Getting out on a long hike or an overnight backpacking trip can bring a huge sense of accomplishment and create lasting memories. While these are things you want to last long after your hike is over, the feeling of, well, funk is one you want to ditch after your hike. From what to wear to how to recover, the Hike it Baby community offered some insight into how to stay fresh and clean on trail and leave that funk behind.

Staying fresh

Quick-drying underwear and base layers are a key to keeping fresh. Many of Hike it Baby’s members recommended ExOfficio for underwear or tanks.

[ExOfficio products] dry super fast, so are easy to rinse and wring out and are ready to wear again quickly, and they don’t hold odor. –Stephanie Jacobson, who wore them on the Camino de Santiago

Another clothing option is to wear gear with moisture wicking. Jessica Schaeffer Human recommends moisture-wicking shorts, skorts and skirts. Wearing these while ditching underwear also allows for extra airflow during your hike. For tops, Jessica suggests wearing a moisture-wicking tank top with a built-in bra.

How to stay fresh and clean on trail by Jessica Nave for Hike it Baby

Kristin Michelle Klopfenstein agrees with wearing moisture- wicking clothing. “I like my Merrell tights best. They are that SPF material but look like they are knitted, so there’s tons of breathing moisture wicking. REI makes some good moisture wicking quick drying hiking pants too,” Klopfenstein said.

Wool is another way to help stay cool. Lightweight wool socks or underwear. And speaking of socks, Jessica Wynne suggests bringing an extra pair along on your hike.

Bring an extra pair of socks that you can switch out. After or during a long sweaty day, cooling your feet off with water or fresh air, then putting clean socks on, is amazing. –Jessica Wynne

Staying clean

Besides clothing choices, various cloths and wipes can help you feel fresh and clean. Baby wipes work great for cleaning off sweat, and bathing wipes are great for weekend hikes. A microfiber towel, like a Norwex baby cloth, is another option. The Norwex towel contains silver, so it can last a few days before you need to clean it again.

How to stay fresh and clean on trail by Jessica Nave for Hike it Baby

Cooling towels can also help you in the heat. These towels, like the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad, get cooler the more you sweat! A Hike it Baby member suggests placing them between you and your child while babywearing, but warns that the colored pads can stain white clothing.

Bandanas are another helpful item to carry along on a long hike or backpacking trip. When you need to cool down, dip the bandana in a creek or waterfall and tie on your head for some relief.

When you’re finished with your hike or backpacking trip but can’t hit the shower just yet, there are other ways you can clean up.

I keep flip flops in my car. Changing out of hiking shoes and socks after is amazing. –Kristin Michelle Klopfenstein

Hike it Baby member Julianne Thompson says she always carries a small bottle of hand sanitizer. “I have found that swiping some [hand sanitizer] under my arms works as a great deodorant in a pinch!” Julianne said.

There is a lot of great gear that can help you feel fresh and cool while hiking, but if you don’t have gear to help you on longer day hikes, try hiking earlier in the day or taking a sunset hike to avoid the direct sunlight. And remember that the feeling of funkiness after a long, sweaty hike may not be ideal, but the memories and sense of accomplishment will make it all worthwhile!

What are some ways you stay clean and fresh during a hike? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photos by Jessica Human and Laura Castro.



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