How to maintain personal hygiene on a trek!
Vanity goes out of the window when you are in the wilderness. One is in the mountains to survive in the simplest forms like the mountain men. Because that’s how Yeti is supposed to be.
But that doesn’t mean you should ignore your personal hygiene too.
Spending days in the wilderness on long treks like Roopkund Trek, Pin Parvati Pass with no bath can make you stink like a raccoon and make you feel all icky and lousy.
Maintaining personal hygiene on the trek is as important as keeping yourself hydrated on the trek. Not only it keeps the diseases at bay but also helps you feel fresh and vigorous for a longer time.
These things can feel a bit of a struggle with no proper sanitation facilities available on the trek as we are used to back in the comfort of our homes.
Here is how you can carry out your personal hygiene manners on the trek without any fuss:
1. Making your business
Do not defecate where you eat. Even the dogs follow this simple rule. Then why not we humans. Keep these things in mind next to you attend nature's call in the woods.
- Do not make a toilet tent or dig a hole near your camp. The defecation area should be at least 50 meters away from your tent and the water source.
- Dig a 6-inch deep hole for your business. A hole deeper than this will slow down the decomposition process since the decomposing bacteria are present in the upper layer of soils.
- Do not use wet wipes. They are non-biodegradable. If you have to use anything, use toilet paper. Make sure you dump the toilet paper along with your feces. Cover your dump with dry leaves and soil after making your business. Use of water though is best.
- When Aunt Flow arrives on the trek, disposing off tampons is a common concern for women but that doesn’t mean there is no solution. Make sure you dispose off your used pads and tampons in a ziplock bag which you discard off once back from the trek.
- Always remember to clean your hand with hand sanitizer after doing your business lest you should get hand to mouth infection.
2. Changing clothes on the trek
How often should you change clothes on trek?
If it is a long trek, it is wise option to rotate your clothes.
Segregate your hiking clothes and camping clothes. After you reach the camping site, change into clean and dry clothing. Your sweaty clothes from hiking can end up giving you body rashes and bad odor.
Sleeping with soiled clothes on in your sleeping bag can really make you uncomfortable. Plus, your sleeping will bag will start to stink too.
Next day, when you resume trekking, you can change back into your trekking clothes.
Avoid changing into a different pair of clothes in sub-zero temperatures on the treks like Bali Pass and Goecha La unless absolutely necessary.
3. How to take a dry bath
“Bathe twice a day to be really clean, once a day to be passably clean, once a week to avoid being a public menace.” ~Anthony Burgess
You are lucky if you stumble upon a lake or pond on the trek and the weather is just right to take a quick dip in the water.
If not, you can always take a dry bath. All you need to do is wipe yourself thoroughly before you change into a new set of clothes.
To give yourself a quick dry bath:
- Use a damp towel and give yourself a sponge bath. You can also use wet wipes to wipe yourself clean. But make sure you collect them in your trash bag instead of throwing it off in the mountains.
- Clean the troubling areas like groin, armpits, spaces between toes, and inner thighs with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Do not use a deodorant to hide your body odor. Its sweet smell attracts wildlife. Also, the aerosols in your deodorant pollute the air. It’s better you leave it at home.
- Change your clothes in the daytime when the temperature is comparatively warm.
Working up a sweat on the trek is always wow. But it will just be a matter of few days when the flies start meandering around you if ignore your personal hygiene. Not a pretty picture, right? Following these hygiene tips can save you from the humiliation.