The cheat’s hygiene guide to camping and festivals

Just FYI, I love it when people suggest ideas for new blog posts. So with thanks to Jessica Renz, here’s my hygiene guide to camping and festivals, with tips for women on how to look passably normal in the great outdoors, even if you’re spending a week under canvas in the wilds or throwing some shapes at a grungy festival.

Hygiene guide to camping and festivals for women The Girl Outdoors

Hygiene guide to camping and festivals

Pack light with time and space-saving products that’ll help you stave off smelliness.

Wet wipes: A shower for your body in a tiny bag! Antibacterial ones are ideal for keeping bugs at bay.
Antibacterial handwash: Slather it on before and after preparing food.
Dry shampoo: A shower for your hair in a tiny can!
Lush products: I love Lush’s eco-friendly hard shampoo bars. Rub Honey I Washed My Hair over your bonce under the communal taps and you and everything in your vicinity will smell divine. Lush also do fantastic solid deodorants and tooth tabs (like single-use blobs of hard toothpaste) which are perfect for camping.
Waterproof socks: Avoid dreaded trench foot by keeping your tootsies dry.
Water-to-Go bottle: Filter water and stay hydrated anywhere with these incredible bottles. No more plastic bottle waste, either.
SPF moisturiser: Because heatstroke ain’t fun.
Small plastic shovel: If you’re wild camping and experience a call of nature, simple! Just dig a small hole and cover over your bidness with dirt when you’re done. NB: less advisable at festivals if you want to make friends.
Ziploc bags: Pack up and carry out used loo roll and wet wipes with you when you head back to reality.


Ahhh, surfing the crimson wave in the great outdoors. Not the most fun ever, I grant you, but it could be worse – at least you’re not in the wilds of North America, where having your period comes with the added problem of attracting bears (seriously).
At festivals, take a hefty supply of tampons with you, to avoid getting seriously ripped off having to buy them there from a dodgy stall. Wet wipes are once again your friend for keeping fresh. When camping, things are a bit trickier, but the lovely Caro at Lots Of Fresh Air wrote a great guide to how to leave no trace and enjoy hiking on your period without resembling someone from the final scene of Carrie. And a top tip: period proof underwear is a lifesaver. Knix is a brand worth checking out.


Smoke and mirrors, my friend. The joy of festivals is that you can mask your grimy self in animal costumes and sparkly jackets and hide day-old festival hair under fancy plaits and headdresses. Check out my guide to four super-simple festival dos and my favourite festival hair and makeup looks for ideas. If you’re camping then a full face of glitter may look slightly out of place, but waterproof eyeliner and a strategic straw fedora can mask even a full week of bedding down in a sweaty tent.


Aaaaaaand now I will share with you one of the most useful camping hacks I have ever been shown – the bin bag shower. This comes from my permanently-gorgeous friend Donna, so you know it’s a good’un.

If you’re camping in the wild then you can just take a dip in a nearby river or lake, of course, but if you’re at a festival with a huge queue for horrible communal showers then, ta-da! Create your own luxury one. This trick only works on a warm sunny day, but in my experience you’ll smell less in cold weather anyway.

Simply fill a bin bag up at a communal tap and leave outside your tent for the day whilst you go off band-watching and cider-downing. Come back and hang the bag up from a tree or a fence post (or just have a patient friend hold it up for you). Poke holes in the bottom with a pencil or tent peg and enjoy a pleasantly warm shower – the black plastic is a great heat conductor and will have warmed the water up during the day. You might want to keep your pants on, since you’ll be in the middle of a field, but that means they’ll get a wash too.



  1. May 1, 2015 / 4:16 pm

    where is the tent from in the picture?! great guide, I’ll be camping for the first time ever since adulthood in september so will keep this for reference 🙂 x

  2. Jessica Renz
    May 2, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    This is gold. Bin bag idea is the most craziest, wicked thing I’ve come across. One thing about wet wipes-don’t flush them down loos! Very important-
    But apparently there are some new sustainable ones…!
    Glad this was a good idea 🙂 will let you know if any more pop up!

  3. May 3, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    The bin bag shower what an awesome idea! I think wipes are amazing and a compact mirror because you can discretly make your face au natural style of course…

  4. May 4, 2015 / 8:38 am

    Hey Thanks so much for sharing my crimson wave tips! Gotta love a good festival. x

  5. sian
    May 14, 2015 / 10:03 am

    Very good point to always bag and bin wet wipes properly! I wonder if there are good eco-friendly ones about? And thank you again for the inspiration! 😀

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