Feb 1, 2008 at 9:54 pm #1227055
@jfdiberianLocale: Columbia River Gorge
What is everybody using for deoderant?Feb 1, 2008 at 10:13 pm #1418771
Miguel ArboledaBPL Member
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
I use a deodorant crystal. It's small and light and doesn't get that sticky residue all over your expensive base layer.Feb 1, 2008 at 10:26 pm #1418772
Richard GlessBPL Member
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I just do a quick non-soap bath in the river or lake I'm camping at every day. Never heard of anybody using deodorant on the trail. Wash clothes, again no soap, every 3-4 days, dumping water well away from the water source. Clean clothes and maybe deodorant in the car before driving home.Feb 1, 2008 at 10:41 pm #1418774
How about no deodorant at all? Not answering your question, but some food for thought:
I have never used deodorant in my life, ever. I shower daily with regular soap (or every other day in colder climes).
When hiking, I wear the same clothes (100% polyester) for five or six days straight –sweating profusely in them every day — and they still won't stink too badly. I do, however, wipe down at night, and change into a clean tee shirt on the last day hiking out. I can (and have) walk straight into restaurants and dine without arousing any suspicion after 4-6 days of hiking.
I realize there is a very, very small percentage of our population that requires anti-bacterial deodorants. But this doesn't begin to explain why millions and millions of people use the stuff every single day — except for being suckered by relentless ads!
I think most people are aware by now that frequent use of antibiotics and anti-bacterial soap, etc. increases baterial resistance and weakens our body's own natural defenses against bacteria. Have you all thought about a similar effect from using antibacterial deodorants?
Maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise then, that so many people stink to the high heavens after just a day or two out in the wilds! Many of us have come to accept this as just the way it is. Except it really isn't!
Again, except for the tiny percentage of people who have a real need for it, I highly recommend that folks gradually wean themselves away from this antibacterial deodorant nonsense — and let their bodies readjust to their own natural defense mechanisms. Regular hygiene is important, but when that is practiced, it's all that's needed for most of us. Wasting money is one thing, but I think the stuff is just not good for most of us.Feb 2, 2008 at 12:03 am #1418776
Miguel ArboledaBPL Member
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Again, I recommend the deodorant crystal. It's a lump of mineral salt, that's it. It kills the odor-causing bacteria (which are part of our "musk" system. Women and men have different odors) under your arms and just needs water to work.
Ben, there are times I've missed taking a shower as I rushed off to work and all day regretted it. My odor may not be so bad because, living in Japan, bathing is almost a religion, but sometimes on the crowded trains I swear I was on the verge of swooning from the punk of certain individuals. That definitely wasn't just my imagination!Feb 2, 2008 at 1:18 am #1418781
Mike WBPL Member
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Feb 2, 2008 at 2:34 am #1418783
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> What is everybody using for deoderant?
I do have a wash in the creek in the evenings – plain water, no soap. If there is a creek …Feb 2, 2008 at 4:24 am #1418785
John S.BPL Member
I don't use deodorant on the trail. Ben, I've never heard of an antibacterial deodorant. While using antibacterial soaps is frowned upon, it does not weaken our natural defenses that I have ever heard.Feb 2, 2008 at 5:46 am #1418788
@fperkinsLocale: North East
I actually bring a small travel size [whatever they have at the local supermarket], but it's not for me, it's for my cohikers. I can stand the smell of my own stench, but not the people I hike with.Feb 2, 2008 at 7:35 am #1418793
The only time I ever consider any deodorant is when I am on a long thru-hike (The Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, etc) where I will hit towns every few days. Even after a shower, I still smell somewhat and the smallest little stick of deodorant I can carry comes in handy to protect the noses of locals from my well-earned trail odor.
Otherwise,on shorter trips, including the full 30-day NOLS courses I used to work, I just don't worry about deodorant.Feb 2, 2008 at 8:05 am #1418794
Human sweat itself is odorless until it is fermented by bacteria that thrive in hot, humid environments such as our underarm.
Deodorants control body odor by reducing moisture, killing bacteria and/or masking the bacteria's smell with perfume.
Unless your deodorant works soley by the "perfume method" — it probably has bacteria-killing properties.
I am no skin/health expert, but if washing with antibacterial soap everyday of our lives can have adverse effects — I am dedcuing the same for applying deodorants to our skin on a daily basis.Feb 2, 2008 at 8:10 am #1418797
No, I am definitely not saying that body odor is an imagination. But what I am asking is when humans use deodorants on a regular basis — what does that do to our body's natural ability to fight off bacteria? Might a dependency develop after years of use — such that we smell noticeably bad whenver we skip a day or two? For most people, does it make sense to wean themselves gradually off that stuff?
Anyway, I've hijacked this thread more than enough. Sorry to OP.Feb 2, 2008 at 8:30 am #1418799
@bobbycartwrightLocale: i don't need no stinkin badges!
If you notice what your smell is on a continual basis you can dial in on your health. I walk, run, workout or do something to break a sweat everyday and I usually check myself out and I can tell when my body's smell is a bit off. There's a natural good type smell and then there's the funque, and it's easy to tell if you are a bit dehydrated or if you haven't been eating right from the amount of acridity the funque has. I eat alot of indian food and I swear sometimes I can smell onion and cumin in my armputs. I do think that masking or distorting our smell is against nature so to speak, but then there are the occassions with the ladies and what not where a proper clean up in required…Feb 2, 2008 at 10:31 am #1418808
@ryan_hutchinsLocale: Somewhere out there
I'm w/ Benjamin on this. Don't use it, ever, no problems, even managed to get my self married to a pretty little lady.Feb 2, 2008 at 3:52 pm #1418839
Steven EvansBPL Member
None for me. Typicaly, I'll shower before I leave on a trip, and NOT put any deoderant on. I almost feel it is a time to air my pits out from the everyday application of chemicals. When I hike, I sweat, and then I start to get a bit smelly. No point trying to combat it, just a rinse at the end of the day and your done.Feb 3, 2008 at 7:01 am #1418912
On the trail is one thing, but people who don't wear deodorant and think they don't smell are just used to their own stench. I've been around lots of people who have made it difficult to breathe, and I've had to excuse myself. Just because YOU can't smell it doesn't mean you don't reek. I bet your farts smell like roses too, right?Feb 3, 2008 at 7:48 am #1418917
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Use it home for day to day use. I don't like stinking at home. On trail? Never. Part of the issue is synthetic shirts get bad odors often permanently so why bother? 10 minutes in a shirt and the odors heat up. So I stink anyways!Feb 3, 2008 at 9:40 am #1418926
I think the people who use deodorant everyday will stink more quickly when they suddenly stop using it — be it on the trail or simply a day of "forgetting".
What I am saying is not to just "quit cold turkey" and be a nuisance to others around them — but to wean themselves off that stuff — unless they are one of a small handful of people who truly need deodorants. By weaning, it can be taking more frequent baths initially — then gradually decreasing to once daily — or once every other day when not sweating.
Your assumption that people who don't think they smell are either unaware or in denial is not necesarily true.
First, my various hiking buddies are not the polite type.
Second, I've had a friend picking me up at trail head at the end of a five-day hike — meaning he wouldn't have had the chance to get used to me. He placed a big towel on the passenger seat — expecting the worst and all. He commented that I didn't look or smell like I had just finished a long hike at all. He also said that he had picked up a gawd awful smelly hiker once before — hence the towel this time around.
My own mother — who's a neat freak — was leery when I visited her straight after another one of my four-day hike. When I got there, the door was already open so she could keep her distance. Her plan was that I would go straight to the shower without getting near her. Instead, I talked with her about the trip — and you could see her loosening up within the first minute. I pointedly asked her whether she agreed that I didn't smell noticeably differently — and she did.
Not saying I am anyone special or that I wouldn't also stink to the high heavens eventually — but saying that most people probably don't need to — and shouldn't be using deodorants on a daily basis.Feb 3, 2008 at 9:59 am #1418928
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
There is a lot of wisdom in your post.
Our diet may be a source of body odor. My hiking diet is much more healthy than my town diet.
I take enough extra fuel to get clean every day.
Our hobby is not stinking and filthy.
Ben, your mother still remembers those toxic diapers.Feb 3, 2008 at 10:17 am #1418930
LOL – you're probably right.Feb 3, 2008 at 4:07 pm #1418963
@alohatinkLocale: In the Middle of No Where!
Never do I go beyond my comfort zone…1 oz of perfume always!!!
Yep ,and I wear my lipstick too…or its really colored chap stick since I have to have it anyways!!Feb 3, 2008 at 5:00 pm #1418968
Jaiden, you hit it on the nose… Looks or should I say it smells like some of the posters are in denial but just as long as their camping downwind their hygiene is their business.
Gail, Thank God for "Gurly Girls" there’s a nothing more traumatic then crossing paths with a beautiful lady backpacker that smells worse then a pack mule.Feb 6, 2008 at 9:42 am #1419376
Kevin SawchukBPL Member
@ksawchukLocale: Northern California
There is a paste type deodorant called Mumm that is available in many drugstores. It can be easily packaged into a small balm or flip top pill container thus minimizing weight by reducing packaging and product quantity for a specific trip.
Deodorants work in three ways:
1. anti-persperant–keeps your pits drier so bugs (bacteria) can't grow as well. It's the bacteria that convert your body's fatty acids into stinky stuff.
2. anti-bacterial–chemical (Aluminum based) that also prevents bacterial growth
3. deodorant–a pretty smell to cover the stink
I prefer unscented deodorants and rely on #1 and 2 for my odor protection.
A wool base layer also goes a long way in odor control.
Somehow I've never been able to get used to my own or others BO on trips–especially in the confines of a sleeping bag.Feb 6, 2008 at 11:18 am #1419393
Monty MontanaBPL Member
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Miguel, I'm with you: a salt crystal makes the most sense. Using a sticky, perfumy anti-perspirant or deodorant to block up pores or cover up odor just doesn't make any sense, because sweating is a natural function for thermoregulation. A salt crystal does neither. What it does is change the ph of the environment so that bacteria don't proliferate so rapidly. Some people's ph is such that they can accomplish this whthout doing anything other than regular bathing, and some people can't. Humm, maybe ph has something to do with diet. Anyway, the bottom line is regular hygene, and while on the trail I wash up every day with just water.
Kevin made a good point about using wool: it does not stink! Sarah, I threw away all my synthetic t-shirts and now use only the lightest Smartwool t-shirts. Talk about a difference! They're odor free even after a week and are comfortable both in summer and winter. If you stink after only a couple hours, you need to get some (merino) wool. Trust me on this and you'll never go back to petrochemical fabrics. Happy trails.Feb 6, 2008 at 6:22 pm #1419452
@hechoendetroitLocale: South Kak
If you get really funky a salt crystal doesn't work. Trust me.
I will use "Tom's from Maine" woodspice scent if I'm out for more than a few days in a non-bear inhabited area. I use unscented deodorant in bear inhabited areas.
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