Bathroom Kits: 4 must-have items for the adventure rider (and for less than $30)

…or: How to banish monkey butt.

I risk it all when I’m riding my bike off-road, clearing massive log piles and getting big air off jumps and over gullies.

In my mind, I mean. That’s the place where I put that overactive imagination Ms. Putnam kept mentioning while I squirmed in the back row of her Grade 3 class.

Actually, the biggest danger I face most of the time while adventure riding isn’t getting air; it’s getting a bad case of monkey butt.

This is a real thing. Imagine the state of your butt after rubbing, chafing and vibrating on a vinyl seat for eight hours, all while wrapped in nylon and foam padding, in sweaty-hot conditions. On second thought, don’t imagine that.

Why the name? Monkey butt? Just imagine a National Geographic special, with a bunch of monkeys scampering away from the camera. Picture their bright red butts. On second thought…

The point is, if you’re on the trail, you need a compact and effective bathroom kit. Here’s what I put in mine.

(Oh — I should mention: these aren’t paid endorsements or affiliate sales links. They’re just products I use and like.)

The “Fundamental 4” must-have items for the adventure rider’s bathroom kit

Trek and Travel Pocket Soaps

Yeah, I used to be one of those hard-core dudes who scorned the idea of wasting space and weight by carrying some pantywaist extravagance like soap. In fact, my record stretch of going without ablutions is 65 days of travel in desert heat. At the time, it wasn’t a problem: since I was alone, there was no one to worry about the smell.

But that was before I started riding motorcycles off-road. Before I had to deal with monkey butt – and before I learned, the uncomfortable way, that you need soap.

What you don’t need is weight and bulk, and these packets of dried soap “leaves” are light and small. You just add a bit of water to dissolve a leaf into liquid soap. There’s no potential for spillage, and carrying 50 leaves means only an extra 15 grams (0.5 oz) of weight.

You can also get shampoo, shaving soap and laundry-wash versions. And, as an added bonus, they’re carry-on compliant for your flight to the Namibian desert.

Baby powder

This is like a good doubles match in tennis: two partners working effectively together and never arguing about who missed the ball.

After you use the Trek and Travel soap on your saddle-contacting bits, dust things down there with some baby powder. I say, “things” because…well, it’s just polite, that’s why. Banish monkey butt. Works wonders.

And since you’re doing this “dual-sport” thing, another way to double-up is to use your baby powder to dust the inside of your tires when you install or repair inner tubes. This reduces the chances of the tube adhering to the tire, which can result in torn valve stems.

PackTowl Nano Towel

What weighs less than an ounce, fits easily in the palm of your hand, dries in minutes, and can be used as a towel and a helmet-lens cleaning cloth? This.

Sunscreen in a bag

I’ve unintentionally used lots of bottles and tubes of sunscreen to protect the inside of my luggage from those pesky UV rays. No more! I now use a durable plastic pouch to carry sunscreen, something like the 0.5 litre Platypus Softbottle. The cap on these bags is threaded onto a spout that is more rigid than you find on a plastic tube or bottle, so they won’t deform and pop open. And, as you use up the sunscreen, the bag is easy to compress. I haven’t had one spring a leak yet – although I haven’t tried packing them beside my knife….

There’s more to your bathroom kit, but it’s just the usual suspects:
  • Toothbrush, paste, and dental floss, all purchased in the travel-size section of the store. In case you’re wondering – or suspecting – yes, I do cut the handles off my toothbrushes.
  • Contact lens paraphernalia and glasses for us blind folk. I use a single contact lens cup, instead of the usual paired set, since my prescription is the same in both eyes and I don’t need to remember which is right and which is left. Remember to take a spare set of contact lenses, though, along with your travel-sized bottle of cleaning solution.
  • Throw in an inexpensive pair of glasses and pack them in a cloth bag or case, instead of a bulky hard case. I store them in a protected location in my panniers, and I’ve never broken a pair yet. And now I’ve said that out loud, you know what’s going to happen on my next trip….
  • I’ve got soap, remember? So no deodorant. Live a little.
  • I don’t shave on trips, so that’s that solved.
  • I used to take a small tube of moisturizer, since I often ride in the desert. Never used it. Besides, sunscreen is moisturizer, isn’t it? (Isn’t it? I have no idea.)

You could put all this stuff in a mesh bag, so your stuff dries more quickly. You should do that.

In my pocket

I carry lip balm, eye drops and Tums in my pocket. But that’s only because I’m usually chapped, dry and irritated, and likely to cause indigestion. I’m sure you’re much more welcome in social settings than I am.

A couple of caveats…

I’m not female. So there could be some stuff I haven’t considered — besides the obvious. Let me know your thoughts.

Secondly: I am a fully-evolved man. Consequently, I am bald. So I don’t need the combs and such to which lesser men are slaves.

Finally: toilet paper. That’s a complex topic. So complex, in fact, that we’ll deal with it in another post. Who knew? Seems simple enough: grab some toilet paper and then….

Now you’ve got a compact bathroom kit, no more monkey butt, and lots of time to imagine yourself getting air. Enjoy the ride!

Please let me know about the great stuff you pack in your bathroom kit; maybe you’ll change my mind!

4 Replies to “Bathroom Kits: 4 must-have items for the adventure rider (and for less than $30)”

  1. We would like to say that we enjoyed this post – well, actually, we did – HOWEVER, we must express our disappointment that an author as hard-riding as you, Kevin, would soft-pedal on the solid (& liquid) issues that one would expect to be addressed in a topic such as this! 😉

    Our latest bathroom kit item? Coconut coir to use as desiccant in our composting head. Essential for our sailing adventure, but probably not so useful on your off-road escapades?

    1. I know: I backed off the throttle on the pee and poo thing. You know…it’s controversial; I’m afraid of conflict…so just pretend it doesn’t happen.

      Actually, I once (literally) wrote the book on the pee and poo thing for Outward Bound Canada, so I do have some perspective to offer. I’ll get there. Keep reading.

      Oh — I’d never hear of “coir.” Thanks for the new word!

  2. Ok, will keep reading, with pleasure!

    1. Thanks…especially since I had a MailChimp meltdown, and this week’s post incorrectly appeared with last week’s image and headline!

      But no need to badmouth MailChimp: it was just helping me be a life-long learner…

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