Gear in Review: Kula Cloth

I’ve been hiking, backpacking and camping for quite a long time now, hauling a small roll of toilet paper with me. There was always the need to pack out the TP, which is a pain. Being cognizant of disposing of the TP, which often meant carrying it out from the trail in a plastic bag. As I have gotten more educated on Leave No Trace practices, I realized that there must be a better option. On a hike about a year ago, I noticed the small square, folded neatly into a triangle on the back of a friends pack. So I asked about it. She said it was a Kula Cloth, a pee cloth that had changed the way she thought about “going” in the outdoors.

After getting my first, and then my second, Kula cloth I have just two words: Game Changer. Seriously. Who knew that one square of two pieces of cloth could make such a difference in my outdoors experience? I know I didn’t. For years I packed a partial roll of toilet paper, carefully smashed down in a plastic bag for those times when I got to a trailhead latrine where there wasn’t any toilet paper (TP), on a day hike or in the backcountry. Leaving that TP behind doesn’t follow LNT practices so I’d need to pack it out. Plus, I was using all that TP.

Let me be clear, this is a PEE cloth. So if you’ve got to do your poo business you’ll still need that TP or a WAG bag in your pack. What makes it different from that bandana you’ve been using is that it was intentionally designed to be clean and antimicrobial as well as fun. The plain black side is made from an antimicrobial, silver-infused absorbent material. It’s like a black hole for moisture. The fabric is designed to also be resistant to odor.

The other side is embellished with a cute design on a waterproof fabric that keeps your hand dry when using it. The fabric on the waterproof side has been designed by various artists. Each time a new one is released, I have to control my urge to buy it. When new designs are released you’ve got to be quick because they sell out quickly.

The team has also thought of the details like the secure hanging loop to the reflective stitching that makes finding your Kula in the dark with your headlamp easy. You can simply hang the opened square on your pack or fold it to a triangle keeping the absorbent side tucked away and less likely to get trail dirt on it or from accidentally rubbing against anything that would cause a rash.

My collection has grow to four Kulas. The last two were designed as fundraisers for the Zero Waste Collective and Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge. As the collection has grown, I’ve moved one to a permanent place in my bathroom at home. It’s significantly reduced the amount of TP I use at home too.

Artists featured in my collection include:

Emily Allard Smith, https://emeryallardsmith.com/

Latasha Dunston (@jitterbugart), https://www.jitterbugart.com/

Follow Kula on Instagram: @kulacloth


WHAT I LOVE:

The patterns make this a product that is fun to have and I don’t mind having hang on the outside of my pack. The product it self works like a charm and cleans so easily. I love the hanging loop and the fact that through my purchases I’ve removed TP from our waste streams, supported a small, women owned business and several very talented artists.

I love that the Kulas are made by hand, not in a factory. That means that the company is also supporting individuals and contributing to supporting them with fair wages. I love that they are supporting individual artists and often let Kula followers pick the designs to be released. They offer collaborations to produce custom Kulas too.

WHAT I’M NOT A FAN OF:

The only thing I don’t like is that the team at Kula keeps putting out more and more cute designs and each time there is at least one I want to own. How many Kula’s is too many?

TECH SPECS:

Retailer Where Purchased: Kula Cloth direct
Specs (taken direct from their website):

  • Super absorbent (absorbs 10x its weight in water!) and soft
  • Advanced silver-infused, antimicrobial fabric
  • Eco-friendly non-toxic materials (Bamboo Viscose, Cotton, Organic Cotton, Polyester)
  • Durable and waterproof ‘clean’ side so your hand doesn’t get wet
  • Easily snaps to backpack using plastic snaps
  • ‘Double snap’ allows cloth to hang while folded in half (so it doesn’t touch pack and/or get dirty on the trail)
  • Easy to clean or rinse and quick to dry
  • Retro-reflective thread detail for locating it at night with your headlamp
  • Size is approximately 6×6 inches
  • Weight per cloth is .63oz (-note: the artist series Kulas are slightly larger than the stock print Kulas due to a different process that is used to custom print each item individually)
  • Proudly made in the USA

Ruth’s Blue Marble is a Kula Cloth Affiliate and may receive compensation for links provided.


Photo of a group of hikers on a sunny day in a field heading towards a wooded area. The photographer has taken the photo from behind the group.

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