Backpacking Hygiene Essentials — What to Pack to Stay Clean on The Trial
Maintaining good hygiene is an essential, although challenging part of hiking. However, with the current pandemic and infection rates going up every day, staying clean is more important than ever. There is always a risk of contracting various viruses and infections on the trail. It is up to you to make sure you have proper hygiene supplies and other essentials that can help you stay clean and fresh during your hiking trip.
Viruses and bacteria are not the only things you need to be careful of when it comes to backpacking hygiene. Typically, access to fresh water is hard to come by on most hiking trips, and if you don’t maintain hygiene, you’ll start to stink in no time. However, that doesn’t mean you pack everything from laundry detergent to your favorite scrub in your backpack.
Here are some essentials that you must always carry on a backcountry hiking trip for personal hygiene:
Clean hands are imperative for your health during a hiking trip. Sanitizing your hands regularly will prevent fecal matter and other bacteria from being transferred to your mouth or food. Keep a compact container of unscented, alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your pocket or hip belt for easy access and use it frequently to keep your hands bacteria-free. If your hands are extra grimy, give them a little rinse before slapping on some sanitizer.
Some hikers prefer using soap to clean up after a long day of hiking. While that’s a good idea to stay extra clean, it is important that the soap is small, easy to carry, and environment friendly. Stay away from liquid soaps and choose solid soap bars that are biodegradable to protect the environment. Solid soap will also prevent nasty spills that ruin everything in your backpack.
Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Just because there is no one around you and you are in the middle of the backcountry, that is no reason to skip your dental hygiene. Always carry a foldable toothpaste and travel-sized toothpaste tube for a minimum weight and stay minty fresh during your hiking trip. Use a pea-sized toothpaste and a little bit of water to rinse your mouth each time you eat something.
A Microfiber Washcloth
A washcloth is one of the most versatile pieces of fabric that can be used for multiple things from washing yourself or using it as a bandana to keep the sweat out of your eyes. A washcloth can also be used to dry yourself instead of a towel in case you get wet. Just make sure you get a super-absorbent one with microfibers, one that dries quickly.
Toilet Paper and Wet Wipes
Toilet paper is an essential component of hygiene, but it can take up a lot of space in your backpack. To make more space, pull out the cardboard from the toilet paper roll and flatten it before sticking it in a plastic bag to occupy less room and keep it dry. You can also carry biodegradable wet wipes instead of toilet papers as they can be used for many things, from wiping your bottom to cleaning your hands after eating in case you have no access to reliable water sources.
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