Your Outdoor Skills: Hygiene in the Wilderness
When spending time in the wilderness, staying clean and following good hygiene can be challenging, especially when it comes to longer trips. These tips will help you tackle the backcountry and stay squeaky clean on any adventure from land to sea.
Oral hygiene is important, especially in the backcountry. Make sure you pack a toothbrush and toothpaste. Some lightweight packers saw off a majority of the toothbrush handle to cut a few ounces and save space.
Use clean water to go through your brushing routine. You can either filter the water with a water filter, or you can boil water on your stove. Use a lightweight wood burning stove to avoid having to carry excess fuel.
If you have access to a body of water like a river or lake, it can be nice to take a dip to rinse off. But it’s nice to also wash to keep areas clean. Boil water with your ultralight stick stove, stay at least 100 yards (check local regulations before you depart) from water sources like streams, rivers, and lakes, and use a biodegradable soap like Dr. Bronners and a cloth like a handkerchief or microfiber cloth to wash.
As many know, wearing clothes over and over again gets pretty smelly. For the best experience, bringing an extra set of clothing, even one or 2 items, can take your backcountry time to the next level of comfort. It’s especially important to wash underwear and socks to avoid getting infections. If you’re worried about weight, just pack one extra set of each. While you’re washing and drying one pair, wear the other set. Hang the drying pair or pairs on your pack to help them dry faster during the day.
Littlbug Tip: For ultralight backpacking, use a multipurpose biodegradable soap. You can use this soap for both bathing and washing clothing. Remember, as stated above, to always use the soap at least 100 yards from water sources. Leave No Trace practices encourage you to disperse any dirty or soapy water so it's not concentrated in one spot.
Drinking plenty of water is important to staying healthy. Staying hydrated helps your body fight disease and keep a healthy equilibrium. Keep track of your hydration levels by observing the color of your urine. The darker, or more yellow, the color of the urine, the less hydrated you are. You want a light yellow or clear colored urine for a healthy hydration level.
Make sure you’re drinking clean and safe water. Drinking water with bad bacteria can leave you in a bad state. To ensure you’re water is clean, use a reliable water treatment system. One of the safest, and most reliable water treatments is boiling water. Boiling for one to three minutes ensures eliminates bacteria from the water. Read more about how to filter water here. For quick and efficient boiling, use a Littlbug stove, which brings water to boil in little as three minutes.
Remember: When it comes to outdoor skills the more you bring along, the less you have to carry. Skills don't break and they're never left behind. They don’t leak, tear, and they don’t get wet!