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Deoderant choice?
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Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
Pure Gurly girly on 02/03/2008 17:07:52 MST Print View

Never do I go beyond my comfort zone...1 oz of perfume always!!!
Yep ,and I wear my lipstick too...or its really colored chap stick since I have to have it anyways!!

R Alsborg
(FastWalker) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Re: you stink! on 02/03/2008 18:00:04 MST Print View

Jaiden, you hit it on the nose… Looks or should I say it smells like some of the posters are in denial but just as long as their camping downwind their hygiene is their business.

Gail, Thank God for "Gurly Girls" there’s a nothing more traumatic then crossing paths with a beautiful lady backpacker that smells worse then a pack mule.


Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Deoderant choice? on 02/06/2008 10:42:06 MST Print View

There is a paste type deodorant called Mumm that is available in many drugstores. It can be easily packaged into a small balm or flip top pill container thus minimizing weight by reducing packaging and product quantity for a specific trip.

Deodorants work in three ways:

1. anti-persperant--keeps your pits drier so bugs (bacteria) can't grow as well. It's the bacteria that convert your body's fatty acids into stinky stuff.
2. anti-bacterial--chemical (Aluminum based) that also prevents bacterial growth
3. deodorant--a pretty smell to cover the stink

I prefer unscented deodorants and rely on #1 and 2 for my odor protection.

A wool base layer also goes a long way in odor control.

Somehow I've never been able to get used to my own or others BO on trips--especially in the confines of a sleeping bag.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re; Deodorant choice? on 02/06/2008 12:18:19 MST Print View

Miguel, I'm with you: a salt crystal makes the most sense. Using a sticky, perfumy anti-perspirant or deodorant to block up pores or cover up odor just doesn't make any sense, because sweating is a natural function for thermoregulation. A salt crystal does neither. What it does is change the ph of the environment so that bacteria don't proliferate so rapidly. Some people's ph is such that they can accomplish this whthout doing anything other than regular bathing, and some people can't. Humm, maybe ph has something to do with diet. Anyway, the bottom line is regular hygene, and while on the trail I wash up every day with just water.

Kevin made a good point about using wool: it does not stink! Sarah, I threw away all my synthetic t-shirts and now use only the lightest Smartwool t-shirts. Talk about a difference! They're odor free even after a week and are comfortable both in summer and winter. If you stink after only a couple hours, you need to get some (merino) wool. Trust me on this and you'll never go back to petrochemical fabrics. Happy trails.

Edited by TarasBulba on 02/06/2008 12:19:43 MST.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
salt crystal for deodorant on 02/06/2008 19:22:20 MST Print View

If you get really funky a salt crystal doesn't work. Trust me.

I will use "Tom's from Maine" woodspice scent if I'm out for more than a few days in a non-bear inhabited area. I use unscented deodorant in bear inhabited areas.

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 02/06/2008 19:25:24 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: you stink! on 02/07/2008 11:46:25 MST Print View

"Gail, Thank God for "Gurly Girls" there’s a nothing more traumatic then crossing paths with a beautiful lady backpacker that smells worse then a pack mule."

For those of us married who hike without their husbands due to said husband's work schedule, well, it doesn't matter if we stink. We are not looking for hookups in the backcountry....I don't care if people think I stink - I can live with my BO in the backcountry. Same thing that I don't wear makeup or carry a comb. I brush my teeth and rinse off every day. I do take a bit more care when Synchro comes along, but who am I kidding? He doesn't primp for me in the backcountry!

None of my male hiking partners seem to care if I reek. It isn't like we share tents or are forced to be near each other.

I shower daily and coif my hair at home, wear clean clothes and even have essential oils on my skin at home. I don't have any desire to be a high maintance diva in the backcountry.I have hiked with women like that before....and no thanks.

Maybe if your single and looking for a romp while hiking....

Linsey Budden

Locale: pugetropolis
"Deodorant choice?" on 02/07/2008 13:10:02 MST Print View

Personally, I find the smell of scented deodorant nauseating.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
deodorant on 02/07/2008 13:34:28 MST Print View

haven't tried this yet, but i've heard that zinc oxide applied before sweating is effective antibiotic that will prevent the bacteria which convert the sweat contents to stink - so thoses heading above treeline at least have a potentially viable multi use product option

i usually just take the part of a deodorant stick that is left on the bottom and scoop it out into a tiny plastic container - i think less than .5 ounce & has lasted several trips

Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
What? Me stink? on 02/07/2008 14:16:52 MST Print View

I carry alcohol soaked wipes and use 2 per day to clean stinky areas. For 15 days this translates to 2.6 oz. It is very effective and if I am alone I can go every other day and not be too offensive. I have also heard of a paste that you put on your underarm hair only that is supposed to last for days. Works as a fire starter once used.
I second(or third) wool as a non stinky choice for base layer.

Edited by djjmikie on 02/07/2008 14:39:54 MST.


Locale: South West US
Re: deodorant on 02/07/2008 14:28:48 MST Print View


That's interesting. The main ingredient in Body Glide is zinc oxide. Perhaps a multi-purpose use?

As far as deodorant goes I never use it, but I try to stay fairly clean on the trail. When I worked at REI, you could tell when some of the PCT thru hikers were in the store before seeing them!

An observation I've made is that body hair seems makes a big difference. The fellow I hike with isn't hairy and he is always fresher than me. I could be mistaken for a wild animal if I didn't have clothes on.

Jaiden .
(jaiden) - F
iodine deodorant? on 02/07/2008 14:53:30 MST Print View

I've also heard that iodine in strategic areas before heading out can keep you stink free for a few days.. I haven't tried this one myself. anyone?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Body Hair on 02/07/2008 17:15:45 MST Print View

And yes, body hair plays a big part in stinking. Shave your arm pits and other areas (ahem) and you will stink less. The hair holds onto the sweat and bacteria can grow quite fast, producing said BO. Add in some wool undergarments a person might smell pretty good.

Btw, if you all haven't tried them, I picked up a number of items at Icebreak Lab in Portland, Oregon in December. Their items are pricey but very nice. Makes Smartwool look like synthetics ;-) Yes, beware, their underwear is $35 a pair. Love them though!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re:You Guys Are Killing Our Hobby! on 02/07/2008 17:39:12 MST Print View

Methinks newbies looking into backpacking as a new hobby will probably click away fast and look for something else -- after reading these threads! Eeewwwwww! :)

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Body Hair on 02/07/2008 17:50:17 MST Print View

As embarassing as it may be, I shave my armpits...not with a razor, but with an electric shaver to get it down to about 1/8" in length. I find it reduces my underarm sweat output a MASSIVE amount. As stated earlier, I don't use deodarant on the trail, but for regular use I only require a dab for the day...I'm wierd.

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Body Hair on 02/07/2008 17:53:52 MST Print View

Stop lying Steven, you shave your arm pits to lower your skin out weight. ;-)

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Body Hair on 02/07/2008 18:51:52 MST Print View

lol @ Frank's response.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Body Hair on 02/07/2008 18:55:22 MST Print View

LOL!!! You know me well. :)

You had another good one in the "base weight" thread.

Just so we're not off topic...;) , I'll restate that the reduction in sweat after performing the armpit shaving is impressive. Suffer from sweaty pits at the office? Not me! :)

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Arm & Hammer odorless works wonders on 02/08/2008 01:03:34 MST Print View

It seems there are three issues here:

1) The odor-reducing properties of deodorant
2) The sweat-reducing properties of antiperspirant
3) The bear/bee-attracting odors of scented deodorant/anti-perspirant

Myself, I could care less if I stink in the back woods. But I find excessive sweating inhibits my performance. I've tried backpacking with no anti-perspirant. Problem is I end up sweating so badly from my arms that I soak my smartwool baselayer. I particularly don't like it when beads of cold sweat drip from my armpits into my torso area and shirt; very uncomfortable if there's a breeze or things cool down.

So I apply Arm & Hammer's unscented 36-hour anti-perspirant just before the hike, but do not take it with me. I find it usually reduces my armpit sweat for a good 2 to 3 days, which is the length of most of my trips these days.

My brother stopped eating onions and garlic completely (not even as a soup base), and he is able to get by with no deodorant and not smell. But I don't know too many people willing to forego such food staples! He believes we were designed to sweat as part of our natural temperature regulation mechanisms. And anti-perspirant thows this natural proccess off. He's absolutely right, yet on this matter I still say viva la artificial chemicals and modern technology!! =)

Edited by jcarter1 on 02/08/2008 01:12:16 MST.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Arm & Hammer odorless works wonders on 02/08/2008 07:30:48 MST Print View

"My brother stopped eating onions and garlic completely (not even as a soup base), and he is able to get by with no deodorant and not smell. But I don't know too many people willing to forego such food staples! He believes we were designed to sweat as part of our natural temperature regulation mechanisms. And anti-perspirant thows this natural proccess off."

Hmm... I agree with you brother's philosophy but can't bring myself to agree with his methods.

However, if you're sweating so badly that some crystal stick (i believe it's been mentioned) and merino base layer can't cover it... I wonder if you're not wearing too thick of a base layer and causing your core to heat up more than it should.

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: crystal stick on 02/08/2008 10:39:06 MST Print View

I sweat just as bad in a thin cotton T-shirt as I do in my Merino base layer. I tried a crystal stick, and it didn't do the trick for me. But those are both good suggestions.

One of the reasons I moved to the Northwest from Southern California is I sweat a lot less on hikes up here!! (Summer temps in the 80s in the valleys, always a nice cool breeze in the mountains).