Part of becoming one with nature means frolicking in the dirt, but that doesn’t mean you have to smell like you live in the forest. It’s possible to be both a neat freak and a camper, but it’ll take a little extra work. Here are some tips and tricks for staying clean while you’re out exploring the natural world and enjoying a good s’more by the campfire.
Take a Shower
While there’s nothing inherently unclean about washing yourself in a lake or stream, we realize some people prefer their bath water to come from a purified source. Or, at least, some place where fish aren’t darting between your legs while you wash. The solution? A portable shower. Lightweight and affordable, a portable shower allows you to wash off near camp without worrying about what you’re wading in. You can either take along the battery-powered hose that sucks the water straight out of a source through a tube or buy one that holds a few gallons of water and heats it for you.
Rotate Your Outfits
Damp clothing makes a perfect home for bacteria, so you’ll want to get out of your soaked or sweaty duds each night before you go to sleep. Pack along enough outfits to change into day and night or, if you don’t have much room, make sure you bring along a line to hang your clothes on to dry each day. You don’t want to slip back into anything that still has moisture on it, otherwise you’re just going to develop an unpleasant stench. On the plus side you’ll fit right in with the animals, but we’re not sure your hiking buddies will appreciate it.
Have a Pleasant Poo
Squatting in the woods is no simple task, what with poison ivy and ferocious bugs ready to take a bite out of your tush, so why not protect your backside by doing your business on a toilet instead? The weight-conscious camper will benefit from a standard portable toilet that comes with a comfy seat and built in plastic bags to catch your poo. If you’re looking for something a little more high-tech you can opt for a larger commode with a waste reservoir, hand pump and helpful deodorant so you don’t scare off the wildlife.
Wet Your Feet
While it’s perfectly acceptable to take once-daily showers, or just rub yourself down with a moist towelette, you’ll want to give a little extra love to your feet. They’re a breeding ground for bacteria and tend to get dirtier faster than other spots on your body, so when you see a creek break long enough to dip in your toes and give them a scrub. Make sure to dry them off completely and maybe change your socks before slipping them back into your boots. Doing this a couple of times a day can do wonders for your hiking hygiene. Rubbing alcohol is a great alternative.
Take Along Some TP
Thanks to some advances in biodegradable products you no longer have to wonder what you’re wiping yourself clean with. Ditch the leafy rear-wipers and pack along some toilet paper to use in the wild. You’ll have a softer, cleaner feeling behind without the worry of leaving harmful traces when you go. One roll out to keep you feeling fresh for a weekend camping trip.
Stock Up on Soap
It used to be that campers had to wash themselves with nothing more than a little lake water and some serious hand scrubbing, but nowadays it’s perfectly acceptable to take along some soap to use when you wash. Biodegradable soap is a great way to stay clean as well as the perfect tool to help rinse off your dishes after you down some campfire snacks at night. It’s safe, smells good and is even safe to use in salt water if you find yourself camping by the sea.
Bring Baking Soda
Baking soda is a bit of a catch-all when it comes to cleaning and many people use it at home to clean stains, counters, dishes and more. You can also use it to keep yourself clean. It works as a great shampoo, either wet or dry, and can even be tossed in your shoes to help ward off any funky stench. You can also make your own deodorant for your armpits at home using baking soda, though some people experience a skin reaction. Use that one that your own risk. Definitely have it on hand for incidentals, though!