How to keep clean as a nomad

This is one of those taboo subjects that nobody likes to talk about, but it is one of the harsh realities of living on the road, where you do not have access to a shower every day. Before figuring out these little tricks, I could only go a few days without shower before I became quite disgusting, now I can go for a week without a shower and still be fairly fresh!

The thought of going a week without a shower surely disgusts the majority of people out there, but I am here to tell you that when you use the right natural products, it is not disgusting, and actually better for your skin. Do not worry, nowhere in this post will I recommend the hippie perfume of patchouli!

Body Wipes

I have tried many of the wipes out there that claim they are good as a shower, this is completely bogus. They leave your skin feeling sticky and gross. I will not say that Action Wipes are as good as a shower, but they are by far the best body wipes out there. Again, they use all natural ingredients with Tea Tree and Eucalyptus that leave you smelling good and not very sticky. I like to use these after a hike to get rid of the sticky sweat.

Natural Deodorant

Typical commercial deodorants have strong smells and nasty chemicals that you should not be putting on your skin every day, if you use these you will surely be stinky after a day or two. Green Tidings is made of all natural ingredients and lasts for days. If after a few days I notice a little smell I will wash out my pits and re-apply, good as new! I prefer the unscented version of this.

Stinky Feet

I can admit it, I have always had stinky feet. It is no fun ending the day by taking off your shoes and realizing how pungent they have turned when you just want to crawl into bed. This natural foot spray has changed my life, I kid you not it is that good. A couple squirts on my feet everyday keep them smelling amazing, as amazing as feet can smell anyways.

Wool Socks

To go along with the stinky feet theme, I have thrown out all of my cotton socks and only wear wool now. Wool is an incredible material that is antimicrobial, bacteria is what makes the stink, so keep it at bay with wool! Darn Tough socks are by far the best quality out there.

Fresh Junk

Yeah, I am going there. We all know how quickly it can get funky in the nether regions, and was one of the big reasons I had to take a shower so often.

That is until I found the amazing balla powder. It is made of fine italian talcum powder with essential oils to keep it dry and fresh down there. I am truly amazed at how well this stuff works, and it smells so good!

Wool Underwear

Once again, wool to the answer. I have not made the investment in these yet, $40 for a pair of underwear may sound crazy, but for my lifestyle I think it will be worth it so I do not have to shower as often.

Greasy Hair

My hair gets super greasy fast, when it does I throw some of this powder on to dry it up and feel fresh again. With short hair I find this less useful, but for women that want to go for days without a shower, this is amazing stuff.

Natural Soap

I cannot express how amazing this soap is. I have had skin troubles all my life, from dry flaky skin, acne, psorisis. I have tried so many different soaps and was always unsatisfied. With this soap my skin is left incredibly soft and moisturized. I even use it to wash my hair, which is soft and my scalp feels better.

Showers on the road

Eventually you will need a shower, there is nothing like water to get funk off. Public showers are typically easy to find no matter where you go.

  • RV parks almost always sell showers for around $5, look for the lower end or mid range parks, not the high end hoity–toity parks, they look down upon our types.
  • Local Rec centers will sell you a day pass for around $7, a little spendy for just a shower, but if you use the facilities to work out, go for a swim, etc. it is not such a bad deal.
  • Hot springs are a great option, sometimes they will sell showers only, or for around $12 you can soak and get shower.
  • Truck stops are always an option, but I have found them to be very expensive and busy, I only use these in dire situations.
  • Some campgrounds have showers that you can pay for without staying a night there, state parks usually have them, although some do require staying the night, which is expensive if you are used to the boondocking lifestyle.
  • Keep an eye out for random shower signs, you can find them in laundromats and small gas stations sometimes.

Taking a natural dip

I ran across this post Lessons Learned from a Year without Showering when looking for viable alternatives to showering. I will admit, this is not my style. I cannot stand cold water, so the idea of jumping into a cold river or lake horrifies me. This may be a viable alternative for some of you, but there are some biological ramifications to using soap in a waterway, so I do not recommend doing this on a regular basis. Even when using natural soaps like Dr. Bronners, it has effects on the aquatic life. This post explains in more detail: Biodegradable Soap in the Backcountry: The Campsuds Myth. Let's be good stewards to our environment so we can continue to enjoy our lands.

Put a shower in your van

I have yet to do this, but this guy came up with a pretty ingenious setup to have a real shower inside his van. They are pretty long winded, so skip ahead to around 20 minutes to see the shower.

I am contemplating adding this portable battery powered shower to my arsenal, you just need a 5 gallon bucket and heat up some water, boom shower! I would likely heat up my water on the propane stove, if you have a big enough inverter (over 1000 watts) you could use this nifty bucket heater to warm up your water as well.

That is all the ideas I have for now, if you have any tricks please leave the in the comments!

 

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