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Hygiene in the Wilderness

By Primary Arms

AR15 Rifle owners know their weapon  must be clean in order to function. Every survivalist knows their rifle in and out, while planning for every contingency or malfunction. However, we’re going to focus on an often-overlooked aspect of surviving and making sure you stay in the game.

Ask anyone whose served in the military about the strict hygiene protocols and inspections that are required. It’s because every terrain can pose hygienic challenges and turn into an enemy that can’t be beat with brute force. It doesn’t have to be a battle scenario, hunting, camping training; there are many reasons you may be in the wilderness for an extended period.
During this time, you will be working hard to complete your mission. This can work you up to a sweat, cause you to go through varying environments, and you will acquire a layer of dirt on you and your clothing.
With so much going on, it can be difficult to navigate caring for yourself and your personal hygiene out in the open. There are a few ways you can try to manage your hygiene. Much of it is preparedness, but you can do a few things while out to help keep you feeling (and smelling) fresh.


Like underwear, packing extra pairs of socks will save you a lot of grief later. If you have 2 to 3 pairs of socks, you will be able to create a rotation as you travel. This means that as your socks become wet from sweat or the outside elements, you will be able to put a dry pair on and dry out the wet pair.
Being prepared in this way will help prevent your feet from developing blisters, you will feel more comfortable as you explore the wilderness, and you will feel more put together and clean.
It is important to rotate your socks as soon as you notice they are wet. To dry them, you can lay them out in the sun while you are resting from your journey, or you could rig a way to have them hang from your backpack to air dry as you travel.
This idea would cut down on the mental load you have when you stop to rest. It will help your psyche to not have to worry about laying something out to dry, and you will feel better having dry feet that are blister free!

Hand Sanitizer

Exploring the great outdoors and living freely can lead you to explore new areas of interest, with new pockets of dirt, grime, and germs. Hand sanitizer is not very heavy or exceptionally large, so you can easily travel with it on hand. It can be easy to forget to clean your hands.
After a long day of hunting or hiking, you may be worn out and ravenously hungry, leaving you wanting to wash your hands but feeling it will take too long. Having a small bottle or two of hand sanitizer with you will help speed up the process of cleanliness and give you the tools to keep yourself healthy.
Disease can be anywhere, causing dire health complications. Keeping this simple yet effective product close to you while traveling in the wilderness can help save you from a time of illness. Travel with confidence in your health and hygiene. Travel with hand sanitizer.

Do Not Bring Deodorant

This sounds almost counterintuitive. If you are wanting to keep up with your hygiene in the wilderness, shouldn’t you be sure to bring one of the items you use daily? As crazy as it sounds, wearing deodorant can increase the number of bugs and other wild insects and animals that flock towards you. Some of the chemicals used to make deodorant smell irresistible to many pests.
Decreasing the number of chemicals and “good smelling” items you have in your pack or on your person will immensely assist you in avoiding the attraction of excess pests around you and your camp. If you are concerned about smelling yourself or being repelled by your own smell, you can be sure to wash your underarms with soap and water daily.
Of course, you would want to do this washing away from your water source to “leave no trace.” Another option is to travel with some baking soda. You can mix a small amount of baking soda with an equal amount of water, and this will create a paste-like substance that can be used in lieu of insect-attracting deodorant.


Underwear is a topic few enjoy bringing up, but it is imperative to have good hygiene and to avoid various chafing or infection issues for everyone. You may wish to pack lightly, but you will thank yourself for keeping 2-3 extra pairs of underwear readily available. Having underwear that is not made of cotton will help you as you travel through the wilderness, too.
Cotton dries slowly, whereas synthetic or wool materials tend to stay dry longer and dry faster if you wash them and leave them to air dry. Keeping up with this small task will keep you from chafing and from developing yeast or urinary tract infections.
Any one of those issues or a combination may mean an end to your wilderness adventure! Keep yourself clean and healthy by bringing extra underwear and keeping yourself dry.

Bring a Bandana or Two

What does a bandana have to do with hygiene? It is light and small, so it will take up minimal space in our pack. Bandanas can easily be used as washcloths to help you continue feeling fresh through your travels. They also can be used to help you shield your head from the sun.
Having a sunburn can easily create an unneeded injury that could become infected and create more hygienic problems than needed. Plus, you can use a bandana as a tourniquet if you need, and they can be used in various other situations you may run into.
If you bring one or two of these, you will be able to create a rotation just like you have with your socks. Therefore, you will never have to worry about not having a dry bandana.

Attending to your hygiene in the wilderness can be a challenge. Maintaining your hygiene and health may be different when exploring the wilderness, but it can be done. Keeping extra items that are lightweight and can help you manage your hygiene such as underwear, socks, and bandanas can make it much easier to care for yourself as you travel. Keep these things in mind the next time you are packing for a trip!

Categories: Gear,Prepping,Training

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