When backpacking or even hiking, it is sometimes unknown when you will next be able to take a proper shower. For this reason many backpackers and hikers today carry wipes that can be used instead of a shower to clean them up and make them feel refreshed.
There are few things harder than getting motivated for a hard day’s hiking when you have not freshened up from the previous day’s endeavors and so the wipes, may not only allow you to feel clean and fresh but may also help to inspire you to greater goals. Always remember though that even when off the beaten track, litter is still litter, so dispose of the wipes responsibly and at appropriate times and places.
Obviously deciding which wipes to take with you is a personal choice but here are the top ten most popular wipes for backpacking, followed by reviews for each of them below:
1. Alcala Wipes for Backpacking
These individually wrapped, deodorized, biodegradable wipes are 100% bamboo with added Tea Tree oil. With a reasonable size of 10” x 10”, they are also priced affordably. Bamboo is used as it is known to be supple and soft on the skin and yet is able to absorb sweat and other moistures containing bacteria and germs, allowing your skin to become dry and clean.
The bamboo fibers are infused with cucumber, green tea, oat extract, aloe and chamomile which are beneficial in helping you feel clean and fresh.
- Cucumber – Helps Hydration
- Green Tea – Has anti-oxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
- Oat Extract – A natural cleanser that removes oil and dirt from the skin
- Aloe – As well as containing vitamins A and C, this is an excellent moisturizer, hydrating the skin
- Chamomile – This has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which help protect the skin
The size and strength of the wipes ensure only one is needed for a full-body refreshment.
2. Venture Wipes
These large individually wrapped wipes measure 12” x 12” and are biodegradable. They present good value for money as only one will be needed per freshen-up. The wipes are designed to moisturize and nourish the skin as well as just cleansing it.
The wipes also have slight texturing to ensure they can scrub away dirt whilst still being gentle on the skin. Each Venture wipe is infused with Vitamin-E, Aloe and Tea Tree oil.
- Vitamin-E – Supports both the immune system and health of the skin
- Aloe – Hydrates and moisturizes the skin as well as containing Vitamins A and C
- Tea Tree Oil – Reduces redness and inflammation
Made entirely from biodegradable fibers, these wipes are friendly for the environment.
Although these wipes are slightly more expensive, they are 4 x thicker than baby wipes and so designed strong for cleaning up instead of having to use a shower.
These wipes are individually wrapped, have a neutral scent and leave no residue on the body after being used. Free from alcohol and Parabens the wipes are infused with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to increase a fresh feel.
- Aloe Vera – Commonly used for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties it also contains Vitamins such as A and C
- Vitamin E – Promotes healthy skin and immune system
ShowerPill wipes are often used by organizations which assist people in areas of low water supplies.
4. Epic Wipes XL
Their cost may seem high but when you consider that each wipe, when unwrapped, measures 50 x 80cms (19.6 x 31.5ins) one is large enough to give you a thorough cleanup as if you had showered.
Made completely from Bamboo these wipes are environmentally friendly as well as being huge. An Epic Wipes XL is all-natural and the Bamboo is infused with eucalyptus oil to give a refreshing scent and also contains chamomile and calendula.
- Eucalyptus Oil – This has antiseptic qualities as well as a pleasant scent
- Chamomile – Soothing properties as well as being an antibiotic and antibacterial
- Calendula – An antifungal and anti-inflammatory which can also assist in healing rashes
These are considered to be the best by many people who do not mind the extra expense and weight.
5. Trailblazer Wipes for Backpacking
Sold in packs of 30, these Trailblazer wipes measure 13” x 7” and are biodegradable. Made with bamboo these wipes are suitable for an assortment of tasks in the outdoors. The bamboo fibers are infused with 100% natural oils to help you feel fresh and which include Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin E and Aloe Vera.
- Tea Tree Oil – Contains properties which reduce inflammation and redness
- Vitamin E – As well as helping to protect the immune system this vitamin also assists in keeping skin healthy
- Aloe Vera – Containing vitamins A and C these oils also are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
The moisture in these wipes helps to soothe and refresh and the resealable container keeps them stay moist.
6. DUDE Shower
Measuring 8” x 10”, the DUDE Shower wipes are designed for use by men in any outdoor situation or gym environment and so have been made tough with that in mind.
Being made by solar energy and saving water by not needing to shower, these wipes are eco-friendly. Although unscented these wipes are infused with Vitamin E and Aloe Vera in order to provide fresh cleanliness.
- Vitamin E – Known to help maintain the immune system and preserve healthy skin
- Aloe Vera – Contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidants as well as vitamins A and C
These wipes have been TSA approved and so can also be used for freshening up after a long flight.
7. Surviveware Wipes
With a size of 8” x 12” these wipes are very affordable and ideally suited for budget-oriented persons. What these wipes lack in size they make up for in moisture and so whilst their size allows them to be used for a multitude of tasks, their moisture is amble for a full body clean up.
Formulated to contain natural products and be scent free, these wipes are compatible for sensitive skin and are infused with Aloe and Vitamin E.
- Aloe – Contains vitamins A and C, is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant which helps to nourish and hydrate your skin
- Vitamin E – Assists in maintaining the health of your skin and immune system
The handy size of Surviveware Wipes ensures they can be used not only for cleaning your body but can also be used on cleaning clothes or other gear making them a useful addition in your backpack.
8. Bar-D Wipes
Sold in 3 packs of 10 (30), these wipes measure 8” x 10’ and can be used for a full body clean up. They can also easily be torn into smaller strips to cope with smaller tasks if necessary.
These wipes are made from 100% bamboo fibers they are environmentally friendly and the bamboo cleans dirt and grime 4 times faster than cotton. For a fresh clean feeling, the bamboo is infused with Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera.
- Tea Tree Oil – Reduces any inflammation
- Aloe Vera – A natural anti-inflammatory this also contains vitamins A and C and is a known antioxidant
These wipes leave the skin fresh and clean with a pleasant, natural tree scent.
9. Combat Wipes
These wipes have an impressive size of 7.1” x 8.3”. Although they may not be the largest wipes, they are designed for strength and durability and so will not rip or tear whilst being used.
As well as being biodegradable and safe for sensitive skin these wipes are also textured to ensure they remove more grime and dirt. Infused with Vitamin E and Aloe, they protect the skin and leave it hydrated.
- Vitamin E – Protects the health of the skin and assists in maintaining the immune system
- Aloe – This is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which also contains vitamins A and C
As these wipes are unscented and biodegradable, they can be buried without adverse effects on the environment or wildlife.
10. HyperGo Wipes
These wipes measure 10” x 10” and come in packs of 10 or 20. HyperGo Wipes certainly live up to their motto of “Anywhere, anytime” as they are infused with natural ingredients to ensure you can cleanse and freshen up your whole body in almost any situation. Specifically designed to remove grime and odor without leaving a greasy residue, these wipes contain Aloe, Honey and Oatmeal extracts.
- Aloe – Hydrates and nourishes the skin, contains vitamins A and C plus is an antioxidant and a natural anti-inflammatory
- Honey – Helps to moisturize and cleanse the skin plus is an antibacterial
- Oatmeal – This exfoliates and is a natural cleanser, removing oil as well as dirt
Not only are these wipes large but they are also strong and durable.
How to buy Wipes for Backpacking
These wipes should not be confused with wipes which some backpackers carry instead of toilet paper as those require different factors. For instance, wipes used in lieu of toilet paper are smaller and these wipes, due to their primary purpose, are difficult to tear into smaller pieces.
Also, the smaller wipes are usually unscented so that when they are buried they do not confuse any wildlife.
When selecting the brand of wipes you should carry with you, several factors should be considered and those are:
- Size – Most people prefer a size which can clean them all over without having to use several
- Strength – Once again you do not want to have to use more than one because the first one tore
- Effectiveness – Will they make you feel clean and fresh?
- Weight – Although they generally do not weigh much, when going long distances every ounce counts
- Cost – Cost is always a factor when backpacking but what price do you put on feeling clean and fresh on a regular basis?
These large wipes are designed specifically to replace a shower when one is not available or when someone is in a rush after a gym session. Although nothing can fully replace a shower with water and soap, the wipes do allow someone to at least feel clean and fresh and perhaps even smell better when in a hurry or in an isolated location.
How often wipes are used is up to the personal discretion of the user depending on their environment and their activities.
Although primarily designed for outdoor enthusiasts these types of wipes are becoming popular with aid organizations for use in areas where water supplies are limited and provide grateful relief to both the aid workers and the locals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many wipes state that they are biodegradable, how long do they take to decompose?
Depending on soil conditions but usually between 45 and 90 days. Please remember that although the wipes may be biodegradable, their packing may not be.
Can wipes be carried in carryon baggage when flying?
Some brands are TSA approved whilst others aren’t however, usually if they are carried in their unopened packaging they do not cause concerns but opened packages may attract closer attention.
Can wipes be used on hair?
Wipes are not designed to replace shampoo however most will make your hair feel fresher.
Is it safe to burn wipes?
Most wipes can be burned but it is perhaps worth remembering that when hiking or backpacking, no fires should be lit without prior consultation with the local authorities or fire department.
What is the shelf life on wipes?
Each brand differs but generally, most will be effective for several days out of its packaging and several months if left unopened.