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Camping Tips For Women: How to Stay Fresh & Clean on the Road

Don’t let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. These camping tips will keep you feeling fresh & clean.

Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. Here are my top camping tips for women to keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

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For many women, the thought of getting dirty and dusty while camping is a big enough reason to stay home. Now, I don’t mind a little grit and I’m certainly no beauty queen, but I also don’t like feeling like a hot sweaty mess when I’m out camping or on the road for days, weeks, or months at a time. So, I thought I would share some of my favorite outdoor camping tips for women along with products that help me stay fresh whether I’m on a road trip, living out of my van, car camping, or enjoying a music festival.

The idea for this post came about when I was having lunch with one of my city-dwelling gal pals and we were talking about some of my recent outdoor camping adventures. This was her response:

“Wow. That sounds like so much fun…but I don’t think I could do it. Being all dusty and dirty and not having a shower….how do you handle it?”

Our conversation made me realize that for many women, this is a HUGE barrier that prevents them from getting outside and I want to show you that camping and going a few days without a shower does not have to result in unkempt hair and a dirty face.

Here are 12 camping tips for women to help you feel fresh and clean while still enjoying the outdoors.

Women’s Camping Tips for Managing Unruly Hair

Keeping your hair from becoming a dreaded mess after enduring the elements along with days of no showering can be a challenge for many outdoor women. Here are a few tips for how I deal with my mop. Note, my hair is pretty straight, and I don’t have experience with curls.

Choose a braid over a bun

My first camping tip for women is to avoid messy buns or loose ponytails. These can cause giant knots that are a pain to untangle.

Instead, go for a low braid that will keep your hair contained while being less prone to snarls.

Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. These camping tips for women will keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

Brush your hair every night and morning

Tossing around in your sleeping bag or camping in windy conditions can leave your hair tangled, and brushing your hair before bed and when you wake up helps keep it tangle free.

This pocket-size Wet Brush is perfect for traveling but more important, I’m able to effortlessly comb through my hair from top to bottom in a single stroke.

Use dry shampoo for greasy hair

Typically on the road I wash my hair once a week max. Sometimes my hair can get pretty greasy in between. To deal with this, I apply a small amount of Crown Affair Dry Shampoo to soak up the grease and give my locks a little oomph.

Rather than spraying on like most dry shampoos, you use a brush to apply this to your roots. This stuff has a nice scent. It’s made with clean natural ingredients and smells nice.

Wear a hat to hide messy or dirty hair

Finally, when all else fails, wear a hat. Hats cover up greasy locks and can help keep your hair from getting even more tangled. My absolute favorite hat is the Wallaroo Sedona hat I’m wearing in the photo below (Use the code BEARFOOT20 for 20% off). I also love a good trucker hat and am really digging Prana’s fun and bright La Viva trucker hat collection.

Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. These camping tips for women will keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

Women’s Camping Tips for Keeping Your Face Fresh & Clean

Keeping your face clean is one of the best ways to feel fresh while camping. Here are a few camping tips for women that will help you keep your face feeling clean and bright.

Use a Waterless Face Cleanser

This Ursa Major Face Tonic is a 4-in-1 that cleanses, gently exfoliates, soothes, and hydrates – all without water. I just dab a little on a cotton ball and wipe it over my face. You let it air dry, and there is no need to rinse it off which is a perk when you are camping. It leaves my skin feeling so clean after a day wandering around in the dirt. Ursa Major also sells a spray top which eliminates the need for a cotton ball.

I like to use this at night before bed and before I put on my nightly moisturizer. It’s chemical and paraben free.

Apply tinted sunscreen

If you want to avoid cancer, not to mention wrinkles and early aging, wearing sunscreen in the outdoors is critical. To simplify your beauty routine while camping, skip the makeup and wear tinted sunscreen.

This lightly tinted SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen by MDSolarSciences is perfect for outdoorsy women who like to camp. It will blur pores and imperfections and leave your skin feeling smooth and moisturized. The active ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium oxide – are also considered safe by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization that studies the cancer risk of different types of sunscreens.

The bottle is 1.7 ounces and takes up hardly any room in your bag.

Tinted Sunscreen // Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. Here are my top camping tips for women to keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

Apply Moisturizer at Night

The outdoors, especially if you are out West and at altitude, can really dry out your skin. I’m absolutely obsessed with this Youth for the People hydrating mask. I use it every night before bed, and it leaves my skin feeling so smooth and refreshed. This formula is free of parabens and other nasty chemicals.

Use Lip Balm to prevent dry and cracked lips

The mountains can suck the moisture right out of those beautiful lips, leaving them cracked and dry. My go-to lip balm is Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm with SPF 25 in the natural mint flavor.

It goes on clear, lasts for hours, and provides added protection against the sun, keeping your smile camera ready.

Jack Black Lip Balm // Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. Here are my top camping tips for women to keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

Body Care Camping Tips For Women

Neglecting basic body care is a sure way to feel grungy and dirty while camping. Below are a few tips and products that I like to use while camping to keep my body fresh and clean.

Opt for Natural Deodorant

I stopped using antiperspirant years ago when rumors started coming out about its connection with breast cancer. I feel my body has adjusted, and I swear I don’t smell 🙂

If you do want to wear deoderant, before I quit I had luck with the Crystal Body Deodorant Stick. This naturally occurring salt-based stick kills the bacteria that make you stink without all of the nasty stuff that is found in chemical-based deodorants.

To apply it, just brush a bit of water over the end of the stick and then rub it onto your armpits. It goes on clear, leaves no residue, and has no scent. I tested this in the muggy Belize jungle and found it to work much better than other natural deodorants I have tried. It’s also very compact making it convenient for traveling or on the trail.

Crystal Deodorant Stick // Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. Here are my top camping tips for women to keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

Use a pee funnel

If going to the bathroom in the woods scares you, you aren’t alone. With enough practice, squatting does get easier…but if you just can’t seem to get it down, you might consider a Go Girl.

The Go Girl is basically a funnel you can use to direct your pee into to help reduce that awful splattering that’s common when peeing in the outdoors as a woman.

The Go Girl also allows you to pee standing up or to even go in a bottle if it’s freezing outside and you don’t want to leave your tent.

Note: Be sure to use the bathroom at least 200 ft (about 70 big steps) away from rivers, streams, lakes, or any other water sources so there is no contamination.

Go Girl // Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. Here are my top camping tips for women to keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

Always wipe after peeing

No blushing here. It’s totally normal to want to keep your lady parts clean and fresh while camping! Wiping after peeing is a key way to stay clean down there and avoid the buildup of odors.

A pee rag like the ones made by Kula Cloth is great to have on hand when hiking, backpacking, and camping. Simply wipe after you pee and wash the rag when you get home or to a place where you can do laundry. With the Kula Cloth, the black side is microbial for wiping and the side with the design on it is for holding it. Once you’re done wiping, the dirty side folds together and buttons.

A Kula Cloth pee rag hanging on the outside of my backpack. I bring one of these with me on all of my hikes.

Another option, of course, is to use toilet paper – just make sure to bring a ziplock bag or other waste bag along so you can dispose of it properly. Discarding toilet paper in the ground is NOT ok – no one wants to see your used tp on the trail or behind a tree at the campsite.

Wipe Down With Body Wipes

If you’re feeling especially dusty and dirty while camping or after a long day on the road, these Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes will do the trick. They’re larger than regular wipes and are perfect for giving your entire body a wipe down. These particular wipes are made from 100% composted viscose fibers, but like all other trash, wipes should always be packed out. Wipes should also not be put in toilets at campgrounds as they are hard to remove and/or can clog the system.

General Hygiene Camping Tips for Women

Pack Some Hand Sanitizer

In case there isn’t a sink nearby which is quite likely if you’re camping or on the road, pack some hand sanitizer so you can disinfect as needed. Essential times are after filling up gas, stopping for supplies, relieving yourself, and before cooking at camp.

Take a Dip!

Anytime there’s a body of water around (that’s ok to get into, of course), take a quick dip! It’s a great way to rinse off the dust and dirt and you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated in no time. I always like to pack a swimsuit and a quick dry microfiber towel so I can towel off afterward.

Note: You should never use soap, shampoo, body wash, etc. (even biodegradable or eco-friendly products!) in any water source as this can harm animal life and cause damage to the natural ecosystem. If you want to soap up, use a bucket and rinse off at least 200 ft. away.

Hopefully, these camping tips for women give you some helpful ideas for staying fresh and clean on your next outdoor adventure whether you’re camping or road tripping. That being said, the most important thing to remember is that when you are out there doing what you love, you are going to be glowing no matter what!

For more women’s camping tips, be sure to check out our post on Backcountry Female Hygiene Tips: Staying Clean On Outdoor Adventures

What are your favorite camping tips for women when you’re out on the road or trail? Leave a comment below!

Don't let your fear of being dirty keep you inside. These camping tips for women will keep you feeling fresh & clean on the road.

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  1. I love this blog! You should never avoid adventuring just cause you don’t wanna get dirty, so these tips are fab 🙂 The great outdoors is too awesome to miss out on!

    1. Hey Jen – That’s a bummer that the crystal stuff didn’t work for you, but good that you found something that does. I’ll definitely check out that stuff you suggested…Thanks for chiming in! Kristen

  2. Wow! there is so much to read through here. I like it quite much. Thanks for sharing an informative post though. I just want to give a thumbs up to your great work!

  3. Dry shampoo is an absolute lifesaver! And I love the old ‘when all else fails, wear a hat’ trick. I never go camping without a hat of some kind.

  4. You should mention that no wipes are flushable even if they claim to be and should not be flushed. It’s a huge problem for the sewage treatment plants, they have to unclogged these wipes regularly. I live on a boat, so many of the same issues. I think that we all shower and shampoo too much, my hair stays much cleaner without shampoo, once a week I wet it and use a small amount of cream rinse, it looks like I shampooed. Great tips!

    1. Yes agree Barbara , and Wet wipes all round are awful for the environment sadly ! It’s sad they were ever invented. I avoid using them !

  5. Thanks for some fantastic tips. You really share a great piece of content and useful information for female campers. I’m definitely going to bookmark this.

  6. I loved these tips, but here is one more! Instead of microfiber, try a Turkish towels. WAY BETTER. It actually gets you dry, and dries just as quickly as microfiber. Plus, I think microfiber has plastics? Check out Turkish towels when you have a chance 🙂

  7. My hack for a portable bidet for #1 is a restaurant squeeze bottle filled with water and cut up bath towels into small squares. You can use the towels multiple times (you’re only drying water). I also use it at home to “save a tree when I pee”.

    1. We’ve heard good things about portable bidets! I prefer a Kula Cloth, but love your idea & motto as well 🙂

  8. One of the tips was to use hand sanitizer after filling up your gas tank. If any gasoline is on your hands, do not use a sanitizer. Wash your hands with soap and water to remove all gasoline residue. Especially if alcohol based, a hand sanitizer used when gasoline is on the hands, can cause the chemicals from the gasoline to more easily enter the skin, and possibly the bloodstream.

  9. Much great advice here! Thanks for letting people know about the natural crystal deodorant. I’ve been using it for about 8 years & dripping a few drops of water on it its something of a hassle in my thrift-shop build van (no plumbing). On my last trip, a friend turned me on to a roll-on version that includes its own water. Very compact, as you noted.

    Also, “clear” unscented baby wipes are cheap & fit many needs, from hand-cleaning to dishwashing (prep/removing grease/clinging stuff) to stinky feet, to a complete bath (takes about 6-7 towelettes). Huggies brand seems to have a bit sturdier wipes than others, in my experience.

    Poop on the trail or in the van: So far, I’ve avoided EVER having to stink up my van, but I have a kit that can be used in emergencies & one is always in my butt pack for hiking:

    One Gallon-sized ziplock bag
    One absorbent pad like you’d use for elder/disabled care. I get them at thrift shops, super cheap.
    Two sandwich-sized ziplocks: one for a generous amount of tightly rolled toilet paper, another for carrying out used pee paper.
    A vegetable/meat bag from a grocery store (I never throw those things away) for carrying out the poop pad mess.
    Another ziplock with a couple of baby wipes in it. (I use an old baby wipes package with a resealable lid & restock it with a few fresh wipes before heading out)
    Poop on the pad, throw poopy paper & babywipe in the middle.
    Burrito-roll it & put it in the vegetable bag. Press out air, tightly twist the neck many times & pull the top over to create a double-bagged effect. Twist & tie the remaining bag neck. I’ve NEVER had one leak.
    Put the whole thing back in the gallon-sized bag, which you can reuse.
    Now “The Doo-doo” is triple-bagged for carry out. No Stink. No Mess. Throw the double-bagged bit in any trash container with confidence. It’s fairly discreet, too.
    Tip: weight down the corners of the pad with rocks or something when you lay it out, so the wind doesn’t mess with this tidy system.
    Obviously, one could use this inside the van if absolutely necessary. I always make sure I have old-fashioned, wooden matches in the van for stink remediation.
    Also, I’ve tired of the perpetual stink of canister style porta-potties & am going to go with a 5-gallon bucket system. No matter how often I empty the porta-potty, treat it with vinegar & air it out, it stinks. Elevation gain & loss while traveling exacerbates this issue.
    Get a 5-gallon bucket, 100-pack of inexpensive 4-gallon trash bags & a toilet lid that fits on the bucket ($20). The 5-gallon bucket has a smaller footprint than a cartridge toilet (porta-potty) & serves many functions. You’ve got a 5-gallon buckets for putting out campfires. You can turn it upside down & use it as extra seating for guests. You can use it for shopping & or hauling firewood, water, etc. Personally, I’m going to use two of them, one inside the other, because they’re so handy & it won’t take up any more space.
    You can buy desiccant gel (Godora 2.2LB ECO-Friendly Poo Powder on Amazon) that absorbs all moisture & most odor from pee. 1 tsp of this stuff supposedly turns 15 oz of pee into gel within minutes & has a lemongrass scent. $33 on Amazon will treat approximately 145 15oz pee events (less than 25 cents per generous use, since few of us pee a 15 oz at a time) & can be used to mummify poo odor, as well, though I’d prefer my poo kit. I think it’ll be well worth the cost, not to have to carry a porta-potty cartridge full of stinky pee into the bathroom facilities at parks, rest areas, homes of friends & family, etc. I always feel a little embarrassed. Also won’t have to haul in water for the top part/flusher.

  10. Thanks for your helpful hygiene hints. But check out saveatreewhenyoupee.com for the ultimate hygienic, planet save.

  11. I use rinse free bath sponges ( the type you might use on a bedridden person) add a tiny bit of water, it soaps up well, wash all over and dry with a small microfiber towel.

  12. Love your feminine camping tips. But the absolute best is check out saveatreewhenyoupee.com I use it on the road, vacation, and especially at home.

  13. I would add: when taking a dip in a stream or body of fresh water, never bring your soap! I will kill surrounding and downstream critters.

    1. Hi Gabriele, you’re so right and we didn’t really address LNT in this blog post. I just added in some guidelines about using the bathroom at least 200 ft away from water sources and never using soap (even biodegradable) in bodies of water. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention!