Instacloth, the Go-Anywhere Towelette
Kevin Felts 11.11.16
Have you heard of Instacloth? It is a compact towelette that is individually packaged and sealed. Never heard of it? Neither had I until a chance encounter.
Several years ago I was attending a community outreach training program where several wonderful speakers were discussing issues faced by the homeless. The speakers also discussed services their organizations offered
One speaker talked about his organization, which handed out personal hygiene kits to the homeless. The kits included items such as a tooth brush, small tube of tooth paste, hand sanitizer, individual sized bottle of shampoo, just various items for personal hygiene.
An item in the bag caught my eye, and that was Instacloth. The guest speaker gave a demonstration of how Instacloth worked, and let’s say I was impressed. The church handed out Instacloth so homeless people could go into a bathroom, use water from the sink to activate it, and wipe themselves down. Why couldn’t it be used for camping, backpacking, hiking, bug out bag, get home bag, etc?
What is Instacloth
It is a cloth that has been compressed into a tablet and then sealed in a blister pack. The tablet measures around 13/16 inch in diameter and around 7/16 of an inch thick. It is no larger in diameter than a nickel.
When exposed to water, the tablet expands, unrolls, and turns into a towelette that measures around 8 inches by 10 inches. The water can be from any source, a creek, stream, river, bottled water, faucet, sink, or whatever you may have at hand.
Only about an ounce of water is needed to activate the cloth.
As far as I know, the cloth is not treated with any type of antimicrobial chemical. Any germs that are in the water will remain on the cloth. That is why I use bottled water to activate the cloth.
A box of Instacloth, which contains 8 tablets, weighs in at exactly 1 ounce. That is what my scale says anyway.
Ready Whenever You are
Several years ago some buddies of mine and I went on a three day camping trip on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas. It was winter time and there was no way I was going to take a bath in the cold river water. To clean up I brought a package of baby wipes, which worked very well.
A year or so after that trip I went to my backpack to get the baby wipes, and they were dried out. Good thing I did not need the wipes. I was just taking inventory for another camping trip.
Instacloth are individually packaged and sealed until needed, which makes them perfect for long term storage. Whether they are stored in a get home bag, bug out bag, purse, or daypack, there is nothing to dry out.
I keep a blister pack of Instacloth in my backpack cooking kit. While on the hiking trip I can stop for lunch, use water from my canteen to activate the tablet, and I have a cloth to wipe my hands and face with. It sure beats carrying a box of baby wipes.
Why not just use a bandanna? I use a bandanna to keep sweat out of my eyes. Halfway through a good summer hike it is drenched with sweat. Even if I carried a spare bandanna it would have dirt and crud on it.
Instacloths are individually packaged and sealed until needed. What more could you want? Just add clean water and it is good to go.