You want to explore one of the fantastic campsites or hiking trails in South Africa, and you are looking for the best soap to take along. When you camp, there is a lot of dirt. Think sweaty socks, greasy braai and muddy pants. Soap helps the water get the dirt off.
Even when we camp or hike, we need soap. And somehow when we are that close to nature, it seems easier for us to realise that whatever soap we use, actually ends up in rivers. We certainly want to do no harm. What are the things to look out for when you choose your soap for the great outdoors?
The first thing to check for is that the soap does not contain anything that harms life. Any soap that kills 99.9% of germs, also kills good bacteria in water and soil, and possibly insects and marine life. We never need anti-bacterial soap (except for the surgeons among us) but on a hike, it can do real damage. Choose soap with fewer, safe ingredients.
The perfect soap for camping needs to be readily biodegradable. Biodegradable is not enough. A jumbo jet is biodegradable if you give it enough time. Your soap should be readily biodegradable, which means every single ingredient will completely biodegrade in less than 28 days. There is a test for this (OECD301) so make sure it is not something the soap claims but cannot back up.
Also think about the packaging. Of course you will not litter, but if a lion gets hold of your dish soap (like what happened here!) or your shampoo drops into the ocean by accident, it will feel a lot better on the conscience if you know the packaging will biodegrade faster than plastic.
If your soap for camping ticks all these boxes, it should be safe for our beautiful rivers as well as for all the wildlife that is fed by it. And you will feel great knowing that you are doing no harm.
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Until next time