personal care for bikepackers

Bikepacking Guide to Personal Care | How to Stay Clean While Bikepacking

Part backpacking and cycling. From cycle touring and adventure riding to mountain climbing, bikepacking combines the exciting yet straightforward pleasures of riding your bike with lightweight camping. If you are still learning the ropes and looking for a bikepacking guide to personal care and tips on how to stay clean while bikepacking in the backcountry, this bikepackers post is meant for you.

Bikepacking for several days in the dense forests and expansive deserts is a great experience no outdoor enthusiast should miss. Nonetheless, the whole bikepacking experience comes with a few challenges that you need to know how to tackle.

Personal care is essential for any bikepacker. But what do you do if you are out there with no access to showers?

If you are lucky enough to come across campsites with showers, you can be sure it will probably be overpriced and may even be as dirty as you are.

Avoid any inconvenience by having the following in your pack.

personal care for bikepackers
Essentials

These are the essentials you’ll want to carry for a successful and healthy trip.

Hand Sanitizer

Do you ever sit down and imagine the number of surfaces you touch every day? What about the millions of germs that hang around on these surfaces, ready to pounce on unsuspecting hands?

Bikepacking will leave your hands sweating and exposed to millions of germs that could be harmful to your health. The best way to get around this is by carrying some hand sanitizer to kill any bacteria on your hands.

When you stop to have lunch or a few snacks, make sure you wash your hands with alcohol-based sanitizer before eating those gummy bears.

Biodegradable Soap

While out in the jungle bikepacking and having fun, you will probably need to take a shower at some point to stay fresh.

You may ask yourself whether you should carry some sort of soap or not. Well, there would be no harm in doing that. However, you need to realize you may be cleaning yourself in rivers and lakes.

I don’t think you want those soaps that leave massive traces of chemicals in the water that could be harmful to the water life.

Biodegradable soaps are a great alternative that are relatively cheap and contain no synthetic preservatives, detergents, or foaming agents. Such as Dr Bronners.

They have enough cleaning power to get you through.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Getting ready for a long bikepacking trip involves a lot of preparation. So don’t be surprised at all if you end up forgetting to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste.

I don’t think you want to leave these behind so before you stuff your bag with your gear and food, ensure these little essentials are the first to be packed. I keep a travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste with all my bikepacking gear, separate from what I use at home.

You’ll probably end up eating a lot of candy and sticky granola on the road, so you’ll need to brush daily for fresh breath and better hygiene.

Pack Towel or Bandana

Lightweight, dries up quickly, and takes little space.

You might not get access to a full shower while on a bikepacking trip. It might just be a quick dip in a stream before continuing on. In that case, you might only need a pack towel to dry off.

Some are also made from antimicrobial fabric, which keeps away any germs for the days you are out camping.

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are great for those days when you don’t have access to a shower. They are also good for cleaning your cooking gear.

Toilet Paper

What bikepacking guide to personal care would be complete without talking about what we all avoid talking about? 

You’re just waking up from a great night sleeping in your tent and suddenly you feel the urge to go. I don’t think you want to be inconvenienced by the lack of toilet paper.

Be sure to carry just enough toilet paper for your whole trip because you will have to go at some point. And as always be sure to bury your tracks.

personal care for bikepackers
What you shouldn’t bring

There are a few items you definitely need to take with you but there are a few that you can go without.

Deodorant

Deodorants are meant to keep you fresh and smell nice. But during a bikepacking trip you don’t need to worry too much about this. You’ll always be smelly no matter what.

No need for smelling nice. Anyway, deodorants attract bears.

Shampoo

Unless you have long hair that you can’t let go for a few days without being washed, shampoo for bikepacking is no-go. First, you will need a lot of water to wash your hair. And because you’re cycling in the wilderness, water might prove challenging to get.

Razors

They might be necessary for other things, but not during a bikepacking trip. And packing them might pose even more risks than you imagined.

I suggest just leaving the razors at home.  

Cleaning your clothes

You’re not going to feel comfortable in the same clothes day after day without washing them at some point.

If you’re on a short 2 or 3 day trip sure you can carry enough clean clothes to get you thru but what do you do if you’re gonna be out for weeks or even months? Carrying something like Dr Bronners soap can take care of both your showering needs and it makes for a great laundry detergent.

Can imagine sweating all day and still going to bed in the same clothes? Not proud to say I’ve done it.

Female Considerations

There are a few extra necessities that you may need to take along with you and I’m sure reading this on a male’s blog could be a bit of an eye roller. So, I’ll just list a few products and move on…

  • Sanitary towels
  • Menstrual products
  • Women’s pee funnel
  • Women’s pee rag

Conclusion

I hope this bikepacking guide to personal care helps you realize just how important taking care of yourself is. It can make or break your trip. Cleaning yourself just before crawling into your tent is one way to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Also having a set of clean clothes that are for sleeping in only will help as well.

Hope this helps you stay clean while on your next bikepacking adventure.

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