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Best Biodegradable Soap for Camping

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This is a review of the best biodegradable soap for camping, hiking and backpacking.

There is no denying that both hiking and backpacking are dirty activities at times. However, as you are out in nature, you don’t want to be leaving any rubbish or harmful chemicals behind. As a result, biodegradable soap is the best option for you to choose from. Using products like this must also follow the Leave No Trace Principles.

I have put together a list of the best biodegradable soaps that you should be using when hiking or backpacking.

Best Biodegradable Soaps For Backpacking 2022

The Best Biodegradable Soaps For Backpacking are:


Best Biodegradable Soaps For Hiking And Backpacking – Overall

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

Pros
> Can wash your body, hair, clothes, and dishes.

> Affordable

> Vegan and Cruelty-Free

Cons
> Can cause irritation to some people who have super sensitive skin

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap is a popular favorite among backpackers and campers. This soap uses all-natural and vegan ingredients that don’t pose any threat to the environment.

It is made with plant-based ingredients, with no synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents. Alongside that, this soap is cruelty-free as it has never been tested on animals. 

If that wasn’t enough, this is also a very affordable soap that anyone can get their hands onto.

Also, this soap can be used to wash your hands, face, body, clothes, dishes, hair and it can be used as shaving cream. There is nothing this soap can’t do.

Overall, this is the best biodegradable soap for camping, hiking and backpacking.

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Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash

Pros
> Can be used to wash your body, and it is often used as an alternative to shampoo.
> Secure Lid
> Affordable

Cons
> Small size

The Wilderness Wash by Sea to Summit is another versatile product, which can be used to wash your body; as shampoo; for dishes and to wash your clothes.

It comes in a durable bottle with a small and secure lid, so you can be comforted to know that it will be safe inside your bag. This soap has a very thick, concentrated formula, thus a little goes a long way. 

This product is gentle on your skin, but will also not negatively affect the area that it is in.

Overall, this is a very affordable product, which is available in a number of sizes. However, it is worth noting that all the sizes are quite small. Therefore, even though the formula is concentrated, you may run out quicker than you realize.

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Sea to Summit Pocket Hand Wash

Pros
> Compact size
> 50 Sheets per pack

> Easy to Use

Cons
> The container is not waterproof so if it comes in contact with water all the sheets will clump together

The Sea to Summit Pocket Hand Wash is a type of biodegradable soap sheet. When you just want to wash your hands or quickly clean a couple of plates, these soap sheets are the way to go.

All you have to do is open the container, and pull out a sheet. Then wet the sheet to make the soap lather. These sheets are ideal for full-body washes, as they need to be pulled out with dry hands. 

This hand wash has a light green tea fragrance. In each pack, there are 50 soap sheets to use.

Although, it is worth noting that the container isn’t waterproof. As a result, you need to be careful where you put this container. If it does get wet, then it is possible that all the sheets will get wet and clump together.

Thus, these are useful when you need to quickly wash your hands, but you need to be vigilant to keep the container dry.

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Coleman Camp Soap Sheets

Pros
> Convenient small flip top container is small enough to fit your pocket
> Easy to Use

> TSA Approved so can be stored in your backpack or luggage when going on flights.

Cons
> Can take a while to dissolve properly

Camp Soap Sheets by Coleman, are another soap sheet variety that you can try. These sheets are quite similar to the product above, however, these are completely unscented.

They are stored in a flip-top case that can fit in your pocket or bag. These sheets have been TSA approved for traveling in your carry on luggage or backpack. Great if you need to fly to your next adventure.

This product is a lightweight alternative when you want to bring soap on a trip.

You can use these sheets to clean your hands, dishes, and even clothes. All you need to do is get a sheet out and add some water to activate the sheet. In each packet, you will receive 50 sheets, which will work with either hot or cold water.

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Sierra Dawn Campsuds

Pros
> Can be used to wash your face, hair, clothes, or dishes
> Compact travel size
> This soap uses oils that may deter insects

> Long-Lasting – A little goes a long way

Cons
> Not everyone has been keen on the scent this soap gives off

Sierra Dawn’s Campsuds is another form of liquid soap. It can be used to clean your hands, face, hair, dishes, and clothing.

If you need something cleaned or washed, then this soap can do it. It also comes in a travel-size bottle, which makes it the ideal size to pack with all your hiking or backpacking gear. 

Not only can you use this soap to clean everything, but it uses lavender, peppermint, and citronella oils. These oils can give you extra protection against insects but in reality it doesn’t work that well for most people. If it works for you, then great.

This soap is 100% biodegradable, as it is made with a blend of purified water, natural fragrance oils, and vegetable-based cleaning agents.


Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes

Pros
> Compostable

> Convenient resealable packet
> Gentle on the Skin with the right pH balance for human skin.
> Contains vitamin E and aloe vera to create a pleasant smell

Cons
> For use on the body only

Sometimes you don’t have any water available. As a result, this is where Sea to Summit’s Wilderness Wipes come in handy. These are super thick fiber wipes that are extremely gentle and soft on your skin.

They remove unpleasant odors and salt from your skin, with no need to rinse off afterward. These wipes are generally used for the body rather than washing dishes.

They have been specially formulated to be gentle on the skin and the environment. The wipes contain vitamin E and aloe vera. They have also been pH balanced for the human skin, but are completely comfortable after use.

Overall, the biodegradable wipes are great for use in dry areas.

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Buyers Guide

Here is the buyers guide that may assist you with your choice of which biodegradable soap to take on your next camping trip or backpacking trip.

Scented or Unscented Biodegradable Soap

If backpacking in bear country, you will not only be carrying a Bear Proof Canister and Bear Spray, but you will want to opt for the unscented biodegradable soaps.

Scented Biodegradable Soap

Scented biodegradable soaps are are great to give you that fresh smell, or add a nice smell to otherwise gross smelling clothing. Some are known to assist in repelling insects. But I have found that this doesn’t work very well for me.

Scented wipes are great to use to freshen up in dry places such as the desert.

Unscented Biodegradable Soap

Unscented biodegradable soaps are the way to go when hiking, backpacking and camping in bear country. These freaky animals have a keen sense of smell and having a more neutral soap is better. Having said that, they will be able to smell the lack of smell anyway. If you have skin allergies, the unscented may be a little better on the skin.


Biodegradable Soap Vs Biodegradable Wipes

What the advantages and disadvantages of each and which one is better for you.

Biodegradable Soap

Typically, these biodegradable soaps are much more versatile and have plenty of uses. Alongside coming in conveniently small bottles or containers, that don’t take up much space on your own bag, or can fit inside a pocket.   They are very concentrated and only a very small amount is needed to be used.

Biodegradable Soaps are versatile and can usually be used for not only washing a dirty sweaty face, but can also be used anywhere on the body, to wash clothes, dishes and more.

Biodegradable Wipes

Biodegradable Wipes are great for wiping down your face, arms and body. Many people use them to clean up after a bathroom break on the trail. They can also be used to clean dirty dishes but that is about it.

While these Biodegradable Wipes do break down in the environment they should be either buried with your toilet poo or carried out with you .


Biodegradable Soap and the Environment

Although biodegradable soap is better for the environment, it can still harm the environment. You need to dispose of these soaps in the correct way as you don’t want to affect any water sources. Even though biodegradable soap is better, it can influence water quality.

Therefore, when disposing of any soap including biodegradable soap, dispose of the water at least 200 feet away from any water sources. As it is the soil that will biodegrade the soap, and it does not impact any aquatic life.

Biodegradable soaps are different from traditional soaps, as they don’t contain any man-made ingredients or chemicals. They are normally made from vegan or vegetable-based ingredients.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Really Need To Use Biodegradable Soap For Hiking?

Whether you are hiking, backpacking or camping, you want to try and have the smallest impact on the natural environment around you.

Therefore, one way of going about this is using little to no soap. If you are planning on a long hiking trip, then you may want to take soap with you, but the soap you are using should be biodegradable.

How Do I Know If My Soap Is Biodegradable?

It should say on your label if the soap is biodegradable. However, soap is considered to be biodegradable, if bacteria can break the soap down to at least 90% water and any organic matter in 6 months. 

Also, a biodegradable soap will contain all-natural ingredients and no synthetic chemicals. 

How Long Does Biodegradable Soap Last For?

Normally, biodegradable soap should last around 6 months before it starts to degrade. 


Conclusion 

Ideally, you want to use as little soap as possible. However, if you must use any kind of soap, then you should use biodegradable soap. In this article, I have given you the best biodegradable soaps that you can use right now.

If you care about the planet, then I would recommend switching to one of the biodegradable soaps mentioned in this gear review for your next hiking or backpacking trip.

Overall, here are the Best Biodegradable Soaps for Hiking:

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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