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Although you want to pack lighter than your typical overnight bag, certain hygiene supplies are still necessary on the trail. Mainly a way to clean your teeth, a pair of nail clippers, and something to at least rinse yourself off with. One option for oral hygiene (and probably the simplest) is to pack a travel toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste. Some people like to cut part of the handle off their toothbrushes to shave off a few grams of weight, but I have not gotten that desperate yet. I usually just pack some Oral-B Brush-Ups and Listerine spray.


Deodorant is a creature comfort that I like to take as well. But you might as well just accept the fact that you are going to stink. It's ok, we all do out on the trail. This is the wilderness, not the Ritz Carlton. I do however pack an all-natural deodorant. I do not recommend aerosol or strong-smelling deodorants though. I very seldom leave the house without cologne, and if I do it isn't intentional. That being said, just leave it at home. Again, it’s the woods, we all stink out here.


If it is a multi-day hike you will want some way to rinse off. There are many types of pre-moistened wipes (like baby wipes or man wipes) that work well just remember pack it in pack it out. Soap, even biodegradable “camp soap”, should not be used in or near (within 200ft) a natural body of water. You can rinse the dirt off though, so I pack a towel and a couple of compressed disposable washcloths (like Wysi wipes), and a lightweight camp towel.


For your potty kit, you will want a small trowel, biodegradable TP and/or wet wipes, hand sanitizer, waste baggie (Ziplock bag), and a bag to keep it all in. Another optional item would be a backpacking bidet. For more information on hygiene and how to go in the woods go to

Hey Girls! Angela here (Sorry Guys, this part isn't for you!)

One of my creature comforts that I pack when backpacking in the summer is a razor. I use the kind that has the soap stuff already on it, just add water and voila'. Make sure you aren't contaminating any natural water sources. I know it's not an essential item, but it makes me happy.

I know one of the fears of many girls is how to do your thing in the woods. Questions like, "Where do I "go"? How..? and "You want me to do what against a tree..?" I've heard them and sometimes I've had the same questions. I'm not an expert, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, (lol, I know, tired joke) Anyway, I happen to possess a certain type of plumbing and it's very different from my husband's. This means some of the hygiene items I pack are not the same that guys will pack.

The link above really has great information. I will add a couple of things. Don't worry about anyone seeing you. Seriously, no one cares. Unless you are blatantly in the middle of the trail, other hikers will know what's happening and avert their gaze. Make sure if you are by yourself, you know where the trail is. It is easy to get lost or turned around and that can be a scary thing. I take my necessary supplies and leave my pack on a stump or tree next to the trail where I can see it and I look back often to make sure I don't lose it and the trail. When hiking with the family, I just have them move up the trail a bit where I can still see them, but I have a bit of privacy, especially if I need to deal with the dreaded aunt flo.  REI has a great article about that too. I hope this helps ease your worries a bit!


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