When it comes to bug out bags and survival, hygiene isn’t one of the most sexy topics. But it might be one of the most important categories to have covered when it comes to survival.
Think for a moment about all the things we take for granted in our daily lives:
- Running water
- Indoor plumbing
- Trash pick up services
- Clean clothing
- Home cleaning supplies
- Toilet paper
When you find yourself in an emergency situation where you have to bug out to a safe location, your access to these items will be limited to what you carry with you.
If you go more then a few days without a way to keep yourself clean, you are going to wish you had packed a some hygiene products.
But hygiene extends far beyond surface cleanliness. In a disaster situation (especially a long term issue), it’s important that you be able to keep germs at bay in order to stay healthy and fully functional.
Wet wipes are a great multi-use item. After being in the woods for a few days, you will not believe how much better you will feel by just using a few wet wipes to clean your body. They can also be used to clean up after you go to the bathroom, and will help to kill germs.
If you are in a situation water is scare, being able to save your supplies for drinking while using wet wipes for cleaning can be a huge plus.
Make sure you purchase wet wipes that are specifically for using on your skin. You can find cleaning and polishing wet wipes for just about every household surface now. You don’t want to go this route as the chemicals will be irritating to your skin.
If you aren’t sure what to get or where to look, hit up the diaper section at your local grocery store.
Hand sanitizer is cheap and can kill up to 99.9% of the germs it comes into contact with. Your skin is a giant organ, so just as you purify your water before you drink it, keeping your hands clean when you handle food or cooking implements is just as important.
Like wet wipes, hand sanitizer doesn’t require you to use up your water supplies to be effective. You can even disinfect small cuts and scrapes with it.
Because it is made up of mostly alcohol, it is very useful as a firestarting fuel source as well. It will even perform this function in damp or rainy conditions.
Wet wipes and hand sanitizer can perform a number of quicky cleaning functions, but at some point you are going to need some good old fashioned soap. Carry a bar of soap in a ziplock bag in your kit for jobs like cleaning wounds, cleaning cooking items, bathing and clothes washing.
A single bar of soap should be more than enough to get you through multiple day. Even a hotel sized bar will be sufficient. Alternatively, you could go a little more high tech and pack space-saving “soap sheets.”
Coleman makes small, biodegradable sheets that dissolve instantly to produce a soapy lather. These are super convenient for washing a pot, or just cleaning your hands. You can save the larger bag for bigger tasks.
We recommend that you carry at least two microfiber towels. Regular cotton towels are bulky, heavy and take an age to dry out completely.
You can carry a smaller microfiber towel that can do the same amount of work as a bigger towel…but take up less space and dry more quickly. We recommend getting 12″x24″ towels.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
You could certainly make it 72 hours or more without a toothbrush, but considering how little room they take up it’s worth the morale boost to have them in your bag. If you are really worried about space, you can cut down the handle on your toothbrush to make it smaller. You will want to have these in a small ziplock bag to keep the brush head clean.
Dental floss is another item you might want to pack. In addition to it’s dental purposes, it can also be useful to lash items together.
Deodorant is another optional item like toothpaste. But again, why stink to high heaven when you don’t have to. Pack a travel size stick in your hygiene kit and call it a day.
Unless you are wanting to go primitive by using leaves for post-bathroom clean up duties, you’ll want to have an ample supply in your bag. You can get pre-packed camping toilet paper rolls, but it’s just as easy to make a DIY pack with a ziplock.
Pull the inner cardboard tube out of a roll of toilet paper, put the toilet paper in a ziplock bag, and pack it in your hygiene kit.
Women and children have other hygiene considerations that must be accounted for in their bug out bags. Be sure to pack ample diapers, wipes, feminine products, etc. as needed.
You’ll have to revisit your bag every few months if you have young children as they will quickly change diaper sizes. Pack disposable diapers, you won’t want to have to mess with cloth diapers during your 72 hour bug out.
If you are a female taking this course, you have a much better idea of what you need here than we do 🙂
Guys, if you are packing a bag for your significant other, be sure to inquire as to what you need to include for them.
Bug Out Bag
Get Home Bag
Make a small kit to keep everything together, but make your wet wipes and hand sanitizer easy to get to, so you don’t have to dig in your pack to find them. You might want to have some redundancy here. Keep a set of wipes and hand sanitizer in your hygiene kit, and have a duplicate set in a more easy to reach area of your bag.