One thing you need to understand when winter hiking, you’re not going to smell better after that walk in the woods! Go winter backpacking or long distance trekking and you can expect to ruin some underwear at the very least. The combination of trail chow, less than adequate bathroom facilities and the befouling nature of backpacking all contribute to an inevitable bacon stripe on the skivvies.
Throwing out a pair cotton briefs every once and a while is fine. You’ll probably have to file an environmental impact statement but its not such a big deal. You may, however, be wearing the latest, high tech, super specialized backpacker underwear with a hefty pricetag. Throw out a few pair of those and your wallet is gonna feel it! You can’t just toss them in a bleach filled wash to desolve the unwanted fudge spot since the same properties that make the fabric a great insulater also make it hard to wash. Sure, you can “hand wash” but I would rather not stick my hands in the same water as my used underwear!
A low cost solution is as near as the feminine needs section at your local market. Men will be confused by the vast selection of panty shields available. Let me make it easy for you. Unless you weigh over 300 pounds, get the lightest weight shield on the shelf. If you weigh over 300 pounds, you’re probably not hiking far enough to ruin your skivvies, anyway. There is no need for super absorbancy or wings and you can skip the odor protection. No deodorant is gonna out-scent a backpacker’s racing stripe.
A quick glance at old underwear should give you a clue as to where to place them. Peel off the paper strip to reveal the sticky back and slap it in place! They take a bit to get used to but after you walk a ways, you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing a panty shield. In fact, the extra padding in your underwear can be a bonus on those cold nights. Panty shields not only keep your underwear cleaner, they offer a unique cure for backwoods butthole, a common side effect of an extra thick skid mark. Another benefit; panty shields are great mufflers for the loud exhaust emmisions that are common to the winter hiker. A couple extra shields in the pack can be used as bandages, pot holders, dish sponges or even emergency toilet paper.
After a day of manly mountain adventure, just reach into your drawers and peel off the “brown patch”. Of course, you should pack that pad out but if you’ve got a blaze going, sneak it into the flames when nobody is watching. (it will even sizzle like bacon…) Remember, before that next backpacking adventure, stop by the supermarket and pick up a box of panty shields. You’ll thank HAE for saving your shorts.