Camping is meant to be a fun, informative, and relaxing time away from the real world and responsibilities. So who has time to stay clean and hygienic during a camping trip, right?
Wrong. We’re here to tell you that your hygiene is vital when it comes to camping. Prioritizing hygiene can help you minimize risks and stay healthy so you’re not welcomed back to the real world with infections or worse -- medical bills.
We get it… You want to pack as lightly as possible, so you often sacrifice a few “less fun” items (i.e. an extra pair of underwear or extra soap), but here are some of the areas you’ll need to focus on:
While you probably won’t be able to pack a pair of underwear for each day, especially for those longer trips, you should at least change every 2-3 days. Never wear damp underwear for hours or days at a time. If you have to, rinse and dry underwear that you’re not wearing so you have a backup pair or two for later. Cotton underwear is slow to dry, so try to spring for synthetic or wool. A few simple steps now can mean fewer chances of infections later.
While we’re on the topic of changing, be sure to change your socks regularly, especially if they get wet. Not only does this keep you clean, but it can also keep you comfortable and protect against the cold. Remember to clean off your feet each time you change socks to stay clean.
The same goes for the rest of your clothes: stay away from cotton, stay dry, stay clean, and change as often as you can.
It’s tough to be totally hygienic out there, but at the very least, keep your hands clean! Don’t underestimate hand sanitizer; if you have nothing else, at least keep a small bottle with you to kill germs, especially before eating.
Soap: you have a few different options here. There’s the hands-on approach of making your own biodegradable soap with items you can find in the wilderness, or you can buy biodegradable soaps and ingredients in order to ensure you’re not harming anyone or anything with your cleaning.
Use a willow bush for toothpaste. Simply make a brush out of one end of a branch, then you’re ready to start brushing your teeth. The willow sap will clean your teeth by eliminating tartar and preventing buildup along your gum line, which means protection against cavities and nasty breath.
There are plenty of biodegradable brands of toilet paper out there, or you can use more natural methods. But listen... Don’t use the wrong plant here. Ensure any leaf you’ve chosen isn’t poison ivy or a leaf with natural irritants, then make sure it’s thoroughly washed off before using.
Ultimately, a little extra planning and adding a few more items to your pack can help save your life or keep you from getting a pesky infection. Have any more tips for staying clean out there? We’d love to hear ‘em.