Camping – a beloved summer activity – is such an awesome idea. It’s a perfect opportunity to be one with nature, get your most needed digital detox, take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life, and spend a wonderful time with your friends or family while enjoying the campfire – roasting some marshmallows and hotdogs. Yum!
But camping can be a dirty business too. And it’s easy to forget about proper hygiene when you have such a limited source of clean water, you’re a kilometer away from the public restroom, and you’re surrounded by dirt, mud, soil, and dust. Spell ‘inconvenience’.
Staying clean while you’re out there in the wild is very important as you are most likely exposed to potential health hazards, such as germs and bacteria. Poor sanitation can also increase your risk of health disorders, from body odor to fungal infection and a whole lot more. Your risk is even higher during the summer season when bacteria and other harmful microorganisms are at their peak!
The good news is you don’t have to cancel your most beloved summer activity. You can stay clean, safe and fresh throughout your camping with the following tips:
Bring Extra Water
Probably the most important item in your ‘to-bring’ list. If you’re lucky to have your tent stationed near the source of clean water, better. But you don’t want to take chances of course. So, make sure to bring plenty of drinking water. Plus, bring some more in case you need to wash at least your underwear and socks.
Don’t Skip Bath Time
Showering can be a great struggle when you’re camping but it’s a very important hygiene practice that you shouldn’t skip. If there’s a clean stream or lake nearby, take a bath in nature. Bathing every day is a surefire way to keep your body clean from dirt and excess oil that could lead to skin rash, pimples, and other related diseases and infections. When showering, you must be at least 200 feet away from your campsite and from any water source. Use biodegradable soaps with low phosphate and sodium levels to keep things eco-friendly.
Pack Plenty of Sanitizing Wipes
Many times, you have very limited access to clean water or none at all. A very convenient and effective way to get rid of the grime and the dirt is to use disinfectant wipes. It’s a great way to clean the face, underarms, hands, and other areas with no water usage. Sanitizing wipes are also a great way to clean various surfaces, from your shoes to your camera or cell phone that are likely exposed to so many germs and bacteria. Just don’t forget to dispose of any wipes properly.
Bring a Personal Hygiene Kit
You know what that includes – toothbrush, toothpaste, toiletries, soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, alcohol, etc. Keep your hand sanitizer handy. You need it before you prepare and eat your meals after you go to the toilet, or when around with someone who is ill.
Wear the Right Clothes
Camping in the summer can mean a lot of sweat especially if you enjoy physical outdoor activities like hiking and trekking. Avoid clothes that are going to make you smell after your hike, such as those made from polyester as the bacteria that causes body odor breeds well in this kind of material. Choose bright colored clothes (preferably white) made from cotton.
Cotton helps absorb sweat more efficiently and doesn’t make a good habitat for bacteria. Make sure to pack extra clothes so you can change as needed. You can also use clothes that wick moisture, which is specifically designed for outdoor activities like camping. They are a little expensive but are worth the investment. A travel towel is a nice investment too. Regular towels can stay wet for a long time and harbor bacteria whereas travel towels dry in less time.
Important Toilet Practices
Going to the toilet can be the most inconvenient part of camping. Good thing, there are portable toilets and tent toilets available these days. Be sure to relieve yourself away from campsites, water courses, and walking tracks. Dig a deep hole (at least 15-20 cm deep) and tap down soil afterward. Take a bottle of hand sanitizer with you whenever going to the toilet, as well as some wipes.
Manage Waste Properly
Bring plenty of garbage bags. If there are no bins, you have to take your rubbish with you. Disposing your trash properly, and separated from your personal items and food is a great way to protect your family from disease-causing microorganisms.
Camping in the summer can be a wonderful experience. It’s a perfect time to get some healthy dose of sunshine, interact with nature, do some physical activity, and de-stress. However, to have a safe and comfortable camping experience, observing proper sanitation and hygiene practices is a must. You definitely don’t want to go back home feeling sick. Doing your best to stay clean and fresh does not only ensure your comfort during your nature trip, it also the best way to ensure your health and safety!