7 Best Soaps for Camping in 2021 (Buying Guide)

7 Best Soaps for Camping in 2021 (Buying Guide)

Table of Contents

    The strongest testament to the necessity of soap at a campsite is most likely to come from campers who have been out in the wild with somebody who didn’t bring any. Even on a brief backpacking excursion, the chores that fill a long day can leave an unpleasant scent on just about anyone. It can seem like a luxury that stays at home while the rough and rugged go out into the wild, but camping soap is essential for use as body wash, dish soap, or at the very least hand sanitizer.

    Even at a campsite with no water source, the right camp soap can be paired with one of these camping showers and towels to keep people and their various camping gear, cool gadgets, or reusable cutlery clean and ready. One of the surest ways to keep everything in your rucksack lasting a long time is to clean it as often as you can, and that takes the right kind of soap. 

    In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:

    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    • MADE WITH ORGANIC OILS & CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS: Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soaps are made with over 90% organic ingredients. Over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade, meaning...

    7 Best Soaps for Camping - Overview

    And here’s an overview of the best soaps for camping on the market today:

    Overview
    Best Overall
    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    Lowest Price
    Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap in Nalgene Bottle, Biodegradable Environmentally Safe All Purpose, Camping Hiking Backpacking Travel, Multipurpose Dishes Shower Hand Shampoo
    Joshua Tree 8 oz. Body Wash, Shampoo - Biodegradable Plant Based Eco Soap with Organic Ingredients (Tea Tree + Mint)
    Coleman Camp Soap Sheets for Dishes and Hands, 50 sheets - Mini Travel Soap Sheets
    Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar Lavender & Geranium 95g
    Title
    Dr. Bronners Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
    Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap
    Joshua Tree Biodegradable Soap & Body Wash
    Coleman Camp Soap Sheets
    Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar
    Price
    $6.72
    Price not available
    $13.99
    $3.99
    $7.65
    Rating
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Best Overall
    Overview
    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    Title
    Dr. Bronners Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
    Price
    $6.72
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Lowest Price
    Overview
    Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap in Nalgene Bottle, Biodegradable Environmentally Safe All Purpose, Camping Hiking Backpacking Travel, Multipurpose Dishes Shower Hand Shampoo
    Title
    Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap
    Price
    Price not available
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Joshua Tree 8 oz. Body Wash, Shampoo - Biodegradable Plant Based Eco Soap with Organic Ingredients (Tea Tree + Mint)
    Title
    Joshua Tree Biodegradable Soap & Body Wash
    Price
    $13.99
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Coleman Camp Soap Sheets for Dishes and Hands, 50 sheets - Mini Travel Soap Sheets
    Title
    Coleman Camp Soap Sheets
    Price
    $3.99
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar Lavender & Geranium 95g
    Title
    Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar
    Price
    $7.65
    Rating
    -
    Details

    Maybe soap clashes with the image of dirty hands that have seen a good day’s work, but when you get out to your campsite you’ll understand how precious a good scrubbing can be for campers, pets, and gear alike. There are many secondary benefits to some soaps, like the kind that serves a double function as insect repellent. Bar soap or liquid soap won’t take up much space in the pack, and everyone will be glad to have some kind of cleaning product along, especially if they plan to share a tent. 

    1. Dr. Bronners Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    • MADE WITH ORGANIC OILS & CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS: Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soaps are made with over 90% organic ingredients. Over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade, meaning...

    This soap from Dr. Bronners is extremely versatile and comes fragrance-free or in peppermint, although there are some similar soaps from this company up on Amazon that have scents like lavender if you prefer. One advantage of liquid soaps like this one is the comparative ease in working up a lather. Clearly dedicated to the leave no trace guidelines, this pure-castile liquid soap boasts ecologically friendly characteristics almost across the board. It’s crafted with natural ingredients, including 90% organic ingredients and 70% ingredients that are certified fair trade. This is a biodegradable camp soap, which means the soapy water you dump out and leave behind will leave no trace. 

    The pure-castile liquid soap is made from plant-based ingredients and none of the synthetic preservatives that are used in some other brands as thickeners or foaming agents. Dr. Bronners says this soap is three times more concentrated than other soaps, so it will stretch further over multiple washes. Just remember that to get this advantage you need to dilute the product with water before you start washing.

    This vegan, non-GMO liquid soap is also packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. It can be used for pretty much any application you can think of for camping soap: washing your hair, face, laundry, dishes, and many others. It works fine on babies and those with sensitive skin as well. The bottle is compact enough to bring with you in your rucksack without any problem. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Environmentally friendly
    • 18 uses in one
    • 3 times concentrated
    • Natural ingredients

    CONS

    • Moderately priced

    2. Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap

    One of the key features in any soap intended for outdoor use is the container it’s in. If you’re using liquid soap, you’re going to need it to be in a bottle that is easy to carry and won’t leak. With this product from Sierra Dawn, you’ll be getting just that.

    It comes in a Nalgene bottle, which is known worldwide for being leak-proof, lightweight, and durable. So if you plan to go on a camping trip, you can rest assured that this bottle won’t end up leaking and spilling all over your bag.

    On top of that, you don’t need a lot of this soap to clean yourself. A few drops will be enough to create adequate suds for washing your hands, face, and even for hair, clothes, and plates. It’s a multi-purpose soap, so you can actually go on a camping trip with only this soap and be fine!

    It works great with fresh water, hot water, and even saltwater, making it a great pick for a variety of locations and terrains. On top of that, it also has a fresh pine scent which fits in very well with nature when you’re out exploring.

    So if for your next camping trip, you only want to bring one bottle of soap for all your needs, this could be just the right pick for you.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

    PROS

    • Can be used for a variety of purposes
    • Refreshing pine scent
    • A little bit of soap is all that’s needed to suds
    • Comes in a leak-proof Nalgene bottle

    CONS

    • Doesn’t work well with long hair

    3. Joshua Tree Biodegradable Soap & Body Wash

    Joshua Tree 8 oz. Body Wash, Shampoo - Biodegradable Plant Based Eco Soap with Organic Ingredients (Tea Tree + Mint)
    • Biodegradable - Safe to use indoors and out as a body wash, shampoo, even to wash your dog, for clothes or dishes at camp

    One of the main concerns for a lot of people, when they go camping, is the environmental impact of their trip. As much as possible you want to leave as little like a footprint as possible, especially when enjoying a stay with mother nature. And one of the best ways to do this is by using biodegradable soap such as this one from Joshua Tree.

    Since most people find themselves washing off in a river or lake when on a camping trip, you have to make sure that the soap and shampoo being used are safe for the ecosystem. Regular hair and body products tend to have a lot of chemicals that are safe for humans but could shake up ecosystems.

    This biodegradable soap is made out of plant-based ingredients, so it is very safe for ecosystems. You can clean yourself up and rinse in a natural body of water with this soap without worrying about causing much damage. It is made of organic and natural ingredients and has Jojoba oil meant to clean and condition skin and hair.

    You can use this handy 8 oz bottle for washing your hands, body, hair, clothes, and even dishes when on a camping trip, making it a very convenient and eco-friendly pick!

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

    PROS

    • Made out of organic and natural ingredients
    • Ideal for hair, body, dishes, and even clothes
    • Lathers up fairly well
    • Made with Jojoba oil to condition skin and hair

    CONS

    • Can leave hair feeling squeaky, especially with long hair

    4. Coleman Camp Soap Sheets

    Sale
    Coleman Camp Soap Sheets for Dishes and Hands, 50 sheets - Mini Travel Soap Sheets
    • 50 biodegradable soap sheets stored in the provided small plastic compact container. These soap sheets use minimal space leaving room for all your travel or camping accessories

    Keeping a high level of hygiene while camping is just as important as it is at home, and while you can’t bring all of the hygiene necessities, one simple solution can temporarily take care of all your needs.

    While bottled liquid soaps are the right pick for a lot of people, many others prefer using soap sheets like this Coleman pick. Soap sheets are a very convenient choice for camping trips, as they are much easier to pack and store in your bag. With this choice, you won’t have to worry about leaks or spills in your bag, which can completely ruin any camping trip.

    In the package, you will get 50 biodegradable sheets. To use them, simply add water and lather it up. After that, you will have a high-quality soap that can be used for washing your hands and dishes. This soap allows you to save a lot of space and pack minimally for your camping trip, which is important, especially if you are going deep into the wild.

    These sheets work with both hot and cold water and do a great job of cleaning surfaces. The soap doesn’t exactly have a strong scent but can still properly clean whatever you’re washing. So, if you’ve been on the hunt for a handy and convenient pack of soap sheets for your next camping trip, this could be just the right one for you.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Very convenient and easy to use
    • Cleans surfaces fairly well
    • It can be used on hands and dishes
    • Very lightweight
    • It takes up very little luggage space

    CONS

    • Not the most environmentally friendly option

    5. Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar

    Friendly Soap Natural Shampoo Bar Lavender & Geranium 95g
    • contains castor oil to create a deeply conditioning, creamy lather

    This Friendly Soap comes in a bar shape, which can have some advantages over liquid soap, especially if you plan on hiking a rocky path or steep incline and don’t trust a liquid soap bottle to stay closed the entire way. For backpackers who will be on a long trip, the bar soap may be more convenient since it can usually sit for a longer period.

    Be wary of warm environments though, because bar soap can melt if it’s left exposed to too much heat. The Friendly Soap bar is nice enough for personal use, but it doesn’t offer any multi-purpose advantage like some of the other models on this list. It does contain essential oils of lavender and geranium, which both have natural stress-relieving qualities. You can work up a nice, creamy lather with this soap bar because of the added castor oil. 

    This soap bar is also free from palm oil, parabens, sulfates, triclosan, and phthalates, opting instead for essential oils like coconut oil, castor oil, and olive oil. It is crafted cruelty-free and boxed in plastic-free recycled (and recyclable) packaging. If you’re only going to use your camp soap for bathing, this could be just what you’re looking for. Just make sure to travel with it in some kind of carrying case or Ziploc bag to prevent any moisture in the bag from activating the soap bar and creating a messy lather when you don’t want it. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Essential oils
    • Recycled packaging
    • Creamy lather

    CONS

    • Limited applications
    • Bar soap

    6. Coghlan Soap

    Coghlan's Camp Soap, 4 fl. oz.
    • 4-ounce bottle of biodegradable liquid soap

    This basic camping soap should have a limited appeal to the environmentally conscious, but it doesn’t go as far as some of the other varieties in this guide. It is biodegradable, but there is no indication that the leave no trace guidelines were adhered to by Coghlan in any other way. There’s no mention of enriching ingredients like essential oils, nor organic ingredients, and there is no promise made regarding the presence of preservatives which likely means that it does have some inside. 

    The Coghlan Soap is one of the cheapest camping soaps on the market, but follow the first leave no trace guideline and plan ahead before you set out on your camping or backpacking trip, because this camp soap is only formulated as a cleaning agent for tools, gear, and dishes. It can be used as a hand sanitizer, but they don’t recommend it as a soap for more sensitive parts of the body. Similarly, this Coghlan soap is limited in terms of additional features as well.

    It doesn’t act as an insect repellant. There may be parabens and triclosan inside, so don’t purchase this model if you take issue with those chemical additives. All that being said, the Coghlan soap is absurdly cheap at less than $4, so if you only need a camping soap to add to an existing body wash, this could be your best option.

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Inexpensive
    • Biodegradable
    • Works for cleaning gear
    • Hand sanitizer

    CONS

    • Not body wash
    • Contains preservatives
    • Not “leaves no trace” compliant

    7. Coleman Camp Soap Sheets

    Sale
    Coleman Camp Soap Sheets for Dishes and Hands, 50 sheets - Mini Travel Soap Sheets
    • 50 biodegradable soap sheets stored in the provided small plastic compact container. These soap sheets use minimal space leaving room for all your travel or camping accessories

    Innovation in the camp soap market has come from Coleman in the form of these soap sheets, which resemble a washcloth when you first take them out of the packaging but dissolves instantly in your hand to create a soapy, sudsy lather you can use as a hand sanitizer or as a replacement for dish soap. The pack is really cheap at $3.99 and comes with 50 soap sheets, so it should last you a long time if you aren’t a horribly messy or accident-prone person.

    They are FSA approved so you can take them with you on airplanes if need be. While they don’t seem to align with all the leave no trace guidelines, these Coleman Camp Soap Sheets are nonetheless biodegradable. They do, however, come in a plastic carrying case that is not advertised as ecologically friendly in any way.

    These soap sheets are fragrance-free and they’ll fit in any bag or even the glove box of your car. You need to mix them with hot or cold water in order to activate their dissolving features. For those concerned about preservatives or chemical additives, this Coleman product absolutely contains 1.5% triclosan. If you plan on doing any serious washing up, these sheets are probably not going to be enough for you, but they are handy to keep around for a quick hand washing or to wash a dish or two. 

    Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.

    PROS

    • Inexpensive
    • Innovative design
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Biodegradable

    CONS

    • Very limited applications
    • Water-activated
    • Contains triclosan

    Our Winner

    Overview
    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    Title
    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    Price
    $6.72
    Rating
    -
    Details
    Overview
    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    Title
    Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 4 Ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry, Dishes, For Sensitive Skin, Babies, No Added Fragrance, Vegan, Non-GMO
    Price
    $6.72
    Rating
    -
    Details

    For the sheer versatility of it, the generous quantities in each bottle, and the variety of scents, Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap has earned our Top Pick as the best soap. It’s easy to take along with you and there’s almost no cleaning chore that it can’t accomplish. For an ecologically responsible, nicely scented, robust camp soap, there’s simply nothing that can beat this Dr. Bronner variety. That’s why it's our top pick as the best soap for camping.

    Leave no trace guidelines

    Many camping soaps available on the market make mention of their ecological benefits, from biodegradable soap to soap made with organic ingredients with no preservatives. In addition to the personal preferences of individual campers, this can be explained with a quick run-down of the leave no trace guidelines, seven minimum impact guidelines meant to help outdoor enthusiasts of all varieties preserve the backcountry or anywhere else they happen to visit. Briefly, the seven leave no trace guidelines are as follows:

    1. Plan ahead and prepare.
    2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
    3. Dispose of waste properly.
    4. Leave what you find.
    5. Minimize campfire impacts.
    6. Respect wildlife.
    7. Be considerate of other visitors.

    These guidelines are meant to protect the natural environment, but some of them are also common sense safety tips for campers. The majority of camping soaps attempt to follow the leave no trace guidelines, which is why so much of their advertising is based on natural ingredients and slimmed down recyclable packaging. With these helpful hints in mind, take a look at this collection of some of the best soap for camping so you can stay nice and clean on your next venture into nature. 

    Bonus tip: Check out how to use Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap to get rid of aphids in your garden!

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    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.

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