Sweat. Sunburn. Stink. Stings. No problem.
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics has just become the sweetest smelling sponsor of The Happy Walk! Danni, the amazing creator of this organic, handmade, cruelty free business has organised a regular resupply of sunscreen with repellent, deodorant paste, ocean soap bar, shampoo bar, cooling foot and muscle heat rubs.
Hygiene is a big deal when out on a long trek. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking for a week or a year it is important to make some basic personal hygiene practices daily habits.
Everything in my body care pack is a luxury item but on the east coast washing will be part of the normal routine again. Not just an event I only dreamt of most days while walking around Australia.
Showers and baths, hair conditioning treatments, shaving and waxing, smelling clean are not priorities when you carry only enough water for drinking.
When I walked across the Nullarbor, up the west coast and across the top of Australia I would regularly go a week without washing between towns or roadhouses but I took every opportunity to wash myself and my clothes when I passed through or arrived somewhere with water.
Sometimes I used water troughs in cattle yards, bailing out water with my bowl careful not to scoop up too much slime and tipping it over my head and body for a quick freshen up.
Every night I sleep in the bush it is routine to use a few wet wipes, clean the tropical zones to avoid infections like UTIs and blocked sweat pores and rub the feet with antifungal essential oil (the only glass bottle I carry). Infection and fungus sound disgusting right? That is why basic hygiene is important for longterm hiking.
Without a shower, bath or a quick dip into fresh water I start to smell myself after a few days and by day 4 or 5 I need to stand downwind whenever someone stops for a chat (unless they smell equally bad). This is the reality of any long distance walker, runner or cyclist travelling across or around Australia without a support vehicle. Water is too precious to waste on washing!
The east coast is a different story. When you pass through towns and roadhouses with showers and laundromats almost everyday there is no excuse for stinking. Washing is still a luxury but also a deliciously sweet almost-daily indulgence. I will never take running water, flushing toilets, big fluffy towels or hair care for granted again.
As a minimalist the size of my shower kit is a slight compromise for a couple of extra items. It is functional and still light but a gram counting ultralight hiker would roll their eyes.
Toothbrush cut short (no toothpaste)
Small nail clippers
Tea tree or sage oil (10ml)
Mini afro comb
Soap cut in half
Shampoo bar cut in half
Pot of deodorant paste
Pot of sunscreen with insect repellent
Small soft pack of tissues
Small pack of baby wipes
It sure will be good feeling and smelling clean almost everyday during these final 2,900kms.
Thank you Dirty Hippie Cosmetics!