The Best Biodegradable Soaps for Camping

Keep your hands, your cookware, and your environment clean

With we start camping close to home and summer skiing spots begin to open up, staying on point with washing your hands during the pandemic is super important. Sure, you can continually keep dosing your hands with hand sanitizer when there isn’t soap available, but being able to fully wash your hands has been shown by the CDC to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

 

We dove into a couple biodegradable soaps that are available in small containers (making them super useful for camping in your truck, van, or in the backcountry), to see how well they work for scrubbing off your plates and your paws. The standard of cleaning was a dirty pan that cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast burritos, as well as how well it lathered and cleaned hands to keep us germ free as we begin to embark into the outdoors.

Alpine Provisions

I’ve been using Alpine Provisions Castile Body Wash for over a year now since I live in SLC’s watershed and it’s perhaps the best thing to use for shaving. It’s a concentrated and gentle soap made of organic olive and coconut oils along with sustainably sourced essential oils.

In short, it smells amazing and isn’t full of sketchy detergents. A little bit goes a long way in terms of lathering and it’s great for keeping your hands and face clean at the campsite. However, it didn’t tackle the dirty pan that well, but was substantially less harsh than the other trail soaps. All in all, the two-ounce bottle was the best for having a nice soap to lather and clean hands at the campsite.

Juniper Ridge

The Juniper Ridge Cascade Forest wash has a refreshing citrusy pine scent. The concentrated soap lathered up the dirty pan well for cleaning though it didn’t quite accomplish much, even with heavy scrubbing.

It cut grease better than the Alpine Provisions, so it could do some light duty dishes, but it’s more appropriate for keeping up with good hygiene. Both, the Juniper Ridge and Alpine Provisions are a good option to keep in the truck outside of camping, as we travel to trailheads for biking and running, etc.

Dr Bronners

Perhaps the best of the bunch given its widespread availability and ability to clean while not being toxic. Dr. Bronner’s is made with organic oils and fair trade ingredients, and has no synthetics or harmful products. They were one of the first to lead in this realm, and their soap worked well for all tasks.

From washing dishes, properly cleaning hands to prevent germ spread, to quickly washing off from a dusty bike ride it handled everything. It also comes in a variety of scents, though I personally like the 18-In-1 Hemp Lavender.

Campsuds

The Campsuds annihilated the egg pan with ease. Just a few drops in some water provided quick and easy cleaning of the dish. It lathered up well, and while the other soaps here are concentrated I would say this one is much more potent.

I only had to place a tiny drop on my hands before adding water to properly wash them. What’s also nice is the bottle explains proper discarding of the biodegradable soap, so you don’t harm surrounding vegetation and wildlife.

 

STS Wilderness Wash

Sea to Summit’s Super Concentrated Wash was another jack-of-all-trades soaps. It made for easy work of the egg pan with a cap full of soap and added water, and then was just as pleasant to properly wash my hands.

It felt less harsh than the Campsuds on my skin, and when compared to washing off some areas of my legs that had scrapes and nicks from trees it didn’t have a burning sensation. The citronella smell was nice, and apparently it can keep bugs away as well.

 

Sound off in the comments below!

Join the conversation