Friday, April 4, 2014

Ultralight Deodorant?

"And why would you want to use deodorant when Ultralight Backpacking" you may ask?  To smell better, I answer with a smile.
The problem is that I have an extremely sensitive nose and I really don't enjoy smelling myself or anyone else after a good day's hike, much less on an extended journey.  I'd rather smell the rich wonders of nature all around me.
Now when backpacking, I can't help how someone else smells.  However, I am around myself all of the time and I can change how I smell.  I already use handy wipes to clean my body nightly, before sleeping.  Now I can add a swipe of deodorant under my arms, and no one will smell me coming all day.  (I use unscented deodorant, you should too when backpacking!  Think bears.)
Here's how I do it and keep it ultralight weight.
Pocket-size 3-Pack.
When I purchased the 3 pocket-sized push-up containers of Body Glide Anti-chafe, I found I only needed one of them in my pack at a time.  These pocket-size units only weigh 6 grams/0.2 ounces when full.  I took one of the Body Glide containers I had already used the contents from, removed the label and melted small chunks of deodorant into it, just like I do when salvaging the remaining Body Glide from the bottom of the applicators.
Now, I have an ultralight stick of deodorant for backpacking.
Finished product, pushed up to use.  Of course, I keep the cap on when packed.
Call me whatever, but I have learned to never throw anything out that is still useful that I have space to keep.  For an example, I melted enough Body Glide from the bottom of 5 used containers to last me almost a month of applications, and I use it daily.  That saved me from buying a new Body Glide stick that month.
Peeling off the label.
Here's the steps:
1.  Empty the pocket-sized container, push the base down against the bottom to allow for filling to the top with deodorant.
Cut & chopped deodorant.  Empty & pushed down to the bottom container.
2.  Cut leftover, new or unused deodorant into small chunks with a knife, using either a new stick, or scrape and pick the remains from the bottom piece of an old stick.  I use a paper towel to keep the mess under control as this stuff is waxy and sticky.
3.  Place the empty Body Glide container into a small plastic bowl in the microwave oven.  Paper bowls do burn.
Added chunks, ready to heat.
4.  Add in those small chunks of deodorant, but do not over fill.
Stay with this, it just takes 6-8 bursts to melt the deodorant.
5.  Heat in small bursts of 10-15 seconds, on full power, until the solution is liquid.  Add more chunks slowly and continue to heat in bursts, until the push-up container is full to the top.  Earn extra points if it is smooth.  You must stay with this and watch it work.  Absolutely do NOT turn on high for a few minutes and walk away!
Molten deodorant, note the scorched paper plate.
6.  Allow the mixture to cool inside the microwave.  Removing the still-molten deodorant is a recipe for a messy spill.  I have experience with this.
7.  Remove when solid and cool in the refrigerator for half an hour.
8.  Pack with your personal items, push-up to use and apply nightly when backpacking. Keep lidded otherwise.  Label if it helps you.  When it gets low, make another batch.  For through-hikes, I would just buy a regular small container of deodorant and suffer the slight weight penalty.
Not too difficult?
My total weight for this Ultralight stick of deodorant is a mere 8 grams or 0.3 ounces.
While I didn't write this blog expecting to get everyone to use deodorant when backpacking outdoors, I think the people who are already carrying a heavier deodorant stick may appreciate a DIY option on making a lighter weight deodorant stick for those quick, overnight trips.  It only cost me some time plus the things I that already use.  I got to 'experiment in the lab' while making this, and it makes me feel better and smell good, in an unscented way. 
The good news is, you won't smell me coming down the trail!


  1. You should try Lavilin deodorant. One application lasts for up to 1 week. Put it on before your trip and that's it. Nothing to carry... 0 grams.

  2. Wonderful suggestion. Worked perfectly. Thank you from all three of us!