Tag Archives: nail

Carry a nail brush? that’s Quackers

OK, puns aside. Carrying a nail brush on a backpacking excursion may be thought of as a touch fastidious. However, when attempting to clean up a pair of mud covered trousers or other clothing, or even crud encrusted fingers, a decent brush does prove its worth when attempting to preserve both hygiene and a more presentable appearance.

Nail brush with handle removed

A handy tool. Nail brush with handle removed

For some years now I have included a small plastic nail brush in my ‘ditty bag’. It originally had a handle but I sawed that off to reduce weight and bulk just a touch. It now weighs 32g and works a treat.

But 32g! I was convinced that I could do better than that.

Wandering around Tiger, an expanding chain of shops in the UK that started life as a Danish pound shop, I came across something amongst the middle-class nic-nacs on offer that may do the trick.

Two plastic nail brushes for one pound. A deal not to be ducked

Two plastic nail brushes for one pound. A deal not to be ducked

The little plastic ducks with a small brush set into the base retailed at two for £1, so easily worth a punt. Each brush is made in China (no surprise there) and weighs 19g so an immediate improvement on my previous offering. But I was convinced that I could reduce this weight still further.

Brush part of the duck. 40mm x 23mm x 21mm with bristles 15mm long

Brush part of the duck. 40mm x 23mm x 21mm with 15mm long bristles

I was pretty sure that the brush would be glued into the ducks body but with a little judicious levering with a small tip screw driver I was pleased when the brush part simply popped out. Not glued after all but held in place by indents in the body part. The brush part only weighs 7g. I am pretty sure it will not stand up to much abuse but it should do the trick for a while, and, I have a spare…

IMG_6844_8537_edited-1Together with a small dropper bottle of Dr. Bronners liquid soap concentrate, this should keep clothes cleaner, together with a cleaner me.

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Nail care

Zwilling J. A. Henckels Pour Homme ultra slim nail clippers

Zwilling J. A. Henckels ultra slim nail clippers

Zwilling J. A. Henckels Pour Homme ultra slim nail clippers

Good nail care is an important facet of long distance walking. Overgrown toe nails quickly become noticeable on extended downhill stretches as the foot is pressed forward in the shoe or boot. Over long nails also wear through the socks and inner footwear lining. The dedicated can take a small nail file to the toes and fingers on a daily basis but this is likely to be an oft forgotten regime. The time will arise when the scissors must be bought into use, followed by a file to ensure ragged or unevenly clipped nails don’t snag or press into the skin, to cause later problems. However most little knives carried don’t have scissors and those that do are armed with quite minute affairs that struggle to do battle with the thickest of nails being attacked. Still fewer knives or multitools are provisioned with a set of nail clippers. None of the knives and multitools shown on my ‘knives’ page are so provided. A set of dedicated and separate nail clippers are the ideal tool to ensure good trimming takes place and there are quite a few pairs that can be purchased on the High Street that will do a good job. From what I have seen, none of them are quite as efficient and of as small dimensions as the Zwilling J. A. Henckels Pour Homme ultra slim nail clippers.

Nail clippers and leather pouch

Nail clippers and leather pouch

They come in a small black leather pouch that could easily be left at home if wished. Quite beautiful and of understated design, operation is simple. Slide the lever out a little, lift the lever up and push slightly forward. This provides the lever to cut the nail. The cutting edges are slightly curved and incredibly sharp and efficient. Cut nails are retained within the clipper until released by opening. This is another bonus as I am probably not alone in loathing nails that go pinging across the room or tent. There is a thin sprung piece of metal in the base that opens them up again. On the back of the top lever is a fine nail file that works extremely well. The dimensions of the nail clippers are minute: 60mm x 13mm x 4mm, weight is 16g, the leather pouch another 4g. Clippers are made of stainless steel with a matt finish. Apparently these clippers have won the international iF Design Award but I am not familiar with just how important this is, I am not really that interested either. Suffice to say, these are truly great little clippers very suited to use on longer trails. The only downside is the cost, which will make your eyes water…

Nail file beneath top lever

Nail file beneath top lever