How do you stay clean?
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Yak Attack
(Yak) - M

Locale: IN, USA
How do you stay clean? on 06/29/2014 22:09:09 MDT Print View

On longer trips?

I take some quite strong immune-suppressants for one of my medical conditions, so cleanliness is pretty important. The alternative for me is skin infections.

I normally carry a ziptop back with some baby wipes in it, and I'll try to wipe down my stinky spots when I change into my night clothes. This works for weekenders.

How do you keep your body clean (enough) on longer trips? What about your hair?

Adam White
(awhite4777) - MLife

Locale: On the switchbacks
Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/29/2014 22:20:38 MDT Print View

Jump in a lake or stream every other day or so. Submerge head.

That's clean enough for me for.

If I were through-hiking one of the greats, I'd shower in town every few weeks, and do laundry.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/29/2014 22:53:17 MDT Print View

sad times when "clean" is a subjective term :)

if you have access to lakes and creeks then that's great. But in the drought south west, I have to haul my entire water for 2-3 days.

here are some options, from other BPL threads:
take a squeeze bottle, and make shift a bidet for jet pressure wash.

large zip lock bag full of water with a 3 needle pin holes for a slow drip shower.

If fire is allowed, and no objections to burning nature, you can experiment with the Les Stroud / Survivorman method of White Smoke Bath. start a small fire, than put a juniper bush on it, and kill the fire. To create white smoke. Supposedly that smoke will kill the bacteria. You're supposed to let the white smoke get inside your clothes etc. You may also attract the fire department rescue helicopter...

I wear long sleeves pants and long sleeves breathable shirt and wide brim hat even in the hot summer. so I dont have to use sunblock or insect repellent. my clothes get dirty, but my skin stay fairly clean.

Other question about hair.
There was an entire thread dedicated to our "hair management" that we would never discuss with our closest friends... basically, shave it off... there too, arm pits, shave head, shave beard, crotch, less area to stink up, less area to wash.

but dont shave the night before a trip, you will be itchy itchy itchy, if this is your first time landscaping the gardens. do it a week before, and allow it time to adjust... this may not be for you. I know waxing is not for me.

Good luck

Edited by RogerDodger on 07/01/2014 00:09:29 MDT.

Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear1) - F

Locale: BPL purgatory
Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/29/2014 22:55:21 MDT Print View

I take cues from my cats and the original Cat Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer, oh baby), and give myself a tongue bath. It works for them, why not for me? Granted, the logistics of licking me nether regions is both difficult in practice and.... conceptually doesn't quite sit right with me either.

More seriously, i rarely get to get out for longer trips, but if i were, i would get a flax linen or hemp fabric, small face cloth. (I use a linen towel and bathrobe in regular everyday life, and these stay pretty "fresh" for a long time.). As an alternative, a polygiene treated small poly towel/face cloth would work well too, but can build up oils in same, eventually leading to some stink via non microbial causes.

That with a little good soap, some water, will go a long way. For extra freshness and antimicrobial properties, one could throw in a little (a pinch of) borax powder (dissolved in plenty of water!).

The last semi long trip i did, i *****trimmed***** my lower fro down (don't shave it completely, please just don't), as well as shaved my head shortly prior to said trip.

Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear1) - F

Locale: BPL purgatory
Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/29/2014 23:24:39 MDT Print View

Piggy backing off of Roger's post a bit, besides smoke, i would imagine that fresh'ish ash from a fire can be used as a good antimicrobial/deodorizer (after all, one can make a kind of lye with just wood ash and water), as well as a good UV protector/sun screen. However, being high ph on average (especially from hard woods?), you wouldn't want to use it too much or too often--could overly irritate one's skin.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/29/2014 23:30:13 MDT Print View

I've washed my hands with ash and water many times.

If it's too cold to swim, try wetting down a cotton bandanna and wiping yourself off. And it's easy to pour water over your head to wash your hair. You could warm the water up with a stove or on the fire if it's cold enough for that to be a problem.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/29/2014 23:37:11 MDT Print View

+1 to jumping in lakes, and/or Roger's squirt bottle plus a bandana as a washcloth with a drop of biodegradable soap (100 ft away from the lakes or streams) for face, pits. If on a longer trip I'll use the squirt bottle, maybe a cooking pot filled with water too, to wash my hair (again, away from any water sources) every 4 days or so, otherwise I don't worry about it. The "short hairs" etc. get washed daily with the squirt bottle/soap.

I don't bother with baby wipes; I feel like I'm probably just moving the dirt around with those more than getting rid of it. (edit: I also prefer not to use "disposables" on backpacking trips, or for that matter at home)

Edited by dkramalc on 06/30/2014 00:05:57 MDT.

Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear1) - F

Locale: BPL purgatory
Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 00:00:56 MDT Print View

"I don't bother with baby wipes; I feel like I'm probably just moving the dirt around with those more than getting rid of it."

Yes and no depending, i think. There is a "technique" with baby wipes wherein you constantly fold over the prior used part of the wipe, while using on the same area of body. Course, one wipe will only go so far with this, which is why i prefer a wash cloth that you can reuse, rinse out well, etc. And linen (or hemp) is truly great for this purpose. It "can" get funky, but takes a lot for it to do so.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 00:14:06 MDT Print View

Justin, do you know where one could find a linen bandanna? Sounds more useful for that purpose.

Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear1) - F

Locale: BPL purgatory
Re: Re: Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 00:36:54 MDT Print View

No idea Justin--haven't searched for that--but i may search briefly in the near future. Would be pretty easy to make though, if one can sew or get someone to sew for them.

Edited by ArcturusBear1 on 06/30/2014 00:37:42 MDT.

Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear1) - F

Locale: BPL purgatory
Udpate on 06/30/2014 00:58:18 MDT Print View

Did some quick searching.

Doesn't have to be linen. Hemp and linen are very similar in many ways. Here is a pre made hemp bandanna, though a bit pricey.

http://www.rawganique.com/graphics/HABA1.htm

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 01:12:43 MDT Print View

> But in the drought south west, I have to haul my entire water for 2-3 days.

The desert Arabs used to 'wash' with sand - fine sand I guess. Only works when the sand is really dry, but maybe those are exactly the conditions in the SW?

Cheers

Mike Gunderloy
(ffmike) - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 04:14:30 MDT Print View

They're not marketed as bandanas, but there are plenty of linen napkins that I imagine would fit the need.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 07:24:57 MDT Print View

I can't seem to find it, but I recently read an article about applying 'good' bacteria to your body in lieu of showering. Test subjects went for a month or more without showering. Went to office job and all their normal life. As I recall they did not get complaints about stinking. Stuff is being made by some start-up company.

somebody do a search, for some reason my google connection is down... strange

Billy

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 07:29:26 MDT Print View

If you need to stay really clean bring along a Sea to Summit Pocket Shower, which can double as water tote/storage in camp. With a wood burning stove you can have unlimited hot water. A little Dr. Bronner's soap goes a long way. If you do this, make sure you shower in an area where the soap won't get washed back into any water supplies if it rains, etc.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 07:39:22 MDT Print View

Check out this article... perhaps some day we won't need soap to feel and smell fresh on a backpack trip...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/magazine/my-no-soap-no-shampoo-bacteria-rich-hygiene-experiment.html

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 10:08:55 MDT Print View

Duplicated Thread Here.

Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear1) - F

Locale: BPL purgatory
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 10:17:07 MDT Print View

Good find Mike. Might be a little on the thicker side than typical bandanna type material though?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 10:53:52 MDT Print View

Some sort of cloth, a little Dr. Bronners, a little water and scrub away: just a basic sponge bath. If you want a "sink," cut the bottom off a milk jug. The weight is slight and you can stash stuff in it, so it takes no real room in a pack. The half gallon size makes a good storage solution for a sooty cook pot.

Having plenty of water is rarely a problem for my hikes, indeed too much water is more the issue. I do keep the gray water well away from water sources.

+1 on a dunk in a lake, minus any soap. A soak in a mountain lake is great on hot dirty feet. The fish might feel different about it :)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: How do you stay clean? on 06/30/2014 16:07:09 MDT Print View

> +1 on a dunk in a lake, minus any soap. A soak in a mountain lake is great on hot
> dirty feet. The fish might feel different about it :)

Mountain lakes are often (very) short on nutrients. I have had tiny fish clustering around my feet eagerly looking for any discarded cells. Yes, I really do mean 'tiny' fish, not piranhas!

Cheers