How to Wash Hair While Camping (7 Helpful Hacks Included)

How to Wash Hair While Camping

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You have a greasy head of hair, and your clothes are damp from the sweat that’s been dripping off you since day one on a camping trip. But, it’s part of the joy of camping!  

The biggest complaint I hear from campers is that it can be a hassle to keep hair clean and safe while camping. 

If you want to learn some of the secrets that will help make your camping trip a lot more comfortable, especially regarding how to wash hair while camping, then keep reading!

What Hair Products Should You Bring for Camping?

Before we dive into my hacks, I thought it’d be helpful to go over what you should bring for hair care outside quickly. There are a few must-haves you need to get your hands on before heading out the door so that you can have fresh locks and maintain style all day long!

  1. Unscented Dry Shampoo
  2. Bandanas or hats
  3. Biodegradable soap
  4. microfiber towel
  5. baby wipes or bio wipes
How to Wash Hair While Camping

How To Wash Hair While Dry Camping

Boondocking is a beautiful way to explore nature and experience the outdoors in all its glory. However, considering the lack of showers, it can be challenging to keep your hair clean. 

I found some tips helpful when my friends ask how they can keep their hair looking decent until we are showering again!

Use unscented dry Shampoo.

Wanting to wash off dirt and keep your hair clean for a few days of camping, dry Shampoo is your answer! Not only will it keep you looking fresh, but this powdery-textured product also saves time by soaking up excess oil in your hair. Spray and go.

Pro tip: Avoid scented biodegradable Shampoo if you're camping or backpacking in a heavy wildlife area because strong smells can attract those B's - bears and bugs. 

There are loads of different dry Shampoo to make sure you keep up appearances in the wild – including Batiste, Rene Furterer, and Korres. But the one I always make sure to bring on any trip is Not Your Mothers Dry Shampoo. It helps keep me looking good when camping or going hiking and never fails!

Photo: Not Your Mother’s

Bring Extra Water

As anyone who has been in the wilderness knows, skipping a shower can make you feel like your hair is lifeless and dirty. There are a few options for showering while you’re camping. Having access to water is ideal, but it isn’t always possible or feasible. In that case, bring extra water so that you can wash your hair on days when there are no running showers nearby! 

Wash Less is More

One thing you might want to consider before going camping for more than just one night or two is how often your hair gets washed. We all know that the more often you wash your hair, the greater it will produce excess oil, leading to dry or damaged hair. To help remedy this problem in a cost-effective manner without disrupting your daily routine too much, try going longer between washes at home.

Now with your oil production slowed and the average number of washing hair cut down, boondocking trips will feel more adventurous and come out looking better than ever!

Try shampoo caps

Are you tired of fussing with greasy hair? Then, step up your game and enjoy the new, convenient No-Rinse Shampoo Cap. Those Shampoo Caps are an excellent product for those who can’t get out of bed to shower. While I’ve never used one of these myself, the idea is tempting. But I think it would also be perfect when you don’t have access to a shower. 

Wear a bandana

Bandanas are one of the versatile pieces of gear for boondocking. They’re simple and effective. Wearing a bandana is an excellent way to keep your hair clean if you can’t stand dirty strands. Not only does it prevent accidental touchings, but it also helps maintain the hairstyle once achieved!

How to Wash Hair While Camping Near a Lake or River

How to Wash Hair While Camping Near a Lake or River

I’ve always preferred lakeside camping trips for their all-in-one vacation benefits. It’s like your own cabin in the woods with all of nature at your fingertips, and you can fish, swim, hike or enjoy all the beautiful surroundings to explore. Besides, you can take a bath in nature! 

Like most adventurers, I try to swim as much as possible in the lake or river to remove excess dirt and oils accumulated throughout the day in my hair. But it would be best if you were careful not to soap or other cleaning products because these could contaminate the water.

I wanted to share with you all that I found a method for getting remarkable results even if biodegradable soap is not allowed.

Homemade Shampoo

Step 1: Boil two cups of fresh water in a ceramic mug (To prevent oils from escaping with the steam, use a plate on top)

Step 2: Steep one green tea bag for 30-60 minutes

Step 3: Use a spoon to remove the teabag from the water when you’re ready

Step 3: Add three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, transfer this mixture to the fridge for cooling

Step 4: Pour the mixture into an empty spray bottle

How to use: While camping, as I have a lot of hair, so I like to divide it into about one-inch sections, then spray the green tea shampoo on my scalp, rubbing and scrubbing as I went. After that, I tied my hair up into a bun. Then we all walked down to the river, where I let my hair down again and then rinse everything off with cold water. I was feeling like a goddess, with my hair flowing in the wind and water.

Pro tip: If you want your green tea Shampoo to have a light scent, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil after bottling it. 

Portable Camping Shower for washing hair

Pack a Portable Camping Shower

When you are so dirty that the only thing going through your mind is when can I take a shower, make sure to bring a large water bottle and biodegradable soap with you to take a DIY shower properly. Just strip down at least 200 feet away from your campsite and stay out of water sources.

You can really step up your camping cleanliness game with a portable shower if you plan on being in the woods for an extended period. These ingenious pouches or containers can be filled with another water source and used wherever you can hang it. They can create pressurized streams of water that allow you to enjoy all the wholesome pleasures of cleanliness without ever having to leave your campsite!

My Final Tip: Bring a Microfiber Towel

No matter what kind of outdoor shower you end up using, I always bring a microfiber towel. It makes the prospect of hair washing(whenever there is no lake or too cold to take a bath) much more attractive.

Camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I know it’s hard to keep my hair looking clean on the road. That’s why we’ve put together a list of best tips on how to wash your hair while camping so you can enjoy nature without worrying about looking like a total mess once you return home. 

Your Turn:  Do you have any additional tricks for washing hair while camping? Please share them in the comments below! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼

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Matt Scofield
Matt Scofield

Hi! I’m Matt, an adventure freak who lives and breathes the great outdoors. Spending time under the open sky always appealed to me, even as a kid. Perhaps that’s why I liked camping with my dad so much. The days spent hiking and the nights around the campfire are times I’ll cherish forever.

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