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Backpacking Hygiene Essential: Purell


When I go day hiking or backpacking I always bring a long a small bottle of Purell hand sanitizer (left.) I buy it in bulk and repackage it to save weight, but you can also buy small bottles of it (right) in many drug stores or supermarkets.

Purell's primary active ingredient is ethanol which kills 99.99% of the bacteria it comes in contact with, but it also contains isopropyl alcohol and should therefore not be consumed. I squirt some on my hands and rub it all over them immediately after I filter water from a stream or lake, before I eat, and after I use the privvy. For health purposes, it's important that you burn this routine into your mind so you don't catch a bug that can ruin your trip.

Purell can also be used as a convenient first starter in an emergency.

Make sure that you buy the unscented variety to avoid attracting animals, like bears, which can mistake unnatural scents for food.

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  1. Also works well for drying and cleaning damp feet before draining blisters or applying Leukotape.

  2. Does the Purell sticks work well?

  3. Just FYI, it's "hygiene".

    Awesome blog.

  4. Darn – I thought I fixed that mistake most places. Thanks for the correction.

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