Expedition hygiene - 6 items for your kit

6 items for your expedition kit.JPG

If you add these small and lightweight items to your personal kit bag for your next extended trek or expedition climb, you’ll be a most happy camper.

1) Q-tips.  You’ll be amazed what you can (carefully) extract from your ears after a week or so at a dusty base camp. (Of course follow the manufacturer’s and your grandmother's recommendation not to put them in your ear canal, yeah right.)

2) Ear plugs.  Be sure and bring the ones connected with a string, so you can find them when you lose them in the sleeping bag, which you will.  An extra pair is a fine idea too. Available at any hardware store. 

3) Ayr Nasal saline gel. This is simply saline solution in a slightly watery gel form.  The air at altitude holds less moisture, and it can really dry out your nasal passages.  If you dab a tiny bit of this gel into each nostril (not as gross as it sounds) you’ll have instant relief from irritating dry nose. Get at any well-stocked pharmacy. (Side note - I had a friend who got up to 26,000 feet on Mount Everest, got an incredible gushing nosebleed from the cold dry air, and actually had to come down because of it. He was convinced that if he had some nasal saline gel, he would've made the summit.)

4) Foot powder.  It can help keep your feet drier, smelling much nicer, gives you a nice psychological boost of “Ahhhhh” when you put it on along with a pair of dry socks, and can help avoid blisters. I like Gold Bond brand.

5) Small travel sized bottle alcohol gel sanitizer. Put a dab of this on your feet every night to keep them fresh and kill any bacteria. This can be especially helpful if you are not being so diligent about changing and rotating your socks.

6) Small package unscented baby wipes. A quick wipedown of your more fragrant body parts with a few baby wipes can (almost) make you feel as though you had a real bath. Be sure to get unscented; (you don’t want to smell like a clean baby, do you?)