Our readers at Beyond the Tent must be some of the most well-versed campers in the nation. I like to think it has a little to do with the content we provide but primarily it’s the sheer level of experience and a number of nights spent in the wild.
I can think of only one group more experienced and that is our great soldiers in the field. These brave men and women, particularly those in battle, are living in some of the harshest environments on the planet and spend days or even weeks at a time on missions away from the base. Combat One created their waterless hygiene system with these men and women in mind.
Because of the guaranteed warm temps, the relatively dry conditions and the fact that food is abundant for some of the more dangerous wildlife, summer camping is the most popular. There is no other season that even closely rivals the number of campers that hit the trails and sites across the nation.
Of course, summer camping also means exertion under the scorching sun and sweltering conditions. You are going to sweat and for many, this makes sleeping a nightmare.
You may be at a campsite that has a shower or you may be 10’s of miles from any kind of civilization. These products by Combat One offer you options outside of using the stream you may be drinking out of or burning through your own precious water to clean yourself.
We are going to look at some products offered by Combat One and see how they stand up against the dirt and grime of a summer hike. It takes a powerful solvent to eliminate the visible dirt but also a powerful antiviral to kill the dangerous bacteria and viruses that present themselves in the dirt and water around us.
We will look at the Tactical bath which is a product that can clean your entire body and prepare you for the next day. We will also look at the field spray which provides a more targeted cleaning with a dialed in spray.
Combat One is a product designed for the desert sands of the Middle East. In a place where water is in short supply, the goal was to create a system that was completely waterless. Though you may not be fighting ISIS under the hot Afghani sun, your water is still very precious. The less you forfeit to cleaning yourself the better.
Even if you find yourself on the side of a nice stream and have the benefit of cleaning off in that stream, you are still presented with some issues. Where I enjoy camping best is alongside streams that hold native brook trout. The last thing I want to do is wash myself and any leave soap residue in their home.
These creatures are ancient natives and the harsh chemicals in our soaps could affect them in a very negative way. Having a waterless solution is the superior method when it comes to camping hygiene.
This total body system comes packed with 8 wipes that are soaked with the special PH optimized cleanser. The package itself is about 10 X 7 inches and fits into bags easily. It’s a thin package that doesn’t get in the way. This is important as it will be left behind if it compromises other, more important, parts of your camping pack.
This pack will stand up to simple grime and the basic sweat and filth that accumulates after a tough day of hiking during a summer camp adventure. If you are wading in mud or covered in a couple days’ worth of filth this pack will not stand up to such dirt. It is best used daily to keep yourself clean.
Caring for something like dirty hands would lend itself more to the field spray. This spray allows you to isolate areas like hands or face that need to be cleaned. The field spray is designed not only to remove the dirt and grime but also to bolster your skin’s natural defenses.
The field spray is a packer’s dream because of its small size. If you are looking to clean your whole body it will likely take more than a bottle to achieve this. The Field Spray is no substitute for the tactical bath. These are two very different products with similar formulations but very different uses.
I found incredible durability in the tactical bath cloths. Being a new father, I was expecting something that would resemble a baby wipe. Each of these 8 wipes is more like a reusable cloth that could be used to clean yourself, probably multiple times rinsed off and used again on equipment. It will take some heavy duty use to break these towels down.
The tactical bath package can be a bit bulky to pack. It’s larger than your average mountain house meal but I think it’s a space worth taking up.
There is a strange smell that is part of the formula the wipes are soaking in. They are not covered in fragrance which is probably a good thing. Still, the smell is a strange one and reminds me of the little plastic bugs we would make as kids called creepy crawlers.
The effectiveness of the field spray paled in comparison to the tactical bath. I think much of that had to do with the fact that the heavy-duty towel was just much more efficient at cleaning.
The spray took about 10 shots on two relatively dirty hands to get them wet enough to clean thoroughly. I used a towel from my pack for one hand and used the tactical bath towel I used for my face on the other. The field spray requires that you have something like this to clean yourself with.
The Combat One product, designed for special operations soldiers can find a comfortable home in the camper’s backpack. The tactical bath seems to be the more useful of the two products reviewed here. With this item, you will be adding more weight and taking up more space in your pack.
If cleanliness is high on your priority list then adding something like the tactical bath is worth the space and the weight. I think another consideration would be the type of hiking and terrain you are covering as well.
With technology constantly improving I think it’s so important that we keep our eyes open for improvements in the way we experience the outdoors. There could be something that changes our whole experience just around the corner. We must test these modern technologies in the field and bring them to great communities like ours here at Beyond the Tent.
Are you using a similar system for hygiene? Leave your comments below.