Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 36

Thread: Trail Hygiene

  1. #1
    Registered User Sidetrail's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-10-2016
    Location
    Orchard Park, NY
    Age
    62
    Posts
    11
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default Trail Hygiene

    I'm planning a NOBO thru-hike in April of 2017. Been doing really well with gear selection thanks a lot to the posts and information on whiteblaze. I do need some help figuring out the best lite way to get "clean" at the end of the day. I originally was thinking just a light towel from REI and a 2 oz bottle of Bonners or Camp Suds. Total weight 6 oz for towel and soap. I like this but I used it on a hike this summer and it takes a lot of water to get the soap off. Next, I started looking at Wilderness Wipes from S2S. 8-pack weighs 4.75 oz. Fully biodegradable which is nice. Not sure how well they clean or if you can get resupplied easily. Finally, I found some No Rinse Body Wash that comes in a 2 oz bottle, weight 2.75 oz. Probably would need a small towel with that too. So, my question is what works from you? Also, what is easy to get resupplied with along the trail? Also, are towels common in hostels or do you need to carry a small one?

  2. #2

    Default

    Almost all hostels provide towels. However, it makes sense to carry a small (8" × 8") piece of PackTowl.

    I try to always camp by water and rinse off every night, but never use soap while camping. If you want to be environmentally conscientious, using soap , even biodegradable soap is a hassle. Soap should be used away from all water sources, meaning you need to be able to carry a few quarts of water away from the source to wash up.And you are still getting soap into the ecosystem. As you correctly mention using soap requires more water. People might call me hypocritical because I wash right in the water source,, but downstream of where people are getting their water. By my calculus, the dirt I wash off is already in the environment.

    Go into town every 5 days or so and get a real shower.

  3. #3
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-10-2011
    Location
    Niskayuna, New York
    Age
    64
    Posts
    3,876
    Journal Entries
    10

    Default

    I very much like being able to take a bath on the trail. I'll wash my socks at the same time if I've been hiking in muddy conditions. My feet don't mind wet socks (as long as I've put a water-repellent such as Gurney Goo on my feet), but gritty socks are a real problem for me.

    What I use for bathing:

    A sheet of Tyvek that doubles as a tent footprint or a ground sheet in shelters. Gives me a clean place to stand or sit while bathing. It's also a dry place to sit on breaks, a clean spot to spread out gear, and means that on the rare occasions I sleep in a shelter, I don't sleep on mouse poo. (Some shelters smell like hamster cages!)
    A Sea to Summit silnylon bucket. I like having a half-bucket of 'dirty' water around camp anyway. It would do if my alky stove should blow up or spill, and is also a convenient tank to let silt settle out before filtering water.
    A bandana. Very multi-purpose. Evey hiker should have a bandana or two.
    A little piece of Sham-Wow from the dollar store, which is also useful in dealing with condensation inside a tent.
    A small amount of Dr Bronner's.
    My trowel, to dig a cathole for the wastewater.

    I do not wash in water sources. I get 150 feet away. Wash water is in my cookpot, rinse water is in the bucket. If rinsing the soap is a hassle, you're using too much. It takes only a few drops on the bandana.

    Wastewater goes into a cat hole or gets sprinkled widely, depending on the preferences of the land manager. A small amount of soap (rather than detergent) is pretty benign, environmentally, as long as it's going into soil rather than directly into a waterbody. Soil microbes degrade soap very fast - it's basically hyrdolyzed fat, and the bugs just love the stuff.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  4. #4
    GA-ME 2011
    Join Date
    03-17-2007
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Age
    63
    Posts
    3,071
    Images
    9

    Default

    Wet Wipes

    (Carry them out with the trash, don't dump them in the privy)
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  5. #5

    Default

    A little vial of concentrated soap, the bottom few inches of a plastic milk jug (which squishes down flatish and springs back into usable shape,) and a cheap cotton bandana. Clean yourself away from streams, and rinse the bandana away from streams. Safety pin the bandana to the outside of your pack to dry as you hike, or pin around a branch overnight.

    The milk jug can be a tiny sink, and double to collect water from shallow water sources.

  6. #6

    Default

    I use wet wipes too, and since you mention weight, open up the package at home and let them dry out then when you are ready to use just add some water.
    Also start at your face and work down, get a lot more use of one wipe that way.

  7. #7
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-11-2016
    Location
    Norton, Kansas
    Age
    40
    Posts
    490
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    12

    Default

    I have a pump sack for a pad that I can fill and use as a shower. Away from the source and trail.
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-02-2011
    Location
    Neptune Beach, Fl
    Age
    46
    Posts
    6,187

    Default

    A small pack wet towel with just few drops of dr.B works wonders for me... I wipe down before putting my sleep cloths on.....yea most stay away from the peppermint scent due to animals but It sure feels refreshing to wipe off with......


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    GA-ME 2011
    Join Date
    03-17-2007
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Age
    63
    Posts
    3,071
    Images
    9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wannahike View Post
    I use wet wipes too, and since you mention weight, open up the package at home and let them dry out then when you are ready to use just add some water.
    Also start at your face and work down, get a lot more use of one wipe that way.
    The MSDS indicates 9% ethanol content. When you dry and then rehydrate you replace the alcohol with water.
    They still work but I don't think as well. YMMV.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-28-2006
    Location
    Wilmington, NC
    Age
    67
    Posts
    285

    Default

    I usually use wet wipes, but do carry a packable shower (got from REI, I think) if I will be camping close to a stream. It weighs next to nothing, and is worth it if it works out that I can use it.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-01-2014
    Location
    Norwell, MA
    Age
    58
    Posts
    2,288

    Default

    A few tips that may be useful:
    Bath and "do laundry" in the afternoon, at a good water source, well before you stop to make camp. So sure, you'll then hike an hour or so before stopping for bed, but it will be well past the heat of the day, you laundry will have time to dry, you won't get chilled by the evening coolness, and you are not limited to your camp water supply for bathing.

    Don't use soap (you don't really need it) for washing in the back-country except for hands after relieving yourself, before putting in contacts, or for your face if you have skin issues that require some extra cleanliness.

    I'm a big fan of full-on skinny dipping (even if it's sitting in shallow water) whenever possible. On a hot, day start with your cloths on then remove them, scrub them, ring them out, dry them by twisting them in your towel if you like, and put them back on to dry while you hike the next hour or two.

    If it's cold out, don't do laundry except socks until you hit town.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-21-2013
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    461

    Default

    Forget about wipes. A cotton bandana and some water do virtually the same thing.

  13. #13
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-30-2015
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    267

    Default

    I used Dr. Bonner's at the beginning of the trail but stopped using it at some point. Got used to being dirty and actually had a hard time getting used to taking showers every day again after my thru. Always carried a small pack of wet wipes to wipe my butt if I felt like I needed to (no...don't put in privy even if they say biodegradable). Took full dunks in hiking clothes when we passed a lake that looked good for swimming (no soap). Had one set of hiking clothes and one set of sleeping clothes - never slept in my hiking clothes. Carried a clothes line and hung my hiking clothes every afternoon (take them down before bed...they will be soaked from dew in the morning). If possible (during warm wether) I "washed" and wrung out my hiking clothes (no soap). When I really got dusty/dirty from dry trail I would use my water bottle to "wash"; again, no soap. You really get used to being "dirty". In retrospect I feel that I worried a bit too much about it before and at the beginning.

  14. #14
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,441
    Images
    2

    Default

    Simplifying resupply is always a good idea, I feel. With that in mind, I often don't carry soap at all, and when I do it's a scrap of motel bar soap in a ziplock. A bandanna is all I use for bathing, and rinsing the clothes out on a warm afternoon sure feels good, at least for an hour or two. If I don't bathe every day, that's okay, but I bathe often enough for good skin health. I've seen nasty boils, rashes and infections on other hikers and keep clean to avoid those. Your skin is your largest organ, so take good care of it.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-12-2014
    Location
    San Diego
    Age
    47
    Posts
    267

    Default

    Cottonelle wipes, they used to come in a green pack, available at any grocery/drug store. When you climb into your tent at night and get ready for bed, start with your face and neck and work your way down, this is also a great way to check for ticks as well. I always went to bed clean and smelling reasonably well all while being able to do so inside my tent without making any kind of mess.

    The one drawback with the cottonelles was they sometimes came in big backs, like 85 sheets which was definitely way more than you needed so you'd have to find somebody to take the rest if you didn't want to carry 3 weeks worth.

    Also if you need wipes for bathroom breaks, coleman sells a biodegradable version that you can find at most walmarts along the trail. I'd love to see if they actually break down in a privy stack over the course of a season. I may throw some in my composter just to experiment.

  16. #16

    Default

    If it is warm, I take a swim and scrub with no soap with my bandana.

    For my normal daily cleanings, I use hand sanitizer wipes on the pits and down below. I feel the alcohol in the wipes prevents bacteria growth. So far I have not had any issues with funk or rashes by using these.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  17. #17
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-10-2009
    Location
    Tampa, Florida
    Posts
    2,588
    Images
    5

    Default

    https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Camp-...ds=soap+sheets

    Tear a sheet in half, good for your hands. Twist your gatorade bottle cap 1/4 turn and will sprinkle out instead of pouring. Clean(ish) bandana to dry.

    Wet wipes for hot days/nights. Face, pits, middle front, middle back. IN THAT ORDER !!!
    Old Hiker
    AT Hike 2012 - 497 Miles of 2184
    AT Thru Hiker - 29 FEB - 03 OCT 2016 2189.1 miles
    Just because my teeth are showing, does NOT mean I'm smiling.
    Hányszor lennél inkább máshol?

  18. #18
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-18-2014
    Location
    Lewiston and Biddeford, Maine
    Age
    58
    Posts
    2,643

    Default

    I swim whenever possible. Hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before eating. That's it. Take a shower at the hostel or hotel when I resupply. My GF has proclaimed that 5 days without a shower is about as long as she can stand. She said that on day 9 without a shower I didn't think she or I smelled that bad. Learn to embrace the funk. It won't kill you.

  19. #19
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-24-2011
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Age
    49
    Posts
    516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    I swim whenever possible. Hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before eating. That's it. Take a shower at the hostel or hotel when I resupply. My GF has proclaimed that 5 days without a shower is about as long as she can stand. She said that on day 9 without a shower I didn't think she or I smelled that bad. Learn to embrace the funk. It won't kill you.
    Pretty much this. Hand sanitizer and a liner for the sleeping bag. I don't worry about showering on the trail because I can't smell myself and its the first thing I'm going to do when I hit town along with laundry. If I happen to have time, I may clean up a bit with a bandanna and DrB the night before but I'm still gonna stink when I hit town.

  20. #20
    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-26-2010
    Location
    greeneville TN
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,552
    Images
    94

    Default

    Wet wipes or other pre-packaged towels should be banned from all USFS and NPS lands.Many people use them and just toss them in a fire pit for others to burn.Some just chunk them out of sight then when the weeds are gone there they lay.If you can't stand being a bit dirty or use an LNT method you should hike in cold weather or find another hobby.Used wet wipes the are about the most left behind item at AT shelters036.JPG now with used fuel canisters in 2nd place.
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •