Your meal isn't complete until the dishes are washed and put away, right? Thankfully there are a few cleaning supplies designed specifically for camping that will keep your pots, pans, dishes and cutlery looking as shiny as the day you bought them.
Most campers use some combination of four tools to clean their dishes: soap, a small scouring sponge, a small strainer or bandana, and a dishtowel. First, heat some sterile water with your stove and pour some into each dirty dish. If the food residue is especially stubborn, squirt a little bit of biodegradable camp soap into the dish; otherwise, simply scrub it away with the small scouring sponge. Pour the water through the strainer or bandana so you can pack out the remaining food particles. Finally, dry your dishes with the dishtowel or lay them on the towel to air dry. Camping outfitters like REI, MSR, Discovery and Manduka make towels from a polyester and nylon blend that dry quickly and come in a variety of sizes. You should be able to pick up all of these supplies for less than $30.
Remember to wash dishes 150 to 200 feet (46 to 61 meters) from a lake or stream and your campsite in order to reduce your impact on aquatic habitat and protect your sleeping quarters from unwanted animal visitors -- like grizzly bears!
- Curtis, Rick. The Backpacker's Field Manual. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005.
- Fullerton, Genny and Katie Harrell. "How to Wash Dishes in Camp." Backpacker Magazine. 2011. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.backpacker.com/skills-slideshow-how-to-wash-dishes-in-camp/slideshows/94?
- Garcia, Wendi. "Backpacking Cookware Buying Guide." Hikingandbackpacking.com. 2012. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.hikingandbackpacking.com/articlebackpackcookguide.html
- Hall, Adrienne. Backpacking: A Woman's Guide. Camden, Maine: Ragged Mountain Press, 1998.
- Seattle Backpacker's Magazine. "10 Backcountry Kitchen Essentials." Nov. 19, 2011. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://seattlebackpackersmagazine.com/2011/11/19/10-backcountry-kitchen-essentials/
- The Backpacker Editors. "Gear: Accessories." Backpacker Magazine. 2011. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.backpacker.com/backpacking_101_gear_accessories/gear/12152
- The Backpacker Editors. "Packing List: Kitchen Kit." Backpacker Magazine. 2011. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.backpacker.com/backpacking_101_packing_list_kitchen_kit/gear/12165
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