Hygiene in the wilderness

So you decided to go on an extended trip in the back country and your only 1 day in your sweaty and possibly stinky. On top of that your tired good news I have a few suggestions to freshen up so you feel like a human again.

Lake Colden high peaks wilderness area upstate New York in the Adirondacks

My dirty secret; Wet wipes

What a great invention and not just for bathroom purposes. There’s a good chance you won’t need to use 40-60 wipes to clean up after you’ve taken care of your waste elimination. Within reason, you can sacrifice a few daily to keep your hands, face and other areas clean.

When you have a used wipe that didn’t turn black turn it inside out for your armpits. Limit the use of your wipes to before a meal which could help you from getting ill and ruining your adventure. Hand sanatizers alone will not keep you clean and using wipes to freshen up will reduce the chance of germs contaminating you.

Bonus Tip; after using your wipes to clean up let them dry before adding to your garbage they’ll weigh less!

Another dirty secret; swimming holes

When you are hiking near a lake or pond and need to freshen up take a break and head on in. Whatever you do don’t bring soap you don’t need it and it will only contaminate the water that some may be using for a water source. You don’t even have to swim just wade out a little and sit down a few minutes in the water will do wonders and leave you squeaky clean as well as hydrating your skin.

Bonus Tip; leaving your stinky shirt on will help to remove the toxins causing it to be so funky!

My 3rd dirty secret; Bandannas


Every hiker has at least one if you’re close to fresh water dip it into the source soaking it remove and wring it out some away from the source. Now you have a refreshing wilderness washcloth to freshen up with. I would avoid armpits and your nether regions chances are you will need the bandanna for sweat after it dries.

Bonus Tip;hiking with a furry friend give them a wet bandanna collar to keep them cooler!

A view of Algonquin peak from above Marcy Dam

Yet another dirty Secret; Streams, brooks, creeks, and rivers

Generally speaking they may not be deep enough to bathe in yet you can use them to freshen up. Avoid this activity in areas of campsites simply travel downstream about 200 yards and freshen up there. Once again avoid soap let the water do the work and by being down from the crowd there is no chance of contaminating everyone s water source. Use caution in fast flowing water and be aware of underwater obstacles.

Bonus Tip; boiling a small amount and adding cold water can provide a decent camp bath that you can enjoy in the privacy of your tent!

Final Thoughts

You may be on an extended trip or possibly a thru hike but there will be opportunities available to help you feel like a million bucks. Take advantage of these whenever possible the morale boost alone can put a pep in your step. As always thanks for visiting my site feel free to leave a comment below. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article remember to follow leave no trace practices.


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2 thoughts on “Hygiene in the wilderness”

  1. Thanks for this useful list of gear. I’ve been on a 4-day hike, and while the scenery was amazing, I felt a bit sick, getting crotch chafing and all that, I do wish I was more considerate of taking care of myself. I’ll be sure to keep my wet wipes handy on my next trip.

    1. Hi Jacob thanks for visiting wet wipes truly bare a hiking campers best friend. Happy Trails to you thanks again for stopping by.

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