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[pct-l] Female hygiene and Bivy

Hi Jennifer,

Although I've never hiked the PCT I do have some input on your questions.

WARNING the following contains detailed information about female hygiene if
you could take offense please pass on to the next section.

As to feminine hygiene my first suggestion is to invest in a product call a
Santi-Fresh (Whoever designed this should be give a standing ovation  :^)  ).
If you never seen one it's a small cup like devise with a short hose that
allows us women to do our thing with the same ease as men do (urinate). On a
cold day you'll thank the inventer! I would advise you practice at home as it
can be messy until you get the hang of it. 
For cleaning yourself I would recommend baby wipes, again try at home these
products can sometimes cause irritation or infection in some woman. If that
is you case the carry a small bottle of femine wash and use far from any
water source. It is very important to cleanse yourself at least ever couple
of day otherwise you risk a serious infection which can bring your hike to
halt. This next section is rather sensitive but needs to be covered. When
wiping yourself after passing feces always wipe from front to back. In
civilization this may not be as important but in the wilderness where it may
be days or weeks between proper baths (no water sites) the bacteria brought
forward by improper wiping can again cause serious infections. 

Tent or Bivy

Their are several things to consider when making you choice. 

1. Will you always hike together or may you seperate during your hike. This
could include different hiking paces. Seperating during the day but planing
on meeting up at a designated spot.

2. If the weather turns less then good do you plan on hiking through it or
holding up until it passes.

3. Are you planing on a heavy (50>) medium (30-50) or light (<30) weight
pack. Lighter means more daily mile, heavier mean more comfort. (Weights are
not figuring water)

These are your big considerations. If you have never tried a Bivy sack I
would suggest your buy one were you can return it and try sleeping in it in
your home. They are very confining and some people find they can't sleep in
them. Their are several different styles to choose from some have poles to
raise the fabric away from your face some don't. Try several before deciding
as a small design change can make a big difference in comfort. 
1. Lite weight and packs very small
2. Warmer per pound 
3. Easier setup 
4. You have an emergency shelter with you at all times

1. Confining, little or no room for gear (big consideration if your stuck
inside during a heavy rain or snow store)
2. You must take extra care of your sleeping bag as more moisture will build
up in the insulation (from persperation consider a vapor barrier liner but
only in cold weather unless your a very cold sleeper) this can make a down
sleeping bag useless in a very short time.
3. Unless you get a Bivy with a pole design the bag is just about useless for
anything but sleeping. With a pole it is possible to read while still being
enclosed away from weather/bugs
4. You cannot cook inside (big consideration in the rain)
5. Changing clothes in next to impossible (but can be done by the very
determined )
6. Drying gear cannot be done without getting your sleeping bag wet

As you can see the disadvantage out weigh the advantages, but it's still
lighter and smaller.

Hope this helps
Angelica Wilson

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