Camp Hygiene

It vital that you do all that you can to ensure your health as well as the health of those around you by strictly following proper hygienic guidelines, including while administering first aid.

This will help prevent disease and illness from overcoming anyone in an already difficult situation.

It isn't always brought up when you study wilderness survival, however fecal matter on your hands in the woods or in the city it's the same crap (pardon the pun), and isn't something you want to put indirectly into your mouth through someone not washing their hands after a bowel movement and preparing your food, as an example.

I won't get into great details here, but I will provide you with links to be able to do more research on the subject. Take this one from Medicinal News Today that shows that only a small percentage of the population tested wash their hands correctly, and that there are some that don' wash their hands at all!

I knew this before this article but it is disgusting how some people are pigs. I have witnessed it many times in the men's room in different establishments, of men simply leaving without passing by the sink first. A friend I had in the past said she witnessed it as well on her side for women's rooms.

Do people actually think they are cleaner than the rest of us who take the time to wash our hands? Or do they simply think that they didn't touch anything unclean on themselves because they used toilet paper?

What's in the minds of these sorts of people who do this, then go about touching door handles, food, and a plethora of other things that others will touch, eat or otherwise use that can lead to them getting an infection? This occurs because the innocent person had come along and they touched a contaminated surface and perhaps rubbed their eyes, or they ate the food prepared by someone with dirty hands. There are many other examples of the different ways things can play out as well.

Hint for men and women: Consider anything from the front to the back where your private parts are as being unclean and if you touch that area even with toilet paper, that you need to properly wash your hands. Also, if you have a cold or other contagious issue that can be transmitted through dirty hands, THEN WASH THEM!

There are things that each person must do, as well as the group as a whole if in a group. Use common sense.

Here is a list of some of things to illustrate and there are others.

1. When you go to the bathroom wash your hands, whether to urinate or defecate. Believe it or not, not everyone washes their hands or they do not wash properly. This is a perfect method of contaminating others so WASH YOUR HANDS, PROPERLY!

2. Do not contaminate your water supply by urinating or defecting in the source of your water supply.

3. Do your business at least 100 meters away from any water sources and your camp. Many sources cite different distances.

4. Dig catholes for individual use if solo, or a larger latrine pit for a group. Put up a barrier of some kind so that there will be privacy. ALL must use the latrine. Cover it properly to avoid that flies and animals get to the contents. Otherwise flies can walk on the fecal matter then fly and land on your food, contaminating it. Make a seat of some sort or hold on to a tree if the pit was placed nearby, squat and defecate. Many methods are available to make it comfortable to use the pit latrine.

5. Avoid using another persons plate, cup or utensils. Mark all of these to avoid accidentally using another's implements.

6. Be careful when serving people food on their plates, that the container does not contact their plate. Be aware of cross-contaminating foods through improper handling thereof. Think, and plan before doing anything. Teach the group that it is for the good of all to comply with these simple rules.

7. If in an exodus due to war or other major crisis, if there are people camped upstream from you, they might not follow proper hygienic guidelines, and contaminate your drinking supply. Do a favor and don't contaminate anyone's water supply downstream from your camp.

8. Wash yourself regularly.

Always render water potable by some means depending on what is available such as a commercial filter, boiling etc. Have a look at Acquiring Food and Water for more information.

To keep it simple, follow the guidelines for hiking in the backcountry. However, improvise where necessary using common sense and while keeping in mind the guidelines you will learn.

Here are some links so that you can do some further research on the subject.

1. A Mountain Top High: How to Poop in the Woods

2. Wilderness - Requirements For Maintenance Of Health


Hygiene In The Bush: How To Stay Clean

Some Thoughts

People don't always wash their hands or do not wash them correctly. This is being inconsiderate of other people, because they can contaminate surfaces or food and people do get sick because of this!

In an emergency it is all the more difficult to keep clean, HOWEVER, it is also all the more imperative that you find a way to do it given the conditions that exist during an emergency.

It isn't time to get sick in a remote area, far away from medical services to get sick, faint and weak, and put your life or the lives of others at risk because you simply didn't want to wash your hands properly!

In an urban style emergency scenario, it may be a challenge to keep clean as well, but nobody on top of having to deal with some sort of natural disaster or terrorist attack would want to fall sick to some bacterial or viral infection because some idiot didn't take the time to clean his or her hands!

Don't be that idiot, FIND A WAY to properly wash your hands and be clean!

There is a reason to have hand sanitizer in emergency kits. IF you do not have access to soap and water to wash properly, use the hand sanitizer.

If you are in the woods and don't have any soap (biodegradeable if possible), go downstream of your camp area and scrub your hands in the water using sand or whatever is there, to remove the majority of the crud on your hands. If you have hand sanitizer, use it afterwards to disinfect your hands.

I say biodegradeable soap above, simply for the environment. Use what you have available, and you can use some sort of container to fill with water to rinse your hands of the soap away from the water source.

Think of others, think of yourself (not selfishly), and consider the consequences of your actions. People have been contaminated downstream from other people who defecated and urinated upstream, like during an exodus from an area in conflict.