Paper Products

If you spend much time aboard your boat, you’ve probably realized how much space paper products can take up.  Now, I use bar rags instead of paper towels when I can (read more here), but there are still times that I use paper (wiping up meat juice is a big one).

And I’m not about to run out of toilet paper.  Dave considers me paranoid on this topic and swears that I keep more on hand than necessary.  Sorry, but that’s the last thing I want to run out of.

For years, I just sort of figured that a roll was a roll.  Traveling first in Africa, then cruising in Mexico and now in the US, I learned that’s not the case.

Some rolls have far more sheets than others.  Here in the US, the mega-rolls of toilet paper have been available for several years, with double- and quad-rolls vastly outnumbering “regular” rolls. I’ve just recently started seeing “double” rolls of paper towels, too.

In Mexico, I could find toilet paper with literally anywhere from 100 sheets per roll to 1,000.  When we accidentally bought some of those 100-sheet rolls, I was astounded at how quickly we used them up (and suddenly Dave was glad that I had “overstocked” as we were in a remote area).

The big rolls are fantastic for cruisers as they get more product into a given amount of space, generally in two ways: since there is only one cardboard spindle, there is less empty space; and the rolls are usually wound more tightly.

The one thing to be careful about, however, is that the manufacturer hasn’t skimped on the paper thickness if that is important to you.  I recently bought a package of toilet paper at a convenience store.  They didn’t have the mega-rolls of Charmin that I usually buy, and I chose the package with the 1,000 sheet rolls.  Bad choice:  it was absolutely the thinnest toilet paper I’ve ever seen and impossible to even take off the roll without it tearing.

So that brings up the first rule of provisioning:  when confronted with a new brand or product, try one before stocking up.

How to store that TP and paper towels?  Read my tips.

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  • Rebecca Hammond Vaughan
    Posted at 17 January 2014 Reply

    I remember that Scott makes one without the cardboard tube…we’re a Charmin family so I haven’t tried it!

  • Nancy Orloski
    Posted at 17 January 2014 Reply

    Thickness does affect flushing and is a consideration on board but we have adopted your preference for disposal. Thanks again.

  • Penny Kingsbury
    Posted at 17 January 2014 Reply

    We have a Sealand brand toilet and West Marine sells their toilet paper for a lump of gold. We use Kirkland brand at home, so decided to test that against Sealand brand and some Charmin I had at the house. I put a sheet of each in a dish of water and checked to see which broke down the fastest. By far, the Kirkland dissolved the fastest, so we have been using that cheaper brand on the boat ever since with no problems.

  • Bruce
    Posted at 17 January 2014 Reply

    In many third world places, people are too poor to use toilet tissue – the practice is to use a ‘dipper’ of some kind and use water to wash with (and often to flush). There is a skill to pouring with one hand while washing with the other – especially on a moving boat; I have modified the ‘dipper’ with a small plastic watering can which I use with the sprinkle attachment removed. The can is easily filled with sea water or fresh water before use. This means no paper to buy, store, or dispose of. Perhaps an option if one runs out of paper. Most of us from first world countries have never considered this option as it is simply not in our cultural tool box.

  • Renee Lindsay
    Posted at 18 January 2014 Reply

    Another great article!

  • Vala
    Posted at 26 January 2014 Reply

    good article that I will show my spouse – he teases me about my desire to take lots of TP and paper towels when we travel. Our boat, the Luna-Sea, may just get renamed to Paper Moon

  • Pamela Blanchard
    Posted at 19 June 2016 Reply

    You flush charmin?

  • Sharon Provenzano
    Posted at 20 June 2016 Reply

    Have an RV and find things similar in context, surprised they don’t sell bulk RV/Marine toilet paper…. well in my mind 4 rolls is not bulk.

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