I have had a few customers at work ask me how I deal with hygiene when in the woods. I know some people will just go bathless for days or weeks at a time, but I prefer not to make woodland critters pass out with my foul stench (although that would be a great survival technique). Plus, I do not want other hikers to be able to smell me coming, since that makes it harder for me to sneak up and steal their fresh s’mores.

On overnights, I will admit to usually not doing a whole lot about cleanliness. I will still brush my teeth and maybe wipe down at night and in the morning with a wet cloth, but not much more is needed unless you have some serious skin chemical imbalances. On longer trips, skin and hair cleanliness becomes more of an issue. I like to take the large unscented anti-bacterial wipes that you can find at Walmart and other department stores for my body, and Camp Suds or a similar soap for my hair (every 2-3 days). You can heat up the wipes over a fire for a few seconds for a more pleasant bathing experience, and can use warm water with the soap to avoid freezing showers with river water. A pack of the wipes will last at least a week, and the Camp Suds will last for several trips. Both weigh very little and personally add quite a bit to the overall pleasantness of my trips.

So, what do you do? Do you just reek for a week or do you put antiperspirant and cologne on thrice daily?

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