’t always take, but have shown just for their overall size.
Below you’ll see the contents of the Dopp Kit, which is enough for 10 days and even way more than 10 days with a few of the items. This just means that there’s even more room for improvement and weight savings. Again, this also contains a few things I don’t normally take, but the maximum of what I would for a 10-day backpacking trip. Everything you see here weighs just 8.8 ounces together.
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- aLOKSAK Bag (9″x6″)
- Toothbrush (cut down)
- Toothpaste (end of travel size tube rolled up and taped)
- Body Glide (repacked)
- Deodorant (repacked)
- Wilderness Wash (repacked)
- Sunscreen – KINeSYS 30 SPF (repacked in small spray tube)
- Bug Spray (small spray tube)
- Dental Floss (small amount on spindle)
- Gold Bond (repacked)
- Lotion (repacked)
- Light Load Towel (sealed)
- Dermatone 30 SPF (repacked)
- Aspirin (Bayer) – 2 Per Day / 10 Day Supply (ez-dose pill pouch)
- Ibuprofen (Advil) – 2 Per Day / 10 Day Supply (ez-dose pill pouch)
- Ginko Biloba (Altitude Sickness / AMS) – 2 Per Day / 10 Day Supply (ez-dose pill pouch)
- Aloe Gator Medicated Lip Balm – 30 SPF (original tube / could be repacked)
The only thing not mentioned here would be toilet paper and that too can be repackaged by folding, or even getting those small Charmin To Go rolls. You can remove them from the plastic packaging and actually fit a roll in the same bag shown here, I’ve done that a few times and it worked out well. There’s some redundancy built into my contents here, as well as items that aren’t needed in certain situations, such as the Ginko for AMS if I’m not going into elevation. There’s also carrying sunscreen, but having the Dermatone for my face and the Aloe Gator Lip Balm being SPF 30 too.
Another possibility to add would be repackaged hand sanitizer, but a mini bottle of that is easy to throw in a pocket. That small travel size toothpaste tube I’m using could also either be repacked or you could make toothpaste dots. Mike’s did that when we were on the GORUCK Ascent last year and it worked out well for him.
The containers I used to repackaged most of these items were either Nalgene Snap-Cap Vials, Nalgene Containers, EZ-Dose Pill Pouches (love these things) or Polyethylene Containers from REI. I really like LOKSAK bags for containing this kit, but overall they need to be replaced more often than I’d like. I’ve taken them scuba diving, backpacking, camping and just about everywhere. The only way that I’ve been able to truly guarantee they’re waterproofing the contents is to use a brand new one, or check a used one first by putting a paper towel in it and submerging it in a sink. That’s in no way saying they don’t work, but it’s always good to dirt dive them before you have to depend on them.
Hopefully, if nothing, this look into my Lightweight Backpacking Dopp Kit has given you a place to start, if you’re looking to construct your own. Feel free to ask me any questions and I’d be happy to give you more info if I can.
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