I’ve done a lot of camp­ing this sum­mer, and with the drought, you can imag­ine it was pret­ty hot out there.  I can attest that it was.  At our camp site we cut a lot of wood, and we used much of it for the camp fire.  Those were hot days swing­ing an axe, and can say in no uncer­tain terms that you were soak­ing wet with sweat when you were done.  I got a les­son in hygiene in the field this sum­mer, and decid­ed that at the end of the day or the end of a long ses­sion of hump­ing wood, from point A to point B and chop­ping it, that noth­ing would feel as good as a hot show­er.  All of this with the excep­tion that there is no hot show­er to have at the camp site.

With that, more than once a day I found myself clean­ing up and wip­ing the sweat off of me.  I also found that it was futile to do so until I let my body heat cool to the point I was no longer sweat­ing, oth­er­wise my pores act­ed like mini faucets and clean­ing up was mute.  Enter a cou­ple of items that made a huge dif­fer­ence for me this sum­mer:

  1. My razor.  Recent­ly I switched to a safe­ty razor from the stan­dard Gillette with five blades in the car­tridge.  I did so for two rea­sons.  The first was the cost of the car­tridges.  Just crazy, and sec­ond I have a bud­dy who swears by the safe­ty razor.  All in all a good switch, but that is anoth­er sto­ry for anoth­er time.  I found that noth­ing made my face feel clean­er than a good shave, even in the field.  Not only was it pleas­ant to not have annoy­ing stub­ble on hot humid days, but it was psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly sat­is­fy­ing have a clean shaven face, even if tem­po­rary, it felt “clean.”
  2. Shav­ing Cream.  You may think this is sil­ly because I already men­tioned shav­ing, but I brought with me, to con­serve even more space in my kit, Sea to Sum­mit Trek & Trav­el Shav­ing Soap.  You don’t need a lot, use just about as much as the size of a nick­el in your hand and lath­er your face.  The upside is they are good to go, get­ting you through the TSA check­points at the air­port as well…  I did notice, that I had to add a lit­tle water to my hand and re-wet my face a cou­ple of times when I shaved, but it re con­sti­tut­ed well on my face after doing so.
  3. Camp Mir­ror or Sig­nal Mir­ror.  I used this camp mir­ror, but any­thing that is a mir­ror will do for you.  It is now a per­ma­nent part of my hygiene kit.
  4. No Rinse Body Bath.  What a great addi­tion to my “hygiene kit,” as I call it.  This allowed me, with the addi­tion of Bel­guim Fold­ing Plas­tic Wash Bowl (a rub­ber­ized bowl that you can put water in and use as a small sink) to clean up.  I sim­ply packed a wash cloth and a tow­el along with the kit. I could sponge bath down a cou­ple times a day to get the dirt, grit, smoke, and sweat off.
This isn’t every­thing in my kit, it has all the essen­tials you would expect.  You can google “Bug Out Hygiene” (or just click the link, and it will show you a TON of Hygiene lists and videos for your bug out gear or camp­ing gear…

In addi­tion I recent­ly pur­chased anoth­er safe­ty razor, added some tal­cum pow­der, anti-bac­te­r­i­al  aloe, and more to my hygiene kit.  It was good to have some­thing more com­pre­hen­sive with me on those HOT days.  Which, sort of brings me to my point of the post: Bug­ging Out.  I real­ized that (at least for me) there are two areas of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance I need­ed to under­stand about hygiene if/when I have to Bug Out, espe­cial­ly if it’s on foot, no mat­ter how hot or how cold out it is.  The first is that you can­not under esti­mate the pow­er of feel­ing good psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly.  It could be a long hard day of hump­ing gear or hard work, but get­ting cleaned up if you can, will make you feel bet­ter and give you some renewed ener­gy to get through the rest of your day/evening.  The sec­ond is, you can’t walk around for­ev­er in the same clothes with­out your own body becom­ing unsan­i­tary in some way. i.e. dare I say, crotch rot, ath­letes foot, etc. that can set in.  It is not healthy and can seri­ous­ly slow or stall your Bug Out plans.

I think until recent­ly I took hygiene in the field for grant­ed.  I know I have not writ­ten about it much, and I real­ly spent more time out in the bush this year than I have in many years, so it was sort of top of mind after it hit me that I need­ed to pay more atten­tion to my own hygiene.  Not to men­tion I hat­ed the way I smelled at the end of the day after a long day of hard work. 😉

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