Todd’s Tips: 3 Uses for Bamboo Cloth
Like everything VSSL sells, our bamboo cloths are custom made for us. We knew that we needed a premium product that could withstand the rigors of outdoor life and has the functionality and durability that we require. The feedback on these cloths has been amazing! They’re vacuum compressed to fit inside any VSSL, but they expand to an incredible 12” x 20”. These cloths are incredibly high quality and durable and can often be used multiple times. And when they’re ready to be discarded, they’re biodegradable.
While there are many uses for our bamboo cloths, I want to focus on two of the less obvious ones.
As we know, clean water is essential, not only for drinking but for cleaning wounds. Being able to source and make clean water can be the difference between a great outdoor experience and one that leads to a quick return home. Next to cuts, illnesses from disease-causing microbes or pathogens, are the second most common outdoor first aid “event”. Often referred to as recreational water illnesses, having a method to clean water from a natural source is very important.
But quite often, even before you begin your water purification process (using either a press or gravity filter, water purification or drops, or boiling water) there is often sediment in the water that makes any purification process less efficient.
Using your bamboo cloth to filter sediment is an important first step. It's a simple process that involves using your expanded cloth as a filter as you pour dirty water from one container into another container.
In this instance, I used one layer of cloth and incredibly dirty water to exaggerate the effect. If you want to really refine your water, simply double up, or even triple up the cloth. In a situation where you need water and have no other purification method, fold the cloth to create as fine a strain as you can, that still allows water to pass through.
In his book “Surviving a Wilderness Emergency”, author Peter Kummerfeldt writes, “Doctors can cure giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis, but they can’t cure death!” And since it often takes several days if not weeks for most water-borne illnesses to set in, it’s most often recommended to take the risk with drinking water vs the risk of the complications from becoming overly dehydrated, especially in a wilderness situation.
Dry bamboo cloth also makes for a very effective fire tinder. In its natural form, you’ll get a good clean burning fire starter for about 30 seconds. But if conditions are a little more adverse, and you want something to help accelerate your fire-starting process, there are a few tricks I’ve tried that you can use:
PRO TIP 1. Soak your bamboo cloth in candle wax. I’ve used our pure Canadian beeswax candle to thoroughly drip wax over a crumpled bamboo cloth. This essentially makes the cloth act like a wick and with this method, the cloth will burn for around 4 minutes.
PRO TIP 2. A more drastic method (but equally effective) is to soak the cloth with the oil from your compass. In some cases, starting a fire might be more important than having a functioning compass. You can crack any handheld compass open by striking it with a knife or rock. Once opened, soak the bamboo cloth in the oil that you can now pour out of the crack. Only recommended in an emergency situation (such as signaling for help, or boiling water to purify it), but it is a highly effective fire starting method.
And of course, our bamboo cloth is durable enough to use to clean up around camp. In addition to working as an effective camp rag, your bamboo cloth can also be useful for:
While I do realize that this is ‘just a cloth’, this had to be the best possible product we could make. A quality bamboo cloth provides so much extra utility for outdoor use and the quality of the material is very important for those functions. So whether you’re purifying water or just cleaning up around camp, our bamboo cloth is an essential piece of our gear system that we never go without.