As explorers and adventurers we venture deeper into our natural environment than most and therefore we can have a more significant impact on fragile ecosystems. We are all familiar with the term “Leave No Trace”, the concept is quite simple — don’t leave anything behind. I think we all get that, but sometimes we don’t realize that we are indeed leaving a trace, one that can’t be seen by the naked eye.

One of these examples is when we wash our hands or clothes outdoors on an extended day trip or on an over-nighter. Soap and other cleansers enter our waterways and these remote ecosystems are extremely fragile. We may not realize the damage we can cause. A few drops of some soaps can cause a fish kill, which removes them as a food source for larger animals which can ultimately cause a chain reaction — I’m sure you get the picture.

So how do we mitigate these problems without giving up our hygiene?

Smart Suds, Click for Info

Simple, really, Smart Suds Scent Free Camper’s Soap. Smart Suds is the first camper’s all-purpose soap to receive the EPA’s “Design for the Environment” (DfE) recognition. Smart Suds was developed to gently clean everything in your camp including dishes, hands and even your gear. Smart Suds then rapidly biodegrades through normal soil microbe action. An added benefit is that Smart Suds is scent-free to avoid attracting insects or animals. Interested in reading more about the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE)? Click here for more information.

Grand Canyon

Another option is to use Body Wipes or Travel Wipes. These guys give you a quick clean without water and the Travel Wipes provide antibacterial, rinse-free bathing. My wife, mother and I spent 6 days in the Grand Canyon last summer and let me tell you, the three of us were thrilled to have these wipes with us. In the canyon, your option is to either bath in 51 degree water or use a clean scented wipe in the comfort of your tent — the wipes, well they win, hands down.

So next time you’re planning an extended trip, take just a moment to consider how you going to handle personal hygiene and what effects your actions could have on the ecosystem that we all love to enjoy.

If you have ideas or suggestions to reducing our impact, let us know by posting your comments below.