A Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking Skincare

Hiker in boots and backpack holds walking stick while looking at mountings in the distance

Going backpacking is a fantastic way to visit new, exciting places and improve your fitness at the same time.

Although going on a long trip for a long time can be fun, it can also come with some difficulties. Most of the time, you will have to sleep in your tent without access to tap water and walk for hours each day. In such circumstances, taking proper care of your skin and hair may become challenging.

Below, you will find eight beauty essentials to pack with you on a long backpacking trip to protect your skin from high temperatures and outside elements. They include facial wipes, moisturiser, SPF, sun hat, and some more items. Read on and make sure your trip is fun and healthy!

Sun Hat

If you want to protect your face from the sun, a simple sun hat will do the trick. Moreover, it is also crucial to protect your hair, as prolonged exposure to the sun can damage it, making it dry and brittle. Without proper protection, the only way to fix hair damage will be by using hair scissors. Thus, make sure to pack a sun hat before setting off.

Women with hands behind her head. Wearing sun hat and sun glasses. Relaxing in the sun.

You can find backpacking hats that are usually lightweight and compact, unlike other types of sun hats that can be inconvenient to pack when traveling. Also, hiking hats are made of mesh fabric that keeps your head cool in hot weather. A good hiking hat should also have an adjustable strap so that you can easily fit it on your head without having to worry about the size.

Facial Wipes

Many backpacking trips tend to be dirty in one form or another. While you can wash your face with water from a small bottle, it won’t be enough to clean it properly. That’s why bringing facial wipes is a great idea.

These wipes are easy to use, and they allow you to quickly refresh your face during the day. However, always make sure to choose facial wipes made of gentle ingredients that won’t irritate your skin. In addition, you can find biodegradable wipes or ones that contain vitamin E and aloe vera, which moisturise your skin and remove any dirt from it.


Sunscreen is essential if you want to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays – this is especially true when you are backpacking in hot weather. You can find various creams, face moisturisers, body lotions, makeup products with SPF, and choose one according to your skin type and needs. However, note that sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher are considered the most optimal choice to protect your skin.

Women hiking with backpack on. Whereing sunglass and suncream

There are two types of sunscreens – mineral-based and chemical-based. Both contain ingredients that will protect your skin against harmful UV rays, but they also have their differences. Mineral sunscreens use physical sun blockers such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, while chemical sunscreens include oxybenzone or avobenzone.


Backpacking can be physically demanding, especially if you’re going for long trips. If you don’t want your skin to dry out, taking a moisturiser with you is essential. A good moisturiser should have a thick consistency so that it can keep your skin hydrated all day long. Also, the formula should be non-greasy so that you can apply it easily without worrying about leaving marks on your clothing.

When choosing a moisturiser, ensure that this product contains ceramide, which prevents water loss from the skin and helps restore natural protective barriers. Oil-free formula and lack of any fragrances or dyes will also be a plus. It should also be hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.

Moisturising Lip Balm

Protecting your lips from sunburn is essential when you are backpacking. Therefore, if you plan to spend hours in the sun each day, you should take a tube of moisturising lip balm with you. You can choose between a stick or a tub of lip balm – both are effective in protecting your lips. 

In addition, you can find affordable lip balms with various flavours that also contain SPF to protect your lips from UVA and UVB rays, as well as cracks and dryness. Argan oil is another ingredient to look out for, as it helps protect and nourish the skin.

Hand Sanitiser

When you’re backpacking in the wilderness, there is always the risk of encountering some germs or bacteria that can make you sick. In order to avoid such situations, it’s crucial to stay clean at all times. 

Women stood next to large plants, using hand sanitiser

Thus, you should wash your hands after using the bathroom or before eating food, making bringing hand sanitiser with you an excellent idea. Sanitisers kill germs on contact by dissolving their lipid membrane so that they can’t replicate their genetic code anymore. That way, they stop spreading infections to other people or animals around them.

You should look for a hand sanitiser containing aloe vera extract – it has soothing properties that help reduce irritation caused by sanitisers or soap. Ensure that the formula also contains vitamin C and E – these vitamins protect your hands against free radicals that can cause signs of aging.

Hand Cream or Lotion

When camping under the sun for several days straight, your hands are more likely to get dry than usual. Therefore, if you want to feel comfortable when backpacking, it’s essential to pack a small bottle of hand cream or lotion with you. These products contain ingredients that help moisturise dry skin and restore its natural hydration levels to keep your hands healthy.


Going backpacking is a fun activity that can strengthen your muscles and improve your overall health. However, in order to stay healthy and fully enjoy your trip, you need to take care of your skin and hair. 

Choosing the right beauty essentials is vital in preparing to a backpacking trip, so make sure to pack the products mentioned above with you. They will keep your skin and hair healthy and protected from the sun, bugs, and other elements.

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