You’re heading into the outdoors where there’s not going to be much water supply, so naturally, hygiene will be a problem.
This is especially the case if you’re going to be camping for several days. Staying clean while camping isn’t always easy, like when it comes to showering, but it is possible.
How can you shower without water? By bringing essential items, such as soap and baby wipes, as well as others, you’ll be able to make staying clean and smelling fresh much easier.
This is not only good for you but will be good for your fellow campers!
Here’s your ultimate guide on how to stay clean while camping, depending on what resources you have at your disposal, such as if your campground has a designated shower or you’re camping in a primitive campground that offers you no resources.
What You Will Need To Stay Clean While Camping
Hygiene kit. This should contain the basic hygiene items that you use on a daily basis to stay clean at home, such as shampoo, toothpaste, soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Travel-sized versions of these items are great to save space in your backpack.
Wet wipes. This helps you out when you can’t have as much access to water as you’d like. You can also find ones that are free of alcohol so they’re better for your skin and biodegradable, like these flushable wet wipes by Go On The Go.
Hand sanitizer. This is a must because it can be used as a substitute for soap and water when you don’t have access to either.
Bedtime clothing. You can’t stay clean if you don’t have clothing you only wear at night. While this might seem like a luxury when you’re trying to save space in your bag, it will ensure that you stay clean and your tent does too.
Unscented deodorant. You want to avoid scented hygiene products as much as possible as these can attract pests and wildlife.
Dry shampoo. If you can’t wash your hair that often, a good way to keep your hair fresh and smelling good is to invest in dry shampoo. A great one is Batiste dry shampoo that absorbs both grease and dirt. This is also a fantastic way to get by if there’s not a water supply in the area in which you’re camping.
With all these things you have to bring on your adventure, it is best to remain organized and for that, try to have proper storage for all your camping gear and essentials.
How To Shower While Camping
When you want to take your daily showers, understand that you’re going to have to use the shower facilities provided by the campgrounds.
However, if you’re not at an established site, you will have to bring your own facilities. This can take the form of using a portable shower.
However, if you’re going to be backpacking, you might not always be able to have access to showering, and that’s where baby wipes and a sponge bath can come in handy. You can also wash yourself with some soap, a sponge, and a few liters of water. Just make sure that you shower 200 feet (60 meters) away from any water sources, such as lakes and rivers.
You might be wondering if you can wash yourself in the lake or river close to your campsite. You can do this, but only with the water – you can’t use regular, chemical soaps or shampoo in the water as these can be harmful to marine life and the environment.
If that’s a problem, you’ll want to invest in a biodegradable soap. Puracy Body Wash Gel is biodegradable shower gel that will keep your body clean without making you feel guilty that you’re harming the environment. It also has invigorating ingredients like sea salt and citrus.
How To Do Laundry While Camping
If you’re going camping for a day or two, you can get away without washing your clothes. You can just keep your dirty clothing in a trash bag and then wash it when you get back home to creature comforts like a washing machine.
If your camping trip is longer, you’re going to have to wash your clothing so that you stay clean while camping. You can do this pretty easily in a few different ways. For example, you can quickly wash your clothing by hand with the use of a Scrubba Bag.
This enables you to wash your clothing wherever you are, but you don’t have to purchase it (which is great because it’s currently unavailable on Amazon). You can make your own DIY washing bag with a humble trash bag.
Known as the “trash bag cleaning method”, it involves putting dirty clothes in the garbage bag and then adding soap and water. Make sure you close the garbage bag tightly and then shake the bag around.
Watch this video from Backpacking TV in which they showed how they wash their clothes using a Ziploc bag.
Afterward, rinse the clothes in clean water and hang them out to dry. Pro tip: If you don’t have a garbage bag handy, you can use a large Ziploc bag. The benefit of this is that you can close it tightly to prevent water and soap from spilling out.
Whenever doing your laundry, make sure that you use biodegradable detergents that are kinder to the environment. Sierra Dawn makes a biodegradable soap that you can use for your daily showers and for washing clothing, so it’ll save space in your backpack. It contains vegetable-derived and natural oil ingredients that are eco-friendly.
How To Stay Clean While Using Nature’s Bathroom
When you have to use the toilet and you don’t have facilities available in the primitive campground where you’re staying, you might need to bury your waste or make use of a DIY toilet (you can find out how to make one by reading “How To Make A Camping Toilet.”).
Whatever method you use, you want to ensure you stay hygienic. This means that you should wash or at least use sanitizer on your hands so you don’t transfer bacteria to your clothing or other items.
You should also use toilet paper instead of leaves to clean up – unless you’re 100-percent sure the leaves aren’t poisonous and won’t cause skin rashes. Using baby wipes can also help to leave you feeling clean.
What About Wash-Free Clothing?
While washing your clothing when you’re in the outdoors is great to keep you feeling clean, it’s useful to consider wearing clothing that you don’t have to wash all that often because it repels bad odors.
Some fabrics are better at repelling sweat and unpleasant smells than others. These include bamboo, linen, and cotton. They’re also natural, which makes them breathable and good for the environment.
The next time you go camping, choose clothing that’s made out of these fabrics instead of synthetic materials, such as spandex, nylon, polyester, and rayon. These do work well to wick away moisture, such as sweat, but the problem is that they absorb bacteria. This is why they can become very smelly at a fast rate!
The thing to remember about natural fabrics is that they do take longer to dry when wet, but that’s worth it considering that they don’t hold onto smells.
By wicking away moisture when you sweat, they work well to prevent body odor from occurring in the first place, because body odor is produced when your sweat (which is actually odorless) makes contact with bacteria.
What feminine hygiene products should you use on camping trips?
Your best bet is to invest in menstrual cups that you can empty into a cathole or – better yet – purchase absorbent period underwear made of natural material that you can throw into a trash bag and take back home to wash.
How can you keep your sleeping bag clean?
You don’t want to bring dirt and bacteria into your sleeping bag at the end of the day, which will make you dirty.
Therefore, buy a sleeping bag liner that will keep your sleeping bag hygienic and smelling good.
What are natural alternatives to toothpaste?
Baking soda or activated charcoal are good types of natural toothpaste options and they’re both abrasive so they’ll give you that clean feeling when you’re outdoors.
Staying clean while camping can sometimes feel like an impossible task, but before you choose to embrace the bad odor after getting sweaty and smelly, make sure you follow some of our guidelines to help you stay fresh.
There are tons of great products out there that make staying clean in the outdoors much easier, such as Sierra Dawn biodegradable soap that you can use for various purposes, as well as Puracy body wash gel.
When you’re stuck without water, reach for flushable wet wipes, like On The Go.