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How to beat the stink when camping

clean-200x148Brian, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Troop 965 in Chicago, whips through his daily grooming routine and feels clean all day.

But when he went on a long camping trip to New Mexico, things got dicey.

“I got one shower every seven days. In between, I needed to do whatever would make things bearable,” Brian says.

Dallas Shewmaker, owner of, a camping-supplies rental company, offers these hygiene tips for campers:

Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket and use it frequently — especially after going to the bathroom and before eating.

Rub down with isopropyl alcohol on cotton balls each night. Make sure you hit underarms, feet and groin areas.

Don’t wash your hands in a standing pool of water. Often, the water will have more bacteria than your hands.

Carry at least two pairs of socks. Wash out one pair each night.

Carry a small bottle of biodegradable soap to give yourself an occasional sponge bath.

Using antiperspirant in the backcountry is generally not recommended. Scents attract animals and bugs. But if you do, make sure it’s unscented.

Carry a travel-size toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss — and use them often.

13 Comments on How to beat the stink when camping

  1. helps a lot

  2. this would help

  3. deoderant????

  4. All u scouts talk about Philmont is it really that goo????????????????

  5. How about deoderant? Like everybody else said, getting dirty is one of the best parts of camping. Good tips, though!

  6. A little dirt never hurt! Getting dirty is the best part about camping!

  7. Recommend a sponge bath using a rag and water, with biodegradable soap, rather than rubbing alcohol. Alcohol will strip your skin of natural protective oils, causing irritation if you’re on a long trip. You can also use white ashes, sand, or loamy soil as a soap substitute.
    Consider wearing natural wool as a base layer (t-shirt and jockey shorts), it’s natural antimicrobial properties do a great job of keeping you dry and cutting down on odors. Smartwool and Patagonia make plenty of great options, try Sierra Trading Post for deep discounts.
    Oh, and don’t bathe in a body of water that people use for drinking water. Spread any dirty water away from drinking water sources.
    I’ll have to try timbozo’s suggestion of apple cider vinegar – sounds promising!

  8. billy joe bob // September 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm // Reply

    thaks i will use them tips when i go camping next and when i go to philmont next year.

  9. Eagle Scout14 // September 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm // Reply

    I went on a week long conoe trip and remembered all of that stuff and it came in pretty handy if ya ask me.

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