Best biodegradable soap for camping

Return from the trail looking and smelling fresh with our roundup of the best biodegradable soap for camping.

Sleeping in the great outdoors is always an excuse to let hygiene standards slip a little. The ‘five-second rule’ seems a lot less questionable when you’ve dropped a sausage from the barbeque onto a patch of grass, rather than the kitchen floor.

But that doesn’t mean that you should come back from an outdoor adventure looking and smelling like you belong in a bog. 

If you’re a camper who practices ‘leave no trace’, you should be opting for a biodegradable soap. Traditional soaps, filled with chemicals, risk damaging fragile flora and fauna.

Forget bringing a wash bag that wouldn’t look out of place in a Kardashian mansion, there are plenty of multipurpose biodegradable soaps on the market, meaning that you can use one product to wash your hair, body, pots and pans and your clothes. 

Remember that even biodegradable soaps should be used at least 30 metres from water sources.

Here are the best biodegradable soaps for all your adventures.

Author’s notes

We know smelling fresh is never the priority in the great outdoors, but if you’re looking for something to wash clothes or simply keep the flies at bay, choose from these eco-friendly options.

Reading in a hurry?

Haven’t got the time to read our full list of recommendations? Don’t worry, check out our round-up of the best biodegradable soap below.

1. Best overall biodegradable soap for camping

Compact and delicately citrus-scented, Sea to Summit Wilderness wash comes as a concentrated formula suitable for dishes, hair, and your body. The transparent bottle means you won’t find yourself unexpectedly without soap and the secure lid prevents spills.

The small bottle size easily fits in the side pocket of a camping backpack, but because the solution is so concentrated, this should last one happy camper for at least a week, even when used generously.

The bottle may look small, but a cap full of Wilderness Wash goes a long way, and we’d recommend using less rather than more initially. For best results washing clothes, use with a Scrubba Wash Bag.

Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash bottle

Top pick – Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash

A robust, leak-free bottle and concentrated soap formula make this our top pick for backpackers on lightweight adventures. The subtle citronella scent is pleasant, although its bug-repelling properties are dubious.

  • Lightly scented without being overpowering
  • Paraben-free
  • Secure lid and resistant bottle
  • Multi-purpose for your body, clothes and pans
  • Extremely small size, not good for families
  • 7.8 x 7.8 x 12.5cm
  • 100 grams
  • 89ml

2. Best value biodegradable soap

This pH-balanced biodegradable soap is great for campers who suffer from dry skin as it won’t dry out your skin as much as many soaps on the market. The Lifeventure all-purpose biodegradable soap comes in a transparent bottle and can be used for your body, clothes and dishes. This soap is unscented.

Surprisingly soft, on short hair this soap even feels quite conditioning, doubling up as a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. The bottle size is generous, and will easily last a camper two weeks, or up to a month if used sparingly.

Lifeventure All Purpose Soap bottle, blue

Great value Lifeventure all-purpose biodegradable soap

A generous-sized bottle containing pH-balanced biodegradable soap, which is suitable for campers with dry skin. Lasts a long time for the price and lathers well. A great everyday option.

  • Fragrance-free (if that’s your preference)
  • Generous, 200 ml bottle size
  • Exceptionally good value
  • Lathers well
  •  Fragrance-free (if you prefer something scented)
  • 240g
  • 13.7 x 7.1 x 4 cm
  • 200ml

3. Best biodegradable wipes for camping

The Ace Travel Buddy Biodegradable Wet Wipes are made from bamboo fibre and are the lazy camper’s easiest, no-water shower. They’re great for doing your business al fresco, or for grubby festival-goers. One wipe is generally sufficient for your whole body.

Wet wipes are the easiest on-the-go shower, but unfortunately, they often come with a hefty environmental impact. Conventional baby wipes take 100 years to break down. The Ace Travel Buddy wipes take as little as three weeks to fully decompose.

Ace Travel Buddy biodegradable wipes, brown and green packet

Soap alternative Ace Travel Buddy Biodegradable Wet Wipes

A hassle-free way to keep clean wherever you are in the world. Alcohol-free, hypoallergenic and pH balanced, they don’t leave your skin feeling sticky and are infused with aloe vera to hydrate your skin as you wash.

  • Fragrance and alcohol free
  • Bury or burn them, there’s no plastic content
  • 1 wipe can wash your whole body
  • No water required
  • Not designed for laundry use
  • 499g
  • 32 wipes per pack

4. Best travel wash leaves for camping

The easiest way to do your laundry on the go is with the Lifeventure Travel Wash Leaves. Each pack contains 50 leaves, and you’ll only need around three to hand wash your clothes. Since they’re solid, they’re compatible with airport hand luggage regulations.

They’re also a great hack for washing your hands on the go. Use them for festivals, where the public toilets often run out of hand wash, and simply dissolve one leaf on your hands as you run them under water. Users also found that they were better for sensitive skin than traditional liquid soap, and less likely to provoke allergic reactions.

Lifeventure Travel Wash Leaves, white travel pack

Also great Lifeventure Travel Wash Leaves

Fantastic for globetrotters travelling light, these solid soap leaves can be stowed in your hand luggage and comply with airport regulations. Ultra compact and in a tiny packet, it’s the most lightweight way to stay clean as you travel.

  • Ultra lightweight
  • Great for washing clothes
  • Super compact
  • Not designed for body washing or dishes
  • 52 leaves per pack
  • 13.6g

5. Best for waterless washing

Pits and Bits is eco-conscious in their brand as well as in the final product. All of their products are fully vegan, and never tested on animals. Each pack comes with a shampoo, body wash and two packs of expandable wipes, all of which can be wiped off using a towel and no water.

There’s no alcohol or parabens in any of the Pits and Bits products, and they’re suitable for children, so the whole family can use this at a festival. Even the packaging is fully recyclable. 

With two washes per bottle, there’s enough for a couple at a weekend festival, or one grubby festival-goer at a longer festival, like Glastonbury. The soap lathers up well during the first 30 seconds or so, but then dries rapidly. Extremely easy to use.

Pits and Bits Filthy Festival Kit

Good for festival-goers Pits and Bits Filthy Festival Wash Kit

A waterless shampoo and body wash combination, Pits and Bits works a bit like a dry shampoo for your entire body. A magic flannel is included, and each bottle does two washes.

  • No water needed
  • Great odour elimination
  • Body wash, shampoo and expanding wipes included
  • Soap lathers well
  • Only for use on body
  • 100g

FAQ: The best biodegradable soap for camping

Have a question about the best biodegradable soap? Check out our FAQ below and we might just cover your question!

Chemical soaps can be harmful to plants and wildlife, and the ingredients that they contain can prevent them from breaking down. Biodegradable soaps are safe to use outdoors, but make sure you use them a safe distance from water sources like lakes and rivers.

If at least 90% of your soap breaks down into water, carbon dioxide and biological material within six months it can be classed as biodegradable. However, even biodegradable soap can contaminate waterways and should be used at least 30 metres away.

Still not managed to solve your issue? Don’t be afraid to reach out and send us a message on one of our socials – we’re always happy to help!

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