Embrace the stink. I guess that’s the basic approach to my hygiene routine during multi-day hikes. But besides that, I try to keep to my hygiene routine during the different parts of the day:

Morning hygiene routine during multi-day hikes

  • Have breakfast. Rinse and clean my cooking gear after.
  • Trash compression bag. I have compression bags from pretty much everything, including my trash.You should take everything you’ll bring with you on the trail, with you off the trail. Zero waste. I’ll make sure to leave no trash on the trail. So, after each meal, I will rinse my food bags, let them dry and put them in the trash compression bag.
  • Go to the toilet.
  • Teeth. Brush teeth.
  • Clothing. I will try and wear my clothes for 2, max 3 days in a row. After that, I’ll either swap clothes or was them.

Day hygiene routine during multi-day hikes

  • Wet wipes and toilet paper. I’ll make sure to have plenty of wet wipes and toilet paper with me. I tried with leaves once and well, it did not work for me.
  • I have at least one bottle of hand sanitizer with me at all times. Before eating, after a toilet break in the woods and/or if I feel dirty, I’ll use it to clean my hands.
  • On longer hikes with unreliable sources of water, I will have some sort of water purifier with me.
  • Plastic bag for waste. I’ll have a small plastic bag in one of my pockets for waste, that I can put in my large compression bag later in the day.

Evening hygiene routine during multi-day hikes

Preparing dinner on Laugavegur trail
Preparing dinner on Laugavegur trail
  • Wash clothes. If necessary (and possible), I will wash my clothes. I will always have two pairs of clothes with me so I can alternate (washing and drying one, while wearing the other), next to my sleeping clothes (more on that later).
  • Have dinner. Waste in the compression bag. Rinse and clean my cooking gear after.
  • Shower/bath. I’ll have a shower or bathe in a river/lake if possible. If there is none near the camping spot, I will make sure I have planned at least a way to freshen up once every two days (usually you’ll be able to find opportunities on maps, in other people’s trail guides, etcetera).
  • Body check. Either during shower/bath or otherwise in my tent, I will check for ticks, wounds or other potential issues.
  • Feet. I will check my feet and toes for blisters, wounds and other potential problems and I will attend to these. I’ll always make sure my feet are dry before I get to bed.
  • Mouth. Brush my teeth.
  • Toilet. Go to toilet.

Sleeping hygiene routine during multi-day hikes

  • Clothing. I never sleep in the same clothing as I wear during the day. I usually make sure I have a separate set of at least boxers and a t-shirt for the nights. To make it even easier, I have bought a pair of red Icebreaker merino boxers and red Icebreaker t-shirt, to make sure I never confuse them with my day clothes (I have black Icebreaker merino clothing).
  • Sleeping bag liner. To avoid that my sleeping bag needs to embrace my stink a lot, I have a sleeping bag liner that absorbs most of my sweat and dirt during the night.
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