Admit it, you feel a little strange for clicking on this story. You may even feel like you are in need of a shower or maybe a confession. Who the hell wipes their butt with snow? Well, quite literally the answer to that is “no one” because there is not a snowball’s chance of being in hell. Snowballs, well more snow cones, make great toilet paper. Practically, the answer to that same question is many guys and gals who forget their TP and don’t want to offer up a sacrificial sock. Wiping your butt with snow is not strange and you don’t have to worry about being seen as a weirdo. Well, maybe some people will make faces when you tell them you are among the brave who do but remember, you don’t have to tell anyone. The fine art of wiping your butt with snow is a secret art and it isn’t talked about frequently. Don’t worry, if you keep scrolling through this story, you won’t find any nasty photos. Those of us who wipe our butts with snow don’t speak about it openly and we definitely don’t take photos of it. We’re tough, not strange. If you want to see photos of that kind of poo thing, I’m sure there is a hub online where you can find plenty of weird fetishes. Instead of nasty photos, you’ll be treated to some nice photos of gorgeous Fiddlebacks to direct your eyes to after you look away from the text after reading what comes next.
You’re Not Serious!
Back in 2006 or 2007, I introduced a close friend to the practice of winter camping. We discussed all the aspects of what’s needed to comfortably spend time in the great outdoors in below freezing temperatures. From sleeping bags to socks and food to the best tarp setup, we covered it all. I don’t recall how the topic was broached but I do recall the reaction. “You’re not serious!” was the response to me telling him I just use snow to wipe my butt. I explained how the initial physical response is a pucker factor of maybe 7 or 8 and then when your body overcomes the snow, a sense of warmth touches you. It makes you feel “fresh as a daisy in a school play” as my good friend Lt. Mike would say. Listen, we all poo and we all pee. How and where we do this is incredibly personal yet it is important to share personal details with your friends to take care of their well-being. I wasn’t joking with my friend about using snow instead of TP. Snow is usually abundant in the winter and using it is practical. There is no secret club or “9th green at 9” type of practical joke. Snow is free, expedient, and clean. What about the alternatives though?
The Pack of Steak-Ums
To paraphrase the words of another good friend, Scott Gossman, “Keep your wet-wipes close to your body or pulling one out will be like pulling apart a pack of Steak-Ums.” He’s right you know. Wet ones are great and extremely refreshing in warm weather. You get a great fresh out of the show type of clean and it’s like a little treat you can look forward to about 18 hours after your last meal. Wet-Ones are an alternative to snow but only when snow isn’t available and when you can keep them from freezing. We can make a Hollywood “woke” argument against using wet-wipes as many are not eco friendly. This is because the fiber is synthetic to withstand the moisture in the package. Do Mother Earth a favor and learn to use something that falls from the sky like a gift from God. Use something that will melt away and leave no trace. Use snow and use as much as you want since it will be plentiful.
“I’m Just Going to Hold It”
There is always someone we know in our lifetime who refuses to do number 2 anywhere but home. Maybe you met this person in grade school or perhaps it is your friend you always see at the watercooler. If you spend enough time in the woods and get to meet a lot of new friends, you are going to meet someone who would rather wait until the weekend is over than drop trout next to a tree. This is incredibly unhealthy and there is no way I can condone it. Your body wants what your body wants. In addition to all the physical health issues, the psychological trauma is terrible too. I’ve watched as friends have asked at rest stops where the bathroom is only to find out the restroom is out of order or there is no public restroom. I’ve watched them go from “almost relief” time to “batten down the hatches” again, jump in the car, and hurry up and find the next stop WITH a working toilet. I’ve seen the fear in their eyes and the anxiety build up on their face. Instead of suffering through this torment, wouldn’t it be easier to just find a quiet wooded place and do your business? You already know my answer.
The Perfect Snow
Back to the subject of this blog and what you still probably feel uncomfortable about clicking on. Don’t worry, you are likely getting more comfortable reading about butt wiping and it’s absolutely not strange. Wiping your butt with snow is really an art when you think about the snow you’re using. Just like an artist has a preferred setup for their paints, canvas, and brushes, the cultured butt wipe (I mean that in the most endearing way) has a perfect snow for the perfect wipe. One must consider the sensitivity of the skin the snow will encounter when deciding what the perfect snow is. Unless you’re a lifelong cowboy used to life in the saddle, you probably aren’t prepared for using anything rough down there and you probably look for the softest wipes in the grocery store. You prefer comfort and the snow you select will determine if you will select it as a clean up option in the future. Icy snow is not preferred as the crystals are large and they are too sharp to apply to the skin. Powdery snow is too soft, it’s difficult to hold onto, and it can cling to your cheeks. The perfect snow is the same snow you would want to use to make a snowball. It’s not too soft, not too hard, not too wet, and not too dry. The perfect snow will make your experience, well, perfect.
Or Just Pack Dry Toilet Paper
Fine, be that way. Keep calling me strange and keep using your dry wipes. Keep carrying a partially used roll of toilet paper in a Zip-Lock and keep grabbing extra napkins at each coffee break and rest stop on your way to the great outdoors. Keep doing what you’re doing while you can. But, don’t forget my words when the paper runs out, when your kid leaves the roll of TP out exposed to the rain, or when you simply forget to pack it. I’m of the school “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” Options are good and I like rationing my resources. I like having gear on me like 550 paracord and pre-packaged tinder but I’m all for making natural cordage and finding natural tinder in the field. I apply this same approach to toilet paper and as much as I advocate using using snow, I’m not above having some Dude Wipes (individually-wrapped wet wipes) or paper towels in my kit. You should be comfortable using either nature’s option or the man-made one. You’ll often hear people comment, “Why would you wipe your butt with snow? There has to be a better option.” There isn’t always a better option and sometimes you have to grit your teeth and just do what you have to do.
With all joking aside, there is a fine art of wiping your butt with snow. As outdoorsmen and women, we take great pride in our skills and the gear we carry (Hello, you’re on the Fiddleback site with gorgeous handmade blades!) but we don’t always examine the day-to-day tasks that take on new form when we transition from the civilized world to the wilds of the outdoors. Sometimes we need to make light of common experiences and just laugh at ourselves. Perhaps you will never use this advice, perhaps you will offer it as a suggestion to one of your camping buddies, perhaps you’ll share this article with someone, or share it on social media and get a rise out of them. In the end, just like we all relate on having to wipe our butts, we can all relate with a little shared laughter. Thanks to you and the rest of the Fiddleback Forge family for reading.
It seems the first fixed blade to be discovered and actually appreciated, presumably via an injury to the discoverer, was quite the revolutionary incident in human history. It's clearly evidenced by how much we have developed all sorts of cutting tools since then. Not only knives in many specialized applications over the last 50 thousand or so years, but cutting tools for all sorts of materials, and with far more of them being developed for utilitarian applications than combative ones. With a good quality multi-tool perhaps being the pinnacle of overall usefulness versus the various materials in an urbanized environment so far. Though obviously with the weaponization of anything it can profitably be applied to being pretty common, as some living in quarantine may currently be suspecting, blades made for war have certainly earned their way into our revolutionary history as well.
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