how to stop clothes stink on week trip

I will be going to Gulf Islands Natl Seashore and will be kayak camping for about a week. The sun will be hot and I would like to wear my Kokatat Destination Paddling jacket (covers arms and stuff) rather than constantly slathering up with sunscreen, but I know from experience that after a day or two of splashing around in seawater, it will start to stink as microbes and stuff start to grow. So I am thinking of how to prevent that from happening. One thought would be to soak every day for an hour or so in a bucket filled with seawater after I put one of those pills in it that is suppose to make freshwater drinkable. Sink the stink (or similar product) in the same water would be an alternative, but that would involve toting around more weight. Perhaps bleach would work, but I don’t know if that would compromise the ability of the fabric to filter out UV rays which is the whole point of the jacket.

If anyone has any other thoughts or suggestions, I gladly welcome them. Indeed, I solicit them!


Carry a small bottle of McNETT - MiraZyme:

I wouldn’t bother purifying the seawater first; just mix up a small bucket of water along with this solution and wash your jacket every couple of days or so. The enzymes help eat the stinky bacteria.

Another tip: wear a lightweight nylon or Spandex longsleeve shirt under the jacket, to help prevent skin cells from sloughing off onto the interior of the jacket, which is what the stinky bacteria feed on.

Good Luck!


Access to freshwater?
We usually just rinse everything out in fresh water after a day on the salt, especially zippers. Will you have access to enough fresh water to rinse clothes?

I would avoid the chemicals if possible
Not knowing anything about the construction or material of the jacket …

Those water purification tabs are usualy iodine based and will slowly stain almost all fabric. The concentration is low but there will still be a cumulative effect.

Bleach is corrosive and I would think that any concentration high enough to be effective would also start eatting the jacket.

I would give it a good wash (with biodegradable soap if available) and hang it dry in the sun (perhaps inside out). UV light itself is actually a very effective sterilizer.


I’ve used the MiraZyme and it works really well without eating up gear. You just fill a container (or bottom of cockpit) with some water, add a little MiraZyme, dip the gear in it, and let it dry. It comes out without any sort of smell. I had some promotional one use packets that were small and light.

washing you and clothes

a big problem with saltwater is that the residual salt on your skin and clothing and kayak equipment is that is absorbs moisture keeping everything wet 24/7. This creates the perfect storm for bacteria on both your clothing and skin (warm, wet, dark) The oils from your sweat form a perfect brew.

So, like Celia says it a MUCH more clean, comfortable and hygienic trip if you can clean yourself and clothes with fresh water AND the Mirazyme. Actually works beautifully.

You will sleep better too hot just from less stink, but your skin will feel very much better as well.

Embrace the stink…
and pack the jacket away every night in a bag with a stick of your favorite incense…

Don’t take a date…
…on a long kayak trip. If you are looking for romance look elsewhere.

You will stink so wear wool. Thin wool layers instead of synthetic or (God forbid) cotton. If you are really trying to not smell bad after a week on the water you should take up golf.


Turn the jacket inside-out & put in sun
If you have fresh water, rinse it in that first. If not, just invert and make sure the bright sun dries it out.

That’s what I did for a month in Alaska. Worked well.

I was on a trip in maine for a week and after a bit of stink, I found that eating a lot of highly spiced beef jerkey or sausage all I could taste / smell was the peppers or whatever they put in them. Feed them to your entire team and you’ll have no complaints…

how about something like scent away?
I’m a hunter and during hunting season we use a spray that kills all body odors. I can spray it in my stinkiest shoe and it instantly kills the odor and I can stick my face right down in the shoe afterwards.

wont help to clean it, but will help with the odor. can be found at Walmart in the hunting section for about $10.

My dad’s company uses this too - they’re in and out of clients houses all day long and dont want to gross out the rich people with smelly workers, so they all use the scent away before and it really works!

have fun!

probably the oldest way humans kept themselves from being offended by body odor was to think of it as natural and sexy. Early perfumes were based on body odor, and even today this is sometimes true.

Seriously though, products like scent away (i am just guessing) probably do not actually remove scent, they likely mask it with another scent, like perfume does. If our noses are diverted by a more powerful scent, the other scent may not be detectable.

The funk isn’t that bad, but I’m usually solo. I just swish my gear around in the water to get the salt build up off it. Leave it inside out when I’m not wearing it; cold, wet, stank, sandy gear is the worse…

Sink the Stink before U go
If your local paddling shop does not have it, most “divers” shops will.

Sink the Stink made by Gulf Stream International Inc. of Boynton Fl.

Treat the clothes before you go,wear the shirt everyday for a week NO STINK, no daily treatment.

If you are not pleased with this treatment,when you get back, I will give you back, the three dollars you wasted.

Thanks for the reminder. I’m doing my spring cleaning/twice yearly treatment right now.

NRS Hydrosilk Shirt
Is is not as warm as a paddle jacket but is spf 50. Easier to rinse out or do the other things suggested above.