Brad Lane

Not Showering for 2 Weeks on the Trail

Day 1: I hopped out of the shower this morning smelling of the fresh rainforest pictured on my bottle of shampoo. The day had just begun and my backpack was leaning by the front door waiting to packed into the trunk. After getting quite the scare from the neighbor’s dog snarling behind the fence post, I hit the road ready for two glorious weeks of backcountry camping. I was leaving behind the necessities of life including all my social media machines, nightlights, and Speed-Stick deodorant.

Upon arriving at the trail, I was pleasantly welcomed with a cloudless sky, although by the time I really started making my way down the dirt path, the glaring afternoon sun caused the pit stains on my shirt to nearly double in size, and slowly I smelled my rainforest shampoo being washed away by damper conditions on my forehead.


Day 3: The trip has been going well so far, and I have found my time spent in the wilderness pleasant. It has been 3 days since I last showered, although I did dip my face into the stream the other day. I would never go three days without showering in the “civilized” world, but upon passing a few other hikers going the other way, and walking through the cloud that followed them, I realized that I have yet to reach my true stink potential.


Day 5: As I was bending over this morning to un-stake my tent from the ground, my nostrils caught a full whiff of my open armpits. My nose hairs curled up and I had to check to make sure some hideous bug hadn’t found its death inside my t-shirt. Upon the next whiff though, I could detect the fair aromas of campfire, perspiration, and the hot afternoon sun. And after looking around to make sure no one had seen me smelling my own armpits like a Sommelier smells his wine, I continued down the trail and away from the stench of my own shadow.


Day 7: I had to stop in a small mountain town to re-supply my camping food. As I was perusing the deli meats for an afternoon sandwich, I could see the butcher frantically looking for something amongst his piles of meats and cheeses. He picked up the pastrami and looked inquisitively between its layered sheets. Finally, without finding what he was looking for, he turned to a fellow butcher and exclaimed that one of the cheeses must have spoiled.


Day 7: As I was perusing the limited selection of granola bars in the small mountain town for my re-supply, a young mother pushed her stroller pasts me as she was heading for the baby formula. The moment she passed, the young mother stopped only for an instant, as if her stroller had hit a crack in the linoleum floor, and in that moment the young baby let out a loud cry. The tears continued as the women quickened her pace, forgetting the formula she was looking for.


Day 7: A break of good luck at the register, the small line that had formed in front of the cashier suddenly vanished as soon as I took my place behind them, and some customers even left their groceries on the counter as they quickly left the store. When it was suddenly my turn to pay for my groceries, the cashier must have had a personal issues going on because she had tears in her eyes, but I thought it better to not ask. As she counted out my change, I took off my hat, only to realize that the lack of my usual rainforest shampoo had created a bit of a dandruff emergency on my scalp. As my flakes coated the counter and even the hand of the cashier who timidly held out my change, we both made eye contact for a short moment. Sorry was all I could say as I took my change and groceries, eager to get back on the trail where my odor belonged.


Day 9: Mosquitos have quit biting at my neck as I move along. I saw one land on my upper thigh as I was eating lunch in the late afternoon, and after eating a quick lunch itself, the mosquito was unable to fly out of the hazy atmosphere it found itself in. I felt bad for the little guy, and if it wasn’t for the red bump now swelling on my leg, I would have maybe considered not flicking it out of the air and into oblivion, but my leg was really starting to itch. I think it might have worked as a message to all those other pesky mosquitos.


Day 11: It rained pretty hard the night before and much of the morning. It’s sunny now, but just before noon I was hiking with all my rain gear on keeping the precipitation out and trapping my stench within. If I turned my neck a certain way, what seem like a gas bubble escaped from my jacket and puffed right into my face. I wondered at these times if this is what other people smelled when they encountered me, but quickly decided it was just a more concentrated version. After the rain let up, my clothes and body dried pretty quickly, and for a while it felt fairly refreshing, but now mildew has emerged into the smell mixture. I am currently in the process of checking for mold on my body and clothes.


Day 13: I have seen an amazing amount of wildlife in the past couple of days. It began with a colony of rabbits that all just sat and flopped their ears as I passed them on the trailside. Then I came across a deer, or rather, a deer came across me. I was walking to the sounds of my own footsteps when suddenly a young doe passed me on the trail. It startled me for sure, getting passed by a deer like I was in the slow lane of the interstate, but the deer didn’t even seem to notice me. And then finally and perhaps most amazingly of all, as I was searching for the perfect spot to dig a hole and take care of some “business”, I heard some twigs breaking to my right and saw an enormous Grizzly Bear. I was taken aback of course, and I couldn’t help but have the feeling that the bear was trying to take care of the same business as me. The bear raised his snout to the air and took a couple quick whiffs, and then he looked right at me, we connected eyes, and he simply nodded as if to say “occupied.”


Day 13: Upon further investigation and thought, I believe that without showering for nearly two weeks I have now assimilated into nature, I have found my spot back in the animal kingdom. I am considering ways and options to bottle this wilderness scent and sell it at a high-end boutique. Ode de Animál is what I think I will call it. I have begun the process of empting my spice container and trying to capture the seed scent.


Day 14: The container that was to hold my cologne scent has melted, which renders it nearly useless. But luckily I didn’t have to lug around the garbage much longer because I had reached the end of my wilderness loop and found myself back at my car.

When I sat down behind the wheel, the palm tree air freshener I had hanging from my mirror shriveled and turned black, which is something I didn’t know they did. I drove home with the windows open and once, when I was stopped a red light, the car next to me must have been in a hurry because after they stopped, the accelerated through a red light narrowly missing other turning vehicles.

As a pleasant surprise when I got home, the neighbor’s dog must have just gotten back from obedience school because instead of his usual barking tyrant from the other side of the fence, all I heard was a soft whimper as he ran back onto the porch and scratched at the door. And after taking off my boots with a definite slosh of sweat, after stripping away the clothes I had worn for the past 14 days, I stood in front of the shower, towel in hand, wondering, “why’d I ever shower every day in the first place?”

Things in the Woods That Will Make Your Butt Itch

Humans have been defecating in the wilderness ever since the first caveman popped a squat behind a sage brush, and throughout that time valuable lessons have been learned regarding what (and what not) to use for toilet paper. And because nothing makes the car ride home from camping more uncomfortable than a rashy rumpus, here’s a quick guide on things in the woods that will make your butt itch:

WesternEastern Poison Ivy



One of the most common skin irritants and ill-advised forms of toilet paper is the poison ivy plant. Found on both sides of the country, a good rule of thumb to avoid poison ivy is “leaves of three, let it be,” meaning that you should never wipe with any plant that has a group of three leaves sprouting from the stem. 85% of Americans will have an allergic reaction to the oil found in poison ivy (urushiol), and many famous last words have included the statement “I don’t care, I’m not even allergic.” Rashes can develop within 12 to 72 hours after contact, and despite what it may feel like, the blistering rash does not spread nor is it contagious. The poison spreads while it’s still oily and before it soaks into the skin. Other common visual characteristics of the poison ivy plant include a red stem and a lack of thorns, and can be found growing as a vine to the side of a tree. Western poison ivy is not as prominent, but delivers the same punch.

Pacific & Atlantic Poison Oak



For many people the terms poison ivy and poison oak are used interchangeably, that’s because the two plants can look strikingly similar and both contain the same urushiol oil that cause the blistering rash. The same “three leaves, let it be” adage applies, and the biggest difference between the two plants is that poison oak is most prominently found on the west coast and southeast portions of the United States. Akin to poison ivy, poison oak grows as a ground-vine, shrub, and climbing vine, and if it is ever accidently applied to your campfire, the inhalation of that smoke can cause immediate hospitalization. Let’s repeat that one more time; burning any wood with urushiol oil on it is very detrimental towards your lungs and overall health.

Poison Sumac



The third member of the urushiol oil family is the poison sumac plant. A little rarer than poison ivy and poison oak, the poison sumac plant likes to predominantly sprouts in wetland habitats. Poison Sumac also has different identifiers to avoid, including a parallel row of upward pointing oval leaves on a red stem, is often a sparse looking shrub or tree, and grows clusters of yellow or green flowers or downward hanging berries (which no one should eat).

10 Excuses You’ll Hear When Trying to Get People to Go Camping (And How to Respond)

Alright, we’ve all been there, we’ve all been on the throwing and receiving end of some really great excuses. The classic, “let me get back to you,” or “sure, maybe”, and then when those fail, the really good excuses come out. It happens, and now for the next time it does, here for you today is a hot and ready guide to not only the most common excuses ever told, but the perfect reasoning that contradicts these tired answers to fun questions. 

Not Enough Money
Cash is king, and for many people it’s a key excuse not to get outdoors. But adventures don’t have to be expensive, on the contrary, a single night camping can be as cost effective as a night home watching Netflix and ordering a pizza. Food, you have to eat, and buying groceries for an adventure can be as expensive as buying granola bars or a couple cans of soup. And if you pick a destination that won’t drain your gas tank, money shouldn’t be an issue. 

Not Really a Fan of Eating Bugs and Worms
Just because you are going on a bit of an adventure doesn’t mean you have to go all Survivor Man on your journey. Skip the puss filled grubs and cow paddies, and instead pack the whole kitchen including the sink. If your friends are fan of gourmet dining, impress them with your backcountry skills and whip up something special. And the best part for a budding backcountry chef, most anything taste good after a day full of adventure and exercise. 

Not Enough Time
Probably the most valuable resource for any modern man or women is time, and that’s why it’s a likely excuse to not go on a new adventure. But if someone throws this card down on the table to bail out on some outdoors time, be sure to rebut with the “work smart, not hard” mentality for finding some much needed fresh air. Adventures don’t have to be epic, and if someone is pressed for time, suggest a short hike, bike ride, or anything that will get you 20 minutes of exercise, anything that will effectively rejuvenate the spirit in a way only adventures can.

Not Really a Big Fan of “Mother Nature” / Not an “Outdoorsy Person”
Here is where you need to make and deliver on some promises. If you have a friend that claims to not be an “outdoorsy person”, you have to ensure them the most comfortable adventure experience you can conjure up. You can fulfill this promise by bringing plenty of lights, stoking the fire, and absolutely ensuring that you have all the right gear to cater towards your soon-to-be lifetime adventure buddy.

Not Looking to Contract Rashes, Bug Bites, and Other Skin Abrasions
Sometimes it’s the little things that can really pick at your camping experience. Mosquitoes, poison ivy, and bear attacks, by packing the right gear you can avoid all of these messes (i.e. natural bug spray, poison ivy identification knowledge, & bear container). And while not everything can be controlled in the great outdoors, knowing what kind of environment and what kind of preventions can be taken will do wonders to squash any outdoor hesitancy from your friends.

Not Interested After Seeing the Movie 127 Hours
No one including Aron Ralston wants to find themselves in a dangerous situation while spending time outdoors, and most campers or outdoors oriented persons won’t ever find themselves between a rock and a hard place (ba-dum-tshh). But in all seriousness, finding yourself in an emergency situation outside can be a predicament. Do your best to be prepared, use logic when planning your trip, and if your friend is still hesitant, bust out the 30-page emergency response binder you have lying around.

Not Nice Enough Weather
An old outdoor adage goes along the lines of, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad planning.” And it’s true, although a night spent out in the rain or snow doesn’t sound like an ideal situation, with the right rain gear and fur-lined clothing you can be comfortable in any kind of weather. Noted, a natural disaster situation that might prove to be dangerous (i.e. thunderstorms, flooding, earthquakes, Godzilla spotting), might be one of the few valid excuses left in the book.

Not Enough Facial Hair
Sure, it does seem reasonable to have a two foot beard if you want to spend any extended time outdoors, but it’s not at all necessary. There are legions of outdoor women out there who have conquered the elements without any facial hair, and if one of your guy buddies is still hesitant, there is always the old “smear-Rogaine-all-over-your-face” trick.

Not a Big Fan of Doing Business Outside
Often times the thought of taking care of business outside brings people to tears thinking about the mess and process of popping a squat in the great outdoors. But, in case you haven’t experienced it yourself, you can assure your friends that dropping a deuce outdoors is one of the fastest ways to become one with nature and that the natural approach, compared to the 90⁰ knee angle of most porcelain potties is much better for the intestines. Be sure to point out things that won’t make your butt itch and you’ll have no problem taking care of business.

Not Looking for a Half-Night’s Sleep
Overnight camping adventures can provide the best night’s sleep you’ll find all week. Pack a warm enough sleeping bag and inflatable sleeping pad and you’re set. Camping outdoors takes away all the distractions of modern Z’s including late-night movies, munchies, and annoying roommates, leaving behind only a darkened night to catch up on that much needed beauty rest.