Not the most glamorous or even interesting subject in the world, but camping hygiene is important nonetheless. Now some may argue that time out in the wilderness is the perfect chance to let your body’s natural oils take over and work their magic. And, although there is evidence that ditching your shower gel may be beneficial for your health, avoiding a wash altogether will test the tolerance levels of even your nearest and dearest.
We definitely don’t like wasting time preening and cleaning ourselves at camp when there are so many other fun things to be doing, but we do like spending time with other people. So to avoid any embarrassing ‘fall-outs’, we’ve learned to keep on top of our good hygiene habits without any fuss or fanfare. Here are our tips:
Before you go
Take a shower and wash your hair just before you leave the house to set out adventuring. That way you can afford to go an extra day without a shower before your friends start making subtle hints.
Cut your nails nice and short to prevent too much dirt from burrowing it’s way under them. Do your toenails too to prevent rubbing in walking boots.
Wearing clothes made from the right material can make a big difference to not only your aroma, but also your temperature control. Avoid cotton where possible as it holds onto sweat, dries slowly, starts to smell pretty bad, and can also give you a chill once you stop moving.
Instead, go for clothing made from merino wool. It has a wonderful way of not taking on the odour of your active body – magic! So for the shower averse campers out there, wearing a merino base layer is an excellent option.
Merino socks are also a good investment if you are out on the trail for days at a time as, like base layers, socks made from merino wool don’t turn stinky for a few days of wear. Just make sure you have a spare pair for when the time to change them does arise.
If you really need to save on weight, then wearing a pair of quick drying undies will save you from having to adopt the ‘recycle’ method. Give them a quick handwash at the end of each day and then hang them up by the campfire to dry, ready for the morning.
Stand in a bucket, dive into a river, dip in a stream or simply just sponge yourself down. Regardless of your reluctance to embrace a camping wash every now and then, you’ll definitely feel better and more refreshed afterwards – always worth the effort.
If you’re not one to miss out on your daily rinse, then rig yourself up a portable shower. Hang your filled bag up in the sun during the day, and enjoy a satisfying and warm pre-dinner cleanse.
These super handy pre-moistened wash gloves are an excellent solution when water is scarce and can’t be wasted on cleanliness. Also a perfect fit for the winter wanderers when the temperature is too low to brave a water wash.
Of course, there’s always the option to brave the chill of a refreshing dip in a river or waterfall! Just like a shower but a little… cooler. If you go for this option then make sure you use an environmentally friendly and biodegradable body wash that won’t cause any unnecessary damage to the waterways.
Now the easiest way to get around having to deal with constant bed-head when camping, is to just put a hat on.
But if you simply can’t take the grimy feel and slick look of greasy locks, then pack a mini travel bottle of dry shampoo. It’ll help keep those unruly flyaways under control too and even if you don’t smell as good as you usually do, at least you’ll look the part.
Whether you have the luxury of a shower block at your campground, or you fancy yourself as the next Timotei shampoo model, the suds from your hair wash will make their way into the water system one way or another, so do your bit and opt for a biodegradable product.
Wet hair and cold air aren’t the best combination to avoid catching a chill at camp. So wrap up your melon in a compact travel towel, post wash, and then get the campfire going to smoke dry those damp swathes before bed.
As with every action we take when camping, ‘leave no trace’ should always be on our minds. And disposing of your used toothpaste is no different, especially when you are in an area of high use.
The best way to get around this is simply, to swallow! Get yourself a flouride free paste and use a little less than usual and you’ll be left with minty freshness that really does last all day!
For those wanting to really cut down on unnecessary weight in their packs, make these cool little mini toothpaste tubes out of drinking straws, to carry only what you really need.
And to save some space for chocolatey treats on the trail, bring a compact and foldable toothbrush that will clean up your pearly whites nicely, leaving no trace… of all that chocolate!
Be sure to pack your sunnies and bring an extra pair of contact lenses if you wear them.
If you’re a contact lens wearer then you’ll probably need to bring your glasses along too. This cool case is the perfect storage solution for all your eyesight needs, and is a clear winner for the practical camper.
Running, or even clean water isn’t a given when camping, so bring along a pocket hand sanitiser to make sure you can get out your contact lenses when you need to.
So now that you’re all clean on the outside, getting rid of all that internal waste is another matter altogether!
For optimal toileting comfort, find a rock or log to perch on that is well away from your camp and ideally, has a nice view. Then dig a hole next to your throne, and you’re all set to do your business in peace. Keep your all-important toilet paper wrapped up safe in this neat little waterproof holder.
If going wild is one step too far, then of course you could just bring along your own portable camp toilet.
And whilst you’re going down the civilised pooping route, you may as well grab yourself some privacy, and shelter from the elements in your very own toilet tent!
For the ladies
If your camping trip happens to fall on that time of the month, it can be a bit of
a pain – especially when you’re out in the wilderness.
Avoid the difficulty of tampon and sanitary towel disposal altogether and have a go at using a menstrual cup. Simply empty it’s contents into a hole in the ground, rinse the cup with clean water and re-insert. Totally stress free.
And finally, join your male companions with the convenience of peeing on the go – no need to be caught with your pants down in the woods any longer! Use a female urinary device and stand proud next time nature calls.