Going camping can be intimidating, and one of the main reasons is often the lack of a hot shower when you’re out in the wild. There are plenty of ways to stay cool while camping, though, even for those pitching their tents in the backcountry, far from any sanitation facilities. outdoorgearmall have compiled a list of tips here to help you stay clean, from using a portable camping shower to washing clothes in the wild. So you can enjoy your stay without having to scrub caked-on dirt, sunscreen and mosquito repellent spray on your clothes and skin once you get home!
Top tips for staying clean while camping
Whether you are camping in a drive-up campground or in the wilderness in the backcountry, you should always adhere to the Leave No Trace principles. Since this may seem difficult for those who are not experienced campers, here is a list of steps to follow to achieve it.
Use a camping shower
If there are toilets where you are camping, it is easy. However, if this is not the case or if you prefer not to use the facilities on site, here are some options to cleanse your body and hair. The first one ? Bring a camping shower. There are several types of portable camping showers, but most of them consist of a bag that can be filled with water, a hose and a shower head. These types of showers work by gravity, which means they have to be hung (usually from a tree), and the bag has to be placed over the shower head so that the water can drain away. flow easily. In addition, some more complex models, such as those offered by the Nemo brand, include a battery-powered pump that provides greater water pressure. Ideally, fill the shower bag in the morning and leave it out in the sun to warm up, so your shower will be piping hot when you return from your hike. Campers looking for a little more luxury can opt for a shower equipped with a propane heater. However, the environmental impact of fuel combustion is more significant.
There are also portable camping showers with useful extra features. Some are equipped with insulating bags that keep the water hot longer, a thermometer to check the water temperature or even reflective panels to speed up the heating process.
If carrying a portable shower is not an option for you, then consider sponge bathing. Fill a portable sink (like this one from Sea Summit) with water and wash using biodegradable soap. Be sure to dispose of waste water at least 200 feet (approximately 70 paces) from your site or any water source, on dry ground. Use a microfiber towel which, in addition to drying very quickly, is much less bulky than a traditional towel.
Wash with the right soap
Face, body, hair, clothes or dishes, there are multi-purpose liquid soaps (the Campsuds brand products are the best known) that can be used for just about anything that requires cleaning. However, if you prefer not to use the same soap for your hair and dishes, consider compact shampoo bottles or body wash sheets to avoid weighing down your backpack too much. Also, remember never to soap yourself directly in a stream or lake, even with biodegradable soap, as this can disrupt the ecosystem.
Going to the bathroom responsibly
Another common objection to the idea of camping? The delicate situation of the toilets. Compliance with the following rules will ensure an enjoyable camping experience for all, while protecting the environment on site.
To avoid contamination, make sure you pee at least 60 m (200 ft) from any water source, whether it’s a lake or stream. Use as little toilet paper as possible and pack it in a resealable plastic bag so you can flush it down the toilet when you get home. Some extreme campers even use a pee cloth or tree leaves (watch out for poison ivy!). If you need to make a number 2, dig a hole using a small camping shovel. You should be a good distance from your camp or the trail and fill the hole with dug dirt when you are done.
Some campers bring camping toilets with them. These are most often used on serviced campsites and must be emptied in the nearest sanitary facilities.
Wash one’s hands
Always have hand sanitizer with you and use it after going to the bathroom and before eating. If you’re camping in the wilderness, try to wash your hands thoroughly with biodegradable soap and water at least once a day, and use different cloths to dry your hands and your dishes.
Bring the right clothes (and underwear)
While those camping close to their car often have more room to bring a change of clothes, hikers must take a minimalist approach due to weight constraints. However, some items are necessary in order to stay clean. This includes sleeping clothes to stay warm and dry at night. You should also take at least two day outfits so you can alternate. If needed, you can wash one and let it dry without having to spend your day naked!
Underwear is also a key part of any basic hygiene kit. Make sure you have enough to change them often (at least every other day) and avoid cotton, as it is very slow to dry. Use synthetic fabrics or natural fibers like merino wool.
Get rid of your waste
Always bring trash bags with you when camping. You can use a collapsible camping trash can (see the Coghlan’s brand for some options), although it’s not an essential item. Always dispose of your waste in the containers provided for this purpose on your campsite or bring it back with you. If there are recycling facilities, sort your waste on site; if not, use bags to bring them home and sort them.
List of essentials to bring to stay clean when camping
Biodegradable, unscented shampoo, shower gel, dish soap and laundry detergent.
Toothpaste, toothbrush and dental floss
Resealable plastic bags
small camping shovel
Camping toilet (optional)
Wipes (use in moderation; be sure not to bury them and bring them back with you)
2-3 pairs of underwear and socks (wool or synthetic fabric)
2 day outfits
camping trash can
- Avoid any scented toiletries, including shampoo, deodorant, perfume, or hair gels. These products can disrupt the ecosystem and attract animals.
- Before diving into a lake or stream, try to rinse any sunscreen off your body.
- Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss, but remember to brush your teeth at least 200 feet from your campsite.