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Personal hygiene on extended trips (The Deodorant Debate)

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    Personal hygiene on extended trips (The Deodorant Debate)

    Ok, you grubby grandpas, Let's see what kind of stench you guys can generate on a canoe trip. I'm pretty dirty usually, no deodorant for sure, and I pretty much live off baby wipes. I only swim if it is a nice place. I have washed my hair in a bucket on a 14 day trip, but that often gets ignored too. If I am on a trip of less than 10 days, I will sometimes buy cheap socks and gitch, and when they get too rank, I'll burn them so they don't pollute my pack.

    In normal life, I'm a very hygienic fella. Out in the bush, I couldn't give a rat's ass about being clean.

    So I'm experimenting with the poll feature to see how dirty we are, as a collective.

    THE DIRTY CANOEIST DEODORANT DEBATE
    36
    Soap is hugely over rated
    41.67%
    15
    Never leave home without soap
    44.44%
    16
    Organic toothpaste is a Russian plot to emasculate the Western male
    22.22%
    8
    Organic toothpaste will save the environment
    2.78%
    1
    Deodorant is for the weak
    47.22%
    17
    Anyone with stinky pits is a barbarian
    13.89%
    5
    Last edited by memaquay; 12-19-2019, 06:54 AM.

    #2
    My voyageur canoe team races the Yukon 1000 mile, 6 or 7 paddlers, including as many as 4 women and 3 men. I don't think I have seen anyone wash anything more then using a toothbrush over the extended 6 days start to finish. The dusty dry Yukon silt seems to mask everything.
    On the other hand, closer to home, we had a visiting exchange engineer join us temporarily one summer from Germany for training in a voyageur. Not a bad person overall, but I'll tell you, you did not ever want to put her in the bow, with her hairy pits and all. No matter the day, her BO was always overpowering.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

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      #3
      Skip the deodorant, add bug repellent. A little aloe for the inevitable sunburn. Biodegradable kitchen soap works for skin and hair as well. Wash clothes on body when the smell gets to be too strong.

      Karin
      One man's Wilderness is another man's theme park. ~Unknown~

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        #4
        Originally posted by memaquay View Post
        I pretty much live off baby wipes.
        I am a fan of wet wipes on salt water or off season trips where a swim won’t cut it to feel clean. Not diaper-smell “baby wipes” but less malodorous “Wet Ones” decanted from the tub and double ziplocked..

        I do have a small bar of anti-bacterial soap, but that is reserved for the first aid kit and rarely used. Toothpaste always on a trip, deodorant never, although a deodorant stick lives in the tripping truck and is the first thing I grab at the take out.

        Some kind of biodegradable soap, the same Campsuds used for dishes works as shampoo. On warm/hot weather trips I sleep better if my hair and head are not greasy grimy. Or even on long off season trips; even if I have to warm enough rinse water to wash my hair I know I will feel refreshed if not actually smell better.

        Some personal hygiene stuff is pre-trip prep. I cut my hair very short before a trip, a #2 buzz cut. Same for my finger/toe nails. And I bring nail clippers, for some reason I have a tendency to mangle even short cut fingernails during a trip.

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          #5
          Solo I could care less unless I can't get a shower before encountering loads of people. In that case I will try to wash and use deodorant before arrival back at the car. In a group it really does not matter if all are the producing the same odor. You get used to it. Now we were out for two weeks in Wabakimi with water too cold to swim in and when we returned to civilization we had one shower and three people. Two had to make flights very soon and I was the last to bathe. I was a pariah at goodbyes..
          Campsuds does a sort of ok job in an emergency.

          Don't like grody teeth, Do carry a travel tube of toothpaste and a small brush ( no I don't drill holes in it)

          I use wet wipes in the Everglades to get some of that salt off but they are not biodegradable and have to be packed out.

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            #6
            Campsuds, toothpaste, and when the stars align, a swim.

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              #7
              Yeah, I wash. No deodorant. I try to stay clean in the woods. Plus one on the toothbrush.
              I dont like going to sleep covered in bug spray. Aloe on the other hand can be a godsend.
              Aaaaand nothing feels better than clean hair after a few days out.
              I may wash clothes but dont worry about them being super clean looking as long as they dont smell.

              We do tend to swim often in the summer months, mostly to cool off but that helps with general cleanliness also. We tend to wade a lot as well as it makes things just easier and that affords an opportunity to rinse what you are wearing. Multitasking is the key. Different story when its cold or nasty out, then you want to stay warm and dry. As my instructors always said...dirty kit is cold kit.

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                #8
                I really enjoy heating a pot of water and using my cup to take a woods shower. I don't use soap, but the bath-temp water with a bandana works great to wipe away grime, and dust. Some birch leaves added to the water can help too (they are saponids iirc) as does green pine needles (they are an anti-septic iirc). I find these woods showers more refreshing than a swim. In a 5+ day trip I will launder a pair of socks and underwear using a gallon ziploc w/ a drop of soap. Again warm/hot water makes rinsing it easier. No deodorant except smoke baths.
                "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

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                  #9
                  My trademark is the combo bath and laundry as I wade into a meter of water while still plenty warm from padd!ing. Kinda an all in one wash. Real laundry in a bucket once a week and nightly toothbrush with paste and then floss. Oh, and deodorant every few days. Most appreciate a cook that doesn't reek too bad. Also a good scrub and clean clothes as I exit the bush. No sense in clearing out that first food stop.
                  http://www.youtube.com/user/TheNorth...1?feature=mhee

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                    #10
                    Campsuds, toothpaste, and when the stars align, a swim
                    DITTO!
                    No to deodorant and bug goop. ( I'm usually lucky enough to paddle with someone else who is much more appetizing to blackflies, mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies, etc.)

                    The beauty of tripping with like minded souls is that we usually all smell the same after a day or two. Nothing that an late evening/ early morning skinny dip won't solve after 3 or 4 days. After 6 days, go in with your clothes on!

                    Bruce

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                      #11
                      When I was in the Navy before most of you were teen agers, at the end of the day we used to throw our socks at the bulkhead. If they slid down to the deck they were good for another day. If they stuck it was time to wash them.

                      Now on an extended wilderness camping trip if it is up north a quick dip into the lake or river is good enough, and that includes a 15 day one on the Noatak River in the Arctic circle.
                      If it is a trip in the Everglades or other salt water environment, baby wipes are my go to for under the arm pits, in the crotch and other unmentionable places

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                        #12
                        Maybe I'm just not able to smell myself but I don't think I stink very bad even after long trips. I've never noticed anyone cringe when I rejoin civilization.

                        I bring a little bit of liquid soap just in case but rarely use it. I don't bring wet wipes. I rarely swim. I rarely change clothes (I wore the same clothes for my entire 42 day trip). If I do swim it's with my clothes on so I can do laundry at the same time. Usually I just take clothes off and rinse them out in the water to get rid of the worst of the sweat and dirt. I'll give myself a bit of a splash bath at the same time.

                        I shave my head and face the night before a trip because hair is a dirt and grease magnet and I don't like the feel of greasy hair. To me that makes all the difference between feeling dirty and clean enough.

                        Alan

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                          #13
                          having been cursed with the screaming scoots, I now religiously wash my hands and forearms before touching any food, A full body scrubdown happens every three days or so, any longer than that and I want to sleep upwind of myself!
                          I've also been known to shave after about day four for two reasons- One my beard grows extremely fast and itches like a son of a birch, and two to remove any nasties hiding out!

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by scoutergriz View Post
                            having been cursed with the screaming scoots, I now religiously wash my hands and forearms before touching any food
                            I have only been afflicted so on one trip; the night after a morning's “Continental breakfast” in a motel. I figure on solo trips I am accustomed to my own intestinal flora, but I keep hand sanitizer with the toilet paper.

                            Originally posted by scoutergriz View Post
                            I've also been known to shave after about day four for two reasons- One my beard grows extremely fast and itches like a son of a birch, and two to remove any nasties hiding out!
                            I don’t remember my beard itching, but I haven’t shaved since 1972.

                            In my wife’s oft-stated opinion the grossest thing I own is the hairbrush in my toiletry kit; a 2” x 3” piece of broken plastic brush with hard, stiff bristles. Used to get the bugs and oatmeal dropping out of my beard. I have cleaned it since 1972. At least once.

                            Originally posted by Alan Gage View Post
                            I rarely change clothes (I wore the same clothes for my entire 42 day trip). If I do swim it's with my clothes on so I can do laundry at the same time.
                            I know I overpack some clothing items. On a trip of any length I want at least a change of wool socks and liners, and a couple pair of skivvies. I can wash out the gross pairs, but don’t want to have to wear them wet, damp underwear especially.

                            Originally posted by Alan Gage View Post
                            I shave my head and face the night before a trip because hair is a dirt and grease magnet and I don't like the feel of greasy hair. To me that makes all the difference between feeling dirty and clean enough.
                            I have never seen a photo of you with greasy hair. Or any hair. And agree, a clean head is a happy head. I feel like a new man with revitalized energy after a good head and hair scrub.

                            I make a bucket of alum settled water on desert river trips, not to filter/drink but to bathe. I have offered it and some Bronners to everyone I have ever shared a campsite with, and no one has turned it down on a warm day.

                            Their delighted enthusiasm at being clean and Bronner’s tingly is worth making a bucket of slit-settled water.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Mike McCrea View Post

                              I know I overpack some clothing items. On a trip of any length I want at least a change of wool socks and liners, and a couple pair of skivvies. I can wash out the gross pairs, but don’t want to have to wear them wet, damp underwear especially.
                              Well, yeah, socks are one area I don't scrimp. I have my daily socks which pretty much stay wet from beginning to end of the trip (they get rinsed multiple times/day as I step in and out of the boat) and camp socks that stay dry and stink free because all I do is wear them in camp. Then there's the heavy weight socks that are for sleeping only. I take a couple extra pairs just in case but I don't think I've ever used them.

                              As for underwear I don't wear it while tripping or at home. The only time I miss underwear is sitting on a cold rock in thin pants. When I have worn underwear on a trip it was often damp from wading rapids by the end of the day and it took a long time to dry while wearing it. I'm not quite sure what the point of wearing it is.

                              Alan

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