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Hygiene When Camping | If you’ve just stepped into the world of camping and hiking, then there’s a lot you need to learn, especially about maintaining cleanliness. Sometimes, it’s possible not to pay much heed to the rules and get carried away while being involved in either activity. However, as grown-ups, the responsibility to keep ourselves and every place we visit safe and clean falls on our shoulders. Hence, here are some things to pay attention to.
Being outdoors, especially in an environment that lets you enjoy the perks of nature to the fullest, can sometimes make us way too casual about our waste. However, we must be mindful of the impact it can have on the environment. Therefore, as a hiker and a responsible human being, you must follow the given rules and leave campgrounds and trails in the same condition as you found them.
When you’re hiking or camping, you must also be respectful of other people’s presence and care about their comfort as much as you care about your own. Therefore, by following the philosophy of leaving no trace behind, you’re not only doing a service to yourself but also nature and future visitors.
Keeping the surroundings clean while camping and hiking isn’t as easy as it sounds. Unlike big cities and developed towns, hiking trails don’t have enough facilities to cater to waste.
Therefore, you must have sufficient knowledge about using the right personal care products out in the wilderness. For instance, one of the most common mistakes people make is to spit on the ground after brushing their teeth, and the best way to avoid it is to carry a rubbish bag until you find a spot to dispose of it off.
If you have to urinate, look for a spot that’s at least sixty meters away from any river, ocean, or water source. If nature’s call is more complicated than that, carry enough waste bags to get you through the journey.
Soaps and Toiletries
We often take our regular toiletries and soaps along on journeys of this nature, but soaps often contain phosphates that may end up contaminating the waterways. This is why you should always carry phosphate-free and biodegradable products with you.
Never bring a full-size product along, whether you wish to carry soaps and shampoos or creams and other essentials. It can cause issues managing space and is also a hassle to carry along. However, when it comes to brushing your teeth, don’t forget to bring a rubbish bag along. After all, the goal is to avoid any waste caused by spitting.
Unless you’re planning to go for a day or two only, having all the laundry essentials figured out is a must when backpacking for a few days of camping and hiking. Hence, you will require some water, a dry bag, and your laundry detergent.
You can either wash your clothes in a sink if it’s available or a bag that you can put out to dry later. However, avoid washing the clothes in lakes or streams because there are many synthetic materials used in soaps and detergents, making them hazardous to water organisms.
If you’re only going for a day or two, keeping your sleeping bag maintained may not be a huge concern. However, if you plan to stay for long, you will have to make an effort to keep the thermal performance intact. Moreover, when it comes to sharing sleeping bags, the stink can sometimes become unbearable, which is why you should get a machine washable sleeping liner.
Some people often make the mistake of washing their dishes in the same station where they wash their hands. This could cause cross-contamination. Therefore, make sure to keep them both separate.
Always pay attention to items that are hard to break down in the soil. Some of these include plastic, cigarette butts, and even paper trash. Most of these take years to break down, meaning they will likely stay there and cause pollution for future visitors, so you should avoid bringing them along. Make sure to take a leakproof dry bag with you as it will prevent leakage of any waste in your backpack. Remember, contamination of any sort is not only harmful to people but also attracts wild animals.
Whether you’re packing for camping or hiking, or both, you must ensure that your backpack is as space-efficient and light as possible. Avoid bringing full-size shampoo bottles or other toiletries that may not necessarily be required. Look for pocket-sized alternatives instead.
This one is a little hard to avoid, but deodorants and scents are best if left at home. This is because you’re embarking on a journey among all sorts of wild animals, and you don’t want to risk attracting them to your site.
By harmful soaps, we mean products that contain phosphates or ingredients hard to break down. Such products can have a disastrous impact on life inside different water sources. Moreover, even if you try staying away from waterways, the product will still end up going inside the water, which is why environmentally friendly products should always be on top of your list of items to bring along.
In the end, whether it’s your first or fiftieth time on a hike, every trip teaches you something about what to bring and what not to bring. The most responsible way of enjoying nature is by ensuring that those who come after you have the same experience.