BackCountry Clean Up .....

3:05 p.m. on May 29, 2009 (EDT)
235 reviewer rep
649 forum posts

Ok there has been a bunch of topics on the DO's & DON'TS and such other things about being sanitary in the backcountry. And we all know that theory only goes so far and what is practical is some times different. On that note my question is what do you do in the backcountry to keep your body, water, pots & pans etc sanitary and free of those nasty little bugs and why you use what you do.

For my body I use unscented baby wipes, wet ones leave you feeling sticky and there is too much soap residue left on your body in those tender areas.

For Soap I use camp soap, its biodegradable and multi purpose also it is easily rinsed off.

For pots and pans I use a piece of a non soap scotch bright pad, its light durable & doesn’t hold particles in it like to old time steel wool pads.

For water I use a mechanical water filter and if I still have any doubt I use a few drops of bleach.

8:00 p.m. on May 29, 2009 (EDT)
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76 forum posts

I use this for everything. I made sure I purchased a soap that states antibacterial. It was the only one I found at REI that said so on the bottle. I'm not saying the other ones aren't but why not say so on the bottle?

Oh and to treat water I use the hiker pro. Of course, I also carry tablets in my emergency pack for backup incase the filter breaks or something. I boil if I can though - depends on the water source...

1:47 a.m. on June 2, 2009 (EDT)
22 reviewer rep
76 forum posts

Guess I summed it up. Not.

Bump... How about some responses, or do you all just stink?

11:53 p.m. on June 2, 2009 (EDT)
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147 forum posts

For hands I use the alcohol gel.

For bathing I'll dunk in a lake or a nice pool in a creek. If there is not enough water for a dunk I fill a pot or liter bottle and using a small packtowel sponge off. Same process for rinsing clothes.

Cook pots...since just about every cooked meal starts with boiling water I figure my cook gear is sterilized just prior to every meal.

I do take a small dropper bottle of Dr Bronners just in case I need some soap, and do use a drop of this on the toothbrush and for mouthwash.

The above works sufficiently well to keep me "stink controlled" for at least 2 weeks (longest trek so far). And in 40 years of backpacking have never gotten sick or had some gruesome rash/infection so it must be good enough.

7:02 a.m. on June 11, 2009 (EDT)
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3 forum posts

For my body, I just take a dip in a stream and splash around for a bit then put some deodorant on to stop from stinking out my hiking buddies.


Pots and pans I use a little metal scrubby and if needed, boiling water.


For water, I drink from springs if I can and boil/use iodine if I can't.

8:53 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
15 reviewer rep
40 forum posts

I won't use 'anti-bacterials' in the wild and frown on them anywhere else-they are causing large problems with bacteria becoming resistant and in the future we'll pay big time.

I like alcohol gel and use various soaps made for the outdoors.

I will dunk or dip into clean water or pour it over me but I also use a washcloth or bandanna to clean with. Nothing like a rinse after a hard day in the woods.

Sand is a great abrasive cleaner for tough dirt.

I do use either a filter, halazone or boiling for purification.

9:39 p.m. on June 18, 2009 (EDT)
33 reviewer rep
202 forum posts

I just stink... as long as I stink more than the person with me, its all good.

11:18 p.m. on June 19, 2009 (EDT)
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19 forum posts

I use unscented baby wipes for my face, feet, and nether regions (whore's bath?). In that order. Other than that, I don't wash (in the field). At least with me, the dirtier/smellier I become (ie, less "perfumey"), the bugs harrass me less and less. Works with the wife, too!!!! lol

As an aside, I used to eat match-heads from the MRE packets. Cut off the heads and swallow with a big gulp of water. I was told that I would sweat out the sulfur and not smell good to bugs. It seemed to work, although it might have been from the three hundred gallons of DEET I would bathe in (and permethrin on the BDUs).

June 20, 2018
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