In response to a recent post where I laid out my (excessive) backpacking kit, a number of people, across various social media platforms, expressed an interest in knowing what I might have inside my wash bag and my first aid kit drybag (both of which were considerably weighty against other items in my arsenal).
I’m grateful for all of the suggestions and tips that people have provided. Now, I’m going to reveal why they weigh so much.
The Wash Bag
This was a gift from my mother in 2014. I was preparing to go to my first ever festival and she bought me something that would be useful: a bag with a roll-top closure, complete with a contents of shower gel, shampoo, deodorant and a form of sponge. I can’t find the model anywhere but it’s produced by Muck-Off.
Wash bag (empty) – 95g
Face Wash – 159g
Moisturising cream – 81g
Dry Wash – 91g
Roll-on deodorant – 53g
Toothpaste and brush – 122g
Toilet paper in bag – 16g
Large trek towel – 97g
Hand trek towel – 63g
Total = 777g
(When I measured the bag as full, it weighed in at 791g)
On its own, the bag itself is heavy and vastly oversized (possibly a 6lt capacity). I don’t even know if it’s waterproof. I reckon I could comfortably fit all of this in to a 3lt dry bag (they’re only 40g), if not something smaller still.
I know that not everyone agrees with my option to include deodorant but I did factor in that I might encounter other people, especially along public transport routes. I find it’s also useful for easing the itch of unavoidable insect bites.
You could argue that I could make do with just the one towel… I use the larger one for showering while the small one often lives in a more easily accessible location within my rucksack.
One item I would like to add is a means of lubrication for my feet, in the aim of reducing hot-spots and blisters. Specialist creams can be bought but I wonder if a small tub of petroleum jelly may do.
I pack both a dry soap and a facial wash. One is more like a ‘hand sanitiser for your face’ and I mostly use when I’m in a rush or cannot be bothered to trek to the campsite sinks. While it may seem like a luxury, the face wash (159g) is considerably lighter than the All Purpose Soap (239g) that’s marketed towards people heading off on multi-day adventures. Arguably, I could also use one of these in place of washing up detergent.
My First Aid Kit
Like most people (I hope), I have one of those cheap-and-cheerful first aid kits that most outdoor shops will sell you for very little money. I don’t think I’ve ever taken anything from it, bar the occasional plaster to cover an open scrape.
But my actual first aid kit has grown to the point where it demands its own 2lt dry bag!
2lt dry bag (empty) – 30g
Basic first aid kit – 129g
Zinc-oxide tape (x2 rolls) – 185g
Painkillers and paracetamol – 22g
Compeed products – 37g
Anthisan – 12g
Glasses wipes – 1g
The Knife… – 115g
Total = 531g
(Again, weighing the complete bag, I get 540g on the scales)
I have added a couple of tick-removal items to my compact first aid kit and, having not needed to use them so far, I can only hope that the trend continues.
I like to think that much of this list is self-explanatory. Zinc-oxide tape is a great discovery and I’m currently the known hot-spots of my feet prior to a walk and it seems to be combatting the blisters.
Compeed do make good quality products but the roll-on solution doesn’t appear to keep very well and I’ve almost already expended their limited supply of otherwise excellent plasters. In short: they’re great for day hikes but perhaps not ideal for long-distance adventures.
Glasses wipes may not be essential but they’re not heavy either. I’m often surprised by the amount of crud that collects on my lenses and only take notice when I’m not wearing them.
Ah, the knife… That I’ve sharpened but never actually use!! Well, I’m pleasantly surprised to find it’s not the single heaviest item in my bag. Although I could equally be persuaded to leave it behind. Or find a lightweight alternative.