I try to stay fairly clean on a long backpack. My strategies are several:
1. swimming: I swim in a lake once a day, preferably at camp for the night. I go in with my clothes on. It is unbelievably refreshing, and has to clean things off a bit.
2. wet wipes: I wipe my face and neck with a wet wipe before going to bed.
3. I use a small wash cloth, with a few drops of soap, for arm pits, face, crotch, arms and legs. Feet get washed in the stream. I don’t care if the fish die downstream.
4. If I get the urge, I take a shower. My syl nylon stuff sack has a shower head on it, and a dry bag type closure.
4. clothes: I wear one set and carry a spare set of t shirt, underpants, and socks. Day one, I start out with clean clothes. Day 2, I wear the backup set of clothes, and in the evening, I wash the first set. Every day thereafter, I wash a set of clothes (t shirt, socks, underwear).
to wash clothes, I use a sil nylon stuff sack, with a dry bag closure (it also has a shower head). I put in a gallon or less of water, a few drops of soap, the dirty clothes, and I trap a bunch of air in the stuff sack, and seal it off. Then I shake it left and right, dump the water. Then put in rinse water, shake shake shake. lay them on a rock in the sun, wear the underwear to bed even if they are damp, if the other set is dirty.
I use the syl nylon stuff sack for other things, like for food or clothing.
Below, scoop up water in the stuff sack. Gary Fujino took these pictures in the Wind River Range. This method is Gary’s patented clothes washing method.
Below: Into the water in the stuff sack, put clothes, a few drops of soap, seal the bag, and shake shake shake.
Below: dump the water away from bodies of water.
Below: Wring out excess water, put clothes on a rock in the sun to dry, or on tree branches in the wind to dry.
Below: clean (cleaner than it used to be) shirt, held up by an unknown wino we met on the trail.