Not a great topic but nonetheless an important one- trail hygiene! Understandably things take on a different perspective when you are out in the bush and that can be part of the fun and freedom, but there is still a standard that needs to be maintained and I think these should be looked at. Be consistent and carry on as if you were at home, still brush and floss twice a day, it makes you feel good and you sleep well. Dry your brush well and keep it away from other toiletries with your toothpaste and floss.
Hand sanitiser is great but rather wash your hands at every opportunity, washing is better for removing bacteria as is keeping your nails short- this also reduces the risk of catching and tearing a nail which could be painful and lead to possible infection.
Then keep your feet dry and your socks clean, take your boots off whenever possible to air and dry them and wash your socks each evening, wear a clean pair the next day to allow the others time to dry. A good washing machine is a Wolf Pack with the base holes plugged, half fill it with water and detergent and chuck the washing in, the movement whilst you drive means that the clothing will be washed by the time you make camp and will simply need rinsing.
So you can bathe in a river but in between wet wipes may be the best option, firstly establish if it’s okay to bathe in the river or dam, then use a biodegradable soap – best option is one that can even be used to wash your hair and is Citronella based to chase mozzies away. Don’t contaminate the water if the source is small, rather take a bucket of water and bathe away from the water, about 100 metres away.
Cat latrine techniques should be practised, toilets should be far away from any water source and paper should be burnt and covered by sand.
Then warm water is nice, it’s a luxury but easily achievable, washing your face removes sunblock, insect repellant as well as any grease that may accumulate, it just makes you feel better. Never forget wet wipes they are amazing.
Never sleep in the clothes you wore during the day, rather change into fresh clothing, you will feel much happier and sleep better. You may have to pack more stuff but believe me, it’s worth it.
We would love to hear your tips on trip hygiene, please share them at www.allterrain.co.za