You’ve been on the trail hiking for six hours. You made the summit all-smiles, and got back safely to the trailhead. You huffed and puffed. You sweat. Your body is complaining–“Why are you doing this to me?!”
What you don’t want to do is stuff your sweaty, grimy body into your car for the ride back home. And you definitely don’t want to scare of the rest of the customers when you stop for that well-earned burger, burrito or pizza.
You need an after-hike social survival kit.
Ask any experienced day hiker and they’ll all have a version of this. A few simple supplies that stay in the car, but make the trip back home so much more pleasant. I call it my after-hike social survival kit. The people sitting at the table next to me appreciate it, even if they don’t know it. And I feel a whole lot better.
What’s in my kit?
The exact details will vary, but generally it includes the following.
- A reusable shopping bag. Any bag will do, but I like the durability of reusable bags. This carries all my stuff to-and-fro.
- Flip-flops or sandals. My feet want to be free! Taking the hiking shoes and socks off after a long hike is one of the great shared experiences. Your feet thanks you. Having sandals for the ride home gives them a chance to breathe.
- Wipes. I really like Action Wipes, but even baby wipes will do in a pinch. It won’t replace a hot shower, but it will cut the worst of the grime and you’ll feel refreshed.
- A clean, cotton t-shirt. “Cotton kills” or so the saying goes. While I always hike and bike in a tech t-shirt that wicks away perspiration, when I get back to my adventure mobile, nothing feels quite as comforting as a cotton t-shirt. Especially a SoCalHiker t-shirt.
- Cold water. I love my 32 oz. Hydro Flask. I fill it up with ice and water before I leave in the morning, and even after sitting in a hot, sun-baked car all day I know the water will still be cold and refreshing when I finish my hike. Best. Thing. Ever.
- A little spritz of body spray. And I mean a little. Nothing worse than the sour combination of sweat and grime with too heavily scented body spray. Just a skosh.
What’s in your post-hike social survival kit? Leave a comment and let me know.
Alyssa Pelletier says
Awesome list, I love the action wipes as well! You probably don’t suffer from the side-glance inducing “lion hair” that some of us ladies get, but I would add a hairbrush to make myself more presentable to society. And lotion, because the dusty dryness that wasn’t bugging me on the trail will sure become a pain in the car!
I think a travel deodorant should be included as you’ll probably need a 2nd coat.
Cynthia S. says
Anything for making my face less beet red on a 95-degree day? 🙂
Jeff Hester says
Great tips, Alyssa. I should have my wife add her $0.02 worth — I’m sure she would have some items to add.
@terrainasaurusrex – I suppose. At that point, it’s a cover up rather than preventive measure. As they say, your mileage may vary.
@Cynthia – Avoid the heat? I try to hike as early as possible, or late in the day when the temperatures begin to cool again. Or go to higher altitudes where the temperature is cooler. 95 or hotter can be dangerous! Stay hydrated. Use sunscreen and wear the wide-brim hat and protective clothes. Oh, and did I mention go early? 🙂
Fuck Yeah Camping says
Why has this never occurred to me?! Thank you for this post. I went on a big hike this weekend, then had to run some errands. Your tips saved me and probably every other human I encountered!
I added in deodorant, dry shampoo to resolve the crazy hair issues, plus some nice-smelling and soothing after sun lotion for my face and arms.
Cynthia, to beat the heat (and crowds), I start my hikes before the sun comes up. 😉 On top of beating all that stuff, there’s the smug sense of satisfaction you get knocking out double digit miles before it’s even lunch and watching all the people who slept in pass by!
I save a large used laundry detergent jug and rinse it really well. Fill that sucker up with water in the morning and throw it in your trunk. Being able to rinse off my face, hands and feet is awesome. Especially when you’ve been on a socal dusty trail. Don’t forget a towel.
Nancy R says
Great list! It’s what I use minus the spritz. Not a bad idea though. Will consider body spray.
Sliced, chilled watermelon in gallon baggies stored in a cooler with ice blocks. After you clean off your trail dust, dig in!
Allan D says
Wet wipes are convient, but bad for the environment, some may say biodegradable but in abut a million years. They get eaten as food by animals and more bad things, so I say a reusable bottle of water and a wash cloth is better. Use reusable bags if possible instead of plastic.
I say yes to all the other stuff.
GREAT list! Love it! Nothing like the bliss of flip flops and an ice cold drink. I might find a Snickers bar stuck in the cooler at times as well!