How To Wash Your Hair When Wild Camping? 12 Tips

Who does not love a weekend getaway without the stressors of everyday urban life? Camping in the wilderness, being completely cut off from the real world, and managing with limited resources sounds like a treat. But what to do if your pictures turn out poorly because your hair does not look good? Or when the greasy hair completely ruins your mood because that is not how you like it? The breathtaking views and being surrounded by nature may only be able to fix some of that. 

Washing your hair may be a slight hassle, but pulling it off is possible. However, that is if water is available. If washing your hair is not possible, there are other ways, like using dry shampoo or other methods to help keep the hair clean. 

Greasy hair is not a big problem if you go well-equipped and ready. You can still enjoy your camping trip without worrying about hair with the following tips and hacks. You will learn how to navigate the availability of water or shampoo. In either case, you will find solutions to keep your hair clean. 

What Is Wild Camping?

Wild camping is usually done in any space that one finds. This can be near a riverbed, in the forest, on roadsides, or in plains. People set up their tents and are responsible for their food, drinks, water, sanitation, and other needs. Wild camping may prove to be dangerous sometimes, depending on the area. One may be prone to wild animal attacks or even crimes that result in harm. 

Moreover, the availability of resources may be a challenge. A feasible spot is hard to find, but the risks and benefits must be considered before setting up the camp. In-depth research into the area you are traveling in may also help in choosing the best wild camping spot. 

Getting Your Hair Ready Before A Camping Trip 

Planning is vital when it comes to just about anything on this planet. Adequate planning saves you time, resources, and distress. If you want fresh hair on a trip, consider taking the following tips before the journey begins. 

Washing Your Hair Before The Trip

Be sure to delay your hair wash session as much as possible before the trip. This will minimize the time during which your hair is left unwashed. You will also have fresh hair for quite some time on the trip. 

Hold Back On The Products

You may love to do a 5-step hair routine every time you get a chance, but it is essential to reduce the use of products when you may be unable to wash your hair for the few days that follow. The more hair products that are on your scalp, the more it is prone to getting greasy. Avoid too many products!

Condition Your Hair

Going low on products does not mean you completely strip your hair of moisture. Ensure you condition your hair well to withstand the harsh environment. This will also keep your hair luscious and shining for longer.  

How To Make Use Of Water To Wash Your Hair When Camping?

Wild camping is tricky because no water supply is available, unlike camping on campsites. There are no makeshift bathrooms, let alone showers. Water supply is dependent on the area that you are camping in. If the site has a river or waterbody nearby, you are lucky. But how to use the water in the water body?

Straight From The Source

This option is simple. You take the water that you need in your hands and splash it around. Or what’s better is you dive in and wash your body. 

Carry A Container

You can be as creative with this as you want! The container can be any size or shape. You can carry a small jug or a tub, given that much space. Fill these up and use them as you need. 

Take A Shower With You

Portable shower systems are often available. They are fully set up to use. The only manual labor required is to pour the water into its container. Most showers even have filters to clean the water, so it is not harsh on your skin or hair. This will also help you maintain hygiene and comes in very handy. 

Washing Your Hair When Wild Camping With Shampoo

Once you have located your water source, the next question is how to wash your hair and what products you should use. There are no hard and fast rules for how you should shampoo your hair; use whatever method you have previously been using. Your focus should be on products. Do not use too harsh shampoos, and do not layer your products. Again, something other than a 5-step regimen might work here. Stick to a simple shampoo and conditioner. 

How Frequently Should You Shampoo Your Hair? 

If your trip extends over a longer period than just a week, you should know when to wash your hair and how often. Ideally, you should wash your hair after two to three days, which means twice or thrice a week. 

However, considering the extended stay, the environment, and the water availability, you should try reducing the frequency. Try to use the tips later in this article to ensure your hair does not get greasy sooner. 

Washing Your Hair When Wild Camping Without Shampoo

If you’ve run out of shampoo, or have even forgotten to bring any to the trip, don’t worry! We’ve covered you with some tips below for if/when that happens. 

Just Water

This may sound like your worst nightmare, but it works. Your hair may take some time to get accustomed to this washing mode. Water clears most of the dirt and grease; it does not do the job chemicals do. 

Take some water and pour it on your hair. Use your fingers to massage the scalp and loosen up any dirt or grease that may be present. Repeat a few times or until you are satisfied. 

Make Your Shampoo

If water alone does not satisfy you, you can be hands-on and make your shampoo. You only need three ingredients: apple cider vinegar, a green tea teabag, and water. 

  1. Boil the tea bag and two cups of water.
  2. Once it is done, add three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
  3. Apply this to your scalp and leave for 5-10 minutes; then rinse it.

Apple cider vinegar has exfoliating properties and loosens up dirt and oil present on the scalp. However, apple cider vinegar may irritate some scalps or cause redness. Be sure to test it out on a small patch of the scalp before applying it to the whole. 

Another easy method of making your own shampoo is to make a baking soda paste. Take a tablespoon of baking soda and add half a tablespoon of water to it. If the consistency is not right, add more water or baking soda. Once ready, apply to the scalp. You can leave it on for some time and massage it a little. Then rinse it out. Baking soda can also be an irritant, so test it first or dilute the solution. 

Dry Washing Your Hair When Wild Camping 

There are also ways to “dry shampoo” your hair on a camping trip. Here’s how. 

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is a lifesaver on and off camping trips. This can be used any time you want, even on the go. Make sure to section your hair before using it to ensure that the entire scalp is covered. 

After sectioning, place the spray nozzle a few inches away from the scalp and spray. Repeat for each section. Once done, be sure to use your fingertips to massage the scalp and distribute the products evenly lightly. You can also brush your hair later. 

Dry shampoo can be risky. Be sure to keep track of how much you use. Too much product in your scalp makes it greasy and increases the need to wash your hair. Please keep the product to a minimum and do not overdo it. 

Buying an unscented dry shampoo is better. Fragrance-free products limit the adverse effects of the product and are also kinder on your nose. They also prevent a strong fragrance from occurring after multiple uses. 

Baby or Talcum Powder

If you forgot your dry shampoo or ran out of it, baby shampoo may be the best alternative. If you do not have that, use a minimal amount of talcum powder. You can use it in the same way as a dry shampoo. This may need more brushing to ensure even distribution, but it is unnecessary.


No talcum powder? Go through your cooking equipment and look for cornstarch. This also soaks up the grease and makes your hair look presentable. Use this in the same way as the powders mentioned above. Cornstarch can be hard to work with until you get the hang of it, so be patient. 

Shampoo Caps

Shampoo caps sound like one of those innovative ideas that are introduced for the sake of comfort. They are as promising as they say. The idea is that this shampoo conditions your hair without wetting your hair before or rinsing after. 

You heat the cap and put the cap on for 2-5 minutes. While it is on, you have to massage the hair and then take it off. You still have to dry the hair later. 

Watch this youtube video for further information:

How To Prevent Greasy Hair?

Preventing greasy hair is a process and a lifestyle change rather than a quick overnight remedy. The most important tip we cannot stress over is avoiding product build-up by adding too much. Adopting this may help you stop your hair from getting greasy

Hair Care When Wild Camping 

Be it for some scenic pictures or just for the sake of protecting it, here are some tips to care for your hair:

No Tangles

We know camping can be exhausting, and some days you want to crash in bed after a long day on your feet. However, for clean hair, ensure regular brushing of your hair. This may sound painful, but keeping the tangles away reduces the chance of greasy hair and keeps your hair in good form. 


Sun protection is as essential for your hair as it is for your skin. You may carry hair protectant oil. There are several available on the market. However, if you have forgotten yours or forgot to get one, cover your hair with a bandana or a cap. This saves your scalp from heat and lowers oil protection. 

Covering your hair excessively may also cause issues due to sweat and humidity. You may want to take breaks and let your scalp breathe when in the shade. 

Adequate Styling

You know your hair better than anybody else. You know which hairstyles work best and which make you uncomfortable. Use hairstyles that do not pull at your hair and keep your hair tied up as well to protect against dust and heat. 

Ideal Hairstyles For Wild Camping 

While you are free to choose whichever hairstyle you like best, here are some ideas for camping hairstyles that control and protect your hair while keeping you comfortable.


The first and most commonly suggested category of hairstyle is a braid. These do not pull at your hair, keep your hair bound together and stay in place for a long time. You can get creative and try any of the following curated braid hairstyles:

  1. French braid
  2. Fishtail braid
  3. Boxer braid
  4. Pull-through braid


Buns have got to be the most effortless hairstyle to make. You may want to choose from the following comfortable styles:

  1. Space buns
  2. Messy bun


Ponytails are daunting. They pull at your scalp from the front and can cause headaches if not done right. However, a half-up ponytail may be something you can try on a wild camping trip. 

Final Thoughts 

The need to shampoo your hair in the wilderness may be inevitable, so one must go fully equipped. You may want to carry shampoo, dry, or other alternatives. 

Moreover, you should find a hairstyle that suits your hair and then accessorize it with a cap or a bandana to protect your hair. In between washes, take care of your hair, use a minimum product, keep it saved, and avoid any acts that may cause the hair to grease. 

Happy camping!

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