Hygiene on trips is a topic that cannot be ignored – Firstly, it is always funny and can be amusing; secondly, it is inevitable and crucial if you are taking a trip longer than 2 days away from home.
The fact is that journeys, both short and long, are not only unusual and fascinating adventures, but also a whole package of inconveniences and sacrifices. Riding all day can be a grimy affair due to sweat, dust and a lack of access to a civilized toilette and shower. But this is the reality of bicycle adventurers and definitely a sacrifice worth making. So is it really such a big challenge to maintain hygiene during the trip? Is it more difficult for men or women?
What challenges will you face and how can you be prepared so that you can enjoy the scenery with a clean bum?
Hygiene on trips – a real challenge
It is an undeniable fact that conditions on these trips can be rather spartan. Limited or no running water is an everyday reality. You might think that this challenge applies more to women, but experience shows otherwise. However, there has been no scientific research done on the topic yet. Furthermore, the topic is very individual and largely dependent on your preparation before departure. It is also crucial that you be ready to leave your comfort zone, regardless of your gender! Therefore, it will be important to thoroughly prepare, so that your cosmetic bag contains the necessities. Regardless of whether you travel with a backpack or panniers, minimalism will be your greatest ally.
Necessary cosmetics for personal hygiene during the trip
The minimized expeditionary luggage often does not allow you to take many cosmetics. So what do you need to pack in order to maintain the basics of hygiene during the trip? From our experience, on a 20-day trip you will need: a small soap or 150 ml body wash, 150 ml shampoo, 100 ml sunscreen with a high SPF, 100 ml antiperspirant, 50 ml moisturizing cream, toothbrush and toothpaste (small tube), handy comb, powder / talc and most importantly, wet wipes! These are the backbone of hygiene on trips and can be used in various ways 😉
Anything else is a luxury worth leaving at home.
Taking a shower every few days when the opportunity arises is standard on any trip. Experience has taught us that natural water reservoirs can be a godsent for washing. The most common are lakes, but don’t be shy to use rivers and the sea. Use a water bottle or a pipe outlet somewhere in a nearby village to refresh your body. In extreme cases where water is not available for a very long time, take advantage of the moisturizing wipes to clean your body. This is what hygiene realistically looks like on a trip. Every traveler knows these realities very well. Do we look at hygiene on a trip as something to surmount or something to enjoy? does a hotel shower really win over a bath under a waterfall? Probably not.
A well in the middle of the desert, a Turkish bath, a church washbasin – there are always many possibilities.
Grab a bargain on your way to hygiene on an expedition.
During the expeditions, it is worth taking advantage of every possible opportunity to wash your body. There are places you can use for free or almost free. So where to find a public shower? The obvious places are camping sites, showers on the beach or bathrooms with showers at gas stations. Of course, every country has its own customs and can be different. However, it is worth looking for and using this option to take care of your hygiene during the trip. Even if the opportunity comes rarely. Creative travelers wash wherever they go because this is not something to be omitted.
They are your track base. You must not allow abrasions, wounds, blisters, chafes, because in the worst case you will have to fight hard in pain. Talc or specialized creams for chafing are highly recommended.
Women’s challenges on the road
From a woman’s point of view, it is worth remembering to take extra tampons or pads on such trips. Even if you think that nothing will happen, remember that many external factors can affect the cycle. These include heavy physical exertion over a long period of time, or even change in climate. Don’t be surprised. The aforementioned moisturizing wipes will also be very useful, especially when there is no water to be found. It is worth noting it if you want to travel comfortably.
Finally, don’t forget that your bike also requires daily hygiene, but more on that in another post.