Honestly, until we had a child, the issue of getting clean after a day of camping was the furthest thing from my mind. We'd go hiking and get all sweaty, dirty, and dusty - didn't matter. It was nothing a wet-wipe couldn't fix. I've been known to wipe my face, legs and arms down with wet-wipes in the car before going into restaurants post hiking and it always made me clean enough that at least people didn't stare or move their table further away. I know that most modern campgrounds have showers but every time I walk in to a public shower I recoil in horror at the hair on the floor (that isn't mine), the dirt everywhere, and the general filth. Better to just stay dusty until I get back to the city and can use my own dirty shower (at least it's my own hair filling the drain).
Having a child changes things though. Last summer we took a two week vacation down to Washington and camped most of the time. Part of the time was spent camping on the Olympic Peninsula where there are gorgeous beaches to be explored. There's also sand to be played with, eaten, rubbed all over your nose that just happens to be covered in snot, rubbed on your face that's still sticky from lunch - you get the picture. In case you need a visual, look at the photo below.
|Why we had to figure out a bathing system|
We hadn't really thought much about bathing and hygiene until this moment. Wet-wipes weren't going to cut it and we didn't have a bath tub with us. The campground didn't even have showers (at least not that we discovered). Enter our washing basin for dishes to save the day.
|We're going to need a larger dish basin this summer|
This summer I think we're going to have to find something a little bigger. I love the large basin our friends used last summer when they were camping at a beach for a week.
|Isn't this precious! (Photo: G. Duncan)|
I think I honestly wrote this whole post just because I wanted to get this photo on my blog. The first time I saw it I laughed my head off for probably ten minutes. These are the kinds of memories you are going to build if you take your kids camping. This is why you don't wait until they're older and it's "easier."
As in all the other parts of this series, I've done my research so that I can present suggestions and ideas from the larger outdoor world.
Jenny from Backcountry with the kids wrote an amazing article for the MEC website called Everything and the Kitchen Sink that teaches us the proper way to do dishes while camping so that we can protect the rivers and lakes. She also talks about portable camp showers and folding dish basins that you can take with you even into the backcountry. Check out her insightful story.
Another great resource on this topic is Lindsey from OutsideMom.com
Lindsey wrote a fabulous story called Camping and the Art of Cleanliness on her blog that you need to check out. She even has a link to a collapsible bucket. It looks a little small to me but I understand you can custom order the size.
That's about all I'm going to say on the issue of bathing in the woods because Jenny and Lindsey pretty much covered it all and I already admitted I really just wanted to use my friend's photo.
Do you have any other suggestions for putting clean kids to bed when camping?