In a group camping/backpacking situation handwashing is one of the most important ways we can keep from getting sick (or from spreading germs to others). It can be difficult though when you have to get some extra water and take the water/soap 200ft away from water sources. Making it easy and accessible makes people much more likely to wash their hands more often and help keep your group healthy and happy.

Wilderness Volunteers Leader Karen Peters recently brought a handwashing bag she made herself on a service project in the Superstition Mountains. We were so impressed with her bag that we asked her to share her technique with everyone!

“I love having hand washing bags set up near the kitchen and near the latrine and have had success with this DIY bag.

STEP 1: Drink a large box of wine. (Or have friends help you drink a large box of wine.)
Remove the bag. Snip off the corner opposite the spigot.

STEP 2. Use duct tape to secure the inner liner to the outer plastic bag.

STEP 3. Purchase 16 inches of nylon or other sturdy, quick dry fabric. The fabric I bought was wide enough for two bags. First use a zig zag stitch to reinforce the opening that you will use for the spigot. Next sew the edges to make an envelope to hold the bag.

STEP 4. Sew a casing for the string that you will use to hang it up on the corner opposite the spigot hole. I used a light line that I also use for hanging laundry.

STEP 5. Your completed bag should look like this

STEP 6. Stuff the plastic wine bladder into the bag. Secure the plastic with a binder clip.

STEP 7. Poke the wine spigot through the hole you created in the nylon bag. I like the twist knobs, rather than the plunger, as I think they are easier to use with wet hands.

STEP 8. Hang your completed bag on a tree, fence post.

I also like to teach people to wash their hands to a song, happy birthday or jeopardy. One recent participant told me that the jeopardy song is really long when the air is only 30 degrees!”

Karen Peters
Wilderness Volunteers Leader