How to Incorporate Hygiene in Your Outdoor Adventure

How to Incorporate Hygiene in Your Outdoor Adventure

One of the most important, yet least-discussed aspects of backpacking or camping in the backcountry is hygiene.  Staying clean is essential for a number of reasons, and finding ways to improvise in the field is a lot easier than you think.  Let's take a look at a few simple things that you can do to stay clean without having to lug around a lot of toiletries. 


Odor Control

We will get sweaty, dirty, grungy and smelly as we exert ourselves in the field.  Body odor is not only an annoyance to those who we are traveling with, but it can also attract unwanted attention to pests and animals.  You want to keep your odor profile as low as possible, and one of the easiest things to do is jump into a body of water and give yourself a bath.  However, if you use soap, make sure that it is all-natural and biodegradable.  If you don't have soap, you can use dirt to create a mud bath that will be surprisingly-effective at cleaning the skin and removing odors.


Key Areas

It's important to focus on key areas of the body, which include the underarms, groin area, face and feet.  Not only do these areas produce strong odors, but the buildup of gunk can clog pores, cause skin problems and create irritation, particularly in areas where limbs connect to the body.  Dirty, sweaty feet are also prone to chafing, blistering and the development of a wide-range of infections. 

The good news is that you don't need to take a full-blown bath in order to keep these areas clean.  Take some rubbing alcohol, dab it in some fabric and give these areas a good buff and wipe.  You'll be amazed at the amount of residue that will be removed.  When finished, take a bit of lotion to protect the skin from the effects of the alcohol and you're good to go.


Bacterial Control

Another important reason to keep yourself clean in the field is that good hygiene will limit your exposure to harmful bacteria and microorganisms.  Bring along some hand sanitizer that you can use as needed, and don't forget to thoroughly clean your hands as well as cooking utensils after use in order to minimize the chances of cross-contamination. 


Oral Care

Don't forget to bring a small tube of toothpaste, toothbrush and some dental floss with you.  You want to brush your teeth as often as you do at home in order to minimize the impact that microorganisms can have on your mouth.  You'd be surprised at how easy it is to develop infections that can lead to swollen and painful gums as well as toothaches after not brushing for a couple of days. 


These are just a few ideas to turn your attention to the importance of maintaining good hygiene in the field.  Learn more about these and other ways to stay as clean as possible, and you and your companions will be glad that you did.