What is a Kula Cloth?™
1. Well, what is it?
A Kula Cloth™ is, quite simply, a reusable cloth designed for absorbing pee. It is the first of its kind - an intentionally (and obsessively) designed antimicrobial p-cloth for adventurous women!
In a wilderness setting (or heck, even at a porta potty!), it's very important to have good hygiene. Traditionally, women either pack in excess amounts of toilet paper and/or employ the 'shaking off' method (aka 'drip dry'). Neither of these are good options, with the latter being unsanitary and possibly resulting in an increased chance of bacterial infections. A p-cloth is a way that women can stay dry AND have a positive impact on the environment at the same time.
2. Who can use a Kula Cloth™?
Chief Adventure Officer Anastasia Allison likes to say, "The Kula Cloth™ was designed for women who pee." So, if you fit into that category, there is a pretty good chance that you could use a Kula Cloth™!
Kula Cloth™ is perfect for: hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, motorcycling, fly fishing, going to concerts, space travel, camping, rollerblading, skiing, golf, snowshoeing, ice fishing, horseback riding (not on the horse, mind you), underwater basket weaving, motocross, snowmobiling, archaeology expeditions, boating, quidditch matches, travelling, ice skating, sailing, spelunking, canyoneering, musical mountaineering, any type of running (trail, road, ultra), frisbee golf, yoga, ATV riding, treasure hunting, deep sea fishing, hunting, orienteering, curling, geocaching, rock climbing and... well... pretty much, you get the idea. The Kula Cloth™ is designed for women who pee and are also simultaneously awesome. If you're questioning whether or not you are awesome, please don't. You are.
3. What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace is the ethical standard for any wilderness activity. As adventurers, it is our responsibility to protect and preserve our natural spaces. Many people carry toilet paper into the wilderness and scatter it - believing that it will simply 'disappear'. By using a Kula Cloth™, you are reducing the amount of toilet paper that you have to carry into the wilderness!
4. How do I use a Kula Cloth™?
Simply pee, just like normal (note: in a wilderness setting, good practice is to choose a spot at least 70ft from a trail and 200ft from a water source... pro tip: if you are squatting down, it can be helpful to hold one trekking pole in front of you for stability). Use the plain black dimpled side of the Kula Cloth™ to absorb any residual moisture. Since the clean/printed side is waterproof, you don't need to worry about any liquid soaking through to your hand. Note: the Kula Cloth™ is NOT for wiping anything OTHER THAN pee. Do not wipe from front to back like you might with toilet paper - keep the Kula Cloth™ entirely in the pee-zone.
The Kula Cloth snaps to your pack using a durable, hypoallergenic plastic snap. If you want to be discrete about allowing the 'wipe' side to be visible, use the double-snap option to fold the cloth in half while it is hanging on your pack.
Here is CAO Anastasia Allison talking about the best features of the Kula Cloth™:
5. Is it going to be gross?
A lot of women are very skeptical the first time they hear about a p-cloth, but once you try it - we promise - it is a GAME CHANGER. It will completely uplevel your adventure game and you will feel clean and dry and never disgusting. Most women wonder how they ever survived without one! Since the Kula Cloth™ is made with highly advanced textiles that are SPECIFICALLY designed for hygiene, the fabric is antimicrobial and resistant to odors. This is a legitimate piece of gear, specifically designed to be used as a p-cloth.
TMI: as a part of the testing process, Anastasia tested the odor-proofness of the Kula Cloth™. Result? Thanks to super-high-tech textiles, the cloth was odor free - even after several days of use.
6. Can I use a Kula Cloth™ if I'm having my period?
You can absolutely still use a Kula Cloth™ when you are having your period. The black color of the absorbent side will hide any visible menstrual blood. We recommend using the Kula Cloth™ in combination with a menstrual cup (i.e. a Diva Cup or an Intimina Lily Cup) for a super Leave No Trace option for backpacking. If you do end up getting any blood on your Kula Cloth™, just wash it with a few drops of biodegradable soap, and hang to dry!
7. Why would I buy a Kula Cloth™ when I could just use a bandana?
If you decide to use a bandana, that's totally cool with us - honestly, the fact that you are making an effort to have less of an impact on the environment makes us extremely happy. The reason that people use the Kula Cloth™, is because, unlike a bandana, the Kula Cloth™ is specifically designed to be used as a p-cloth. It is made from advanced silver-infused textiles that are purposely intended to be in contact with the human body. In fact, only one layer of our silver absorbent fabric replaces 3 layers of microfiber terry and 6 of french terry!
Most women, even those who have traditionally used a bandana, say that after trying the Kula Cloth™, they will never go back. Plus, the Kula Cloth™ looks awesome hanging off your pack and was intentionally designed as a real piece of gear for women - not an afterthought.
8. Is it hypoallergenic and eco-friendly?
If fabrics could be grass-fed, then ours would be. We use only non-toxic fabrics and eco-friendly materials (many are organic) that are manufactured sustainably in the United States.
9. How do I clean it?
For a day trip, there is no need to wash the cloth between uses - simply throw it in the washing machine when you get home (we recommend keeping the backpack snap closed so it doesn't get snagged in your washing machine). If you are on a trip for an extended number of days, simply wash as needed with a few drops of biodegradable soap (we like Bronner's peppermint soap) and hang to dry. In the event that your Kula Cloth™ gets wet from the rain, it can still be used while it is wet (it will act more as a 'wet wipe'!). The Kula Cloth™ dries very quickly - we recommend simply hanging it from a tree or from a trekking pole in the field. The UV rays from the sun will also help to 'sterilize' it as it dries.
The Kula Cloth™ can be cleaned in a standard washer/dryer but to protect the life of your product, we recommend the following care instructions: wash medium, dry medium, no fabric softener, no bleach, warm iron if needed.
10. Does the cloth show urine? Does it stain?
We have specifically chosen a black absorbent textile so that it does not show urine stains. If you are concerned about any visible bodily fluid on your Kula Cloth™, we recommend using the double snap feature on the cloth, which allows you to fold up the cloth so that the 'wipe' side is not visible while hanging on your pack.
The cloth launders easily and, unless it is subjected to a liquid that might normally cause major discoloration, it will not stain.
11. Is it disposable?
Kula Cloth™ is meant to be a reusable p-cloth! So, use it as many times as you would like. The idea of the Kula Cloth™ is to reduce our dependency on disposable products (like TP!).
12. Will it contaminate my backpack/things that it touches?
Due to the antimicrobial nature of the cloth, it is a much cleaner option than a traditional p-cloth like a bandana (which has no antimicrobial properties). The sun also helps to sterilize any bacteria on the cloth. That being said, if you are highly concerned about the cloth touching anything, we would recommend using the double snap feature so that you can hang the cloth on your pack in a fold.
13. Does the Kula Cloth attract bears or cougars?
We have extensively tested the Kula Cloth™ in the Cascade Range in Washington, and have yet to lure a cougar or bear with it. That being said, just like any item that could possibly have a scent, you could easily store it in a bear canister or on a bear wire overnight. More likely would be the chance that the smell of salt (from urine) could possibly entice a goat or a deer. We recommend hanging the cloth in a tree (to air it out/dry), or keeping it away from any place where animals could be tempted to nibble it.
Note: Our 30 adventurous women testers reported zero Sasquatch sightings during field tests of the Kula Cloth™.
14. Is it safe to have silver in fabric?
We feel very strongly that a product designed to reduce the impact on the environment should not cause MORE impact through the manufacturing process. The silver in our special super-absorbent textile is NOT a silver nano-particle. Instead, it is silver that is bound to the fabric with polymers. In the event that some silver washes off the cloth during routine laundering, a silver ion can be released. When it enters a wastewater system, the ion will deactivate and become inert. Silver has been used since ancient times in healthcare, and is known for not only its safety, but also for its efficacy with odor control and anti-microbial properties. If you have any questions at all about silver, please don't hesitate to contact us and we can send you data sheets on the products that we use.
15. Can I use the Kula Cloth™ for anything else?
We've seen people use their clean Kula Cloths™ for a hankerchief, a sweat towel and a bug swatter. If it's clean, it's fair game - but once you use it to wipe pee, we recommend keeping it for only pee. If you bring two on a trip, you could easily use one for a small towel and one for a p-cloth. If you have a paperclip, a piece of floss and a toothpick handy, you can also use it to make an emergency shelter (ok, just kidding). If you find a unique use for your Kula Cloth™, let us know - we would love to hear about it!
16. What if I need to use it in the middle of the night? How will I find it?
It's funny you should ask that, because this is Anastasia's favorite innovation on the cloth. She added reflective detail to the cloth so that if you are on a backpacking trip and you need to locate the cloth in the middle of the night, you will easily be able to find it with the light of your headlamp.
17. Can men use the Kula Cloth™?
Yes! In fact, we have had several men who are very conscientious about their hygiene use a Kula Cloth™ and they have reported that they absolutely love it.
18. Is it weird to take photos of a Kula Cloth™?
Absolutely not! In fact, please do! Anastasia's dream of creating an intentionally designed p-cloth for women actually began when she was taking photos of her scrap of microfiber in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. Please take photos of all the incredible places around the world that your Kula Cloth™ gets to visit with you - and tag us on Instagram, #staykula, to be featured!