How to Manage Bad Odor On a Camping Trip

Camping is an exciting time for friends and the whole family. A good camping trip will allow you to enjoy and get close to nature while also bonding with family members. With all that closeness, you might be worried about one thing: body odor!

Sometimes you’ll be camping on a campsite with restroom and shower facilities on the premise that you can visit daily, but many campgrounds are strictly for roughing it. This means no man-made structures in sight, and certainly no running water to feed showers or bathrooms.

So what can you do? Read on to learn some quick tips on how to manage your body odor and some ideas on how to clean yourself on a camping trip.

But first, what causes body odor in the first place? You might be surprised to learn that the sweat dripping from your body is not what the smelly stuff is, but instead it is when this sweat interacts with bacteria that you start to stink.

If you’re on a camping trip, chances are this bacteria will be on your body. Bacteria love a warm, dark, and moist environment which makes the areas that you sweat the perfect breeding ground. So when you sweat and that liquid comes into contact with bacteria, you get that awful body odor!

couple camping and talking about body odor

How to Manage Your Body Odor While Camping

Tip 1: Change out of dirty clothes

One of the most important things to manage your body odor on a camping trip is to change out of dirty clothes. Dirty clothes, especially clothes that you’ve either been sweating in or have gotten wet from the weather conditions, will definitely be a major cause of your body odor stench!

In fact, the wet clothes alone probably don’t smell very good. Now imagine how much worse it’ll be when you mix that bacteria in with your sweat.

Tip 2: Use deodorant

Using deodorant seems like an obvious way to keep yourself from stinking up the campsite but it is worth mentioning. Make it a habit to put on your deodorant every morning. However, if you don’t have access to a shower for the entirety of your camping trip, then layering on more and more deodorant might not be the best idea. If that’s the case, wipe your armpits down a couple times a day (or as needed) with some body wipes.

Tip 3: Clean yourself with body wipes

Camping body wipes are great for keeping yourself clean throughout a camping trip. In fact, you won’t find us on a camping trip without them. You don’t need to clean your entire body, but make sure you get the sweaty crevices like your armpits, neck, behind the knees and elbows, face, and of course your rear end.

If you want to be kinder to the planet, there are some recyclable options out there. You can also bring some soap and a few hand towels and go to town with some of the water you have packed.

Tip 4: Use a portable shower

There have been some really great portable showers for camping that we’ve seen popping up and they can be a godsend. These are especially useful if you are camping with children, who somehow get dirtier than you’d expect. A portable camping shower means you’ll have to pack some extra water so keep that in mind.

Tip 5:  Choose moisture-wicking materials

Moisture-wicking materials won’t soak in that sweat like a cotton shirt, and so this can be a better option to go with if you are planning to pack light and won’t have new clothes everyday. Synthetic materials are typically better at moisture wicking, though might be a bit less comfortable against your skin. However, if you’re trying to keep your body odor levels down, give it a shot.

Tip 6: Stay away from odor causing foods

Believe it or not, studies have shown that unpleasant body odor can be caused by certain foods. This includes certain vegetables like asparagus, garlic, and beans. Certain red meats and even alcohol can contribute to your foul body odor so try to keep those to a minimum if you’re worried.

Tip 7: Dry any boots or clothes you’re going to wear again

Wet clothes are smelly clothes. If you are needing to re-wear certain clothing items, make sure to thoroughly dry them overnight. There are some camping clothes dryers or dryer racks you can use. Or you can just do it the old-fashioned way and hang them up outside (and pray it doesn’t rain).

Tip 8: Oral hygiene

Bad breath is a form of body odor and nobody wants to be around someone who has that terrible morning breath. Make sure to brush your teeth a couple times a day. Chances are you’ll also be eating some dried meats and jerky so make sure you’re also flossing!

Tip 9: Pack extra water to for cleaning

Like we mentioned before, not all campsites have running water or access to fresh, drinking water. If this is the case, then make sure you pack extra in your camping water container to use for cleaning your body. Whether you’re using the extra water in your water jug for washing your hands or rinsing out dirty  clothes that need to be worn again, you’ll be glad you have it.

Tip 10: Wear more layers

Wearing more layers might not actually be reducing your body odor, but it’ll help mask some of it. By layering on some clothes, you’ll be hiding that body odor behind multiple clothing items.

Tip 11: Do not wear perfumes or heavily scented deodorant

Heavy perfumes and even certain deodorants can attract unwanted animals, and almost certainly a lot of insects. If you don’t want those unwanted visitors from stopping by your campsite, stay away from these items.

Tip 12: Clean yourself off in a lake

Got a lake or river nearby? Hop in and try to scrub yourself down in the water to get rid of some of that stink!

spraying deodorant in case of bad body odor

Good Luck! 

Managing your body odor can be an embarrassing topic but we all have to do it. Chances are, you might smell a little bit but nobody will say anything because everyone else is roughing it and smelling a bit too! The most important thing is to have fun while you’re camping and try not to worry about something as silly as body odor on a camping trip. But if you are the worrying type, then hopefully our tips will help you manage that body odor on your next camp outing!


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