For dishes, for sweaty bodies, even for your teeth, the answer is backpacking soap. When you do your dishes, you need soap to help get the job done. And if you're spending any significant amount of time in the outdoors then you yourself will need to be cleaned, in which case soap is required. Rather than taking all kinds of different soaps and shampoos and whatever else, it's always going to be easier to just take one small container of backpacking soap.
Backpacking SoapThe features to look for from backpacking soap.
- Multi-Purpose - Backpacking soap should absolutely be multi-purpose. The two main uses that people will have for backpacking soap in the wilderness will be cleaning their cookware and eating utensils, and cleaning themselves. You could take two different soaps for each task, but there's no reason you cant take one soap that will do both.
- Concentrated - Backpacking soap should be concentrated as much as possible. If you have to use more than a few drops for whatever you are using it for, then it's not concentrated enough. That way, you only have to take a small amount of soap with you.
Best Backpacking SoapA few of the very best backpacking soaps.
- Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash - Wilderness Wash is a highly concentrated backpacking soap made by Australian manufacturer Sea to Summit. It's biodegradable, so it is environment friendly, and also phosphate and fragrance free, so you wont have any curious bears or other wildlife trying to get a sniff of you in the middle of the night.
- Campsuds Camping Soap - Another very concentrated backpacking soap from Campsuds. It's also biodegradable, so you wont be leaving anything harmful behind in the environment. It also comes in four different sizes, so no matter how much or how little you need, there is a size appropriate for you.
- Dr. Bronners Organic Liquid Soap - Dr. Bronners is something a bit different, as far as backpacking soaps go. It it extremely concentrated, just like the other two backpacking soaps listed, but where it really stands out is in the multi-use category. It works well as a dish soap, a body soap and also as toothpaste. It's a bit of a soapy toothpaste, but still, it does work well in that role. If you plan to use it as a toothpaste, I can personally recommend the eucalyptus flavor, though I'm sure almond and peppermint would be good too.
Backpacking Soap AccessoriesWith the super concentrated soaps above, there is little sense in taking along more than you need. For most jobs you will only need a few drops, and so for even a week long trip, you will only need a very small amount of soap. Many of the above soaps already come in very small bottles, but if you want to really save on space, I recommend picking up a small dropper bottle, which you can then fill with as much soap as you need. A dropper bottle also frees you up to buy a large container of soap, rather than having to constantly buy new travel size soaps.
Find similar products over at the camping hygiene page.