Is it really worth shaving off a couple of grams by adopting a different toothbrush? Three Points of the Compass would argue that anyone with a bit of savvy looks to replace light with lighter whenever a simple replacement or renewal is required, so long as any drop in functionality is negligible or acceptable.
It is five years since Three Points of the Compass last looked at toothbrushes for hiking. At that time, I settled on the lightweight offering from Muji, keeping it full size and eschewing the option of adopting the much ridiculed chopping off half the handle. So good was the small headed toothbrush that Muji makes that I have been using them generally, at home, as well as on every hike since. There remains nothing wrong with them as a good lightweight option for backpacking and there is little hesitation in continuing to recommend them for that. However I have often heard of the bamboo handled options that many hikers seem to be adopting, so seeing as they are available for a good price, it was time to switch it around a little and give them a go. Was this primarily for environmental concerns? I’ll be honest, not really, but if I can find something that is just as functional while ‘doing my bit’, then why not?
I purchased three of the options available from The Environmental Toothbrush, via eBay. A couple of Soft and Medium bristle heads were purchased to see which I prefer for home use. I also thought I’d try the Child size as that looks a good option for backpacking. These were all £2.99 each but buying four or more brings them down to £2.39 each so I ordered two of the Child brushes. That is with free delivery. Note that these are from an Australian company and there are no doubt other options from companies closer to home. But I had heard good things of their products so decided to give them a go.
Weights are remarkable. Being made from a natural product there seems to be some variability in handle weights. My full size soft head brush weighs 6.2g and the medium head brush weighs 7.9g. The two child brushes, which also have soft heads, weigh 5.1g and 5.4g respectively. The moso bamboo handles, a temperate species of giant timber, are a natural cellulose and are obviously recyclable (as is the card packaging). For those that care about such things, they are BPA free, Fair Trade and Vegan Friendly. After removing the bristles the brushes can simply be chucked in the compost once they wear out. Bristles are nylon polymer and I wait to see how they will hold up. I’ll report back…