How To Maintain Hygiene On Your Self Discovery Solo Journey
When you’re on a journey to self discovery, you may find yourself in places you’ve never seen and around people you don’t know. Solo trips are an important milestone for those who wish gain independence and find themselves. While part of the adventure is roughing it with the elements, that doesn’t mean you can’t still stay clean during a backpacking trip. And you can do it without adding excess to your pack. Here are four ways you can keep clean, smell great, and stay hygienic while out on your adventure of a lifetime.
Thankfully, most people’s oral health routine pretty easily translates to the outdoors. All you need to keep those pearly whites clean and shiny both indoors and outdoors are a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss (yes, it’s still important to regularly floss while out camping—your teeth don’t know the difference). If you have travel-sized kits, you can easily add these to your backpack without even feeling the added weight.
If you’re into ultralight backpacking, you can go to the next level by cutting off the handle of your toothbrush or switching to toothpaste tablets to get rid of excess weight. Or if you like having natural products on your trips and in your bathroom, organic toothpastes are much better for the environment (and your mouth) than the chemical ridden ones. Since you’re probably going to be spitting out your toothpaste into nature after brushing your teeth, make sure you have one that isn’t going to harm any plants.
When you’re on a long halt camping or backpacking trip, having tons of clean clothes available is essentially impossible. And while wearing the same shirt and pants a few more times than you’d normally wear when home is more acceptable out in the wild, there are some clothes you need to keep clean. Wearing clean underwear and socks doesn’t just make you a nicer smelling backpacking buddy, it keeps your skin clean and keeps harmful bacteria in your sweat at bay.
Make sure you pack clean underwear and socks made of sweat-wicking material for your backpacking trip. They may be a bit more expensive than your everyday Hanes collection, but they’re made to withstand the outdoors, repetitive movement, and extra sweat more than regular cotton undies. You can also add biodegradable soap and detergent to your pack to get more clean uses out of your clothes on lengthy trips. If you’re trying to keep your pack light, laundry detergent strips weigh almost nothing and will keep your clothes clean and smell-free for longer.
Keeping your entire body clean while spending an extended period of time outdoors is easier than most people think. If you’re lucky enough to have some extra space in your pack or car trunk, there are lots of portable shower kits you can stuff into your gear. You can get a basic kit for cheap or upgrade to one that provides hot water. Whatever kit you choose, your outdoor partner will appreciate a clean-smelling tent buddy at the end of the day.
If you’re going on a long backpacking trip where every ounce counts or if you’re on a budget, baby wipes are gold for quick “showers”. Make sure you pack the wipes out once you’re done with them. And of course, a quick dip in a lake or river can also easily wash the stink away. Just make sure you’re always staying safe when in water—keep an eye out for currents and only wash in bodies of water that aren’t watershed areas.
No one wants to wear the same clothes they wore all day on the trail. They’re often soaked in sweat, caked in dirt, and probably don’t smell so great. Keeping a dedicated pair of clothes that are just for you to wear inside your sleeping bag will keep you smelling great at the end of the day and you feeling refreshed.
To keep those “sleeping bag only” clothes clean for longer trips, try to only wear them after you’ve done everything else in your nightly routine. That way, the only time they’re in use is when you’re actually ready to go to bed. You can pack them in a dedicated ziplock bag to keep them fresh and clean in your backpack. And if you really want them from getting the camping stink on them (which will most likely still happen on long camping trips) try throwing in a laundry sheet or two to the bag.
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