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Essential Hygiene Tips For Hikers And Campers

March 15, 2020

guide to personal hygiene while hiking and camping

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When you are enjoying the outdoors, you must never neglect the importance of staying healthy and hygienic in all situations. As a matter of fact, it is more important to maintain your hygiene when you are out in the wild. You must make sure to maintain high hygiene standards because bugs and other issues may easily catch the entire group from one person to another. It does not matter whether you are going on a single day outdoor hike or a multi-day outdoor extravaganza, you should follow a proper hygiene regime without fail.

In this guide to personal hygiene, we’ll provide several actionable steps that’ll help you keep yourself clean while hiking and camping.

1) Wash Your Hands

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Washing your hands is one of the most important hygiene practices you need to follow regularly when spending time outdoors. Make sure that you wash your hands after going to the toilet every single time; also, make it a point to wash your hands before having food, and also every single time you touch your water bottle filter and other minute objects. The best solution to wash your hands would be using a hand sanitizer or a biodegradable soap. Be sure to carry a hand sanitizer in your trousers at any time, because this will let you use it as often as possible.

2) Outdoor Hygiene Essentials

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When you plan for an outdoor adventure, you must carry with you certain important products so that you can stay clean and tidy at all times. There are not many items that could help you stay clean outdoors, so check this out. Wash kit is something every pro camper would have in his or her backpack. Let us discuss some of the important contents of this vital pack:

Toothbrush - Dental care should be a priority for anyone spending days outdoors. The best option for you is to buy a cheap electric toothbrush that is rechargeable.

Toothpaste - Travel toothpaste is something many outdoor campers use, but it is not necessary for all. Your everyday toothpaste will also do the job for you.

Soap - As far as camping is concerned, a bar of biodegradable soap is the best choice for you and is highly recommended by all pro-campers. 100% biodegradable soaps are environment-friendly and you can even use it to wash your hair.

Shampoo - Medicated shampoo is the best option for campers because they do not harm you in any way. You can carry them only when you are planning on a long camping adventure and this will give you protection against all kinds of infections.

Moisturizer - Carrying a moisturizer or other kinds of body lotions is better because you can keep your skin stay moisturized during all seasons and also protect it from harmful rays.

Swiss Army Knife - A Swiss army knife is one of the most standard outdoor equipment you can have in your backpack. It contains nail filer and other tiny accessories, which are perfect for not only cutting and trimming nails but also for a variety of other uses.

Mosquito / Insect Repellent - You can find many top insect repellents in the market and you can choose the one that you know is best suited for your skin.

Wash Bag - This can be a small to medium size bag to hold all the hygiene tools we have mentioned above, apart from a towel.

Note: You can also carry other items if you want, depending upon your requirements. There is nothing wrong with carrying other personal hygiene items, provided you have enough space.

3) How to go to the bathroom while hiking and camping?

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Peeing Outdoors:

When you are camping near a designated camping site, then this will not be a major issue because you can find proper restrooms around. However, if you are camping in the wilderness, then it is very important to know how to pee outdoors without spoiling hygiene.

Here are a few tips that would help you pee safely without spoiling your hygiene and the ecosystem:

  • Select a spot that is far away from your camping site. If you are going as a group, then stick with a plan of having a separate spot for men and women.
  • If you are camping close to a small pond or lake or stream, make sure to pee at least 70 to 80 steps away from the pond.
  • If you are close to a major stream or lake, which quite often happens for rafting campers, then you can pee directly in the water.
  • For those who love camping in the mountains, you can pee directly on the rocky surface, which is considered to be very good for the ecosystem.

Pooping Outdoors:

We move on to the next major problem faced by campers, which is pooping outdoors. You need to carry the necessary supplies and also know the correct method for pooping in the wild. The basic supplies include toilet paper and sanitizer, which is straightforward, but you also need to have the following:

Sealable Bag - A plastic sealable bag is mandatory in some areas because you are not supposed to leave used toilet papers on the ground. If you are going to discard the bag, then it is better for you to either use aluminum foil to bag it or use a signed marker. Covering with duct tape is also one of the popular options.

Solid Waste Bags - Certain highly sensitive camping locations, such as high-elevation zones, much-traveled camping sites, and so on requires campers to pack their solid waste. If you are going to one such area, then make sure to carry many waste disposal bags. Blue bags are the basic ones. You can even buy double-layered waste disposal bags that come with a gel layer. Waste disposal bags are generally leak-proof, but it is better to place them in another bag for your own safety.

Trowel - You might have heard about this product, which is just like a shovel and lets you dig a hole in no time. This is yet another useful product that can help you poo in the wild without getting yourself dirty. And there are many different types of camp trowels you can choose from.


We have talked about the essential supplies and now it’s time to focus on the technique of pooping outdoors.

  • Always go find a spot at least 200 meters away from your campsite or water source. The underbrush is the perfect spot for you to get some privacy, but it is also important to know the path you took to reach this spot.
  • A sunny spot that has loose rich soil would also be perfect. Using a trowel, make a hole about 8 inches deep and 4 inches wide. Rich soil will help speed up the decomposition process.
  • If the place near your campsite is hard, then you can carry the waste in a waste disposal bag.
  • Toilet paper should be used in small quantities, so try to get used to it. You can also try using other group objects for cleaning. Moistened wipes can also be used, but be sure to carry them along in the waste disposal bag.

4) Female Hygiene Tips

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Women who are facing menstruation when in the wild should have the necessary backup in order to stay safe and hygienic. If you are a new camper, then the sweaty and tiring work you go through, whether it is a hike or other outdoor activities, could make your period start before the expected date. While such an occurrence is not dangerous, you must know how to manage the same outdoors.

Menstruating women are prone to infections, so hygiene is very important. Be sure to clean yourself completely on a daily basis and never miss a day. Always wash your hands before and after the cleaning process. Hand sanitizers, wipes, and moist towels are perfect to prevent infections and cross-contamination.

Choose tampons over pads:

When hiking or camping, space is a major area of concern. So always opt for tampons over pads. Tampons take up very little space and are less messy, ensuring you have a great day on the trail. We recommend bringing tampons that are unscented and don’t have a plastic applicator. Another great option is to use a reusable menstrual cup. Having said that, you can use pads instead if you are not comfortable with tampons. 


You can even use pads for your period if you are not comfortable with tampons. A colored disposal plastic bag should be carried especially for disposing of tampons. Invert the bag to collect the used tampon and then fold it. You can also use a wet tea bag or other odor enhancers to minimize the used tampon smell. Towelettes can also be packed along with the used tampon as an odor eliminator. Never try burning used tampons or pads, which is not environment-friendly.

Tips for Hiking/Camping during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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  • Choose a hiking trail or a campsite that is quite not so popular and is often not crowded.
  • Keep at least a distance of 6 feet between you and anyone you encounter on the trail.
  • Be cautious; wash your hands and follow all safety & personal hygiene guidelines.


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When you are hiking or camping outdoors, you might often find your hands dirty for a couple of days or more. While this may not spoil your health much, but on the whole, a lack of proper hygienic practices will eventually create problems in the form of stomach bug, which could be frustrating and ruin your entire outdoor adventure trip. So, do follow all these hygiene tips to enjoy a safe and healthy outdoor hiking and camping adventure. This will help you feel better and enjoy your trip outdoors as much as possible.

Over to you. What are tips for staying clean & fresh while hiking and camping outdoors?

Planning to go hiking this year but want to avoid crowded trails? Then be sure to check out this blog post "5 Best Hikes To Get Away From The Crowds".

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