I’ve never met a backpacker who isn’t willing to talk about poop. In fact, one of the most memorable parts of my first ever backpacking trip was the realization that everyone was willing to talk about their bowel movements. When someone took the diddy kit, you knew what was going down.
Flash forward to now, and I’m evermore comfortable working a good poop story into pretty much any conversation. When I was offered a chance to test and write about a backcountry bidet, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Though I was excited to add this tiny piece of gear into my summer backpacking kit, I was also slightly nervous. I had never used a regular bidet before, and I was curious about the logistics. On my first outing, I brought backup TP just in case I chickened out or something went wrong. However, after a summer of wonderful backcountry poops I don’t think I’ll ever have to pack out toilet paper again.
CuloClean Ultralight Portable Bidet at a Glance
The Birth of the Backcountry Bidet
Though my review focuses on using the CuloClean in the backcountry, the product was created as an eco-friendly and hygienic device to use while traveling (or everyday). The grooves on the side make it compatible with pretty much every plastic water bottle on the market, so you can use it anywhere in the world. And what better place in the world is there than the backcountry? I’ve found that using the CuloClean helps me feel overall cleaner and fresher while backpacking, and keeps my undergarments cleaner as well.
How it Works When Backpacking
The CuloClean is incredibly straightforward and simple to use. All you need is a plastic or reusable water bottle with a ~1 inch diameter, a trowel and the bidet.
You dig your cat hole and do your business like normal. Then, you screw the bidet into the opening of your water bottle and squeeze; a small stream of water comes out of the bidet. Pressure is adjustable depending on how tightly you squeeze your water bottle. At the end of it all, cover your cat hole and keep on trekkin'!
A small amount of biodegradable soap can elevate the experience. Just be sure to keep the soap (along with your poop) away from water sources.
There are a couple of factors that may make it worth bringing some backup TP.
For just $10, it’s absolutely worth it for every backpacker to give this product a try. I’m also looking forward to bringing this while traveling, so I can avoid 1-ply toilet paper in hostels. Though I may still bring toilet paper on extremely cold trips or places where water is scarce, for most backpacking and thru-hiking adventures, the CuloClean lightens your load, saves you from carrying out dirty TP, and leads to an overall more sanitary and environmentally conscious experience.
Katie is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. When she's not behind her laptop, you can find her guzzling instant coffee in the backcountry or developing a new and expensive outdoor hobby. To see her adventures and occasional long rambles, follow her on Instagram @katelyn_ali
Hi! Do you know if this can be used with soft water flasks (ex: Salomon 500ml soft flask or other brands) rather than plastic bottles? Thanks!
Hi Cat, great question! I asked that to Katie, our reviewer, and this was her response, “there were never any issues with aim, and the drying process was pretty quick… I usually stayed in my squat for about 30 extra seconds before I felt good to go. It’s seriously such a great product, my mom bought one after we went backpacking together!” Cheers, Amy (GGG Co-Founder)
This leaves me with the question I’ve always had about bidets…How do you dry off? Wait a bit to air-dry? Have a dedicated bandana? Wearing soggy undies is not my joy!
I recently switched to the bidet method out of necessity (GI issues and not enough TP). I don’t plan on going back!
That said, the biggest con for bidets is outhouses. Two huge problems: first, their seats are notoriously too high, which makes washing off likely impossible and, second, people tend to be complete slobs and you need TP to wipe off the seat before you sit.
Maybe someday the NPS and USFS will build better long drops, but until they do, remember to bring TP on trails like the Wonderland. At least you won’t have to pack it out!