*Testing Myself - Supplies*
Part 1
By: nuckingfutz
17 August 2007


Bug Spray - No such thing as having too much on hand! But I have to admit that I got to my camp without a single can of bug spray. That's not entirely true. I had some, packed it and when I needed it, couldn't find it. Yes, I made a list of where I was packing things and where everything was - but beats me where I put the list. And that's how this adventure started out. I am fully aware that bug spray is on the top of the list of things to take when going hiking, camping, on a picnic, or an evening stroll. Next time, it will be duct taped to the steering wheel.
Meanwhile, fireman called to let me know he was running late for a meeting, but would be at my place in about an hour. I asked if he could pick something up for me. The only thing I needed was bug spray. I have never been so happy to see a married man approaching me!
I used canned bug foggers intended for indoor use, outside. I set them off in the evening right outside my camp on either end, which was very effective at keeping the evening bugs at bay - at least long enough to let the cool evening breezes cool off the camp before bed.

Fly Paper - You can always use it even when the bugs aren't biting. Add some muscle to it by sticking a light stick to it at night. Even the biting bugs are attracted to light and one pass snares them forever on the fly paper. Fly paper is so reasonably priced and easy to pack away just about anywhere, that I can't imagine an argument against having them on hand.

Fly Swatter - You can't beat it when bugs of all shapes and sizes are out in force. There's a very good reason fly swatters have been around for as long as anyone can remember. They work!

Screens - Always have a roll or two in storage because when the bugs are in season - you can't rest without preventive measures. Screens don't last forever and you don't want to be caught without a backlog of this on hand.

Paper Plates - I can sum them up in two words, they suck! Oh sure, I've heard the argument that they can be used to help start a fire and for that reason they are environmentally friendly, but truthfully, if a fire is the goal, then bring newspapers along. Using paper plates instead of tin or plastic plates just doesn't add up.

Paper plates can not hold an adult-sized serving of anything, makes a mess of foods with juices or even slightly runny, soaks up the best part of any dressing and heaven forbid that you want to move to another location after you've started eating. Part of the plate will stay on the table while the parts you are holding will go with you. With any luck, it won't give out on you over the ground - where it delights in depositing your food. Rare is the person who can use a knife to cut through meat or bread without damaging the paper plate beneath it. And good luck starting a fire with plates that are saturated with the dressing or sauce of your dinner or side dish. Oh yeah, and I also know about the argument of putting something solid under the paper plate such as a flat basket-weave thing or even a tin or glass plate. Folks, if you are going to wash something anyway, why not just omit the paper plate and serve the food on real plates?

Used dish water is just as beneficial to the environment as ashes. Spare yourself the frustration of dealing with paper plates and keep a set of granny-ware or camping utensils on hand for outings. Whether there is water at your campsite or you must bring it in with you, bring a bit extra for washing the dishes after each meal or at the end of the day.

I knew I would be washing clothes and dishes, as well as myself - by hand but neglected to bring buckets - but I brought plenty of soap! I guess somehow I thought the clothes would just hang in midair because I forgot to bring clothespins, too. I had plenty of rope - but no clothespins.

Hygiene - At the time I made this note, I hadn't had a bath or shower in over a month. That's not to say I didn't wash myself, just that I didn't have a conventional shower or bath. The sponge bath is slow, not as soothing, shorter than what I like, but effective. And all the while, I thought of my oversized tub in my house over a thousand miles away. For now, the sponge bath would have to do.

Between sponge baths, I kept my hands, face and feet clean with waterless hand sanitizer lotions and anti-bacterial wet wipes. Not really clean the way you feel clean after using soap and water, but a whole lot better than nothing. The sanitizer claims to kill 99.99% of all germs. I used the hand sanitizers much more frequently than if I had running water to wash with. Killing germs is only half the battle - I wanted to look and feel clean, too. The hand sanitizers never accomplished the clean look and feel.

When driving long distance, the Wet Wipes add a sense of refreshment when used to wipe my face. It's almost as effective as a couple cups of coffee. I can't tell you why this works, but it does.

Deoderant and baby powder (some may prefer corn starch) belong together. I can't imagine using one without the other. Powder by itself is an excellent anti-perspirant.

To save myself from the shock of bathing with cold water, I started heating water by leaving half-full water containers in my car parked in full sun for the day. By evening, I had enough warm water for my sponge bath, wash my hair, do the laundry and wash dishes combined - with plenty left over. Prior to that, I was doing one of two thigs - using cold water or heating water in the coffee pot on the gas stove.

Sportsman's Guide offers ready-made SunShowers (TM). These are mylar-like on one side and clear on the other. Bags which each hold 2-1/2 gallons of water. The outer skin is designed to attract and soak up the heat from the sun during the day for a refreshing shower in the evening. While there is no argument that the summer sun can heat water in a mylar bag. The handy sun shower comes complete with spigot, sturdy handle for hanging and shower outlet to provide a very real, full-service "shower" in the woods. The sun shower sounded like such a convenience that I splurged to see if it really was as good as it sounded. It was close.

The Sun Shower package boasts that the heated 2.5 gallons of water is enough for two or three showers. I disagree. It might be enough to shower 2 or 3 men with crew cuts or bald - but add longer and thicker hair to wash (and rinse) on a 5'13" (not petite) frame and I would have to say it might do one man and one woman - hair included. That remains speculation because I couldn't find a Mainer I wanted to ask to shower with me to test the theory. Get your minds out of the gutter, it's all in the name of research, you know.

There was also the issue of getting soap in your eyes when using the Sun Shower. Yes, it still happens no matter how careful you are. And then tryng to turn on the shower part again - while your hands are soapy and your vision isn't the best without your glasses - and now you have soap in one of them. The showerhead is a smooth plastic, as is the tubing leading from the water in the bag to the showerhead. To turn the water on, you have to twist the showerhead. Try that when everything is soapy - hands, showerhead, tubing, hair, washcloth... a learning experience. For subsequent showers, I had a dry rag on hand for just such a mishap. All in all, it was wonderful. I'm glad I bought 2, one for now and one for bartering, post fan. Then again, there are two things a woman should never rush - one is a bubble bath. The other is a hot shower. Perhaps I will use both sun showers in tandem for, well, um, just because I can. I can still be spoiled even if I am in the woods...

SG also carries a cloth enclosure intended as a privacy shower curtain for taking a shower outdoors. This is a nice touch for those who suffer from modesty or are sharing a campsite with others. I felt no need to spend over $59 when my privately owned 54 acres of woods served as my extended "shower curtain" quite well. However, when showering outdoors, you might do well to fog the area first or you will be feasted on while you are washing off dirt, perspiration and all the bug spray you've applied that day. You would do well to wear flip flops or zoris. Being barefoot in the woods is a quick way to break a toe or puncture the bottom of your foot. I'm accident-prone enough without inviting more injuries.

On the subject of nudity in the forest, I have to point out that I was aware that area youngsters roamed on the paved roads on bikes through the summer. I could hear them as they yelled to each other. Youngsters being what they are, the possibility of curiosity overcoming them to see what was down the new gravel "road," made me a bit more cautious than normal. I erected a make-shift shower stall for when I am bathing or oiling myself up with bug spray.

Note to self, as much as I hate "No Trespassing" signs, I will have to come up with a clever reason to deter people from entering my enchanted forest. Any ideas?

Oh, and yes, I will wear a bright orange ball cap & maybe an orange bandana during hunting season.

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