The reason why many people avoid camping is because they do not know how to take care of their personal hygiene: suches camping shower, need for toilet, and other equipment & needs for cleaning. In this guide, we will focus on how to over come this conscern and learn how to take a shower at camp, clean yourselves, and deal with toilet.
The last thing to think about when you’re in the middle of a long hike or camp is how you look (or smell). Maintaining hygiene is not only important for your appearance, but also for your health. Just because you are camping or hiking doesn’t mean you don’t want to stay clean. Leaving protected environment clean should be the most important thing and this includes your personal hygiene practices as well. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of hiking and camping hygiene you will need while you’re in the middle of your adventure. What to avoid, what options you have for showering, washing your hands, and cleaning your clothes etc.
Ourdoor Camping Shower
Of course, the most luxurious option is to stay in a camp with real shower facilities. However, this is not always possible, especially for those who want to camp solo. There are several options you can do to maintain good hygiene while away from the comfort of your home bathroom.
Regular bathing is important to remove sweat and dirt that naturally accumulates in a person’s body. Regular showering will also give you the opportunity to examine yourself for signs of injury, redness or wounds. Going to sleep after cleaning will keep your clothes and mat in better condition as oil, dirt and sweat won’t mess with your mat, sleeping bag or pillow. Trust me, your sleeping bag will thank you for not having to wash it often.
So the question is how to make a camping shower. Here in this post, we would recommend to get a camping shower bag and shower tent (camping shower kit). It is the best way to do. Or you can take a bath in lake or river, if you have some close to your camping site. Step by step, here is your how to:
Use a Portable Camping Shower: Best Camping Shower Bag
If you’re happy to carry extra weight, there is a portable camping shower option, as an example of this: Coleman Camping Shower. If you are going to be out there, and need to do outdoor camping shower, this is the best camping shower option you have. Beacuse you do not need to think how to heat water for camp shower. Beacuse the Coleman Camping Shower Bag is a solar shower bag. You just need to leave it under the sun. Based on the manufacturer’s statement, even in cold day, it can absorb the energy of the sun and heat the water in it. Another good thing is, it can hold up to 5 gallons of water which is pretty good for multiple showers.
These are basically plastic bags with a shower head mounted on it that can be adjusted by the twisting mechanism. All you need to do is fill it with water, heat the shower bag by sun light, and then enjoy the shower. It will take about 8 minutes. You can dry with a quick-drying microfiber towel after your shower.
This option probably won’t be suitable for all seasons and geographies, but you might appreciate bathing with this portable shower, especially on a hot and sweaty trip.
How to Shower When Camping
You must be at least 60 meters away from any water source in the area when cleaning, even if you are using just a swab and water for cleaning.
Heat some water and pour it into a plastic container (if you do not have portable camping shower), add biodegradable body wash shampoo or gel, grab a washcloth and start. It is helpful to have a water bottle so you can rinse hard-to-reach areas.
When you’re done, make sure to dispose of the waste water 60 meters away from any water source.
Some people seek privacy, and for them there is a life saver: The Camping Shower Tent. Here is the best seller of all time: WolfWise Pop-up Shower Tent. It is the best camping shower tent for best bang for the buck.
Why we pick it as the best camping shower tent:
- UV Protection UV protection fabric making this the perfect shelter for sunny days.
- Storage Bag With 1 side storage bag to store your phone, tablet, or other handy items.
- Hang Rope Interior elastic hang rope for towels, or holding clothes while taking a shower.
- Best Seller
Take a Bathe in a Lake or River – Hiking and Camping Shower
If you will be bathing directly in a lake or river, do not use any soap, even if it is biodegradable. Also, if you used sunscreen and insect repellent, those can get mixed up in the water. So, it makes more sense to get some water for bathing, taking a camp shower or sponge bath. Remember that other people may be using the river to get drinking water, so think about these before you jump into the river or lake.
Choose Biodegradable Soap for Camping
We all know that phosphates are wicked for the environment, but do you know why? Phosphates increase algae growth, which reduces oxygen in the water and makes it difficult for fish and other aquatic life to survive. So if you decide to choose a biodegradable soap to use for go camping or hiking (not in a lake or river, of course), choose a phosphate-free soap. So, what is the best soap for camping? We recommend Direct 2 Boater’s Biodegradable Camp Soap.
It is safe soap for camping close to Lake & Salt Water.
miscellaneous Items to Consider for Outdoor Camping Shower & Cleaning
Indeed, brushing your teeth is a very simple activity; there are a few things to consider when in nature.
- Try using a smaller amount of biodegradable toothpaste than you normally would.
- Rinse your mouth with a small amount of water
- Spray over a larger area so your waste is not concentrated in one spot and the impact on the environment is minimized.
- Or alternatively, you can spit the debris into a hole you will dig.
Camping Hand wash
Frequent hand washing will reduce your chances of getting sick. At least, make sure you wash your hands after relieve yourself and before touching any food. If you are purifying water, make sure you wash your hands before touching any filter or bottle.
Hand sanitizer will be your best friend as you won’t always have access to soap or water to wash your hands. Micro-organisms can spread quickly when you are in a group of people, so it’s important to sterilize your hands every time you go to the toilet or prepare food.
How to Camp without Toilet?
This is one of the most common camp hygiene questions I’ve ever heard. We agree that maintaining camp hygiene is extremely important. Not only for yourself and your group, but also for people who will come later. Ideally, while relieving yourself, you should stay at least 50 – 60 meters away from the water source to avoid contamination.
Stool causes the spreading of diseases, and you don’t want to get sick by drinking contaminated water, and you do not want to cause other people to get sick as well. If you are not in a camping site with a toilet and you do not have a portable camping toilet, bury your feces under the ground and do not leave toilet paper in the nature.
Or you can consider a portable camping toilet. We work hard to find the best camping toilet for you, since this is a real problem for some. Our pick is Camco Portable Travel Toilet which is designed for camping. Here is the thing, it is not suitable for backpacking. Therefore, you will need a vehicle to carry.
It measures 15.5 inch H x 14 inch W x 16 inch; and total seat width is 13 inches. The Seat dimensions (inside) are: 8.5 inch W x 9 inch D.
- 5.3 gallon holding tank is detachable; 2.5 gallon flush tank
- Sealing slide valve locks in odors and protects against leakage
- Side latches secure the tank to the toilet
- Bellow type flush and sturdy construction
Best Body Wipes for Camping: USe Wet Wipes
Body wipes for camping are great, if you cannot find or use water, or if you are too tired to try something else after a long day.
If you want to remove all the salt, sweat and oil from your body, you can use unscented isotonic baby wipes as well. Do not throw or bury the wet wipes you have used in the nature.
So, if you are looking for body wipes for camping, make sure your selection is biodegradable, hypoallergenic and PH balanced. We do not recommend picking a cheap product that could harm your tissue or the environment. Here is our selection Alcala Deodorizing Body Wipes, which has a great price vs performance. It is 100% pure bamboo from viscose offering maximum moisture retention and made in USA!
Washing Your Clothes
Camping laundry are not much of concern for weekend campers. For a little trip, you will not be able to carry a wardrobe with you. You’ll probably have a couple of socks, underwear, and a spare set of clothing to turn around. However, this is a troublesome if you are on a long, multi-week camping or hiking trips.
Obviously for long camps, your best option is to find a campsite with dedicated laundry facilities. However, this ends up with a number of limited campsites.
Three other ways to do laundry while camping (without washing facilities):
- By hand
- Fill a plastic bowl or bucket with water (warm water heated by a campfire is best).
- Add some detergent then add your clothes.
- Rub it by hands; rinse the clothes with clean water then leave to dry.
- Garbage Bag Method
- For the garbage bag method, place your clothes in a clean garbage bag with some soap and water
- Turn the bag (similar to a washing machine’s spin cycle), then rinse with clean water and leave to dry.
- Portable Laundry System
- If you have a sedentary camp, the portable laundry system is undoubtedly the most effective way to do laundry while camping.
- Scrubba Portable Laundry System Wash Bag is a lightweight, portable option.
You can also use your dry bag or a portable sink to wash your clothes. When finished, make sure to drain the dirty water at the correct distance from the water sources.
Feminine Hygiene – Dealing with Menstrual Period While Hiking
For all the women reading this you have a few options here. The most efficient and environmental choice is vaginal cups. Remember that your hands must be very clean when using and emptying.
Second, you can use standard disposable feminine hygiene products, just make sure you have a way to take them back with you – it is usually best to have sealed bags for this.
Keeping Your Feet Clean and Dry
Make sure your feet are dry and clean before changing your socks. This helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi.
It’s also a good idea to dry your boots at night. If you leave your leather shoes and boots long in the sun, they will shrink.
Maintaining good personal hygiene without leaving a trace behind is very important for your health and the environment.
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Personal Cleaning Equipment You Should Put in Your Bag
- Hygiene Kit – Bring a basic hygiene kit including your toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap / shampoo and feminine hygiene products.
- Wipes & Disinfectant – Wet wipes and hand sanitizer should be included in your camping hygiene kit to clean your hands at the end of the day and after you do your job in the forest.
- Toiletries – If your campsite does not have a bathroom and toilet, have biodegradable toilet paper, plastic bags, and a shovel.
- Sunscreen and Lip Balm – Never go camping or hiking, even on a winter trip, without sunscreen and lip balm to protect your skin and lips from the sun and cold.
- Feminine Hygiene Products – You should have menstrual cups, sanitary pads, or tampons in your backpack.
- Towels and Laundry – Quick-drying microfiber towels make showering much easier. If you plan to do laundry at the campsite, keep some clothesline as well.
- Daily Rinse – You can quickly get clean with a small quick-drying, preferably microfiber towel or baby wipes.
- Hand Sanitizer – Not only helps to remove dirt, but also is a great alternative to soap and hot water.
- Night Outfits – Particular outfits to wear at night after a long day out are a blessing.
- Spare Socks and Underwear – Remember to bring at least one or two spare socks, underwear and spare t-shirts if you go camping without your car.
You can checkout our Bushcraft 101 or Bushcraft Onset Guidance to learn more about survival.