Traveling & Camping: Personal Hygiene
You’ll often hear city folks or gay guys exclaim ” Geesh. I look like hell” – which is usually followed by, “but I am having such a good time this weekend”.
Yep, I hear ya sister. Who cares what you look like! As long as you are enjoying nature & breathing fresh air, that’s all that matters. Bonding with the Earth is something most of us all crave, at one level or another. We’re here to help make that experience better. Soul searching solo camp-out, group camping at a campground w/ reservations or just a weekend fishing in a remote wilderness, via backpack.
- bathroom breaks
- be bear aware
- body odor
- blisters – feet (see below)
- breath & teeth
- chapped lips/nose
- dry eyes & irritation
- dry skin & bug bites
- food storage
- outdoor hair-do
- sex outdoors
The vision of a typical “Mountain Man” has changed drastically in the last several decades. Lumbersexual, anyone? Pioneer homesteaders, Trappers, Hunters, Fishermen are rare, mostly found in mountain regions, like Sierra Nevada or Northern California. Chainsaws and all.
Grizzly Adams – big, rugged guy with long hair, un-shaven, dry skin & maybe even white cracked lips. Now-a-days it’s all about the comfort, convenience and healthy choices. The city-life and polished look will not be practical, nor last very long outside in the elements.
Media can glorify outdoor recreation, and feature extreme examples of super fit people, or once-in-a-lifetme adventures. It misleads the general public into a ‘Barbie style vision’ of what back country, wilderness & camping will be like.
Mainstream news about camping and hiking is often BAD news of river drownings, lost hikers, bad accidents and avalanches. Rarely will they focus on the positives of enjoying the outdoors. Remember, THEY want you indoors, glued to the tube and sucking up all that advertising!
UNLESS YOUR FAMILY CAMPED while growing up, most of us get “into the outdoors” with little to no education on the wild. The Wilderness: areas without electricity, spotty cell phone coverage, and no medical facilities. There is a lot to learn, if you want to actually enjoy yourself outdoors, be well fed, comfortable, get good sleep – and not get lost.
Orienteering (using a real compass) and topographic map reading are skills worth exploring. Campfires and cooking over the fire may interest you, if you plan to spend large amounts of time outdoors.
The topic of ‘outdoor hygiene’ rarely, if ever, comes up in camping conversations. This is what we’re here for. To answer all them embarrassing questions you never had the nerve to ask.
We’ve got the remedies for some physical discomforts many experience while enjoying life outdoors. In the last several years, with new products surfacing daily, there is no excuse not to be comfortable out in the wild. Much of this technique is simply being informed or packing well. Anyone can take advantage of enjoying the mother nature… comfortably & prepared.
Blisters on feet is usually due to friction, heat and moisture. Sweat makes the pore of your skin open up and expand. That along with hot temperatures, tight shoes or hiking boots and mileage, means you must stop and take more breaks.
Shoe/boot laces should be snug, but not too tight.
Take breaks and remove your shoes/boots – once per hour if needed. Pace yourself; know your limits on hiking distances. Plan to be setting a camp, or back at the car before dark.
Dipping your feet into a cold mountain stream is quite refreshing and can add pleasure to your day. Refilling water jugs while you’re at it. Dry feet thoroughly before putting socks back on. Remember the wilderness goal is not always to reach the destination, but to have a great time outdoors. A rewarding experience, but worn out. When feet hurt or become blistered, the fun becomes physical pain.
Do not hike miles in sport sandals or flips flops. You can ruin your arches and injure your feet, especially on granite mountain trails. Sandals are great around water, lounging at camp or walking to the outhouse, but consider wearing good shoes if you plan to walk or hike any significant distance.
New footwear is notorious for creating blisters. Best to ‘break in’ your new shoes or boots on local trails, close to home. Wear them to work, wear them around town – so your foot can fit the boot, well before you try to “hike” in them.
Buying cheap hiking boots may have you swearing out on the trail, so bring backup shoes, just in case. While we’ve found top brand name (expensive) leather hiking boots failing faster than anticipated, we like the abundant shoe options now – trail runners, trekking boots and snow boots.
Backpackers and avid day hikers like to carry this thin, soft fabric. A sticker side w/ mole skin on one side. You might carry it for years, before needing it. Nice to have, cheap, thin and lightweight.
- Clean and dry area around the blister.
- With scissors, cut a piece of moleskin larger than your blister. *
- Fold moleskin in half, adhesive side down.
- Using blister as a reference; cut a semi-circle out of the center of the folded end of the moleskin. Result should be a square piece of moleskin with a hole in the center.
- Remove adhesive backing and place over your blister, aligning your blister with the hole you made. The circle should completely surround blister without touching its edges.
- You may need to double up if the blister is big. Mole foam is also available.
* Pre-cut sizes to avoid hiking w/ scissors.
TWO PAIR O SOCKS
Thinner nylon pair of sock worn against your skin can help with friction. Wear a thick or thin pair of cotton or wool socks, as the outside layer. Most of the friction will now be in between these sock layers.
Athlete’s foot, blisters, sun burn, foot powders, bee sting or injury; there are numerous cautions to consider. Feet are the wheels for your body. They get you to and from; feet are very important for your survival. Taking care of them is key, especially when outdoors.
see products for healthy feet