Best Gear For Maintaining Trail Hygiene
Part of going outdoors, as many trail veterans know, is accepting you’ll have little to no access to modern conveniences such as toilets and running water. Many are all too familiar with ending a long slog at a local watering hole, browned from sun and dirt and generally smelling like the inside of a shoe—and that’s on a good day. Some people embrace this idea and perhaps even celebrate the freedom that being outdoors provides from social expectations. However, not everyone is comfortable forgoing a daily wash and good, thorough flossing for days, or even weeks on end. For those hoping to preserve at least a shred of hygienic decency while on the trail, check out some gear that’ll help you do it.
ExOfficio Sport Mesh Underwear
This brand makes a whole line of outdoor wear and gear, however, it’s their undies that get top honors for keeping everything right ‘n tight down under. The performance mesh underwear features an antimicrobial finish, which is breathable, odor resistant and fast-drying—all qualities that reduce the amount of collective funk that builds up when on the move. Additionally, they make their undergarments for both men and women in several different designs including bikini, hipkini, brief and varying lengths of boxer briefs. For those on the road, they can be washed in a basin or water, wrung out and dried within a couple hours (depending on humidity).
Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower
While most trail warriors use wet wipes and/or lakes and streams to keep relatively clean in between refueling sites, Coleman’s 5-Gallon solar shower is a solid alternative to the classic wet wipe “camp shower.” Plus, the system uses solar energy to heat the water, and hot water on an aching body is a pretty nice treat after a long day on your feet. It’s a relatively good packing size and comes with a handle for carrying and hanging and an on/off valve connected to the shower head.
This formula, which has been around since the 60s, was the first biodegradable, multi-purpose cleaner and remains one of the best natural cleansers on the market. Made from natural vegetable-derived ingredients and a touch of essential oils (for fragrance), it’s both tough enough be used on dishes and clothes and mild enough for use on hair and the body. It comes in a variety of sizes, and certain formulas even include special oils—like lavender, citronella and peppermint—to repel insects.
From Cascade Designs, the PackTowel Ultralite kills two birds with one stone: cleanliness and efficiency. Super soft, absorbent and lightweight, the full-size towel weighs just 3.1 ounces and soaks up twice its weight in water. Once at capacity, the towel can be wrung nearly completely dry, then rinse and repeat. It also comes with a mesh stuff sack and a snap loop for hang drying. The brand also makes several other sizes including the Nano (with additional antimicrobial properties), the Personal, the Original and the RobeTowl.
La Sportiva Peak T-Shirt
The Peak T-Shirt from La Sportiva combines comfort with the top anti-odor treatment available. Designed with Polygiene Odor Control Technology which cuts down on odor-causing bacteria, the shirt also includes UV protection and moisture-wicking technology to help regulate body temperature in both hot and cool climates.
GSI Outdoor Sanitation Trowel
Leave No Trace has become the resounding mantra of the nature-lover’s movement, and it truly is an important rule to adhere to while enjoying the great outdoors. More human traffic on our trails and mountains means more stuff left behind, and while much of this waste can be managed, some things are unavoidably left behind. When nature calls, it’s only fair to other fellow trail folk that it’s taken care of appropriately. The GSI Outdoor Trowel, made from repurposed materials is BPA free and was designed with serrated edges to help dig sufficiently deep catholes, even in hard soil. Additionally, the Leave No Trace guidelines are molded into the back as an oh-so-subtle reminder to clean up after yourself and a portion of the sales go to support the effort of keeping our trails, parks and other natural treasures beautiful and accessible to all.
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