Camping Hygiene

Soap bubbles in natureHygiene isn’t typically at the forefront of people’s thoughts when they go camping. People are mostly concerned with things like food, shelter, and having a good time. Hygiene while camping is, however, very important.

You might be able to get away with skipping a shower and not brushing your teeth for a day, and you’re probably OK pushing those practices back for a weekend trip (although you don’t make a habit of it), but hygiene becomes increasingly important as the duration of your trip increases.

The thicker the grime, the stronger the funk.

Let’s say that you decide to go on a 5-day backpacking trip, or you’re looking at a 2-week long camping road trip. Five days is far too long to not brush your teeth, and not showering for a couple of weeks can lead to unsightly and uncomfortable rashes, not to mention a pretty palpable funk.

People think that being in the woods means that you can throw all of your hygiene practices in the wind. True, it doesn’t matter if you are a little stinky in nature, but you can’t let the filth cake up for days on end. You’re getting dirtier while camping than you would while at school, home, or the office. All that sweat, dirt, grime, and bacteria that you accumulate hiking, climbing, or exploring¬† can start to get pretty foul over time. Camping hygiene isn’t a matter of smelling nice, it’s a matter of staying healthy.

It’s not the same as hygiene at home.

Of course, staying clean while camping isn’t the same as staying clean at home. If you’re at a campground, you may come across showers, sinks, and running water, but you won’t find any of that in the back country. Be sure to use biodegradable soaps and toothpastes, and practice your hygiene away from water sources (so as not to contaminate them) and away from your tent. It’s important to remember that even biodegradable soap can have an impact on the environment. Don’t hop in a natural spring and turn it into your own personal Dr. Bronner’s bubble bath.

Camping hygiene and food.

You have to think about more than just brushing your teeth and your arm pits while camping. Keeping your hands clean is next to impossible, and dirty hands and dishes are the quickest way to make yourself sick. As you probably know, getting sick and camping are two things that do not mix well.

Avoid putting dirty hands in food containers or packages. Instead, pour food into your hands, or use clean utensils. Always clean your hands before preparing or handling food. Hand sanitizer or wet wipes are a great way to quickly and easily clean your hands while camping. Always wash dishes as thoroughly as possible after use.

Good hygiene can help save gear.

Practicing good hygiene while camping will help keep you in good health, but it can also help you get the most out of your camping equipment. Keeping clean can add years onto your sleeping bag, and it can even help make your jackets, base layers, and other outdoor apparel last longer. The cleaner you are, the cleaner your gear is, and the longer it will last.

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