Camp showers are one of the great joys of backpacking. After a long day in the sun drenched in sweat, nothing feels better or more natural than cold rinse amidst the great outdoors. Part of enjoying the outdoors responsibly includes using biodegradable soaps whenever you’re out in the backcountry that are free from harmful ingredients including phosphates, surfactants, triclosans. These additives have the potential to disrupt delicate ecosystems if they find their way into natural rivers, lakes, and streams. Even if you are using biodegradable soaps, Leave No Trace principles advise bathing at least 200 feet from the nearest water source and digging a six-inch cathole to dump your dirty water into whenever you’re done.
If you’re a backcountry camper or a lover of National Parks, it’s your duty to be a good steward of the land and ensure it’ll be around in all its glory for years to come. From the soap you use to the food you bring, reducing waste and minimizing the impact on the land should always be top of mind. Before you head out on your next adventure, check out some of the best biodegradable soaps below and add it to your camping packing list.
Best All-Purpose Biodegradable Soap
1. Dr. Bronner’s
- Made with all-natural, organic, fair trade and vegan ingredients
- Concentrated formula
- Requires transfer to a smaller travel-sized bottle for camping
A camping and household classic, Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap is unbeatable in terms of value and effectiveness. A single 32-ounce bottle can be diluted with water to do laundry, dishes, all-purpose cleaning, as body wash and more. The eco-friendly soap is made with plant-based ingredients—no synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents—which is good for the environment and your skin.
Best Biodegradable Soap for Travel
Environmentally Conscious Camping Soap
2. Concentrated Campsuds
$29 AT AMAZON
- Compact bottle
- Works equally well in cold water
Made from vegetable-derived ingredients with natural essential oil peppermint fragrance, this concentrated soap is an effective all-purpose cleanser with a light, fresh scent. One drop is all you need to wash your hands, and a few drops would launder an outfit or get your entire body squeaky clean.
- Active ingredients: Vegetable-derived ingredients and a blend of essential oils
Best Leave No Trace-Approved Biodegradable Soap
3. Wilderness Wash
Sea to Summit
$11 AT AMAZON
- Natural mosquito repellent
- Small nozzle with secure lid to prevent leaking
The Wilderness Wash soap from Sea to Summit is super concentrated, meaning you can wash dishes, laundry, and yourself, and still have plenty more soap for future trips. Use it anywhere and everywhere without harming the local ecosystem when used in accordance with Leave No Trace principles. Plus, the citronella scent can help keep bugs away.
- Active ingredients: Sodium laureth sulfate, citronella and sandalwood oil
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