Feb 09 2014

Top 10 SKills – Waste Management and Personal Hygiene

 Top Ten Survival Skills  #5 Personal Hygiene and Sanitation

tiger with toilet papaer in forestIn modern life your personal hygiene needs are fully catered for when you simply step into your shower and have fresh, hot water, immediately, in the same way as is all your waste management needs are catered for immediately.

But what happens in a survival or disaster situation when the water in the facet drys up and your toilet no longer flushes. What happens then.?

And if your water is contaminated? What happens then? – you certainly wouldn’t want to be cleaning out wounds with contaminated water either..


The subject of personal hygiene, waste management and garbage disposal are high up on the survival list, especially in the wilderness as it can be the very thing that can bring everything else to a halt, and your survival skills must prepared for, and able, to keep your personal hygiene to a level where you are at the minimum risk of infection, disease and illness.

It becomes even more essential when considering your waste management and what to do with it.!

Yeah, I know, it’s a bit of a gross subject. But you must learn as much about survival sanitation as you can now  – excuse the pun, but learn the ins and out…!

The three main areas to be concerned with are:

  • Personal Hygiene – cleanliness and personal sanitation
  • General Waste & Garbage Disposal
  • Human Waste  & Waste Management

Personal Sanitation can actually mean both inside and outside the body – Inside will include drinking safe, sterile water that’s free from parasites and viruses and water that will not make you sick.

also see: how to find and purify water 

Outside the body, eg, your skin requires special attention as it is very easy to get an infected cut that has the possibility to turn septic, if this cannot be treated, the wound can easily escalate into a very serious condition requiring medical treatment and some serious drugs – if they are not available, you are in big trouble and risk potential death.

Personal hygiene also includes prevention:


Insects, bugs and all the other nasties can cause you serious infection – it is important to prepare for this – always carry a good Insect Repellent Spray  – this is essential and the one on the right is one of the best you can get.

It contains 100% deet, a know insect repellent, designed to repel ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers and biting flies, and is made for extreme environments.

You can even use it as a repellent against leeches – see my article on:  How to remove a Leech

Personal Hygiene.

Locating a water source is important for both drinking water and water to wash with. If you have to conserve your water, you still need to keep clean – especially in the groin, armpit area and especially your hands. An easy, short term answer is to carry  Antibacterial Hand Wipes – these things are ideal – both light and compact, although I will say, don’t get the cheap ones, they really do not work anywhere near as good.

Emergency Personal Hygiene.

 You must have a Good First Aid Kit with you in the wilderness. But, the very least amount of frontline protection to ensure that your personal hygiene does not become compromised is to have an Antiseptics and Ointments Kit to both clean any wounds, bites or stings and then be able to apply antibiotic cream to the wound.

The refill kit shown here is the easiest and cheapest way to prevent infection and will cost you under $8 from Amazon for 6 sets – I think that’s excellent value and is a must to ensure any infection does not spread and lower your personal hygiene level.

General Waste & Garbage Disposal

You must be sensible with everything you throw away – in a survival situation this could be anything from chewing gum to an animal carcass  – it is absolutely necessary to dispose of it with care and in the correct manner.

Building up a pile of rubbish all around your camp is never a good idea – It could cause a potential risk to your health, and increase the risk of wild animals sniffing around you camp at night and using you as their food store.

You really must try and contain all general waste in one place, preferably in a plastic bag AND AWAY FROM YOUR CAMP and ensure your garbage disposal methods leave no trace and are not potentially harmful to animals. 


Human Waste & Waste Management

In the area of waste management, you have several choices – the choices depend on whether, and how comfortable you are with the wilderness or how comfortable you want to be.

In a survival situation, your human waste management is quite easy – you find a private part of the woods, away from you main camp, dig a hole and fill it in after – finished. 

If you want more comfort in this area you can purchase a Instant Privacy Pop Up Shelter – a portable toilet bin – these are quite light, but bulky. But do come complete with everything needed – this Portable Self-Contained Toilet does work welland doesn’t give off any smells which is essential in the wild.

In a camping, survival or wilderness situation you have to deal with both areas, and choose between comfort of hiking or bulk and weight. man on toilet in the wild

You will have to get rid of the waste if you go ‘au naturel’. Which will mean a bit of digging, but, don’t forget,  you will still need Compact Survival Toilet Tissues – again, these are lightweight and compact is perfect for the wild.

Injury, disease and infection are very real threats in the wild – So eliminating the chances of getting any of them are very important to your wilderness survival.

Failure in any area of personal hygiene and your decisions as to your methods of waste management are crucial areas and will result in very unpleasant viruses and illness and in a prolonged untreated situation, and will, most definitely, put you at severe risk of infection.