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Most Forgotten Critical Item

PostPosted: 05 Oct 2017 11:32
by Pilgrim52
I always thought this was too obvious to need mentioning, but recent events over the last few months has caused me to reconsider. I expect my young Boy Scouts and other tenderfeet to completely ignore this basic fact. What goes in must come out. And when it does, one needs a certain item to deal with the aftermath. In 2003, myself and another adult took eight Eagle scouts and one near-Eagle on a 7 day canoe trip through a wilderness area. We had been on the river only a few hours when the subject came up. "Hey, somebody loan me some toilet paper!" My response was "What do you mean, LOAN you? Are you saying that you intend to return the paper after you use it?" "Well, no,..." " Why don't you use what you brought with you?" "Uhh... I guess I didn't bring any." "You GUESS? You're not SURE?" "OK, I'm sure I didn't bring any! Now can I borrow some?" I turned to the rest of the group. "Raise your hand if you remembered to bring toilet paper!" Myself, the other Scoutmaster and I think two or three Scouts raised our hands. I looked at each one of them as it sank in that five, count 'em, five Eagle Scouts had forgotten to bring any toilet paper on a seven day wilderness canoe trip. I reached into my waterproof bag and pulled out a ziptop plastic bag. I explained that this bag contained enough paper and wet wipes to take care of at least one and, if necessary, two times of need. I had eight of them, one in case the trip was unexpectedly extended. Furthermore, I had no intention of passing any of them out to those who expected others to take care of them. Nobody said a word. Their faces said it all. Then, I pulled out another plastic bag with a nearly full roll inside. "But I did remember that I, like you, am a member of the Order of the Arrow, the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service. So I took measures to provide Cheerful Service to any fellow Scout who might not have brought enough or who lost his to a leaky bag or overturned canoe. So here you go, guys. Just remember that this small roll is NOT going to supply five or six teenage boys for seven days. The last two or three days, resign yourselves to having to find and use natural substitutes. Think of it as a learning experience." To their credit, they took better care of that roll than the Smithsonian takes care of the Hope Diamond. In the last year, I've taught three wilderness survival classes and gone into the woods with three groups of non-experienced people. Every time somebody found out that there are no sweet scented porcelain lavatories in the wild places kept clean and stocked by local raccoons and squirrels. In addition, I have been following the Nicaraguan socialist economic collapse. Interestingly, the three items most in demand are not gold, silver, or ammunition. It's food, clean water and toilet paper. Nothing else is important. What goes in must come out. So before you set out on a weeklong hike or canoe trip, make sure you haven't forgotten anything critical. Check out your stores and preps. Make sure there is a corresponding amount of toilet paper to the amount of food you have put away. And take the first opportunity to actually try out natural substitutes for toilet paper. You will find that the first things most people think of, i.e., leaves, make terrible field expedients. Corncobs are not much better and pine cones should be avoided. Wads of soft, green grass are passable, smooth stones have been used for centuries and fresh from the bog sphagnum moss is actually a real luxury. Snowballs are used by the brave. Read and heed or be very sorry you didn't. :oops:

Re: Most Forgotten Critical Item

PostPosted: 05 Oct 2017 13:06
by Ekiwinox
Pilgrim52 You are just what the Scouts need to turn into men.

We were just having this discussion this morning. Some people are handier than others to have on trips. Imagine an Outward Bound expedition. A girl's sleeping bag got soaked in the river. Luckily, I had insisted mine include in her pack one of those $1 mylar blankets. The girl seemed mighty glad to be handed the magic blanket and promptly rolled up in it like a taco and went right to sleep. She used it the rest of the trip. The leaders never asked the girl if she needed any help. Probably it is not their job. That girl has you all here to thank for toasty nights.

On another Outward Bound expedition of girls the group supplies started out with a meager supply of group toilet paper. I think Outward Bound does this on purpose. At the start of the trip the girls packs were gone through to eliminate romance novels, private toilet paper, mint gum, lead rocks, etc. The meager supply was not faring well. Then, part way through the journey one of the girls queried "Has anybody noticed our toilet paper supply seems to be magically increasing?" Whole brand new rolls of toilet paper were showing up in the group bag. A few of the other girls had noticed too but did not want to mention the groups mysteriously good fortune. Some people have a more vested interest in the groups toilet paper supply than others.

Two other tidbits. You want to be the person with the map and reading the map. If not you then you want to look at the map with or after the person. You want to be the person filtering the water. If not you then you want to be with the person filtering the water to ensure correct filtering procedure was adhered to.

Re: Most Forgotten Critical Item

PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017 09:18
by Joe
Yep!
I carry tp in my vehicles, in my BoB, in my hunting shoulder bag, in my running belt, in my computer bag, and whn I travel in my fanny pack

Re: Most Forgotten Critical Item

PostPosted: 10 Oct 2017 10:18
by kmussack
I've always enjoyed reading packing lists assembled by survival experts.
You can tell a lot about their individual experience level not by what they include, but by what they leave off.
They'll include six ways to start a fire and leave off;

Toilet Paper
Insect Repellent
Socks....lots of socks.
Wet wipes


Very few include a "Drive-On Rag"....an essential item.