How to Travel Odor Free, Post-Hike
By: Kyle Voisard
There is no way around it – when you get off trail you stink. Follow these tips before you get on an airplane, bus, train or other transportation so that you do not annoy other people while traveling.
1. Hygiene in Public Places
It is important to clean up after you get off the trail and before traveling in public places. All airlines have a policy that you can be removed from the plane if you smell bad enough. In fact we have heard of a long-distance hiker who declined to shower after their hike and was removed from the plane due to their offensive odor. Similar policies also apply to traveling on buses and trains.
2. Keep Your Shoes On
Hiker shoes smell terrible. So it is important to keep your hiking shoes on while traveling in an airplane, bus or train to reduce any offensive odor. It should go without saying that you should not remove your shoes in an indoor public space, like a restaurant or hotel lobby, but we have seen many a hiker do just that.
3. Bag up Dirty Clothes
Dirty clothes can hold onto bad odors for a very long time. If at all possible, wash all of your clothes when you get off trail. At the very least wash what you are wearing! But if you can’t wash all of your clothes, place the dirty ones in a plastic bag, such as a trash bag, to seal the odors.
4. Bag up Dirty Backpack
If you are traveling with your backpack, consider packing it into a sealable bag to reduce odor. You can place the entire backpack in a plastic trash bag inside a large duffle bag to eliminate the odor.
Pro tip: if you are finished with your hike and lucky enough to stay somewhere with a shower or bathtub overnight before you travel, take everything out of your pack, throw the pack in the tub, turn on the shower and clean it well. Then dry it out as best as you can and hang dry it on the shower head overnight. It’s better than nothing, and very satisfying to see all that dirt go down the drain.
5. Remember to be kind to your fellow travelers
We get used to the odor and forget that not everyone is a hiker. It’s a badge of honor to emerge from the woods smelling like a long-distance hiker. But when traveling after a hike it is always a good idea to be kind to your fellow humans.