I recently went on a trip to Savage Gulf State Natural Area in lovely Tennessee. It had rained heavily the day before, so everything was soaked and dirty. (It is, after all, the outdoors.) After setting up camp and gathering firewood, my hands were pretty dirty, to say the least. Brian had sent us a Lunatec Trekr ultralight washcloth to test out, so I pulled it out of my pack and started scrubbing.
The Trekr is very lightweight, weighing in at a half ounce (around 14 grams) and made of QuickDri nylon. With dimensions of 10.5″ x 10.5″, it compressed down pretty small with the help of an attached elastic loop.
The woven texture means that it works really well as exfoliating your skin, which feels great at the end of a particularly dirty day. Also, this really helps when scrubbing your cookware. The Trekr dried in open air in less than 15 minutes and after multiple uses, it doesn’t have any funky smell.
Lunatec says that this never needs washing, since it is ‘self cleaning’. I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant by this. I scrubbed the dirt and mud off my hands, then looked at it in nervous (borderline giddy) anticipation. When would the self cleaning begin? Would thousands of tiny Scrubbin’ Bubbles emerge to wash away the gunk? Was the occult involved???
After about 2 minutes of staring at the Trekr and biting my nails, I realized this isn’t what they meant. What I did then, was take a bottle of water and just pour it over the Trekr. I think my actual words were ‘Wow. Look at this.’ The dirt and debris washed off with no effort. Like a fat kid rocketing down the Slip ‘N’ Slide, the dirt and grime went skidding off the edge and into oblivion.
I washed small bits of dirt, bark, leaves and other debris off my hands with ease. But, would it handle something a little tougher? I asked my wife, who normally does not play in red clay, to go mess her delicate, soft hands up with red clay mud, then scrub them clean using the Trekr. Once she was finished, I poured water over the washcloth on one side. I wanted to see how much dirt would come off with just water, but no scrubbing. Most of the red clay mud washed off with just water. I was able to scrub the rest of it out with just running water.
The Ultimate Test?
I then moved on to something tougher. Something borderline evil. That’s right. My old nemesis….ESBIT SOOT. I burned a 14g Esbit tablet underneath my Ti cup (using my trusty Flat Cat Gear Snow Leopard and Epicurean stove) to heat up a cup of water. Then, I scrubbed all of the accumulated soot off of the bottom. The Trekr did a good job scrubbing all that gunk cleanly off the cup without any soap. Then, I ran water over it to see if the gunky soot would come off. It didn’t.
I then started scrubbing the Trekr vigorously by rubbing it against itself under water. Without soap, ‘most’ of the soot washed out, but the stains were still noticeable. I was able to use some Dr. Bronner’s soap to get it a little cleaner, but it didn’t look immaculate when I was finished. (As I side note, I have read that some folks had problems getting Dr. Bronner’s soap to lather up with this, but I had no problems.)
So the ‘self cleaning’ claim is pretty much true if you are using it for normal cleaning of yourself, I suppose. I really, really like this thing. I’ve seen it for sale online in 2-packs for less than ten bucks, so you can have one for cleaning yourself and one for cleaning your gear. Or just cut one in half, if you can’t spare a half ounce. Also, if you have any stray fibers, you can just hit them quickly with a small flame to fuse them together to prevent further fraying.
Lunatec says that you can also use this as a makeshift kitchen strainer. Also, if you are panning for gold, this will help you catch small flakes of gold. I doubt I’ll ever find myself in the Klondike and in need of this for gold hunting, but they may want to send a box to Todd Hoffman of ‘Gold Rush’ to get his endorsement for that.
Disclaimer: Lunatec provided Brian’s Backpacking Blog with a complimentary Trekr ultralight washcloth for testing and feedback. The author of this post was under no commitment to write a review of this item.
Two Gear Guys – Guest Contributors
Editor’s Note: Please join me in welcoming Adam Bassett and Keith Stone as guest contributors to Brian’s Backpacking Blog. Adam and Keith are the geniuses behind the hilariously funny Two Gear Guys video gear reviews that you may have already stumbled upon. I loved their sense of humor and fresh approach to making gear videos the very minute I saw them, I also think they are going to be a big sensation in the outdoor gear reviewing world – mark my words. You’ll be seeing much more of them here in the future! Here’s a little more information about TGGs:
Adam Bassett is not only one of the Two Gear Guys, he is also a real person and has loved the outdoors since he was itty bitty. His first real hike was a twelve mile trek on the Pinhoti Trail at age eleven. He’s a scuba diver, painter, potter, musician and videographer. He loves shooting videos for his favorite non-profit, MountainChild.org. He has a wonderful wife of fifteen years and an awesome son. TGG allows him to forget the stresses of the world and be as goofy as humanly possible.
Keith Stone is the other half of Two Gear Guys. He lives in Alabama with his amazing wife of 11 years, Crystal. When not hiking or making gear review videos, he draws comic books as a ministry tool for missionaries. Some of his favorite places to backpack are Bankhead Forest and the Smoky Mountains. The most memorable hike he ever went on was his first group hike out to Charlie’s Bunion, along the Appalachian Trail. “It was life changing”, he says. Keith decided to start doing gear review videos after he realized most gear videos had trouble keeping his attention for more than a minute. He tries to do reviews with ‘ADD-prone hikers’ in mind.