Toothpaste Dots

Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips by Mike Clelland is a list of 153 tips and tricks for ultralight backpackers, with a few of paragraphs and line drawings explaining each tip, readable in any order. Some ideas, such as #116 “Liberate yourself from toilet paper”, I am not not quite ready to adopt…

Number #54, “Make your own toothpaste dots” however, is one I like. Take some toothpaste, preferably one of creamy consistency rather than the gel kind, and squeeze out a few thin lines on a fruit leather sheet of your food dehydrator.

Dehydrate on low heat until most of the moisture is gone, and use a sharp knife to divide into 1/4″ “toothpaste dots”. Measure out how many you need for your trip, and store in a small 2″x3″ zip bag. No need to pack a travel-size tube of toothpaste at 0.85 ounces (24 grams), and easier to use than tooth powder.

To use, put one or two dots in your mouth with a swig of water, crunch and mix thoroughly, and start brushing. Of course, your toothbrush will have most of the handle broken off, or holes drilled in strategic patterns, to save weight.

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Eighteen boxes, ready to be filled during month of May for mail-drops along The Trail.

I may have over-estimated required size of box at 12″x16″x6″. During previous trip 24 years ago the box size chosen worked well, and I seem to remember the stacks did not take up that much space, but regrettably I did not record box dimensions at that time. In an ideal world I would have put together enough trail meals to fill one box and use that to estimate necessary box size.

In 1988 I planned 20 boxes for 2000 miles, and this year I am preparing 18 boxes for 1000 miles. Am I being too cautious? Perhaps, but I’d prefer to think of it as acknowledging potential limitations of an older body and planning accordingly.

Less than a month until the hike start!

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