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Cleanliness on the trail
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Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Sponge bath on 10/08/2009 02:57:02 MDT Print View

Ah yes, the sponge bath. Would you believe that Sue and I have actually done this (with warm water!) inside a double-skin tent in the snow? OK, the tent had the sun on it at the time.

However, you must get the terminology right:
An English sponge bath: from the waist upwards.
A French sponge bath: from the waist downwards.


Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Shaving and deodorant on 10/08/2009 03:45:45 MDT Print View

thrush wrote:

"A few days before the tour I shave myself on every place I want to keep odor-free (don't do this the first time right before a tour, better have it done a few times before!), and right before the tour I apply a long-time deodorant (a german one called "syNeo") wich suppresses sweat for a few days, you should have similiar stuff available where you live (this stuff is excellent and safe, don't worry, but a little bit expensive)."

Probably a lot of merit to shaving down a few days before. Scrubbing with loofah for a few days after the shave to prevent ingrown hairs, zits, folliculitis (irritation of the hair follicle).

In the anti-perspirant department, I have recently discovered a cream anti-perspirant by Kiehls (it could put in a small jar and dabbed out).

It is not terribly cheap. You can also buy it at Nordstrom and some other department stores in the cosmetic department. It is fragrance free and has a nice feel. I have really only used it on the under arms. I suspect it would be suitable for use elsewhere -- for example on the feet in someone who feels they could benefit from this. I believe there are several prescription anti-perspirants available in the US. Personally, have not felt the need to investigate.

I googled thrush's syNeo. Here is their website:

BTW, "thrush" -- what does this mean in the context of your username? The British often use this term to describe a yeast/candida infection.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Shaving and deodorant on 10/08/2009 07:56:19 MDT Print View

Thrushes are also birds. The wood thrush has the most awesome song I've heard.

Edited by jshann on 10/08/2009 07:56:56 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Of course! on 10/08/2009 09:12:00 MDT Print View

"Thrushes are also birds." Thanks for refreshing my memory. This being a cleanliness thread, had that other thrush on my mind.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Cleanliness on the trail on 10/08/2009 09:27:55 MDT Print View

>However, you must get the terminology right:
>An English sponge bath: from the waist upwards.
>A French sponge bath: from the waist downwards.

An there is a bit of trivia that will be forever etched in my mind.......

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
5 day fragrance free german deodorant on 10/08/2009 16:01:45 MDT Print View
Thanks for the scoop, thrush -- looks like amazing stuff. I am going to get some! Even if I have to order from Germany.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Do you use Treated water to wash body with? on 05/18/2011 09:22:28 MDT Print View

This thread was really helpful but I do have one question it didn't seem to address.

For those that wash your body/hair, do you bother treating that water?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Do you use Treated water to wash body with? on 05/18/2011 10:28:41 MDT Print View


I also treat lakes and streams when swimming.


Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Should have seen that coming on 05/18/2011 10:30:48 MDT Print View

Yeah, stupid question of the day.

Nate Lee
(nathan52) - MLife
A little counterpoint to the bathing nuts on 05/18/2011 11:04:41 MDT Print View

mind over matter. You know it's a constant losing fight. I seriously question if you've ever really been on a long trip away from civilization. See what happens is, you want to feel clean so you insist on taking bathing measures. This is a losing battle while you're out there. You guys on the AT/PCT etc keep running into towns every 4 days, and so you see the disparity between yourself and the others and so you feel you must bathe. G'head and get in the bush for 3 months and you'll stop caring after the first week. I've done several of these and once it was even mandated by NOLS "you shall not bathe" (india trip '02) in the creeks or otherwise. Does the bathing feel good? Yes, but only because your mind is tricking you. It's just water and you're just you.

Bathe if you must but don't spoil the water source with your soaps.

Imo, you're satiating a want not a need. /first aid aside.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Cleanliness on the trail on 05/18/2011 11:33:46 MDT Print View

Ok, I think it's a good point that those of us that have jobs and are not able to get out for lengthy trips may not have the right perspective on what is really necessary. In my case, it is just to take a rag and wash face and hair to get some of the body oils off.

Douglas Wolf
(munnin) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
needs/wants confusion on 05/18/2011 12:39:28 MDT Print View

> Does the bathing feel good? Yes, but only because your mind is tricking you. It's > just water and you're just you.

> Bathe if you must but don't spoil the water source with your soaps.

> Imo, you're satiating a want not a need. /first aid aside.

Do animals need to clean themselves? Or do they do it just to feel good? In your opinion, are animals that clean themselves just satiating a want?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Cleanliness on the trail on 05/18/2011 12:49:20 MDT Print View

I keep clean on the trail. Keep the dirt, salts, who knows what out of my sleeping bag. Feels good even if it is plain water. Rinse out my clothes, gear so the deer don't eat them for the salt.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Daily Dip on 05/18/2011 14:05:40 MDT Print View

I wash everyday, weather permitting, and it has to be some really nasty cold weather to keep me from jumping in. I have broken the ice on a couple of occasions to get in but conditions have to be right before I will do that. I have found that just stripping down and scrubbing with snow does a pretty good job as well, but I can understand where others would disagree. Another method that works for me is wash the top half and then put on my long silk top and wind shirt, and then wash the bottom half, if it's a bit too chilly for a full dunk.

I spend most of my time above tree line and in some lakes and ponds when I am diving in, I am turning towards shore before I even hit the water. I find that I feel SO much better when I clean up each night both physically and physiologically as well. It is amazing how warm the sun can feel when the water is in the 30's or 40's and the air temp is in the 40's or 50's with no wind. For me the big thing is the wind, and above tree line it is pretty pervasive.

I have had my share of sponge baths, either from the stove or wet wipes, but nothing beats a complete dunk. I don't use sunscreen or insect repellent so I feel a bit better about diving in, but if the body of water or stream flow isn't large enough, then I revert back to the sponge bath. I also will jump in throughout the day as opportunities present themselves. When you are dragging late in the afternoon, a quick dip can get another 3 miles down the trail.

When thru hiking I didn't get as good of a clean up, but found time to wash at least every other day on the PCT. On the CDT the weather was so cold and poor, I felt like I had been bathing all day and didn't want to risk hypothermia for a clean up. I would go for days when I don't think I even worked up a sweat as I couldn't get warm enough even when hiking.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
sea to summit pocket shower on 05/20/2011 23:55:02 MDT Print View

The sea to summit pocket shower may weigh 4 oz without case but it can multiuse as a sleeping bag and clothes dry bag a water carrier and a pillow it would be nice if it was air tight enough to be an air pillow but mine is not

joseph peterson
(sparky) - F

Locale: Southern California
staying clean on 05/22/2011 22:02:45 MDT Print View

If its more than an overnight I always bathe. Especially on big ice cold splash is amazing. I wish you all could enjoy it as I do. A full dunk in icy waters is like a reset button.

I always do laundry on lunch break, and usually dip then too. I never use soap, but handful of sand on the pits works