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Don’t Count Wet Wipes to Cut Base Weight with Kids

My son and I planned a 5 day route in the North Cascades that would include summiting three technical peaks. Therefore, not only were we packing for 5 days in the backcountry with 16 pounds of food, but we were adding helmets, ice axes, crampons and a half rope. After getting everything packed for the two of us, my pack weighed 55 pounds. Had I been on this adventure with someone else, I could have reduced my weight to 31 pounds by sharing half the tent weight and not carrying all the food and my son’s climbing gear.

So I sat there trying to figure out how to cut weight……after all, ounces make pounds. I minimized as best I could and by the end I came up with this idea of counting out how many wet wipes and pieces of toilet paper we would need for five days. To put in to another perspective, I determined a mom and her 8 year old son would only need two wet wipes and six pieces of toilet paper per day for five days……10 wet wipes and 30 pieces of toilet paper. I still laugh to this day. What was I thinking??!!!

So, this failed. Miserably. Within the first day. What was I thinking? Could each person really reduce themselves to three individual pieces of toilet paper for each day? Does a child even go to the bathroom without using at least half a roll of toilet paper? Without the extra TMI details, we ran out of supplies mid-way through day 2….so 3.5 days remained without wiping/cleaning supplies. Fortunately, we had linked up with another backpacking couple. I was able to trade route/terrain knowledge and water filter usage for toilet paper and additional wet wipes.

As parents, we know we are hauling 80% of all the gear and usually the weight is more than we are accustomed to hauling down the trail but heed to this advice, don’t count wet wipes to cut weight.