Backcountry Hygiene



For all those spots that just aren’t gliding, because hiking bowlegged for 2660 miles just isn’t an option… One of the most important parts of backcountry hygiene is to prevent a nasty, inflammatory situation before it starts.

1.5 ounces.

Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm


Backcountry hygiene. Zpacks ultralight toothbrush and tooth paste.
Zpacks ultralight toothbrush and toothpaste.

Zpacks Toothbrush and Mini Toothpaste

Many of the ultralight toothbrushes I’ve tried just don’t cut it. Too flimsy, too small, handle too short etc. This little combo from Zpacks seems to be the sweet spot between invisible weight and utility. The toothpaste tube holds 4-5 days worth of toothpaste and is refillable.

0.3 ounces.


Lightload Towel

Starting as a small puck (green disk in the picture), you add water to these awesome little camp towels and they unfold into a big and surprisingly durable towel.

0.6 ounces.

Here’s where you can buy these towels:

Lightload Towels

Moisturizing Salve

Joshua Tree Salve

A general moisturizer for hands, feet, lips, and whatever else might need it.

0.5 ounces.

Here’s where you can buy this salve:

Joshua Tree Organic Healing Salve

Hand Sanitizer


With how disgusting hands get in the backcountry, it’s a good idea to bring something along that can kill off the germs.

2.4 ounces.

Here’s where you can buy this sanitizer:

Purell Hand Sanitizer


Gallon Zip-Lock with Camp Soap

I’m usually a strong opponent to soap in the backcountry in any form, but for the southern 700 miles where water is more scarce, I’ll use a gallon bag with a sheet of camp suds to agitate and clean clothes. This will allow the limited water to be used more efficiently for cleaning without returning the water to a low-flowing or stagnant source of water. Part of backcountry hygiene is insuring water sources remain clean and potable for hikers behind you. I dump the dirty water far from the source (greater than 100 feet). Soap doesn’t belong in areas with plenty of water flow to rinse laundry/dishes/etc. like the Sierra or Cascades.

0.5 ounces.

Ziploc Freezer Bag- Gallon
Coleman Dish and Hands Camp Soap Sheets