People who are more adventurous love to go on a camping every chance they get. However, this activity isn’t always easy. In fact, you need to be ready to compromise once you arrived on the campsite.
Since there is no way that you can carry all of your modern conveniences, you have to be very careful in choosing the things you can never live without. And speaking of compromise, personal hygiene is yet another thing that campers have to compromise on.
Good thing that staying clean on the camp is not really a challenge. But, you have to keep in mind that when you are on the trail, clean can be considered as more of a relative word. Instead of donning on fresh underwear each day, you will learn rotating it. The 3-second rule can apply to food you accidentally dropped, and a ledge covered in moss can serve as a good spot for napping.
Since it takes experience and time to learn how to be more comfortable in a camp with your hygiene still intact, below are some of the best practices that every camper, especially the novice ones, should learn.
Ditch the Deodorant
Even with all those persuasive arguments you probably heard of in the past, your deodorant doesn’t deserve a spot as one of your camping essentials. The truth is, you will be better off if you just leave it at your home where it belongs. This is because deodorant, while it can banish odors, can also attract bugs as well as other forms of wildlife, bears included, as the result of its sweet smell.
After several days with no deodorant, you will get used to your own natural odor. This fragrance wouldn’t be a bother to you and your camping buddies provided that you wash your groin area and armpits on a regular basis with hand sanitizer or water and soap.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
You probably noticed your doctor washing his hands every time he sees you after another patient. Campers should do exactly the same before they eat or cook meals and after taking a trip to the bathroom. Failure to do so will make germs stick on your fingers that you can then transfer to your mouth or eyes.
Campers often pinpoint contaminated drinking water as the culprit behind illnesses, when in fact; hand to mouth infection is the real reason.
Since washing with water and soap is not always available or convenient, make sure you have with you a bottle of hand sanitizer with alcohol base. The clear gel has a small amount of ethyl alcohol which can kill germs right on contact.
All you need to do is put a drop of dime-size to your palm then rub both your hands together properly. Wait for around 20 up to 30 seconds in which the alcohol evaporates.
Keep Your Whole Body Clean
While you can clean your hands with an alcohol based sanitizer, it will never disinfect your whole body, and trying to do so will only make you suffer from intolerable sting. To keep your body clean after a long sweaty day on the camp, there are several alternatives available.
First, you can always take a dip on a nearby lake. A cool swim is not only refreshing as it can also free your body from dirt and sweat. Just make sure you swim far from where your fellow campers’ camp, fish, or collect water, and never use soap.
Your second option is taking a shower through stripping down then washing yourself using a biodegradable soap, washcloth or sponge, and a few liters of water. You can shower at a minimum of 200 feet from streams, ravines, or lakes, and pay extra care to your underarms, groin, face, feet, and lower legs.
Third, if taking a shower is impractical or it is too cold, a sponge bath will do. Take off soiled clothing then squirt a small amount of your alcohol gel sanitizer to cotton balls or a clean bandanna. Rub it on the skin with focus on trouble spots such as the armpits, groin, inner thighs, and between toes.
You can also use moist towelettes. No matter what method you pick, make sure you dry off using a quick drying and lightweight microfiber towel.
Pack Your Dental Floss
An item with numerous purposes, the dental floss could be used to sew up your torn backpack, as fishing line, and a whole lot more. However, its primary purpose is to floss your teeth. Just several days of forgetting your dental hygiene can make your gums inflamed and swollen, not to mention that it can also hurt badly, making eating a difficult task.
Prepare and Use Your Biodegradable Soap
Every time you are washing your hands in your home, suds are vanishing down your drain. However, when you are out camping in the wilderness, the soap’s phosphate content can cause algae blooms in streams and lakes. In order to protect these precious water sources, campers are never advised to use the usual dish or hand soap near or in water.
What you can do instead is use biodegradable soaps which go back to organic ingredients. But, even if you use such soaps, make sure you stay 200 feet away from water sources.
Change Your Clothes
If you want to maintain proper trail hygiene, you don’t just pack enough clothes for at the same time, you also have to know when you should change and clean them. Many campers replace their sweaty pants, shirt, or shorts with warmer and cleaner clothes upon arriving at the site.
This is also the time when you can don on a new pair of socks, but there are people who choose to wait until going to bed or taking a shower. In case you don’t take off your clothes once you arrive on the site, it is a must that you change into dry and clean clothes before you go to sleep. When you wear dirty clothes to bed, it will not just sully the interior of the sleeping bag, for this can also pave way for rashes as well as other skin issues to form throughout the night.
For trips that last a couple of days or much longer, you can rotate your clothes. Once you removed the soiled clothing, you can dry this on the line so that it will be ready for another transition. Also, you can tie this to the top of the pack while you are hiking.
Relieve Yourself on the Right Spot
If the campsite itself doesn’t have proper toiler facilities, or if you happen to be on a wild camping, it is best that you try relieving yourself on a goo distance away from the site since urine’s smell tends to linger for quite some time.
Use a Rock as a Nail File
Long nails prove to be a hazard in the wild. These could accumulate dirt under them, making it possible for bacteria to reach your food. Long nails also tend to break easily, while jagged nails can hurt a lot. You can smoothen and trim your nails through filing them using a rock or even a concrete piece.
Remember these best hygiene practices on your next camp, and you will surely have an experience you will never forget!