Hygiene on Bicycle Tour

bicycle hobo shower

This is how I wash up after a day of bicycle touring at a stealth campsite. This should give you 12 complete ‘sponge’ baths when away from facilities or in the wild. It’s basically a reusable baby wipe, cleaning solution, and a shaker for getting everything sudsy.

I use a solution of readily available products at any hardware, drug store or convenience store with one possibly hard to find item , a 16 oz widemouth aluminum beer bottle. Coors, Miller Lite, and many other large brewers are using these but they may not be available in your area. Any widemouth 16 oz widemouth bottle will work but the beer bottle seals well and is very light weight.

Ok get a 16oz aluminum bottle of beer and empty it [burp!]. Clean it thouroughly and make sure to hang on to the cap.

Go purchase the following items. They should not exceed $5-$6:

  • 12 ounce bottle of Witch hazel with 14% alcohol content. I would stay away from any fragrances.
  • Travel size 1 ounce bottle of Baby Shampoo
  • Travel size 1 ounce bottle of Baby Oil
  • 1 4-pak of Handi Wipes brand dish towels

Open the Witch Hazel and dump out 1.5 oz and then pour equal parts of baby shampoo and baby oil into the Witch Hazel bottle. This solution should now be 10.5 ounces of Witch Hazel, .75 ounces of baby shampoo and .75 ounces of baby oil. Shake well! You can use less or more of these ingredients to suit your individual needs. I stole this recipe off of a message board back in the 90’s as a replacement for commercially available baby wipes.

Executing is easy: Take 1 ounce of our solution and empty it into the 16 ounce aluminum beer bottle, add a Handi Wipe, and top off with water till about 3/4 full. Close the lid of the 16 ounce aluminum beer bottle and shake the bath mixture thoroughly and get everything really sudsy. I don’t fill it all the way up to make the shaking very effective. You are now ready to ‘sponge’ yourself down with the solution. Because of the widemouth bottle it is fairly easy to remove the Handi Wipe. After a complete scrub rinse with a different Handi Wipe and plain old water.

If you work quickly enough you can get yourself clean and into your bug free sleep zone in a couple of minutes. The astringent quality of the Witch Hazel will keep the bugs away while you enter your shelter.

This should give you 12 complete ‘sponge’ baths when away from facilities. Make sure to recap the solution tightly so it doesn’t leak in your bag.

It’s quick, effective, easy to use, reusable, and light.

BicycleHobo Recomendations:

Brooks Saddles Imperial B17 Saddle: This saddle is the known by bicycle tourists the world over as the STANDARD by which all touring saddles are judged.


Topeak Road Morph G Bike Pump with Gauge: It works like a regular floor pump and you will thank the gods that you opted for this over smaller inefficient pumps.


Leatherman Wave Multitool: You will want to keep this someware where it is easy to find because you will be using it all the time.


Revelate Designs Frame Pack: Add some bikepacking bags to your set up and better distribute your load.


Thermarest Prolite Sleeping Pad: I opt for the prolite sreies to prevent hyperventilation when trying to inflate bigger, noisier pads.


Garmin Edge 500 Cycling GPS: Getting lost is only fun when you can afford to do so. This thing is made for cyclists and adventurers.
Hygiene on Bicycle Tour was last modified: October 10th, 2012 by hobo

8 thoughts on “Hygiene on Bicycle Tour

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  2. Great tip, thanks! I like the focus of your blog and have subscribed via RSS, looking forward to more posts as you get ready for your amazing ride next year. Haven’t gone on a tour yet myself, but am planning on doing one in 2013. I’m always looking for good advice on gear and tips for making the journey a little more comfortable. Thanks for sharing!

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