One thing that is really important when outdoors for a long period of time is hygiene. Any time you travel over night and don’t have access to public facilities, you are going to want some way of keeping yourself feeling refreshed and clean.
Years ago, we used to take our own facecloths in plastic bags. They were small enough to pack even when hiking, and as we used one, we just left the dirty cloth in the bag to take home for the laundry. That meant, though, if we didn’t come upon any water source that we had to take many bags and cloths if we were going for a few days at a time.
Finally, someone suggested that we get a pack of pre-moistened paper sheets for washing. Unfortunately, the package we bought were super for washing dirty hands, but they had lemon juice in the mix and when used on the rest of the body, all the essential oils were stripped away from the skin. Not a good idea in the end.
Then, we came across the wipes for babies. They were so much better on our sensitive parts, but then we found a problem with them, too. After carrying them and using them a couple times, we realized that they were way too heavy for packing, plus, they had to be thrown away and thought that was too much waste.
One night, we were visiting friends at their trailer park and they had a package of wipes that I saw them throw in their toilet. I asked them what the heck they were doing, as that was going to clog everything up and cost them a ton of money to fix. Their reply was the best thing we ever heard. They said they were reading an article about areas that do not have easy access to water and the volunteers were using biodegradable wipes for camping.
Now that was a product that interested us right away. No more worrying about lugging around cloths, plastic bags, and disposable sheets.
It was a bit of a hit and miss still when we finally bought some because we didn’t think about what we wanted exactly. Who would have thought you had to actually make a decision about washing cloths?
Anyway, look for these points before you buy so you have the right ones and don’t go through the trial and error we did.
- Alcohol free. We thought about the lemon juice, but never read the package to see about the alcohol, which dries the skin, too.
- Sometimes pocket size is better especially if you have to pack very few things. But, other times, you may want a bigger package. The exterior package should be biodegradable, too.
- Safe to use in septic and sewage systems. This is within reason. Don’t dispose of a whole bunch at once.
- If you want moisturizing, look for plants such as aloe and calendula.
- Bigger size in cloth is easier for washing body.
- Unscented, so that you don’t attract bees, mosquitoes and other insects.
Remember, that although many people use flushable and biodegradable interchangeably, they are not the same. Many products are rated flushable because they work with certain toilet systems. But they don’t necessarily break down very quickly. They are not really compostable.
If you absolutely have to leave your waste out in the wild, you want biodegradable, so that it decays and reenters the soil in a short amount of time. In fact, try to bury them if you can.