Being smelly doesn’t make you core or badass or super-duper adventuresome. It just makes you the stinky guy. Aside from $5 showers at roadside KOA’s or truck stop bathroom dirtbag sponge baths (gross), there a few things you can do and a few items you can bring along to cut down on the pee yew factor.
Cover It Up
I am a big proponent of sticking Sneaker Balls or dryer sheets in the vents of my Subaru, the toebox of my ski boots and hiking boots, and the cargo net of my tent. It won’t get rid of the problem but a waft of SB’s deodorizer or the fresh linen scent of Bounce is a lot better than the hot gunk vapors my boots emit.
The other option is to get some aromatic laser beams in there. deFUNKit makes a gear and shoe deodorizing spray in 1-, 4-, and 32-ounce bottles. Along with their plethora of waterproofing and gear detergent products, Nikwax makes a sandal wash. Dealing with week-old body odor is one thing but cheesy flip-flops and Chacos may be the worst smelling gear a dirtbag owns.
If you’re off on an adventure for weeks at a time your clothes are going to need a wash. And let’s be honest, laundromats are creepy and sad. Scrubba Bag, the portable washing machine, to the rescue. It’s essentially a medium sized dry bag with small raised rubber nubs on the inside. Dump your smelly clothes inside with some water and soap, rub around, rinse, and hang dry. I recommend having a bottle of Seventh Generation dish soap in your camp kit. It’s made from plants, USDA certified, hypoallergenic, and you can use it to wash your dishes, your clothes, and your gross armpits and greasy hair. Get the lavender kind. It smells awesome and makes me feel pretty.
Stop Stank Before It Starts
Ever notice how your Patagonia, La Sportiva, Arc’teryx, Salomon, or Buff gear doesn’t hold stink? Well, that’s because of Polygiene, an odor control technology that stops stank-causing bacteria from setting up shop in your outdoor kit. Multiple companies use this permanent treatment during the finishing stages of production. It’s guaranteed to keep your equipment yuck-free for the life of the garment. By all accounts, my Patagucci R1 hoodie should smell like a mixture of low tide and a diaper hamper. But it doesn’t because of science. Thanks, Polygiene.
Stinky gear is one thing, but you are the real problem. Yeah you, ya hippie. No, patchouli oil is not an option. Ya can’t use gross to cover up ew. RinseKit is a portable shower that has four minutes of garden hose pressure spray time. No pumping or batteries, just fill ’er up at a spigot or sink and you’re ready to spray down your gear and your gross, sweaty, dirty self. Bring a loofah to get sudsy, an old yoga mat to stand on, and maybe that tapestry from college for some privacy. Remember, smellin’ like Woodstock and French onion soup ain’t helpin’ nobody get radical outside.
Photo by D. Bjorn