Doing Laundry While Hiking

Doing laundry while hiking and backpacking is sometimes necessary because you're packing light, taking no more than necessary and usually wearing your clothes at least twice during the trip.

To avoid doing laundry while hiking all together, try wearing fabrics made of merino wool or merino wool and polyester blends.

Merino wool doesn't absorb body odours which makes this fabric a super companion for hikers. You can wear merino wool hiking shirts for multiple days without offending your fellow hikers with bad body odours. But if you do find it necessary to wash some of your hiking clothes then keeping the environment in mind is a must to protect any soaps or chemicals from contaminating water and ground systems.

Doing laundry while hiking means you need to take the environment into consideration as well. We don't want to be contaminating the only water sources for the wildlife and ourselves with chemicals or harmful ingredients. Not to mention that any soap or detergent used will leech into the ground also.

With this in mind, if you do need to wash any clothes do so using a safe and gently biodegradable soap found at most outdoor stores and keep any soap or detergent away from running water sources by about 200 feet.

The best and most efficient way to wash your clothes using an environmentally safe soap is to soak your clothes first in water and then at least 200 feet away from any running stream or river apply a small amount of soap to your garment to wash it. Once washed, bring fresh water to your clothes for rinsing. Never rinse soapy clothes directly in a natural water source.

Wring the excess water from your clothes and hang them to dry in a sunny location, either directly on tree branches or on a clothes line made from rope gently tied around a couple of trees.

Keep in mind that synthetic fabrics will take less time to dry than other types of fabrics and you'll need to take drying time into consideration, especially if you need to wear these clothes again soon.

The other option for washing your clothes while hiking is to skip the soap and only use cold water. Simply scrub your clothes after you have soaked them, wring out the excess water and hang to dry.

One last washing tip is to wear the clothes you want washed and go for a swim in them. They'll come out cleaner then before and you will get cleaner at the same time.

Keeping the environment in mind while washing your clothes on a hiking trip will make you a better hiker.

Happy Hiking!

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