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Bathing Outside the Eco-friendly Way

Bathing outside is often a necessity. Why? Well, with adventures comes dirt…and sweat.

The more you adventure, the more you come to appreciate getting clean as well as getting dirty. After a fantastic day outside, there’s nothing better than climbing in your sleeping bag for the night exhausted, happy and CLEAN.


While we’re all familiar with the three obvious ingredients for bathing outside:

  • soap
  • water
  • a towel
choosing the right one of each to both minimally impact the environment and get the job done is where things can start to get tricky.


Here are a few tips to help make the process of getting clean and getting dry a bit more enjoyable and eco-friendly when in the outdoors.



If you feel like soap is necessary, look for one that is sulfate free, phosphate free and biodegradable. Unfortunately, not all biodegradable soaps are as safe for the environment as others. The best soaps for outdoor use are comprised of a base of either vegetable or animal fat.


If you need a soap with antibacterial properties, be sure it includes an essential oil such as tea tree, peppermint, oregano or eucalyptus.


We highly recommend opting for bar soaps due to the minimal packaging required. One of our favorites is Mountain Time Soap, a local Colorado brand.



While bathing directly in the lake, river or stream might feel like the obvious thing to do, never mind that it would make for a great Instagram photo, it negatively impacts aquatic life.


Instead, fill a bucket or dry bag with water and use it to bathe at least 200 ft from all sources of water.


Dispose of your greywater by digging a 6 inch deep hole and dumping it inside. Please, do not dump your dirty water directly into a water source such as a river, lake or stream. Even if you didn’t use soap or if your soap is considered eco-friendly, biodegradable, etc., the products that you may have rinsed off your skin such as sunscreen and bug spray will cause harm to aquatic life.



Finally, you need a towel and a good one at that. There is nothing worse than trying to get dry and warm quickly but you’re not able to because your towel is difficult to hold on to, doesn’t feel nice on your skin or isn’t absorbing the water.


For this, we’ve done the work for you. When we started Lava, we spent a lot of time considering all of the needs and desires adventurers have for a towel. We then found a material and created a design that addresses all expectations (incredible functionality, premium material and superbly earth-friendly.


When bathing outside, towels made of natural fibers such as linen (which is made from flax fibers) is a must. Microfibers are having a moment as the most commonly purchased type of towel for outdoor adventuring. This is a bit bizarre to us. Microfiber towels are made of synthetic fibers. In other words, they are made of plastic fibers created with fossil fuels.


Every time microfiber towels are used and washed, they shed microplastics that pollute our land and water. This type of pollution is becoming a very serious and significant problem. Within the past year, there have been many news stories highlighting the damage caused my microplastics including how they are making their way from our washing machines into our drinking water and then into us.


Here’s to getting your gear together, getting out there and getting extra dirty (and then extra clean) on your next adventure!

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