Running water is not always available, and we do not want to harm the environment with harsh chemicals (from soap, shampoo, fragrances etc). Therefore, we must get a bit creative! One day, your leaders will go through specific hygienic practices and dishware/utensil cleaning techniques geared toward your trip. Here is a short guide to help you be conscious on the front end of your experience.
Hand sanitizer and wet wipes are popular methods for cleansing the hands, face and body (as long as the wipes don’t end up on the ground), but we try to avoid normal soap. Biodegradable soap is a better option and can be found in camping stores, but also must be used 200 feet away from bodies of water. A much more fun option in the backcountry is using sand and small pebbles as exfoliating agents and cleanser! Just rub some sand over your skin to clean it of bacteria and dirt, instantly. Many trips have access to lakes and rivers, so hop in to give yourself a refreshing natural bath! Before you do so, make sure there are signs indicating the safety and allowance of swimming. During the night or any down time, ask your leaders for rope to tie up a makeshift clothing line to air out/dry out your clothes. Campers often do not change their clothes everyday; bring a spare pair for when clothes get wet or excessively dirty. Alternatively, sometimes people bring a set of clothes to set aside for nighttime! Antiperspirant/deodorant is allowed on all trips as well, but participants should bring all unscented products to avoid attracting wildlife to the campsite.
Going to the bathroom and continuing hygiene follows the same principles as previously stated.Hand sanitizer is fair game in place of hand washing following the action. Most trips have access to toilets or outhouses, but going to the bathroom outdoors, a possibility on trips, will also be covered by your leaders on day one. For feminine hygiene, tampons and pads are obviously welcome, but without proper disposal containers, they must be carried out by the individual. A great way to do this discreetly is to cover a large zip-lock bag in fun colored duct tape! Keep in mind that wet wipes come in handy for bathroom hygiene as well.
Didn’t we learn to brush our teeth twice a day? Some may ask, “Buckwild leader, couldn’t some toothpastes harm the environment?” Excellent question, participant! We utilize a method of brushing teeth with minimal toothpaste and water, then we “spray” the contents of your mouth over a wide radius of land. We want to minimize the amount of toothpaste in one place on the ground.
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