Roughing it in the great outdoors can be an amazing experience. But after a few days without modern plumbing, you may start to feel pretty grimy. While a proper shower may be out of the question, you don’t have to go totally without bathing on your camping trip. With a little creativity and the right supplies, you can stay clean and refreshed out in nature.
The key is improvising with what you have on hand. Baby wipes and biowipes are camping bathing essentials for a reason. They conveniently pack up small and can wipe away sweat and dirt from your body. If you camp near a lake or stream, take advantage of mother nature’s facilities. Rinsing off in the fresh water will lift away excess oils and soil from your skin.
All it takes is a quick dip! You can also wet a washcloth and use a dab of biodegradable soap to give yourself a makeshift wipe down. Rinse and repeat until you feel refreshed. Portable camping showers are another excellent option for staying clean on long trips. The moral of the story? With some clever tricks, you can wash your body while camping off the grid. Don’t let dirty grime spoil your outdoor adventure!
Keeping Clean in Nature is Possible
Many first-time campers worry about how to stay clean without a shower. But with clever tricks and techniques, you can wash your body while camping off the grid. Getting sweat, dirt and oil off your skin will make you feel refreshed and more comfortable in your tent or sleeping bag at night. With a little effort, you can improvise a wash without harming the environment.
Supplies to Pack for Camping Hygiene
The key to washing up at a campsite is packing the right gear and supplies:
- Baby wipes or biowipes – These disposable cloths allow you to wipe away sweat, dirt and oil without extra water. They cleanse well and are very portable.
- Microfiber towels – Pack small, super absorbent microfiber towels for drying off. They are quicker to dry than regular towels.
- Biodegradable soap – Choose a natural, eco-friendly soap that won’t harm plants and animals. Use sparingly.
- Washcloth – A good old fashioned washcloth helps scrub away grime when wet. Bring one per person.
- Portable shower – Lightweight popup showers let you rinse off with privacy. The water warms in the sun.
- Water jug – Bring plenty of water from home so you don’t have to waste purified drinking water on washing up.
Bathing Methods for Campers
With your supplies packed, here are some techniques for washing your body while camping:
1. Baby Wipe Baths
If there is no lake or stream nearby, baby wipes are your new best friend. Wiping down with these disposable cloths will lift away layers of sweat, dirt and oil.
- Focus on key areas first: armpits, feet, face, hands and privates. Also wipe down your torso.
- Use a fresh baby wipe for each body part to avoid spreading dirt around.
- Bring enough wipes for your whole trip. Estimate 3-5 per day per person.
- Dispose of used wipes responsibly in a trash bag. Never litter them.
2. Natural Baths in Lakes or Streams
If camping near a natural water source, take advantage with a refreshing wilderness bath!
- Rinse off using fresh lake or stream water to remove sweat and lift dirt from your skin.
- Avoid using soap which can pollute the water. The moving water will naturally help cleanse.
- Swimwear is ideal, but you can also bathe in shorts and a shirt for privacy.
- Rinse thoroughly afterward with clean water to avoid lingering organisms on your skin.
3. Sponge Baths
Recreate a sponge bath with a little water and biodegradable soap.
- Wet your washcloth in your water jug (heated by the sun if possible). Add a tiny bit of soap.
- Wipe gently over dirty skin, focusing on sweaty areas first. Rinse the cloth as needed.
- Dip your cloth in clean water and wipe again to rinse away any traces of soap.
- Pat dry with your microfiber towel. Apply sunscreen or moisturizer if needed.
4. Portable Camping Showers
Investing in a portable shower is worth it for longer camping trips. These on-demand showers make washing easy.
- Set up your collapsible shower enclosure on a level spot near your site.
- Hang the water reservoir and leave in the sun so the water gets warmer.
- The attached shower head offers privacy while you rinse off inside.
- Solar heated water feels great and you save your drinking water supply.
- Time your shower during warmer mid-day temps when the water is hotter.
Respecting Nature While Bathing Outdoors
However you choose to bathe, be sure to practice low-impact camping hygiene:
- Use biodegradable, organic soaps – Avoid products with harsh chemicals that can harm plants and animals when washing in lakes or streams.
- Refill water jugs at home – Don’t deplete fresh drinking water reserves for washing up. Import your water supply.
- Wash well away from camp – Soap and waste water can contaminate a site. Wash at least 200 feet from any campground or water source.
- Dispose of waste properly – Pack out any used wipes, tissues and feminine products. Never bury waste or litter.
With some cleverness and the right supplies, you can wash your body while enjoying off-the-grid camping. A little effort goes a long way towards keeping you feeling fresh, clean and rejuvenated out in nature!