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6/25/12

Travel Soap Review Roundup

Yep, from red dot optics to shampoo, we cover it all at T-Blog. But hey, even the manliest man needs to wash up at some point, right? While things like shampoo may be a bit of a luxury, especially in a dire survival situation, that doesn't mean you should not include some in your pack or survival stockpile. These three products are all geared towards travel use and may come in handy, even if it's just on a camping trip and not the end of the world.

These things are like those breath freshener "leaves" that hit the market a few years back--a filmy, paper-thin rectangle. Instead of breath freshener, they're dried soaps. When you introduce water to the mix, they turn into regular soap. Sea to Summit makes a whole assortment of these--shampoo, body wash, laundry soap, shaving soap and the multipurpose Wilderness Wash. 

I've seen these in stores for a while and was doubtful about how well they would work, but they do actually work as advertised. I've used the shampoo a few times and, with a bit of water, the leaves readily dissolve into a regular feeling shampoo. The pocket-sized container holds 50 leaves--in the case of shampoo, this would be enough to get the average guy through a month of hair washing, probably more. Two leaves gives me a decent amount of shampoo, though one would do the job in a pinch.


Of course, you want to be careful with the container of soap leaves--get the whole thing wet and there goes your soap.  

A container weighs in at a scant half an ounce, so it's not like a little container is going to weigh you down. Good addition to a toiletry/dopp kit, especially where weight was a prime concern (and it usually is!) or for easier carry on for an airplane.


Dr. Bronner's has a definite hippy magic tonic vibe to it, but it's good stuff nonetheless. Organic multi-use soap with refreshing peppermint tingles mixed in for good measure. The 100% vegetable oil castile formulation makes it concentrated without being harsh. 

For hair and body washing, a small amount goes a long way--when using Dr. Bronner's I probably use 1/4 to 1/3 of the soap that I would normally use. A drop or two can be used for brushing your teeth - it's all vegetable oil, coconut oil, and so on - it works, but be prepared for a mild soapy taste. It can also be used, diluted, for general purpose cleaning and clothes washing - Dr. Bronner's website has more information on the specifics. 

A little 2 ounce travel sized bottle goes a surprisingly long way, making Dr. Bronner's a good choice for a multipurpose soap. And the tingly peppermint is a nice addition after a long day. It's sold in a variety of sizes - the 2 ounce is good for a travel kit and airline friendly if needs be - but there's larger sizes available as well. If you don't like peppermint, Bronner's is available in variety of other natural-y formulations - eucalyptus, almond, lavender and others.

This stuff was used by NASA astronauts on space shuttle flights, and it works pretty well for washing up when a shower or even a hobo bath isn't possible--camping, backpacking, long road trips and so on. It's a very runny/watery soap that requires no other water and no rinsing afterwards. For the shampoo, you put it in your hair, lather up like normal and then towel off. The suds/lather just kind of disappear. 

I haven't used the body wash--prefer to use Hooahs or baby wipes in a "no shower" situation--but have used the shampoo a half dozen or so times, and it works. The end result is not on-par with a shower, but a definite improvement over going without. Much reduced greasy/gross feeling and a definite refresher.

It doesn't come in a travel-sized bottle, so you'll want to re-pack into something smaller.

Make Your Own
One basic skill that everyone should know of is traditional soap making from fat and wood ashes. Here's a post from a ways back with good information on the process.

4 comments :

  1. Dr. Bonners is great -- use a drop or two with a solid shaving soap round to get a mentholated lather.

    I also use different Castille soaps like Kirk's. They last a long time even when sitting in some water in a soap dish or zipped up inside a baggie and lather up in all sorts of water.

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  2. DiabloLocoJune 25, 2012

    My wife works for a packaging company. I get all the amenities I want, FOR FREE! I have a whole closet full of them. Shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, mouthwash, toothpaste, hair gel, Laundry soap, hand soap, hand sanitizer, suntan lotion, hand lotion, foot lotion, and on and on. Even make-up and travel size mending kits! All in a variety of sizes too! From travel size to super economy size. I just tell my wife to bring home whatever she can, and store it. Most of it will not go bad for at least a decade. I figure that they will all make great barter items after TSHTF.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds pretty great! We buy our misc travel stuff from Target - they tend to have the best selection for a brick and mortar shop.

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  3. AnonymousJune 28, 2012

    Hi, as you said: "soap leaves--get the whole thing wet and there goes your soap."

    We have used these on camping trips in northern scandinavia - it gets wet, very wet some days, even in summer. these soap leaf boxes become useless far too easily. Bring a small bar of soap - far cheaper(!!), MUCH better. Best regards, Jonas

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