Washing bodies in the bush

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Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 4:04 pm

How and when do people wash in the bush? Does this vary by season and trip duration? Are there any soaps or the like that can be safely used in or near creeks and rivers? See
https://www.oars.com/blog/5-best-eco-friendly-soaps/
for a supposed safe way.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Baeng72 » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 4:21 pm

Something like Wilderness wipes if you're funky smelling and it's too cold for a splash.
https://seatosummit.com/product/wildern ... -12-wipes/
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby peregrinator » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 4:58 pm

I can't see much value in washing. A hour or so into a reasonably strenuous walk, in most weather, I've walked up enough sweat to make a prior wash seem like a waste of time and water. A few handfuls from a creek or a tank, splashed onto the head and face, are sufficient for me.

I suppose that if my walks were more frequently done with other people, I could expect complaints. But if none of us washed, surely protests would be irrelevant.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby madpom » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 5:01 pm

Salt is about cooling. Not washing off salt leads to a very cold uncomfortable night and hypothermia risk in freezing conditions. I'd wash or have a snow-scrub any time that water/snow is avaialable. Can't see any advantage in using soap though ...
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby north-north-west » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 6:27 pm

Said it before, will say it again: the wombats don't care about your BO. The closest I get to washing on a walk is a soothing paddle or facial wipedown on a hot day.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Tortoise » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 6:29 pm

I hate the feel of dried sweat on me at night, especially after a few days. I haven't given the cooling factor a thought. Fresh water works pretty well. I used to use warm water, but I don't bother now. A half chux as a washer/scrubber, and a half chux as a towel = I sleep better. :)
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby matagi » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 7:03 pm

My washing system is the same regardless of time of year. I don't use any form of soap, just tea tree oil.

I have a small microfibre cloth to wash with and use a Sea to Summit X-plate as a washbowl, part fill it with warm water, add a few drops of tea tree oil and basically have a sponge bath. You could use an X-bowl XL (they weren't available when I set up my washing system) it is a bit deeper and also a bit lighter.

I wash at the end of the day before I change into my camp clothes.
Last edited by matagi on Fri 12 Nov, 2021 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby ribuck » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 7:05 pm

Interesting about Salt and cooling. How does that work?
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Tortoise » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 7:07 pm

matagi wrote:My washing system is the same regardless of time of year. I don't use any form of soap, just tea tree oil.

Sounds extra spiffy. What do you carry the tea tree oil in?
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby matagi » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 7:14 pm

Tortoise wrote:
matagi wrote:My washing system is the same regardless of time of year. I don't use any form of soap, just tea tree oil.

Sounds extra spiffy. What do you carry the tea tree oil in?


Just in the little glass bottle it comes in (15ml). The brand I buy has a little insert in the neck so it dispenses drops of tea tree rather than pouring it out.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby JohnnoMcJohnno » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 7:44 pm

Assuming it's not a dry camp, I'll have a wash with a small face washer. Water only, no soap. Makes me feel a bit more respectable and less shabby.

I like the idea of the tea tree oil, might give that a go next time.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Warin » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 7:53 pm

matagi wrote:
Tortoise wrote:
matagi wrote:My washing system is the same regardless of time of year. I don't use any form of soap, just tea tree oil.

Sounds extra spiffy. What do you carry the tea tree oil in?


Just in the little glass bottle it comes in (15ml). The brand I buy has a little insert in the neck so it dispenses drops of tea tree rather than pouring it out.


From the cupboard,
brand Bosisto's PET bottles of eucalyptus oil 55ml and tea tree oil in 50ml. I think from Coles?

Smaller bottles would be attractive .. but not in glass as that adds more weight. I do have some smaller bottles off ebay but they are a thicker plastic. Yet to weigh these for comparison.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Eremophila » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 4:38 am

Usually a quick wet-wipe either when I change into camp/sleeping clothes, or before I go to sleep. Not all over but face, underarms, feet and groin. I find giving my feet a good clean before putting on my night socks makes them feel really good.
This may not happen every night, and if it’s only a night or two, probably not at all. A quick cold splash of the face when cleaning teeth is always good, depending of course on water availability.
I take a tiny piece of home-made soap but rarely use it. Might give the hands a good wash occasionally.
In the past I’ve heated water, mixed it with cold water in the STS Kitchen Sink and had a warm “mug shower” which is pretty good. I don’t carry the Sink these days. It’s good for foot soaks too, if your feet are hot and puffy.
I’m just as happy to skip all this, especially when it’s frosty. But find I feel a tiny bit nicer when I’m snuggled up to go to sleep. As for smell…. seriously who cares???
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby madpom » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 6:46 am

ribuck wrote:Interesting about Salt and cooling. How does that work?


Thanks for pulling me up on that one. Made me go away and read up and the fact is that salt in sweat does not aid cooling. Which makes chemical sense, I suppose, as salt raises the boiling point, not lowers it as you;d require for cooling.

But that is completely counter to experience with sweat. Failure to wash remnant 'dry sweat' off definitely results in a much colder night than washing it off. So many times I've been lazy and not washed off sweat only to never be able to warm up in camp or wake up freezing in the night. Solution: wash off the sweat, and within 20 mins we're comfortable. That interweb-thingy fails to explain that one to me - so I'd be happy for theories (one of which would have to be 'it's all in your mind!')
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby ribuck » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 7:40 am

Thanks madpom, I should experiment with that. Sometimes I have nights in the bush where I'm inexplicably cold all night, when the weather is mild and everyone else is warm. Maybe salt is the culprit!
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Warin » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 8:48 am

madpom wrote:
ribuck wrote:Interesting about Salt and cooling. How does that work?


Thanks for pulling me up on that one. Made me go away and read up and the fact is that salt in sweat does not aid cooling. Which makes chemical sense, I suppose, as salt raises the boiling point, not lowers it as you;d require for cooling.

But that is completely counter to experience with sweat. Failure to wash remnant 'dry sweat' off definitely results in a much colder night than washing it off.



Sweat also contains oil. And washing that off without soap is not easy.
The Romans used to oil up and then use a scraper to remove the oil and dirt. When I have a lot of sweat I have used a knife to scrape off the sweat, that would remove the salt and oil. To restore the cooling effects splash water over the skin...

PS Water washing: Using the knife as a squeegee to get water off before the towel also reduces the amount of water in the towel when finished.
Last edited by Warin on Sat 13 Nov, 2021 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby stry » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 10:14 am

Tortoise wrote:I hate the feel of dried sweat on me at night, especially after a few days. I haven't given the cooling factor a thought. Fresh water works pretty well. I used to use warm water, but I don't bother now. A half chux as a washer/scrubber, and a half chux as a towel = I sleep better. :)


That's me exactly. :D

Tried water wipes and they just don't get enough off to stop the sticky yickies at night, so back to the chux and cold water. Nothing worse for my sleep than being sticky yicky.
Smell has never been a problem.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby matagi » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 1:58 pm

stry wrote:
Tortoise wrote:I hate the feel of dried sweat on me at night, especially after a few days. I haven't given the cooling factor a thought. Fresh water works pretty well. I used to use warm water, but I don't bother now. A half chux as a washer/scrubber, and a half chux as a towel = I sleep better. :)


That's me exactly. :D

Tried water wipes and they just don't get enough off to stop the sticky yickies at night, so back to the chux and cold water. Nothing worse for my sleep than being sticky yicky.
Smell has never been a problem.


Guys, try the tea tree oil in water method - really works a treat.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby bernieq » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 6:37 pm

Hey, madpom, I was waiting on your explanation too :)

Salt lowers the freezing point and raises the boiling point of water but doesn't change the actual temperature of the water. So I don't see a chemical explanation.

Maybe there's a correlation between cold nights following hard days (where you've sweated a lot). Get up in the night & wash down would increase metabolism so feel warmer once back in the bag.

Alternatively, it's all in your head - which doesn't negate it's effacicy, of course !

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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Baeng72 » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 6:45 pm

I'm not sure I understand the point of contention (story of my life, I might inhabit an adjacent reality to normal people).
I see two possibilities:
If you have sweat on you (as in liquid), your body heat will cause that liquid to get 'excited', and some of that will evaporate. Evaporation is an endothermic process (requires heat), and you're the donor. So, if you're sweaty, you'll be losing heat.
Or if we're talking about feeling cold after we stop a hard day but not being wet with sweat, then that's just while walking, you catabolize tons of energy to do work. Generating excess heat. Stop the work, stop the excess heat, and you cool down.
Combine them - be wet, possibly in a cold environment, and stop producing excess heat, and shivers will follow....
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby stry » Sat 13 Nov, 2021 7:47 pm

matagi wrote:
stry wrote:
Tortoise wrote:I hate the feel of dried sweat on me at night, especially after a few days. I haven't given the cooling factor a thought. Fresh water works pretty well. I used to use warm water, but I don't bother now. A half chux as a washer/scrubber, and a half chux as a towel = I sleep better. :)


That's me exactly. :D

Tried water wipes and they just don't get enough off to stop the sticky yickies at night, so back to the chux and cold water. Nothing worse for my sleep than being sticky yicky.
Smell has never been a problem.


Guys, try the tea tree oil in water method - really works a treat.


On the list. :D
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Tino B » Mon 15 Nov, 2021 9:18 pm

I’ve largely ditched wipes because they are so wasteful.

Overnighters I take a heavy duty Chux cut in half and wash with water only. Multi day, I take the second half of the Chux for ‘downstairs’ and some Tea Tree oil in a tiny Nalgene.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby nezumi » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 2:58 pm

I think if I were to come across any bodies in the bush while out walking, I'd be more interested in reporting them to the appropriate authorities that figuring out how to clean them ,but to each their own I guess?
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 3:10 pm

Nezumi, it depends on the gender of the bodies and if they are breathing. At least one parks agency has a rule that visitors must remove their own dead, perhaps based on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail model.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby north-north-west » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 3:18 pm

nezumi wrote:I think if I were to come across any bodies in the bush while out walking, I'd be more interested in reporting them to the appropriate authorities that figuring out how to clean them ,but to each their own I guess?


Thank you for saying that. I can now stop biting my tongue.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 3:29 pm

I thought that the required items were wine, honey, Frankincense and Myrrh
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby nezumi » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 6:47 pm

north-north-west wrote:
nezumi wrote:I think if I were to come across any bodies in the bush while out walking, I'd be more interested in reporting them to the appropriate authorities that figuring out how to clean them ,but to each their own I guess?


Thank you for saying that. I can now stop biting my tongue.


I am so often tempted to reply to threads based on their title alone, rather than the content of the post - this seemed like an ideal candidate for that.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Kott » Thu 18 Nov, 2021 5:44 pm

Modern society as made us really stinkfobes and super clean right...

I also tend to just do a quick wipe over with a chux and water and thats all I need..soap is not needed and to this day noones ever told me that I think and my friends arent that nice :D
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby tom_brennan » Wed 24 Nov, 2021 7:19 pm

If I've been sweating a lot during the day, then a swim at the end of the day is the go. No soap.

If it's a dry camp, or the water is for drinking only, then a bit of water in a drybag, and a chux bath.

I definitely sleep better if I don't have dried sweat on me.
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Re: Washing bodies in the bush

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 24 Nov, 2021 8:29 pm

Serious answer now, I am not really troubled all that much by sweat and body salts during my occasional short duration hot weather walks, but come white season there's usually plenty of water around and I've been known to strip off on a sunny day and scrub all over with snow. I work on the assumption that several freeze/ thaw cycles and UV will kill off any nasty residues I leave behind. I do also use a sanitiser based on alcohol most times before cooking too. My old army sweat rags have died so I now carry a bandanna or two and I keep a chux in the first aid kit.
Yes I also use tea tree oil and lavender oil etc and various powders and ointments to keep the tinea under control if it flares up. Most of this stuff takes up only a small amount of space in the toilery bag.
That hot shower when I get home is both a pleasure and a necessity
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