As we hike through the wilderness, we just accept that getting a little dirty and grimy is part of the experience. In fact, many of us relish this chance to run away from showers and just enjoy that earthy feeling for a while. Keeping clean, however, is an important part of staying healthy in the backcountry and enjoying your adventure to its fullest. We think about cleanliness at lot here at Infuze, it’s why we made our Camelbak filter. So we’ve created this quick blog post on some ways that you can keep clean in the backcountry.
Wash Your Hands
We shouldn’t have to say this, but your parents were right, keep your hands clean! This is especially true in the backcountry, as dirty hands can move harmful bacteria from your hands to your mouth, or eyes which can lead to illness. Hand sanitizer is great but doesn’t get your hands as clean as you might think because hand sanitizer doesn’t do much to actually break up and wash away any dirt or bacteria. Anytime you’re about to make or eat a meal, and especially after you’ve pooped, it’s important to thoroughly clean your hands. We suggest you find a biodegradable soap to bring with you to the backcountry to help you stay clean.
Clean Up Your Dishes
After every meal, it’s important to take some time and clean up after yourself. You can save water by scraping your cooking surfaces with a spatula or scraper and put these food scraps into your trash bag to pack out with you. Do not scatter food scraps around your campsite, as it can attract critters, and isn’t good for the environment. Boil some water, and use a light soap to scrub your cookware and your plates and bowls. If you have a container use you to eat out of, you can swish some of the boiling water around in it to quickly clean it. Scatter this grey water at least 200 feet from your campsite, and at least another 200 feet from any water sources.
Wash Your Private Parts
One of the most important parts of keeping clean in the backcountry is washing your private parts. While you might not have to worry about this if it’s just a quick weekend trip, it’s definitely something you should practice if you’re in the wilderness for more than a few days. Use water, some soap, and a handkerchief to scrub down these parts every now and then. You’ll keep clean, and you’re less likely to start chafing down there. Just make sure to never use soaps of any kind directly in a water source. Any time you clean yourself, you should be about 70 paces away from a water source.
A great way to avoid bringing toilet paper into the wilderness, and to keep your privates clean is to practice the “backcountry” bidet. After you’ve finished pooping, wipe your bum with rocks or snow. With soap and a water bottle at the ready, fill your mouth with water, and dribble some into your hand. You can then rinse your bottom with the water. Put some of the soap in the dirty hand, and then fill your mouth with water again. Scrub your hands together to get them nice and soapy, and then slowly dribble the water out of your mouth to wash away the soap. Your bottom and your hands will be clean!
Wash And Dry Your Clothes
If you’re going on a longer trip, and the weather is cooperating, you might consider giving your travel clothing a quick cleaning. If you’re near a lake or river, you can simply dip them in the water, and then leave them to dry out in the sun and wind. If your clothes are starting to smell a little funky, and your socks can stand up on their own, it’s probably time for a deeper cleaning. Bring a pot of water 200 feet away from the water source, and use your soap to scrub down your clothes. If you’ve got the time and the inclination, you might even boil some of this water to really get the crud off your clothes.
Another way to keep clean while adventuring is by using an Infuze Hydro. It’ll keep drink enhancers from gumming up your water bladder thanks to its unique filter design. So, the next time you take off on a grand adventure, make sure to clean up your act and stay fresh!