Why You Should Take Baking Soda on Your Next Camping Trip

CC BY 2.0. sameold2010

This versatile ingredient can replace multiple others, allowing you to pack less.

The next time you go camping, be sure to throw in some baking soda. This may not seem like the most logical ingredient to take along with you, but it can come in very handy. Baking soda, as most green-minded readers likely already know, is a tremendously versatile product that can be used to scour, deodorize, absorb oil, and generally make things cleaner.

It's a perfect fit for camping because it's safe, biodegradable, and always comes in a cardboard box (that can burned in a campfire afterward). A single box of baking soda can eliminate the need to bring multiple other items along – and isn't packing light always the ultimate goal of camping? Here are some ideas for how to use it in a campsite.

1. Use it for dishwashing. If you're short on soap or don't want to pack a heavy liquid bottle, put baking soda into a wash basin and add water. (1/4 cup soda to 1 quart water is recommended ratio.) You can also sprinkle soda directly into pots and pans for scrubbing. Rinse and you'll have shiny, degreased dishes. Soak a stinky dishcloth in a baking soda-water mixture and then hang to dry. It will smell much better afterward.

2. Brush your teeth. It might taste nasty, but a dash of soda on a wet toothbrush will leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

3. Deodorize both yourself and your stuff. Feeling sweaty after a hike? Dab some baking soda under your armpits for an instant dry feeling. If you have smelly gear, like shoes or a cooler, sprinkle in some soda and let it sit for a couple hours. It will absorb much of the bad odor.

4. Wash your hair. There's no need to pack shampoo and conditioner bottles if you've already got some baking soda on hand. Add some apple cider vinegar for a nice conditioning effect. Instructions for washing hair with soda here. Alternatively, mix it with an equal part cornstarch for an easy dry shampoo that will absorb oil in your hair.

5. Scour the grill. Is the campsite grill or your barbecue looking a little scummy? Sprinkle baking soda on a wet brush and rub it onto the grill. After the gunk has come off, follow with a light rinse.

6. Soothe itchy skin. If you've picked up some bug bites in the bush, you can mix a paste of baking soda and water and apply to bites. Let sit 10 minutes, then wash off. Much of the itchiness should be gone.

Do you have any other baking soda camping hacks? Please share in the comments below!