5 Essentials to Make a Happy, Healthy Dirtbag

Can you bathe without mess in a gas station bathroom sink? Maybe showering with frigid river water is more your speed. How adept are you at discovering free campsites? 

If you find yourself with positive answers to these questions, you likely have spent time living as an adventuring nomad. If you answered negatively, or felt queasy thinking about your body being filthier than a public sink: do not worry, it is really not that bad. No matter how experienced of a contained wanderer  you are, here are 5 essentials to help you be a happy, healthy dirtbag!

1. Wipes

I started out showering with Goodwipes, oversized, great smelling wipes equal to a shower. I loved them. Each is individually packaged, making them great for backpacking or quick stowing. After blissful, reeking days of hiking, cycling, and  camping, these wipes actually made me feel clean. They exceeded my expectations, especially because the material is thick and patterned, ideal for scrubbing dirty feet. Eventually I ran out of Goodwipes and could not find them in stores, so I sadly turned to make-up removal wipes. Though not as efficient, they still are essential for quick, thorough hygiene!


2. Dr. Bronner’s

If not already familiar with Dr. Bronner’s, you are in for quite a product! The all-natural liquid soap boasts 18 vast and varied uses, from detergent to dish soap to toothpaste. For any dirtbag needing versatility and an eco-friendly option, Dr.Bronner’s is for you.


3. MSR Cutting Board and Knife

Instant oatmeal and  Backpacker’s Pantry meals sustain beyond what I imagine, but craving comes for something fresh and deliciously non-dehydrated. Having a light and packable cutting board and knife opens up the possibility of adding whole fruits and veggies into your diet. My favorite on the trail lunches rely on this fantastic duo!

4. Organizational Bins

When living out of a car, organizational bins eke the most out of your space. I suggest several stackable, lidless bins for easy access and quick, painless arranging, and a few smaller containers with snap-on lids for easy to lose or sensitive items. While my husband and I lived out of our Honda FIT and minute two-person tent, we kept outdoor and personal gear divided in lidless bins, while our kitchen was safely stowed in a full container. The major advantage of this system is how repeatable it is. Soon, you’ll be spending more time adventuring and less time excavating for buried tools and gear. 


5. Electrolyte Additive (Country Time)

I struggle drinking enough water, and I admit, I enjoy ice in my drinks and the occasional kick of flavor. With 99% of your days actively outdoors, it is easy to get dehydrated and forget to replace your electrolytes. Keeping a water  additive on call is transforming. I noticed that if I was suddenly grumpy or hitting a wall of fatigue, electrolytes picked me up. While Nuun tablets and liquid additives dominate the market, I found a budget-friendly, packable, and delicious alternative in old fashioned Country Time lemonade! Though the half tea/half lemonade is amazing, my personal favorite is pink lemonade. You can also find all-natural and organic takes on Country Time at many chain groceries.

I love the freedom of nomadic living, where only sunlight dictates when you rise or settle. I love the connection with the natural world, and the process every ordinary task requires. I hope these essentials keep you adventuring on whatever road you travel!

*Pending Publishing. By Erin Rain Gautier. 






Erin Rain Gautier