Brought to you by our friends at Epic Wipes
The world is a dirty place. There's good dirt: the well-earned kind that gets under your fingernails while camping in the backcountry; and bad dirt: the sticky kind that breeds funk. Of course the outdoor crowd expects to get a little (or a lot) dirty in the great outdoors, but if your hygiene is acting as a wildlife deterrent, you might consider some get-clean strategies for the comfort of your camping partners.
Clean your everything:
A Girl and Her Travel Bug/Epic Wipes
Pre-moistened wipes are the pinnacle of convenience but admittedly, they're wimpy for camping. They're small, flimsy and produce a ton of waste. Enter Epic Wipes, the superhero of wipes. At 2.5 feet long, they're more of a towel than wipe. Don't want to use the entire thing? It tears in perfect strips. Made with bamboo and well-saturated, they're hardy enough to towel-down your muddy pup but gentle enough on skin. Do you smell that? It's eucalyptus essential oil - but it won't leave a residue. And unlike throw-away baby wipes, Epic Wipes are reusable.
Plus, when you're done with the wipe, you don't have to wonder if it will languish in a landfill - these beauties are 100% biodegradable. New features like a new, slightly smaller size and zip-lock sealed pouches are coming soon to Canada!
Clean your dishes:
RichardBH Flickr cc by 2.0
Unless you're mixing hot water with a freeze-dry meal and eating it with a spork, you'll be producing at least a small number of dirty dishes. Here's a minimalist approach to a mobile dishwasher:
Biodegradable soap - you can probably get away without using soap at all, but if you must, ensure it's biodegradable.
Scraper-brush - put that pine cone down. Get a brush that's mildew-resistant and serves double duty as a surface-safe scraper.
Clean your body:
Today's camp shower can be as rudimentary as a suspended-bag system (with or without a solar charger to warm the water) to a portable, handheld shower. It's a luxury that hikers can probably live without, but might be handy for car campers. The downside? Unlike simply giving yourself a easy Epic Wipe clean, you'll need to have a water source in close proximity and something that the system can be adequately suspend from.
Clean your gear:
We get it: the first thing you want to do when you get home is take a long, hot shower.
While it's tempting to drop your gear in the garage and make a beeline for the comforts of home (and hello, a big hearty meal), you'll extend the life of your gear by unpacking it, airing it out, and giving it a proper clean.
It'll be worth it on your next trip. We all know there's nothing more yuck then crawling into a tent that's cloaked in a mildew musk and littered with pine needles and dirt. Clean your gear after each trip and schedule an annual or bi-annual deep clean (we suggest at the start and close of camping season). Here's how to clean your gear:
Tent - mildew can arise in as little as a day. Set up your tent post-trip to air it out and ensure it is completely dry. Sweep or shake out any debris and wipe down the interior and exterior with a sponge or cloth. Use a mild cleaner (water and a gentle dish soap) to avoid damaging a tent's technical fabric which may likely be specially waterproofed. Roll tent fabrics to store.
Footwear - an authoritative guide to cleaning hiking boots: rei.com
Backpack - first, empty completely. Tip: small bits? Get the vacuum into those gnarly little crevices. Fill a basin with water and soak in a non-detergent soap. Like tents, you don't want to strip waterproofing from a fabric with harsh chemical soaps. Use a sponge or toothbrush to spot-clean soiled areas. We're also going to guess the upper straps might be extra salty. Hang dry; do not machine-dry.
Bottles - does your plastic water bottle smell funky? Fill with water, adding a teaspoon of bleach and a teaspoon of baking soda. Let it sit overnight and then wash or run through the dishwasher.
Hydration bladders - first pick up a specialized brush kit (something like this) and some cleansing tablets. Fill with warm water, add the tablet, seal and shake. Run the fluid through the valve. Let it sit for five or so minutes. Drain completely. Next, use water and a bit of dish soap and use the brush(es) to clean components. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry. You might need to rotate or prop the reservoir given its awkward shape. Note: dish soap can be substituted for an alternative cleaning agent like baking soda, lemon juice and a few drops of bleach.
How do you keep clean at the campsite?
Let us know your best tip.
Sponsored by our friends at Epic Wipes
Learn more here: epicwipes.com