– How do you wash there? – We go on a hike not to wash! This is a joke, which I heard during the Oregon Coast camping. We will tell you about hygiene. How not to become a victim of the stereotype of a “dirty and smelly” tourist: how to wash on a hike and wash clothes, how to organize a toilet in nature, and how many packs of wet wipes to take with you. A must-read for all newcomers to tourism and sympathizers, even the most impressionable.
Hike Hygiene. How To Wash
It is empirically verified that one 1.5-liter bottle is enough to wash the whole, and another one is enough to wash the head of a girl with medium hair length. Therefore, the recipe for a camping shower is simple: we collect water from a nearby stream in bottles, add a mug of boiling water, go to a secluded place and wash. Or you can boil a full pot of water and wash all the girls in the group at once. To do this, you will need another boiler or a camping bucket – you collect cold water there and gradually dilute it with boiling water.
If during a hike there are problems with fuel or a harsh leader does not allow burning gas for washing, you can fill a bottle with water and leave it in the sun on a hot day or attach it to a backpack from the sunny side – it will quickly heat up by itself.
In a mountain hike, all water procedures should not be carried out early in the morning and at sunset – it is cold in the mountains at this time, you can easily catch a cold. The best time is when the group arrives early to the place to spend the night, the sun is still high and the air is warm. A second good option is a long lunch break, when the sun is at its zenith, and the burners and pots do not need to be specially removed.
In the heat, you can quickly swim even in a cold mountain river, and brave girls manage to wash their hair there. The method is quite extreme, but it works. The main thing is to do it on a warm sunny day, and after bathing, wipe yourself dry immediately and not stand in the wind with a wet head.
Some Hygiene Tips
- You can take dry shampoo with you – it will help out when there is absolutely no opportunity and desire to wash your hair, but you want to be beautiful. This is a special powder that absorbs sebum, dust and dirt, leaving hair visually clean for a couple of days.
- Well, the best way to wash yourself on a hike is to organize a real hiking bath. This can be done in a forest area on the river bank: for example, on a day out or at the end of a hike. You will need poles for the frame, pieces of polyethylene, firewood and stones. Cover the stones with wood and make a fire: they warm up red-hot, then they can be watered with water or even herbal decoction – steam comes down, it becomes hot and humid, like in a real bath.
- Before leaving the parking lot, disassemble the sauna and take the polyethylene with you. Stack the poles and firewood neatly – they can be useful to other groups, but you don’t need to scatter them all over the clearing. There should be as few traces of your stay in nature as possible.
- In the mountains where there is snow, you can take a chance and wipe yourself off with snow. During the day, the temperature in the sun can rise to + 20 ° C, so this procedure is quite safe – the main thing is to dry yourself well and dress warmly after the snow baths.
- In winter, it is difficult to imagine water procedures. If you are not a walrus, it is enough to wipe off with wet wipes or a damp towel. Better than napkins, hydrogen peroxide or chlorhexidine cleans up – pour the liquid onto an impromptu bandage napkin, it will remove the smell. These funds are economically spent, they can be used in the highlands, where even in summer there is no desire, and sometimes even the opportunity to wash.
- And do not forget: before any hike, you need to swim and wash your hair. Girls should braid pigtails, “dragons”, which last for several days – so the hair gets less dirty, and it looks neat.
How To Organize A Toilet On A Hike
Imagine: you and a group have planned an overnight stay in a beautiful place. We walked there all day, finally, we got there, and there … Instead of untouched nature and a cozy parking lot, there were scraps of toilet paper, dirty napkins scattered around, and it is better not to meddle in the nearest bushes at all.
Organic matter decomposes in 1-2 weeks – depending on weather conditions and time of year (in winter, the decomposition process stops). It is much faster than polyethylene, but dozens or even hundreds of people can visit the parking lot during such a period of time. They are unlikely to be delighted with the traces of previous groups. Therefore, on a hike, we think not only about our comfort, but also about the people who will come after, and set the right example.
To leave behind a clean and violet-scented nature, discuss with the group before the hike how and where you will go to the bathroom. There are different ways of organizing a camping restroom – it all depends on how long you plan to camp and what level of comfort you prefer.
Hygiene During The Short Parking
If the group is small and only stops for the night, or it is generally a one-day hike without an overnight stay, everyone takes care of their needs themselves. Equip yourself with a shovel and find a suitable spot at least 50 meters from the camp. Dig a shallow hole – the topsoil is rich in microorganisms that will quickly digest the contents. Bury the hole with toilet paper after use. Mark the site with a twig or stones so that no one accidentally starts digging in the same place.
If the group is large, it makes sense to take the time and dig up two separate toilets (e.g. boys to the left, girls to the right). The pit here should be larger, 30-50 cm deep. To prevent odors from spreading around, after each visit, lightly sprinkle the pit with foliage, grass, branches. When filming a camp, be sure to bury everything and mark the place.
In winter and in the snow zone, the principle is the same: dig a hole in the snow, then bury it with the used paper. If the snow layer is small, it is better to dig a hole in the ground so that by the spring there will be nothing left of the traces of your stay.
Of course, you don’t need to take a large shovel. A sapper shovel will do – it will come in handy to level the place under the tent and bury the trash. And there are even easier options, for example, a small garden shovel, such as are sold in supermarkets for home goods or gardening stores. As a last resort, take a plastic children’s scoop with a pointed bucket – it will take a little more time to dig a hole with it, but it weighs almost nothing. One such instrument is enough for a group.
Hygiene During The Long Stay
If you plan to camp in one place for several days and walk in radials, it makes sense to make one large and comfortable toilet per group to care about hygiene. To do this, you need to dig a hole away from the camp, trails, water bodies and not on the slope. It is advisable to choose a place on a small hill in order to avoid flooding during the rain. The simplest design of a stationary toilet: the flooring is made of boards or small logs, and the walls are made of opaque polyethylene (for example, shower curtains or large garbage bags).
If you are not far from the camp site and you do not limit yourself too much in the weight of equipment, you can take a special camping toilet. Inside there are pockets for toilet paper and other little things. And outside you can hang a busy sign.
After each visit to the toilet, try to cover the hole with something. Ash very well “extinguishes” the smells: you can specially collect the ash from the fire in a bucket or bag and put it near the toilet so that no one will forget to use it. When you leave, bury the toilet well and mark the spot so other tourists can see that it has already been used.
If you use wet wipes, do not bury them – these are synthetics, they do not decompose in the ground. Place them in an airtight bag and incinerate with the rest of the trash.
How To Wash Clothes
To check if it’s time to wash your socks on a hike, throw them into a tree or rock. If they bounce off, it’s time to wash, if they stick, it’s time to burn. Tourist wisdom.
To prevent your tent neighbors from driving you out to live on the street, you need not only to wash, but sometimes also to wash your clothes. First of all, socks. It is enough to do this every other day, and it is most convenient to dry on the go, attaching them to the outside of the backpack – this way they will dry out in a day, even without the sun.
There are tips to dry wet socks in a sleeping bag by laying them on top of you or putting them on your feet over dry socks. This partially works – by the morning the socks will be only slightly damp, but the feeling of sleeping with wet socks on your stomach is far from pleasant. You can do this only in one case: if you forgot spare socks and you have only one pair. And in no case do this in a downy sleeping bag.
It makes sense to wash T-shirts and thermal underwear on very long hikes – it’s easier to take a couple of T-shirts and a change of underwear on short ones. It is most convenient to wash during the day, when there is a lot of free time and there is a river nearby.
Here’s an easy, convenient way to do your laundry while hiking so you don’t have to mess around in cold water. Put dirty clothes in a trash bag, lather them well or add liquid soap, pour water into the bag and tie. Place the bag in the sun – during the day, the water in it heats up quickly, you just have to rub the dirty places and rinse.
More interesting information about camping you can find here.