Ultralight body care5 mn de lecture

Still in the ultra-light perspective: a complete point on the toilet and the pharmacy

For example, here is a typical bathroom:

Cosy, huh?

The equipment now

Three categories: hygiene, pharmacy, special operations.

I group these three families together because they correspond to each other: sewing needles can be used, for example, to remove a splinter – but NEVER to pierce blisters – and Marseille soap is used for absolutely everything, as we will see later.

Moreover, all this material finds its place in my toilet bag:

Sea to Summit brand, 83 grams without the included mirror – removed as it’s useless when you can mirror yourself in puddles. Very practical for organizing the stuff.

For the closed size:

Let’s thank the banana scale again, which was already used in the previous article.


A microfiber towel: the smallest one, from MSR. I have tested several, but the material of this brand is far superior to the others. That said, I have also read on some ultralight backpacking forums that supermarket mops do the trick. Yes, yes…

Dimensions of this mini bath sheet: 35X25 centimetres. Weight without the pouch: 37 grams. Quite enough. Wipes out halfway through, like a chamois.

Next: the toothbrush. I’ve got into the habit of keeping the ones offered by airline companies. They are basic but very light and usually last me two to three trips. 6 grams.

NB: no toothpaste. No need for it. What cleans teeth is the mechanical action of the brush, not the slobbery foam. You get used to the lack of a minty feel pretty quickly and no, you don’t develop jackal breath. Well, if you can’t live without toothpaste, Elmex makes very convenient mini-tubes. If you only use toothpaste at night, one tube lasts about ten days.

The hairbrush. 17 grams. Handle cut to save weight and space. A must-have when, like me, you can’t bring yourself to go out and get your hair done like a marine – pronounce meuhwin’s and get a hard blue look.

A razor. Handle cut off too, for the same reasons as the hairbrush. Optional, from an ultralight point of view. However, I eventually settled on it because I didn’t take one on the last hike and missed it.

A “homemade” tick clamp, cobbled together from a loaf of bread clip.

A nail/file cutter: 13 grams. This one is not very efficient. It breaks the horn rather than cutting it cleanly, and it’s not as good as the one I use at home, which however weighs 45 grams. The 32 grams less weight outweighed the comfort and the file makes up for the rest.

A manicure stick. Negligible weight. Washable. Can be used for many things, such as cleaning.

A mini bottle, collected from a hotel. 50ml. Contains 15 days of biodegradable shampoos, one every other day. Full: 35 grams.

Two small perfume jars in which I put creams. I recently replaced them with aluminium screw caps (weight halved again, it’s getting obsessive…) One jar contains a moisturising face cream and another one for dry skin. I know: the real ultralight walker doesn’t carry ointment: he likes himself in sandpaper. But me, frankly, no. And the two full pots are 44 grams, so they make up for some of what I gained on the nail clipper.

No toilet paper: I “pick it up” from bars, restaurants and the few hotels where I stay, when I feel the need to get back to modern comfort.

Last but not least, THE miracle product, which is worth its own picture:

Marseille soap. Irreplaceable!

A piece of this size weighs 52 grams and lasts me more than a month: I use it to wash myself and I also use it as shaving foam, for laundry, and even as a deodorant – I spread it on my armpits and it lasts about ten hours. Afterwards…

Some ultralight hikers also use it as toothpaste. I tried it but it didn’t work. Can be used as an antiseptic too. Depending on the extent of the wound, I wouldn’t say so either.

Tip: note the little garcette cord with its fisherman’s knot. This simply allows you to hang the soap block in the shower, or afterwards to dry it, and above all it avoids letting it slip into the stream. Clever.


I’m going fast, the picture speaks for itself:

Half a self-adhesive strip of Coheban type, 1 Scholl tube for the toes (here, a remnant of the Route Saint-Lu), a dose of disinfectant, two dosettes of cleansing eyewash, some anti-histamines, Ibuprofen, four aspirin 500, a pair of light scissors (14 grams), two sterile compresses, a bandage strip, a wick of Coalgan, double-skin. Enough, at first.

All this is in fact provided for in case of emergency: in case of a complication, there is always a shop on the road (at least in Europe) that is abundantly supplied with various products:

Special operations

No surgery here. Or very little. It’s more about patching up or waiting for the return to civilisation. The kit:

Opinel n°8. Well sharpened, a razor. Used to cut sausage, dead skin from blisters, firewood, confront bears, etc. 47 grams.

A sewing kit. Never used but negligible weight. Very useful needles for splinters: much better than tweezers.

A small roll of Duct Tape – all-purpose adhesive: gluing, welding, sealing, plastering, etc.

4 metres of polypropylene garrote: clothesline, broken shoelaces, extra tent guy rope…

A packet of hydroclonazole: tablets to purify water, provided that it is clear. You can read more about this in the article on the subject.

Matches. Waterproof here, for the scout aspect. Otherwise, ordinary ones are good too.

Small thermometer compass from Victorinox. Gadget but not only: 13 grams of reference in case of smartphone failure. Also gives the temperature in the tent when the smartphone is on power save, and helps to understand why you sometimes chatter your teeth. The ruler allows you to measure the size of mosquito buttons, just for fun.

Earplugs. Very practical: the return to civilisation, sometimes…

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