Hygiene is crucial when overlanding or camping for several reasons, including personal health, comfort, and environmental impact. Maintaining good hygiene while outdoors can help prevent illness, infections, and unpleasant odors, as well as contribute to a more enjoyable and comfortable experience.
Table of Contents: The Overland Hygiene Guide
To ensure that your next overlanding trip is a pleasant one where you stay clean & healthy, we’ve assembled an in-depth guide to cover all your hygiene-related questions and share quite a few best practices.
- Overlanding Hygiene Best Practices, Tips & Tricks
- Overlanding Toiletries & Hygiene Accessories Checklist
- How Do You Stay Clean When Overlanding?
- How Do Overlanders Use The Bathroom?
- How Do Overlanders Shower?
- How Do Overlanders Do Laundry?
- How Do Overlanders Store / Dispose of Trash & Garbage?
- How Do Overlanders Store Their Food?
- How Do Overlanders Keep Food From Spoiling?
- Where Do You Get Water When Overlanding & Camping?
- How Do Overlanders Filter & Purify Water?
- How Do Overlanders Store Their Water?
- How To Prevent Mold in your Overland Camping Tent
- How To Prevent Mold in your Overlanding Vehicle
- How Do Overlanders Keep Their Vehicles Clean?
While we don’t want to seem negative about overlanding as a hobby, we strongly believe that anyone who wants to get into overlanding should also take a minute to consider the health risks & hazards they might be exposed to. Not to deter them from undertaking their first overlanding adventure, but to make sure it’s a fun one where they stay safe and healthy! By being aware of these risks and taking appropriate precautions, overlanders and campers can minimize potential health issues and enjoy their outdoor experiences more safely.
Why Overlanding Hygiene Is So Important
Here are some reasons why hygiene is important during overlanding or camping trips:
- Personal health: Good hygiene practices can help prevent the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause illness. This is particularly important when handling food, using shared facilities, or coming into contact with natural water sources.
- Comfort: Staying clean and maintaining personal hygiene can significantly improve your overall comfort while camping or overlanding. Regularly washing hands, face, and body can help you feel refreshed and prevent unpleasant odors.
- Infection prevention: Injuries, insect bites, and scratches can become infected if not properly cared for. Maintaining good hygiene can help prevent infections and promote faster healing.
- Environmental impact: Practicing responsible hygiene, such as using biodegradable soap, disposing of waste properly, and following Leave No Trace principles, helps minimize your impact on the environment and protect natural resources.
- Social considerations: Camping and overlanding often involve close-quarters interactions with fellow travelers. Maintaining good personal hygiene can help prevent the spread of germs and create a more pleasant atmosphere for everyone.
Overlanding Hygiene Best Practices
While some of these best practices might seem fairly obvious, hopefully you won’t feel patronized or offended – we just want to cover all bases and help you figure out some of the nitty-gritties behind overlanding. Who know, one of these basic best practices might just remind you to bring a nail clippers along.
- Handwashing: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before handling food, after using the restroom, and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces. If water is limited, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Personal grooming: Keep your hair, nails, and body clean by bathing regularly, using biodegradable soap, and water. Wet wipes can be a useful alternative for quick clean-ups when water is scarce.
- Oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and use dental floss or interdental brushes to maintain good oral health.
- Food safety: Store perishable food items in a cooler or refrigerator, cook food thoroughly, and wash your hands before and after handling food. Dispose of food waste properly to avoid attracting wildlife and pests.
- Dishwashing: Clean cooking utensils, dishes, and cutlery with biodegradable soap and water, ensuring they are thoroughly rinsed and dried before storage. Avoid washing dishes directly in natural water sources.
- Restroom hygiene: Use designated restroom facilities whenever possible. If not available, dig a “cathole” at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water sources, trails, and campsites for solid human waste. Pack out used toilet paper in a sealed bag.
- Menstrual hygiene: Pack appropriate menstrual hygiene products, such as tampons, pads, or menstrual cups, and dispose of them responsibly. Carry sealable bags to pack out used items.
- Clothing care: Wear moisture-wicking and quick-drying clothing, and change clothes regularly to prevent odor and bacteria buildup. Wash clothes with biodegradable soap and water when necessary, and dry them in the sun.
- Foot care: Keep your feet clean and dry by regularly washing them, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and allowing your shoes to air out. This can help prevent blisters, fungal infections, and foot odor.
- Insect protection: Use insect repellent, wear protective clothing, and use bug nets or screens to prevent insect bites and related illnesses.
- Campsite cleanliness: Keep your campsite clean and organized, disposing of trash in designated receptacles or packing it out. Follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize your environmental impact.
- First aid: Carry a well-stocked first aid kit and be prepared to treat minor injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, and insect bites, to prevent infection.
- Water purification: Treat water from natural sources by filtering, boiling, or using purification tablets or UV sterilizers to remove pathogens and contaminants.
- Avoid sharing personal items: To prevent the spread of germs, avoid sharing personal items like towels, toothbrushes, and eating utensils with others.
- Handkerchief or tissue usage: Always use a handkerchief or tissue when sneezing or coughing, and dispose of used tissues properly.
- Pet hygiene: If traveling with pets, clean up after them by disposing of their waste responsibly and maintaining their overall cleanliness.
In our full post available below we go into the best practices of overlanding hygiene while couping them with individual product recommendations and go deeper into issues such as insect protection and more, so that you’ll be ready for any situation – at least hygiene-wise.
Overlanding Toiletries & Hygiene Accessories Checklist
Here’s a list of some of the most useful toiletries to pack:
- Biodegradable soap: A versatile soap that can be used for washing your body, hair, dishes, and clothes without harming the environment.
- Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner: Smaller-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner to save space and weight in your luggage.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: Travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste, tooth powder, or chewable toothpaste tablets to maintain dental hygiene.
- Deodorant: Travel-sized or solid deodorant to help control body odor during long trips.
- Hand sanitizer: Alcohol-based hand sanitizer for quick and convenient hand cleaning, especially when water is scarce.
- Wet wipes: Biodegradable wet wipes for quick clean-ups, refreshing, and personal hygiene when water is limited.
- Toilet paper: Pack sufficient toilet paper for your trip, and consider bringing a sealable bag for packing out used toilet paper.
- Quick-drying towel: A lightweight, compact, and quick-drying towel for bathing and general hygiene purposes.
- Nail clippers and/or file: To maintain clean and trimmed nails, preventing potential hygiene and health issues.
- Razors or shaving cream: If shaving is a priority, pack travel-sized razors or shaving cream to maintain your preferred grooming routine.
- Hairbrush or comb: To keep hair tangle-free and promote scalp health.
- Facial cleanser or face wipes: Travel-sized facial cleanser or face wipes to keep your face clean and refreshed.
- Sunscreen: A broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Lip balm with SPF: To protect and moisturize your lips, especially in dry or sunny conditions.
- Reusable menstrual products or sanitary waste disposal bags: For female travelers, pack reusable menstrual products such as a menstrual cup or period panties, or bring sealable bags to pack out used sanitary products.
By packing these essential toiletries, you’ll be able to maintain cleanliness and comfort during your extended overlanding adventures.
For more useful information on what to pack and other concerns you might have (from showering to bathroom breaks), check out our full article on the topic:
How Do You Stay Clean When Overlanding?
Maintaining personal hygiene during overlanding or camping trips is essential for your overall well-being and comfort. While access to conventional amenities may be limited, there are several methods to stay clean and maintain good hygiene practices. In this guide, we will explore various approaches to personal cleanliness and hygiene during outdoor adventures.
Methods of Maintaining Personal Hygiene:
- Bathing and washing:
- Sponge bath: Use a damp cloth or sponge with mild soap to clean your body.
- Rinse-off bath: Pour water over your body using a portable shower, collapsible bucket, or even a water bottle with holes in the cap.
- Natural water sources: Bathe in rivers, lakes, or streams, but avoid using soap or other pollutants. Always follow Leave No Trace principles.
- Hand hygiene:
- Hand sanitizer: Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer for quick and convenient hand cleaning.
- Hand washing: Use biodegradable soap and water to wash your hands, especially before eating or handling food.
- Dental hygiene:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: Pack travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste, or consider using a tooth powder or chewable toothpaste tablets.
- Mouthwash: Use an alcohol-free mouthwash to freshen your breath and maintain oral hygiene.
- Hair care:
- Dry shampoo: Apply dry shampoo to absorb excess oils and keep hair feeling fresh.
- Hairbrush or comb: Regularly brush or comb your hair to prevent tangles and promote scalp health.
- Bandanas or hats: Use these to cover your hair and protect it from dirt and dust.
- Clothing and laundry:
- Quick-drying clothes: Pack moisture-wicking and quick-drying clothing to reduce the need for frequent laundering.
- Laundry: Hand wash clothes with biodegradable soap and water, or use a portable washing bag like the Scrubba Wash Bag.
- Air-drying: Hang clothes to dry using a portable clothesline or simply drape them over tree branches or rocks.
- Toilet etiquette:
- Portable toilet: Bring a portable toilet for use during your trip, or dig a cathole at least 200 feet away from water sources, trails, and campsites.
- Toilet paper alternatives: Consider using a reusable cloth, natural materials like smooth stones or leaves, or a portable bidet.
- Sanitary waste disposal: Pack out used toilet paper, sanitary products, and other waste in a sealed bag.
- Personal grooming:
- Nail care: Bring a nail clipper or file to maintain clean and trimmed nails.
- Tweezers: Useful for removing splinters, ticks, and other foreign objects.
- Wet wipes: Use biodegradable wet wipes for quick clean-ups and refreshing.
- Foot care:
- Clean socks: Change into clean socks daily to prevent foot odor and promote foot health.
- Air out footwear: Remove shoes and air them out whenever possible to reduce moisture and odor.
- Foot powder: Apply foot powder to keep feet dry and prevent fungal infections.
Maintaining personal hygiene during overlanding or camping trips is crucial for your comfort and well-being. By employing the various methods discussed in this guide, you can stay clean and feel refreshed throughout your outdoor adventures, ensuring a more enjoyable experience overall.
How Do Overlanders Use The Bathroom?
Overlanders use various methods to manage their bathroom needs while on the road, depending on their personal preferences, the type of vehicle they have, and the availability of facilities in the areas they are traveling. Here are some common ways overlanders handle bathroom situations:
- Public restrooms: When available, overlanders may use restrooms at gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, or other public facilities. This is often the most convenient and comfortable option.
- Portable toilets: Some overlanders carry portable toilets, such as chemical toilets or camping toilets, in their vehicles. These toilets consist of a seat, a holding tank for waste, and sometimes a flushing mechanism. After use, the waste can be disposed of at designated dump stations or taken to a proper waste disposal facility.
- Bucket-style toilets: A simple and budget-friendly option is a bucket-style toilet, which consists of a 5-gallon bucket fitted with a toilet seat lid. Waste is collected in a plastic bag, which can be sealed and disposed of properly. To reduce odor and make cleanup easier, some overlanders use absorbent materials like kitty litter or sawdust in the bag.
- Folding or collapsible toilets: Lightweight and compact, folding or collapsible toilets are designed for easy transport and storage. They typically consist of a foldable frame with a seat and a removable waste bag.
- Cathole: In remote areas without facilities, overlanders may need to dig a cathole in the ground to bury their waste. A cathole should be at least 6-8 inches deep and located at least 200 feet away from water sources, trails, and campsites. After use, the hole should be filled in and covered to minimize environmental impact.
- Urine bottles: For those who do not want to leave their vehicle during the night or in unfavorable weather, using a wide-mouthed bottle with a tight-sealing lid can be a convenient solution for urination. The bottle should be emptied and cleaned regularly.
- Biodegradable bags: In some situations, overlanders may choose to use biodegradable bags designed for human waste disposal. These bags often contain chemicals that break down waste and neutralize odors. Once used, the bags can be buried in a cathole or packed out for proper disposal, depending on local regulations.
Regardless of the method chosen, it’s essential to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer, and to adhere to Leave No Trace principles to minimize environmental impact. Proper waste disposal is crucial to protect the environment and maintain the cleanliness of the areas visited during an overlanding trip.
To find out more about overlanding & bathroom options / hygiene, read our in-depth post which covers various types of portable toilets and installable solutions plus various nature-friendly “hacks” to ensure that your bathroom breaks are not a deal breaker for your next adventure.
How Do Overlanders Shower?
Showering while overlanding can be a bit of a challenge, but there are several options available depending on your preferences, location, and available facilities. Here are some ways to shower when overlanding:
- Public facilities: When accessible, overlanders can make use of showers at campgrounds, RV parks, truck stops, or recreational centers. These facilities often provide hot water and a comfortable place to clean up.
- Portable camping showers: Many overlanders carry portable camping showers, which consist of a water container, a hose, and a showerhead. These showers can be heated by solar energy or connected to a propane stove or vehicle’s heating system. They can be hung from a tree or mounted on a vehicle, providing a convenient and private shower option.
- Solar showers: A solar shower is a bag made of heat-absorbing material that is filled with water and left in the sun to warm up. After a few hours, the water can reach a comfortable temperature for showering. Solar showers typically come with a hose and a nozzle, making them an easy and eco-friendly option.
- Battery-powered showers: These portable showers use a small, battery-powered pump to draw water from a container and push it through a showerhead. The water can be heated beforehand or left at ambient temperature, depending on your preference.
- DIY vehicle shower systems: Some overlanders create custom shower systems integrated into their vehicles. These can include built-in water tanks, water heaters, and showerheads mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. These setups can provide hot showers and privacy with the use of a shower tent or a privacy screen.
- Wet wipes or sponge baths: In situations where shower facilities or water is scarce, overlanders can use wet wipes or a damp cloth for sponge baths to clean themselves. Biodegradable, unscented wet wipes designed for camping are a practical option for a quick and water-efficient cleanup.
- Natural water sources: When in remote locations, overlanders may use rivers, lakes, or streams to bathe. It’s essential to use biodegradable soap and keep a safe distance (at least 200 feet) from the water source to minimize the impact on the environment.
Regardless of the shower method chosen, it’s crucial to be mindful of water conservation and the environment. Overlanders should use biodegradable soaps, practice good hygiene, and adhere to Leave No Trace principles to ensure they minimize their impact on the areas they visit.
How Do Overlanders Do Laundry?
Overlanders have several options for doing laundry while on the road, depending on their location, resources, and preferences. Here are some common methods for managing laundry during an overlanding trip:
- Laundromats: When available, laundromats provide a convenient and efficient way to do laundry. Overlanders can often find laundromats in larger towns or cities, near campgrounds, or at some truck stops.
- Campground facilities: Some campgrounds and RV parks offer laundry facilities for their guests. These facilities can be coin-operated or require tokens, so it’s a good idea to have some change on hand.
- Handwashing: In situations where laundry facilities are not available or not convenient, overlanders can handwash their clothes using a bucket or a sink. A small amount of biodegradable soap and water is used to wash the clothes, which are then rinsed and wrung out before hanging them up to dry.
- Portable washing machines: Some overlanders carry portable washing machines, which are compact, lightweight, and manually operated. These devices typically require minimal water and can be an effective way to clean clothes when facilities are not available.
- Scrubba Wash Bag: The Scrubba Wash Bag is a popular product among overlanders for its compact size and effectiveness. The bag has an internal washboard-like surface that helps to scrub clothes clean when filled with water and a small amount of soap. After washing, the bag can be rolled up and stored easily.
- Washing clothes in natural water sources: Some overlanders may choose to wash their clothes in rivers, lakes, or streams. If using this method, it’s essential to use biodegradable soap and keep a safe distance (at least 200 feet) from the water source to minimize environmental impact.
- Planning and packing: Many overlanders plan their clothing choices and packing strategies to minimize the need for laundry. Quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and odor-resistant materials can help extend the time between washes. Packing enough clothing for an extended period can also help reduce the frequency of laundry days.
Regardless of the method chosen, it’s essential for overlanders to practice good hygiene and be mindful of their impact on the environment. Using biodegradable soaps, conserving water, and adhering to Leave No Trace principles can help ensure that overlanders minimize their footprint while staying clean and comfortable on the road.
How Do Overlanders Store & Dispose of Trash
Proper trash storage and disposal are crucial for overlanders to minimize their impact on the environment and maintain the cleanliness of the areas they visit. Here are some tips on how to store and manage trash while overlanding:
- Separate trash and recyclables: Use separate bags or containers for trash and recyclables. This makes it easier to dispose of waste properly when you reach a disposal facility or recycling center.
- Heavy-duty trash bags: Use heavy-duty trash bags to contain waste and prevent leaks. Choose bags with drawstrings or other secure closures to minimize odors and keep pests away.
- Trasharoo or similar products: A popular option among overlanders is the Trasharoo, a heavy-duty, weather-resistant bag designed to attach to the outside of a spare tire or the rear of a vehicle. This keeps trash separated from living and food storage areas, reducing smells and the risk of attracting pests.
- Sealable containers: Use sealable plastic containers or ziplock bags to store waste that may produce strong odors, such as food scraps or used hygiene products. This helps to keep smells contained and discourages pests from being attracted to your trash.
- Minimize waste production: To reduce the amount of trash generated, try to minimize packaging and single-use items. Opt for reusable or eco-friendly alternatives, such as reusable water bottles, utensils, and shopping bags.
- Regularly dispose of trash: Whenever possible, dispose of your trash in designated waste receptacles or at disposal facilities. This helps to prevent trash from accumulating in your vehicle and reduces the risk of attracting pests.
- Secure your trash: When storing trash outside your vehicle or at a campsite, make sure it’s secured to prevent it from being scattered by wind or animals. Hang trash bags from a tree or use a bear-resistant container when camping in areas with wildlife.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles: Adhere to Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and waste, leaving the areas you visit clean and undisturbed.
By properly storing and disposing of trash, overlanders can minimize their impact on the environment and maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the areas they explore.
How Do Overlanders Store Their Food?
The Most Popular Food Storage Solution: Coolers
There are many types of food storage containers and they all have their pros and cons. Here, we’ll go over each one so you can choose which one is right for your needs. Coolers are great because they keep things cold but they’re not airtight, so if there’s any moisture in your cooler (like condensation), it can seep into the food and make it spoil faster than if it were stored in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag. If you want to use a cooler for long-term storage, make sure that no water gets into the food by keeping it away from open windows or doors where rain could get inside!
In a Nutshell: Overlanders & Food Storage
Overlanders and campers store their food using a variety of methods and equipment to ensure it remains fresh, safe, and protected from wildlife. Some common food storage practices include:
- Coolers and portable refrigerators: Insulated coolers are used to store perishable items like meat, dairy, and other temperature-sensitive foods. Portable refrigerators, which run on 12V or 24V power sources, are also popular among overlanders for keeping food cold for extended periods.
- Airtight containers: Dry foods, such as pasta, rice, and cereals, can be stored in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to keep them fresh and protected from insects and moisture.
- Bear-resistant containers: In areas with bears or other wildlife, it’s essential to store food in bear-resistant containers to prevent animals from accessing it. These containers are made of hard, durable materials and have a locking mechanism that is difficult for animals to open.
- Hanging food: Another method to protect food from wildlife is to hang it in a tree or other high structures using a rope or cord. The food should be placed in a sturdy bag and hung at least 10-12 feet above the ground and 4-6 feet away from tree trunks or branches to make it difficult for animals to reach.
- Organized storage systems: Overlanders often use specially designed storage systems, such as cargo drawers, shelving, or storage boxes, to keep their
Food Storage Best Practices
There are a few best practices for storing food that will make your journey more enjoyable.
Keep it fresh: Food can be stored for up to three years if you keep it in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight. However, it’s best to use your food as soon as possible so that it doesn’t go bad before you get around to using it.
Store properly: If you’re going off-grid or just want peace of mind when storing your food, then using an airtight container or vacuum sealer is essential. This prevents moisture from getting into the package and causing mold growth on any exposed surfaces (which can happen even in an airtight container).
Also be sure not to store anything near any heat sources such as stoves or ovens–this will cause condensation inside the packaging which could lead to spoilage over time!
How Do Overlanders Keep Food From Spoiling?
Overlanders take several measures to keep their food from spoiling while on the road. Here are some common strategies to ensure the freshness and safety of food during overlanding trips:
- Use coolers or portable refrigerators: Insulated coolers filled with ice or ice packs help maintain a low temperature for perishable items like meat, dairy, and vegetables. Portable refrigerators or fridge/freezers, which run on 12V or 24V power sources, can be more effective for longer trips since they can maintain consistent temperatures without the need for ice.
- Choose non-perishable foods: Overlanders often stock up on non-perishable items like canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, and dehydrated or freeze-dried meals, which have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration.
- Pack food in airtight containers: Dry foods like pasta, rice, and cereals can be stored in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to keep them fresh and protected from insects and moisture.
- Proper food handling and hygiene: Practice good food handling and hygiene by washing hands and surfaces before preparing food, separating raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination, and cooking food to the proper temperature to kill any harmful bacteria.
- Consume perishables first: Plan meals around perishable items, so they are consumed before they spoil. It’s essential to monitor expiration dates and the condition of perishable foods, discarding any items that appear spoiled or unsafe to eat.
- Keep food out of direct sunlight: Store food in cool, shaded areas to prevent exposure to direct sunlight, which can cause spoilage and increase the risk of foodborne illness.
By following these practices, overlanders can significantly reduce the risk of food spoilage during their trips, ensuring they have access to fresh, safe, and nutritious meals. Additional tips include:
- Rotate your food: Regularly check and rotate your food supplies, so the oldest items are consumed first. This helps to minimize spoilage and waste.
- Control humidity and ventilation: Keep your food storage area dry and well-ventilated to prevent mold and mildew growth. You can use moisture absorbers, such as silica gel packs, to help control humidity.
- Use vacuum-sealed packaging: Vacuum-sealing food can help extend its shelf life by removing air from the packaging, which slows down oxidation and bacterial growth. This method is particularly useful for storing meats, cheeses, and other perishable items.
- Freeze or pre-cook meals: Preparing and freezing meals before the trip can help preserve food for longer periods. When it’s time to eat, simply reheat the meal using a portable stove or campfire.
- Monitor food temperature: If you’re using a cooler or portable refrigerator, regularly check the temperature to ensure it is at a safe level (below 40°F or 4°C) to minimize the risk of food spoilage.
By implementing these strategies, overlanders can keep their food fresh and safe for consumption during their travels, allowing them to enjoy their adventures in a healthy and safe way. These practices not only minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses but also help overlanders save money by reducing food waste.
Where Do You Get Water When Overlanding & Camping?
Water is essential when overlanding or camping, not only for drinking but also cooking and cleaning. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but having access to clean drinking water is also beneficial. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to obtain water when overlanding or camping. Let’s explore some of the best options to consider.
Methods of Obtaining Water:
- Natural sources:
- Rivers, streams, and lakes: Collect water from flowing sources when possible, as it is less likely to be contaminated compared to stagnant water.
- Rainwater: Harvest rainwater using tarps, rain catchment systems, or even pots and pans.
- Snow and ice: Melt snow and ice for drinking water, but avoid consuming it directly as it can lower your core body temperature.
- Man-made sources:
- Public water facilities: Refill at established campsites, gas stations, or ranger stations.
- Water wells: Locate wells using maps or GPS coordinates and ensure the water is safe for consumption.
- Potable water vendors: In some regions, vendors sell water in bulk, which can be a convenient option.
- Water purification:
- Boiling: Boil water for at least one minute to kill bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
- Filtration: Use a portable water filter or purification system to remove impurities.
- Chemical treatment: Use water purification tablets or drops to treat the water.
Recommendations for Safe Water Storage:
- Choose appropriate containers:
- BPA-free plastic containers: Ensure the containers are designed for water storage and are safe for long-term use.
- Stainless steel containers: Opt for food-grade stainless steel as it is durable and resistant to corrosion.
- Keep containers clean and sanitized:
- Wash containers with soap and water before use.
- Sanitize containers with a bleach solution (1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 quart of water) and rinse thoroughly.
- Store water in a cool, dark place:
- Avoid direct sunlight to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria.
- Store containers away from gasoline, pesticides, or other chemicals to prevent contamination.
- Rotate stored water:
- Rotate your water supply every six months to maintain freshness.
- Monitor water quality:
- Inspect containers for leaks, cracks, or damage.
- Smell and taste the water to ensure it hasn’t gone bad.
When overlanding or camping for extended periods of time, having access to clean and safe drinking water is vital. By employing various water collection methods, using appropriate purification techniques, and following proper storage practices, you can ensure you and your fellow adventurers stay hydrated and healthy throughout your journey.
How Do Overlanders Filter & Purify Water?
Access to clean and safe drinking water is crucial during overlanding and camping trips. While various methods of water collection are available, it’s important to ensure the water is filtered and purified before consumption. In this guide, we will discuss different ways to filter water and provide recommendations for portable water filters that are suitable for outdoor adventures.
Methods of Water Filtration:
- Gravity filters:
- Use gravity to pull water through a filter element.
- Ideal for large groups, as they can filter high volumes of water with minimal effort.
- Easy to set up and typically require little maintenance.
- Pump filters:
- Require manual pumping to force water through the filter.
- Effective in filtering water from shallow sources, like puddles or small streams.
- Can be labor-intensive, especially when filtering large volumes of water.
- Squeeze filters:
- Water is forced through the filter element by squeezing a soft container or pouch.
- Lightweight and compact, making them ideal for backpacking and solo trips.
- Can be slow to filter water and may require regular maintenance.
- Straw filters:
- Filter water directly as you drink through a specialized straw.
- Extremely lightweight and portable.
- Limited in terms of filtration capacity and better suited for personal use.
- Bottle filters:
- Integrated filter within a water bottle.
- Convenient for on-the-go hydration and filtering water from various sources.
- Filter lifespan and replacement can vary depending on the model.
- Ultraviolet (UV) purifiers:
- Use UV light to neutralize bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in water.
- Effective and quick method of water treatment.
- Relies on batteries or solar power for operation and may not remove sediment or chemical contaminants.
Water filtration is essential during overlanding or camping adventures to ensure you have access to clean and safe drinking water. By understanding the various filtration methods and selecting a portable water filter that best suits your needs, you can stay hydrated and healthy throughout your journey.
To find out more about water filtering and purification, check out our complete guide, coupled with product recommendations that you’ll find extremely useful in your next overlanding trip.
How do Overlanders Store Their Water?
Overlanders store water using various containers and storage systems to ensure they have an adequate supply for drinking, cooking, and hygiene needs during their trips. Some common water storage options for overlanders include:
- Jerry cans: These durable, rectangular containers are designed to carry and store liquids, including water. They come in various sizes, typically ranging from 5 to 20 liters, and are made of food-grade plastic or metal. Jerry cans are popular among overlanders due to their sturdy construction and stackable design.
- Collapsible water containers: These containers are made from flexible, food-grade materials and can be folded or rolled up when not in use, making them a space-saving option. They come in various sizes, usually between 5 and 20 liters, and often have built-in handles and spouts for easy pouring.
- Water bladders or bags: Water bladders or bags are made from flexible, food-grade materials and can be filled with water to provide a lightweight and compact storage solution. They usually have a hose or spout for easy access to the water and can be hung or placed in a backpack.
- Built-in water tanks: Some overlanders choose to install custom or aftermarket built-in water tanks in their vehicles. These tanks can hold larger quantities of water and are often made from durable materials like stainless steel or food-grade plastic.
- Water bottles and hydration systems: For personal hydration, overlanders often carry reusable water bottles or hydration systems, such as hydration bladders or reservoirs, which can be easily refilled from larger water containers or natural sources.
How to Prevent Mold in your Overland Camping Tent
If you want to prevent mold from forming in your tent, there are a few things you can do. First and foremost: use dehumidifiers. These will help remove excess moisture from the air and keep it dry. If this isn’t an option for you, then try using air conditioners instead of fans when possible. Fans circulate air more quickly than AC units do, which means they will cause more evaporation from surfaces like sleeping bags and pillows if left on overnight during hot weather–and that’s bad news for mold spores!
But let’s look at mold prevention step by step to ensure you don’t have to deal with it ever:
- Choose the Right Spot for Your Tent
The location where you set up your tent plays a crucial role in mold prevention. Avoid pitching your tent in damp, low-lying areas or near water sources, as these spots are more prone to moisture buildup. Instead, look for higher, well-draining ground with good airflow to keep your tent dry and well-ventilated.
- Ventilation is Key
Proper ventilation is essential for preventing mold growth in your tent. Both ground tents and rooftop tents should have mesh windows or vents to allow for airflow. During the day, open up the tent’s doors and windows to let fresh air circulate and any moisture evaporate. If it’s raining, make sure to use your rainfly properly, allowing for adequate airflow while keeping the rain out.
- Dry Your Tent Thoroughly
Mold loves moisture, so it’s crucial to dry your tent thoroughly after each use. Before packing it away, make sure to air it out and let it dry completely. If you’re unable to do this at your campsite, set up the tent once you’re home to let it dry in the sun. Storing a damp tent will inevitably lead to mold and mildew growth.
- Clean Your Tent Regularly
Cleaning your tent regularly is essential for preventing mold and keeping it fresh. After each trip, give your tent a good shake to remove any dirt and debris. Use a mild soap and water solution to clean any visible stains or dirt from the tent’s fabric, and then rinse it thoroughly with clean water. Remember to let the tent dry completely before storing it away.
- Store Your Tent Properly
Proper storage is crucial for mold prevention. Make sure your tent is completely dry before packing it away. Store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, which can damage the fabric. If possible, avoid compressing the tent too tightly during storage, as this can trap moisture and encourage mold growth.
- Treat Your Tent with Mold-Resistant Products
Consider using mold-resistant treatments on your tent’s fabric to prevent mold growth. Many tents come with mold-resistant coatings, but you can also purchase aftermarket products to treat your tent. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and reapply as needed to maintain the tent’s mold-resistant properties.
- Inspect Your Tent Regularly
Finally, make it a habit to inspect your tent so you can spot the issues as soon as possible.
How To Prevent Mold In Your Overlanding Vehicle
Here are some tips to help prevent mold growth in your overlanding vehicle or RV:
- Maintain proper ventilation: Ensure that your vehicle has adequate ventilation by opening windows, vents, or using a roof vent fan to circulate fresh air and reduce humidity levels.
- Use a dehumidifier: A portable dehumidifier can help remove excess moisture from the air, especially in more humid climates or during extended periods of rain.
- Avoid creating excess moisture: Cooking, showering, and even breathing can produce moisture inside your vehicle. Use lids on pots while cooking, and if possible, cook outside. Crack a window or use an exhaust fan while showering to let moisture escape.
- Dry wet items before storing: Dry clothes, towels, or other wet items before storing them in your vehicle to avoid introducing excess moisture.
- Check for leaks: Regularly inspect your vehicle’s roof, windows, doors, and plumbing for leaks, and fix any issues promptly to prevent water intrusion.
- Use moisture-absorbing products: Desiccant products like silica gel or damp-rid can help absorb excess moisture and maintain a drier environment.
- Clean and dry spills promptly: If you spill liquids or notice condensation, clean and dry the affected area immediately to prevent mold growth.
- Inspect and clean regularly: Regularly inspect your vehicle for signs of mold or mildew, and clean surfaces with a mildew-resistant cleaner. Pay close attention to hidden areas like under mattresses, in cabinets, and around windows.
- Store food properly: Keep food in airtight containers to prevent mold growth, and regularly check for spoilage.
- Maintain proper temperature: Mold tends to grow in cooler temperatures. By maintaining a slightly warmer interior temperature, you can help inhibit mold growth.
By following these preventative measures and maintaining a clean, well-ventilated, and dry environment, you can minimize the risk of mold growth in your overlanding vehicle or RV, ensuring a healthier and more enjoyable living space.
How Do Overlanders Keep Their Vehicles Clean?
Before you begin cleaning your vehicle, gather all of the supplies that you’ll need. You’ll want to remove all items from the vehicle and vacuum its interior thoroughly. Then wipe down any surfaces with a damp cloth or paper towel to remove dirt and grime.
Cleaning the Interior
- Wipe down all surfaces. The interior of your vehicle is likely to get dirty and grimy from time to time, so it’s important to keep it clean. Wipe down the seats and floors with a damp cloth or towel, then dry them with another towel.
- Clean windows and mirrors. While you’re wiping down the interior of your vehicle, you may want to clean any windows or mirrors that need attention as well–they can get dusty pretty quickly! If there are any smudges on either surface, use a microfiber cloth (or newspaper) dipped in water mixed with one teaspoon of liquid dish detergent (not soap) per quart of water; wipe away smudges until they’re gone; then dry off excess moisture with another microfiber cloth or newspaper before moving onto another section of glass/mirror.*
- Clean leather seats.* For leather seats: use saddle soap every few weeks during overlanding trips if needed; this will help keep them supple while also protecting them from dirt buildup caused by driving through mud or other potentially messy conditions.* Condition fabric upholstery regularly.* For fabric upholstery: apply conditioner once every six months during camping trips if necessary; this helps prevent fading due to UV exposure
- Use a portable vacuum cleaner. A portable vacuum cleaner is a great tool to have when you’re camping or overlanding. It can be used to clean up dirt and debris from the seats, floor mats, and carpeting. Most portable vacuum cleaners are designed to run off of your vehicle’s power supply (12V), so you don’t need to worry about finding an electrical outlet.
- Bring a handheld steam cleaner. A handheld steam cleaner is a great tool to have when you’re camping or overlanding. It can be used to clean up spills, stains, and other messes. Most handheld steam cleaners are designed to run off of your vehicle’s power supply (12V), so you don’t need to worry about finding an electrical outlet.
- Keep a microfiber towel handy. A microfiber towel is a great tool to have when you’re cleaning your vehicle. It can be used to wipe down surfaces, dry off spills, and clean up messes. Microfiber towels are designed to absorb water and dirt, so they’re great for cleaning up messes quickly and easily.
- Use a car air freshener. A car air freshener is a great tool to have when you’re camping or overlanding. It can be used to eliminate odors from your vehicle, such as cigarette smoke, food smells, and pet odors. Most car air fresheners are designed to be hung from your rearview mirror or placed in your cup holder.
- Avoid eating in your vehicle. Eating in your vehicle can lead to spills, stains, and other messes. If you must eat in your vehicle, try to keep food and drinks in sealed containers and use a tray or placemat to catch spills.
- Use a seat cover. A seat cover is a great tool to have when you’re camping or overlanding. It can be used to protect your seats from dirt, debris, and spills. Most seat covers are designed to be easy to install and remove, so you can take them off and wash them as needed.
- Bring a portable trash can. A portable trash can is a great tool to have when you’re camping or overlanding. It can be used to collect trash and other waste, such as food wrappers, paper towels, and empty water bottles. Most portable trash cans are designed to be compact and easy to store when not in use.
- Use a windshield sun shade. A windshield sun shade is a great tool to have when you’re camping or overlanding. It can be used to block out sunlight and heat, which can help keep your vehicle cool and comfortable. Most windshield sun shades are designed to be easy to install and remove, so you can take them off and store them as needed.
Cleaning and maintaining cleanliness in your vehicle while overlanding and camping is essential for your health, enjoyment, and the longevity of your vehicle. With the right tools and a little bit of effort, you can keep your vehicle clean and tidy no matter where your travels take you. Remember to pack a cleaning kit and to take breaks to clean up spills and messes as they happen. Happy trails!
Overlanding Health Risks & Hazards 101
While overlanding and camping are generally enjoyable experiences, they do come with certain health risks. Some common health risks encountered during these activities include:
- Dehydration: Due to increased physical activity and exposure to sun and wind, dehydration is a common concern. It is essential to drink plenty of water and monitor your fluid intake to avoid dehydration-related issues.
- Foodborne illnesses: Consuming spoiled or improperly stored food can lead to food poisoning or other foodborne illnesses. Proper food storage, handling, and preparation are crucial to minimize this risk.
- Insect-borne diseases: Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and malaria. Using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and using insect-proof tents or shelters can help reduce the risk.
- Waterborne illnesses: Drinking untreated or contaminated water can result in waterborne illnesses such as giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, or cholera. Always filter or purify water before consumption.
- Altitude sickness: Camping or overlanding at high altitudes can cause altitude sickness, which may manifest as headache, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Acclimatize gradually and be aware of your limits to minimize the risk.
- Sunburn and heat-related illnesses: Overexposure to the sun can lead to sunburn, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke. Use sun protection measures like sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats, and take breaks in the shade to stay cool.
- Hypothermia and frostbite: In cold environments, there is a risk of hypothermia or frostbite. Dress in layers, wear appropriate clothing, and stay dry to prevent these cold-related issues.
- Injuries and accidents: Outdoor activities can lead to injuries like sprains, fractures, or cuts. Be prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit and know basic first aid procedures.
- Exposure to wildlife: Encounters with wildlife can pose risks, such as snake bites, animal attacks, or exposure to zoonotic diseases. Keep a safe distance from wild animals, store food properly, and know how to react in case of an encounter.
- Mental health challenges: Being in remote areas for extended periods can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, or depression. Maintain open communication with your travel companions, practice self-care, and seek help if needed.
By being aware of these risks and taking appropriate precautions, overlanders and campers can minimize potential health issues and enjoy their outdoor experiences more safely.