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No, You Won’t Be Able To Stay Pristine Clean, But That’s OK!


As you know, maintaining basic hygiene on the trail when hiking and camping can be quite a challenge, but you can keep clean enough to stay safe and reasonably comfortable.


Hiking Is Not Done On The Hollywood Red Carpet – There’s Dirt Under Your Boots

Hygiene On The Trail


So much of what we do in life requires the use of our hands. Most of what we touch on a daily basis are items that are covered in germs and bacteria.

The same can be said for what we touch while on the trail.

It is impossible to stay as clean as you are when you finish taking a shower at home. Please don’t let that deter you from pursuing such a rewarding hobby.

Yes, you are going sweat when it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit & the sun is beating down on you, while you are walking, climbing, scrambling, etc.


Cleansing Your Hands



As long as you clean your hands before eating and before going to sleep, you should be fine.

Of course, we understand that we don’t have all the amenities of home, while hiking and camping. We also realize water is not always readily available.

To maintain a reasonable level of person hygiene, make sure you pack a bottle of an “alcohol-based” hand sanitizer.

This type of hand sanitizer gel contains just enough ethyl alcohol to kill any germs at the moment of contact.

Apply a few drops onto your hands, vigorously rubbing them together for 20-30 seconds. The alcohol will evaporate.


Cleansing Your Body

Hiking Shower

While hand sanitizer is a good product to use to disinfect your hands, it will sting terribly, if used to clean the rest of your body.

Ideally, you should have a goal of cleaning your whole body once per day, if possible.

If there’s a body of water that appears to be safe and fairly clean in the area and you have a bar of biodegradable soap with you, use that.

If there is a hostel or public restroom, at least do some “spot cleaning” of the areas on your body that sweat.

If you are on the trail with someone else or meet other hikers along the way, you may want to share some snacks like trail mix, for example.

In order to keep germs from spreading, pour some of their trail mix into your open hand or pour your trail mix into the other person’s hand.

In other words, never reach into anyone else’s bag or allow them to reach their hand into your bag.


Final Thoughts


Bring hand sanitizer for when you don’t have water nearby.

Carry a bar of biodegradable soap for when you do have a water source in the area.

Have fun out there, but just be careful about your personal hygiene.




To read another interesting article from The Joy of Hiking, please click on the link below.

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!