View Full Version : Remedies for Hiker odor?

07-22-2004, 16:38
Any alternative to hiker odor but washing clothes and dips in watering holes? Has anyone had luck with essential oils?

07-22-2004, 18:08
the chemo-threapy worked well for me as it dystroyed my sense of smell :D

SGT Rock
07-22-2004, 19:36
Learn to live with it and do laundry in town.

Pencil Pusher
07-22-2004, 19:50
Perhaps some Royal Crown 'Pomade'? It'll get you looking clean real quick...

07-22-2004, 20:22
"I don't want Royal Crown! I'm a Dapper Dan Man!" :) Got hairnets?

What about the Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap? I would think taking a sponge (towel) bath with a bit of that stuff each day would have you smelling like a candy cane. It smells strong in the bottle....

Sleepy the Arab
07-22-2004, 21:41
Hang out with those smellier than you.

Moon Monster
07-22-2004, 21:43
Though I've not totally tried it, I'm considering slowly converting to silk, wool, and other natural fibers as I replace my hiking clothes. They usually hold odors much less than plastic clothes.

I think that it's often our gear and clothes that give off the bulk of the odor.

And yes, you'll have to live with that because even though you can easily wash clothes in town, you'll have a lot of gear that you just won't be able to detoxify. Even the handles of my Lekis smell.

07-22-2004, 23:25
YEA....Hiker Odor..PHEW...guys some of you smell purty bad out there...take a bath occasionally...yo ..bath...water... :D

Stink ? REAL HIKERS are supposed to stink cuz :sun

Hiker #3
Hikers are what real people smell like not the washed up fake people who live in cubicle farms. (hey leave that plate there I'll eat that when nobody is looking.)

Now on a more serious note..

there are a few ways to help with hiker odor.

1) Make sure to air out your sleeping bag everytime you get a chance
sometimes when i stop for lunch or a long break I pull my bag out and let
it air and dry...sleeping bags hold a lot of moisture thus moldy mildewy stale smell... same with the rest of your gear.. jackets, long johns, underlayers..a little air and sunshine helps.

2) Food and garbage odors...one thing that I don't like about cook in the bag meals..you end up with a bag that has food particles that is left in it and it is hard to clean...same goes for the salmon and tuna packs that carry ...I rinse the packets out and use that water in my cook pot (you also get a few extra calories this way) after rinsing most of the food out of the packet I add little drop of the trusty doc bronners organic peppermint soap (with HEMP OIL) ...smells better than stinky fish!
and your garbage can stink up your whole pack ..also plan your meals to reduce garbage. use your food items that won't make stinky garbage the first couple days and then save your fish (salmon and corn chowder with cilantro fritters) a day or two before you hit the next town or trash can.

3) Brush your teeth..doc bronners again

4) Along with airing your sleeping bag and other gear ...Air your boots ...take a boot off break ...Change socks.. as often as you can..in good weather keep a pair of socks hanging off your pack to let them air and dry, next break take those boots off and change socks...rinse, lather, repeat (let your feet air w/o socks on your break too..weather permiting)

5) Bathe...I use my cooking pot and put just an inch of water or less..fold and put in my bandana...get it hot ..add just a little doc bronners and use that to scrub and wash up a little...I dispose of the water..(forgive me LNT,inc)
rinse the bandana out with cold water and then heat another inch or so of water rinse with the warm bandana.

6) Alcohol or WET ONE...feet,pits, groin,

There is a Prize for the first WHITEBLAZE member that correctly identifies the 3 mystery hikers... you can pick any book from my Ed ABBEY or John Stienbeck collection.. and I'll mail drop it to you. (mail drops are important)

07-23-2004, 13:15
If you throw your shorts at the wall, and they stick to it! That's when you know when it's time to wash them. :D

Kozmic Zian
07-23-2004, 13:51
Yea....Stink Pitt........My remedy is simple.....Salt.....it kills the bacteria that causes odor. Get a small tube of hard salt at the health food store. Cheap, light, long lasting and effective. One small rock went all the way to Me.and lasted 6mos. [email protected];)

07-23-2004, 16:04
There is one remedy that seems to work well.

Stop hiking. Burn your clothes and gear. Shower 5 times, then repeat.

After that, you shouldn't have much of a problem with it.

07-23-2004, 19:24
Smartwool :) :) :)

07-23-2004, 19:54
Applying No-Rinse Shampoo and Body Wash after a long day of hiking makes me feel almost human and helps a lot with the smell. However, the clothes are still a problem, but SmokymtnSteve's airing can help quite a bit if you give it long enough.

07-23-2004, 21:19
Baking soda in the pits works wonders as a deoderant alternative. Also works on teeth and insect bites, etc. Haven't put it in shoes but it should help. Mostly I use airing as a good excuse for a long break at a nice overlook. Occasionally the whole pack gets dumped, wiped and sunned, sleeping bag always feels and smells better aired out, warmer in winter, too.

You know you stink when you turn around to tell the guy behind you he stinks and nobody's there.

07-24-2004, 08:02
There is a Prize for the first WHITEBLAZE member that correctly identifies the 3 mystery hikers... you can pick any book from my Ed ABBEY or John Stienbeck collection.. and I'll mail drop it to you. (mail drops are important)

Here goes Smokeymountainsteve:

#1 KZ

#2 LW

#3 Blue Jay

Please send me Monkey Wrench Gang is you have a copy. I gave mine away years ago.

Jeffrey Hunter aka Little Bear

07-24-2004, 09:33
Here goes Smokeymountainsteve:

#1 KZ

#2 LW

#3 Blue Jay

Please send me Monkey Wrench Gang is you have a copy. I gave mine away years ago.

Jeffrey Hunter aka Little Bear

Congratulations Jeffery.. :banana

please send me your mailing address by Private Message.

11-07-2004, 22:04
Hiker odor... my favorite subject :-) You don't HAVE to stink... but if you want to well, please stay downwind.

First thing... I smelled okay most of the time and stayed away from those that didn't bother with hygiene. This wasn't because I was stuck up but because I had no desire to be around those folks nastiesness... it was pretty

1) Carry one set of clothing to sleep in, NEVER hike in it, NEVER eat while wearing it.
2) Use a lightweight sleeping bag liner (I prefer silk) and wash it as needed.
3) A key thing is to get out of your sweaty hiking clothes as soon as possible.
3) If you're tenting for the night then set up the tent as soon as you hit camp. Take your boots and socks OFF. Carry very light weight, inexpensive flip flops for around camp. Prepare and eat your meal. NEVER eat in your tent. It gets little bits of food stuff that start to smell with time. Get inside the tent and wash up, use Wet wipes (antibacterial, unscented) on your groin, pits, arms, legs, face, chest, back, and FEET. Take off your hiking clothes. Wash em if you need to, hang em to dry if you need to.

4) IF in a shelter for the night then lay your sleeping gear out for the night, and then eat. Wash up and change into your sleeping togs. Hang your gear to dry.

5) Carry a food bag and a separate garbage bag. Strap the garbage bag to the outside of your pack as you hike and burn or dump it whenever possible. This keeps garbage smells off of your other gear.

6) FEBREEZE. Use town time for getting cleaned up, that means you AND your gear. When you get into town take a shower and then give your pack a shower, let it soak and scrub up the back and straps as much as possible. Rinse REALLY well. Leave it to air dry and then spray it with antibacterial Febreeze. It doesn't smell perfumy! Hang out with a few beers and other hikers while you're waiting for it all to dry.

7) Don't let your gear stay wet. As soon as possible hang your tent,sleeping bag and pack to dry.

8) Use deodorant. It doesn't have to be heavy. Take your regular deodorant and put it into a small plastic container. Every morning take some and rub it into your pits. Put it on your groin area if you tend to get major smelly.

During the humid months you're going to stink. Nothing helps but you can reduce the overall funk if you keep a daily routine. Main thing is to keep hiking smells off of your sleeping gear and to wash your pack from time to time. Also... deodorant IS a good thing.

Given all of this... I do understand that some folks want to have the experience of getting as nasty as possible... no washing, no deodorant. All I have to say is to each their own.

Blue skies... Bluebird

11-07-2004, 23:30
Get a campfire going, hold your shirt as if you were trying to dry it near the flames. Soon it will smell like smoke, not hiker sweat.

11-08-2004, 06:37
Any alternative to hiker odor but washing clothes and dips in watering holes? Has anyone had luck with essential oils?


as per the oils...you're masking the smell...not taking it away!

11-08-2004, 17:13
wool t-shirts forever! i wore an icebreaker wool shirt for my entire hike - used the same one too. it doesnt smell. at all. its amazing... worth every penny, dries just as well as all that synthetic crap, and it's just as durable too


11-08-2004, 17:35
Any alternative to hiker odor but washing clothes and dips in watering holes? Has anyone had luck with essential oils?

Simple cleanliness works quite well. Gels and wipes help, but I've always been an advocate of soap and warm water.


Clark Fork
11-08-2004, 18:52
“We doan want no Steenking Backpackers”

Interesting research done on Sweat at http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?objectid=43CB5F79-2B33-4F96-B7D06EC696826071&dsection=6#

According to Mayo Clinic Research,” Your skin has two types of sweat glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands occur over most of your body and open directly onto the surface of your skin. Apocrine glands develop in areas abundant in hair follicles, such as your scalp, underarms and genitals. Most often, it's the bacterial breakdown of apocrine sweat that causes a strong odor.”

“For some people who sweat excessively, the answer may be simple: an over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirant used on the hands and feet as well as the underarms. Antiperspirants block your sweat ducts with aluminum salts, thereby reducing the amount of perspiration that reaches your skin. Deodorants, which can eliminate odor but not perspiration, turn your skin acidic, which makes it less attractive to bacteria. Although you may have heard stories linking antiperspirants and breast cancer, there's no evidence of such a link."

"Antiperspirants can cause irritation or even contact dermatitis — red, swollen, itchy skin. In fact, antiperspirants are the cosmetic product most associated with skin irritation. Deodorants, especially herbal or crystal deodorants, may be less irritating for most people.”

I use a simple solution to eliminate odor. Have used it for years. Kill the sweat bacteria with the same product used by physicians in pre-op. It is called Hibiclens (Antiseptic/Antimicrobial Skin Cleaner).. You may have seen a bottle of it near the sink in the Dr.'s office. You can buy it at Wal-Mart or any full service drug store. It comes in small 8 oz containers. Carry a small amount with you, using it each day as part of your bandana quick clean spit bath. It eliminates the bacteria that grow the steenk.

Best Regards,

Clark Fork in Western Montana

11-08-2004, 19:29
While you could heat water and use soap and 'sponge' bathe, I found that cold water and Dr. Bronners worked just fine. I would grab some water in a gallon ziploc, head well away from the source, and drop a few drops of Dr Bronners on a damp cloth and wash all over, then dip the cloth in the water and rinse. I ended up smelling a lot better than I did beforehand. I also would wash my clothes in a 2 gallon ziploc with water and Dr Bronners soap, then dry on my pack or by a campfire, or hang it in a shelter. All in all I don't think odor was a big problem. In 10 days I had three showers - one in Standing Bear Farm, one at Gatlingburg, and another at Fontana Dam (one at the NOC at trip's end), and that was in 134 miles. I think if you clean up daily you won't really have odor issues.

Hand sanitizer and wet wipes are also good to help with cleaning up.

11-08-2004, 20:03
If you throw your shorts at the wall, and they stick to it! That's when you know when it's time to wash them. :D

Better yet: When you go to throw your shorts at the wall & they run away from you, THAT's when its time to wash them :p

Lone Wolf
11-08-2004, 20:04
Cornstarch baby powder.

11-08-2004, 23:25

First I carry a 5 gallon Solar shower
1 bar of soap (organic)
1 quart Nalgene Shampoo (organic)
1 quart Nalgene Conditoner (organic)
1 can shave cream (organic)
2 razors
1 pack mirror
3 full size shower curtains with parachute cord to tie them in tree and make a
"privacy shower area"
1 beach towel (hemp fibers)
1 washcloth (hemp fibers)
1 pair sandals so my bare feet don't get muddy
1 long handle scrub brush for my back (sea spoonge)
1 box Q-tips for my ears (made from hemp fibers)
1 nail file
1 cuticle brush
1 "backpackers" Hair Dryer, runs on 16 AA batteries
1 can hairspray (organic)
1 can Styling Gel (organic)
1 round hairbrush
1 comb
1 Bath Robe (made from hemp)
1 quart Nalgene Organic antiseptic mouthwash
1 tube toothpaste (organic)
1 toothbrush

11-09-2004, 00:35
Don't worry, you'll be too exhausted to even notice how bad you stink. Seriously, at first you will be dismayed - nay, horrified - at your own personal stench. But after a while you won't even notice it any more. I thought it was funny how we could have 10 stinky thruhikers packed into a shelter and not even detect the stink... but the next day I'd catch a whiff of a cotton person's perfume or soap before I'd even see 'em.

11-09-2004, 05:51
It happens.
Funky hikers in a shelter equals funky shelter.
I can deal with the funk.
I can deal with them thar mices.
What kills me is them thar folks with dogs inside de' shelter.
:-? and those that snore LOUD.

11-09-2004, 05:52
:banana Which is why I sleep in the privy :banana

11-09-2004, 10:59
We carry a small piece of "deodorant stone". It's a manufactured potassium alum crystal that when wetted and rubbed on your body kills the bacteria that cause odors. The small piece I have in my personals kit weighs 1/2 ounce and will last for months.

The Wicked Lobstah
11-09-2004, 11:51
I carry anti-bac hand sanitizer which is, of course, an alcohol based gel. Works super well as a short term deoderant (especially for town visits). Plus, its good to have along for the ol' post-wipe to prevent poo-to-mouth diseases like giardia.

11-09-2004, 12:58
I wish someone would leave those free 5 gallon buckets at the shelters, such value for water or a washer and a seat to instead of acting like sheltercops. Anyway I carry a foldable basin but they freeze and crack. But anyway Polypropylene is still the best for soaking everynite and hanging to dry out for the nite even without soap. So I only have two pairs of same 4 ounce Walmart track shorts per pair, so to wash one pair everynite and put the other clean dry pair on to wear now and the next day.
I also use baking soda for my underarms and trench mouth in a old 35 film container that last over a week. That's about all there is to it for 3 season.
Butt; most important is the french style camp wash. If you don't know don't as......