How Do You Stay Clean During Long-Term Camping or Backpacking?


When it comes to a long-term camping or backpacking trip in the backcountry, it can be difficult to maintain a feeling of cleanliness. When you’re spending long days and nights outside sweating in the dirt, without a shower, you can feel a little gross. If you’re looking to clean up a little when you’re far away from home, here are some things to bring along with you to make you feel more comfortable.

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What to Pack

Camping and hiking are dirty activities. There will be a number of times when you find yourself with mud on your legs and sweat on your brow. Make sure you have hand sanitizer easily accessible at all times in case you need to pee in a bush or reach for a snack out on the trail. 

It’s important to pack lightly when you’re on a backpacking trip, and you certainly don’t want to be carrying heavy, unnecessary gear with you. The essentials include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. Good dental hygiene will help you feel clean, even when you’re out in the wild. 

Image by Alistair Berg

If you’re looking for a more substantial cleaning during your backpacking or backcountry camping, bring a soap that’s good for your skin and the environment. You’ll also want to have something that can be used as a washcloth. (If you don’t have a washcloth with you, you can always use a bandana.) Of course, if you don’t go for a full wash down with soap and water, you can use wipes to get rid of excess sweat at the end of the day.

Bandanas can also be used as toilet paper if you have multiple that you can store and clean later when you get back to camp. If not, keep toilet paper in a bag for when you need to use the bathroom. Ladies, you’ll probably want to pack period underwear and a menstrual cup as well, if your cycle is coming up. 

Bring a laundry bag to put your dirty clothes in to keep them separate from the clean clothes you have in your pack, as well as garbage bags to keep any trash in, such as used floss and toilet paper. 

While you want to pack lightly for a backpacking or long-term camping trip, it’s also important to make sure that you have everything you need. Getting dirty is part of the fun, but getting clean is going to keep you comfortable.

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