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The 10 Camping Toiletries You Need for a Weekend (or Week) in the Woods

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Going out into the wilderness on a hiking expedition or camping trip can give you a much-needed perspective change on just about all of life’s greatest mysteries. It’s like pushing the reset button on the human being’s operating system. When you get back, you’re completely refreshed and performing optimally across all facets of your life. Among other things, it shows you just how few things you need to exist in blissful harmony with nature.

When you’re out there in the woods, you don’t need much aside from the best camping tent you can get, a sleeping bag, and some cooking gear for your camping meals. However, just because you pack light doesn’t mean you should skimp on the toiletries. It’s an essential step that many people forget. You want a few items to clean yourself up after an all-day hike or fishing adventure. It is possible to look and smell clean, even if you go off the grid for a few days. Heck, you might even feel so fresh and rejuvenated that you extend your stay for an extra day or two. Real life can wait – the great outdoors are calling.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite personal care and grooming products to help you feel and look your best in the wild with our picks for the best camping toiletries. 

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Biodegradable Soap

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Bar Soap
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There are two types of people: People who shower on camping trips and people that other people hate camping with. Unless you’re backpacking alone through the barren wilderness, it’s probably a good idea to bring a bar of soap. And because there’s no running water or septic system, you have to be careful with your soap of choice. Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap will leave you feeling squeaky clean without harming the environment around you. Remember that even when using biodegradable soap, Leave No Trace guidelines to dictate that you should keep it 200 feet from any water to avoid contaminating the area’s water source.

Face Wipes

Almay Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes,
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If you don’t have access to water, face wipes can become body wipes and give you a decent shower in a pinch. Again, you want to be conscious of the environment when it comes to what you bring on a camping trip, and more importantly, what you leave behind. These $6 drugstore wipes are made of plant-based fibers and soaked with micelles that grab onto any and all dirt.

Sunscreen

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This one is a must-have since you’ll be spending all day out in the sun. Look for a sunscreen with SPF 20 or higher, and make sure it has UVA and UVB protection. The best sunscreen is the one you’ll use, so get something that you actually enjoy applying. This sunscreen from Neutragena comes in a stick, which makes it easy to carry and reapply throughout the day. If that’s not your jam, we rounded up some of our favorite non-greasy sunscreens here.

Mosquito/Bug repellent

REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent,
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Depending on where you are and what time of year you’re camping, there’s a chance you’ll catch more bug bites than fish. Protect yourself from mosquitos, ticks, and other blood-sucking pests by dousing yourself in bug spray. We prefer this all-natural repellent, but use whatever keeps those suckers off you.

Toothbrush

Aurelle™ TOOB™ Brush
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Even if you’re foregoing a lot of other personal grooming practices, you can’t skimp on oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day means keeping up the routine out in the wild, so make sure to come prepared. The Aurelle TOOB Brush is a toothbrush, paste, and carrying case all in one, which makes it ideal for long weekends in the woods. 

Lip balm with SPF

Aquaphor Lip protectant and sunscreen
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Camping and almost every outdoor activity associated with camping will dry you out. It doesn’t matter how much water you drink (and let’s be honest, no one drinks enough water on a camping trip), your lips will be the first to tell you that you’re dehydrated. Sun exposure speeds up this process, so to prevent your lips from cracking and flaking, bring a hydrating lip balm with SPF. You can’t go wrong with Aquaphor.

Hand Sanitizer

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Just because there’s no running water doesn’t mean you have an excuse to not wash your hands. Dirt, germs, and bacteria are all around you, and one wrong move can end your trip early and send you home with a case of E. coli. Always pack hand sanitizer – preferably 70% alcohol. That 99% stuff dries too fast to effectively kill germs.

Shower Shoes

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If you’re using a campground or even an outdoor makeshift shower, you’ll thank yourself for bringing shower shoes. They’re also great for wearing around the campfire or in the early morning before you lace up your hiking boots. Especially after wearing those all day, your feet will appreciate a breather. This pair from Crocs is lightweight, slips on easy, and dries fast so you’re not carrying around soggy shoes all day on your pack. Sure, they’re not the most stylish shoe, but last time I checked, camping is no fashion show.

First Aid Kit

Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit
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You never know what kind of accidents you or your loved ones might get into on a camping trip, so carrying a first aid kit with all the essentials is incredibly important if you want to adventure safely. Your kit should be small but include basic medical items like tweezers, bandages, antiseptic, and any necessary medication. You hope you never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it.

Toiletry Case

Sea to Summit Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag - Small
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Last, you’ll need a compact carrying case to keep all these toiletries together. The better organized you can keep your camping backpack, the better your experience. We suggest this pack from REI, which you can hang in a car, on a tree, or on the head of an outdoor shower. With multiple mesh pockets and a super-secure opening, this case is bound to last you for many expeditions to come.

Nate Swanner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
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