My usual travel detergent for washing clothes has been Woolite for the last 10 years. It works well, rinses out quickly, and leaves clothes smelling nice. Another product that is advertised as a travel detergent is Campsuds, pictured above. I had never tried Campsuds before, so I used my recent trip to Guatemala as an opportunity to test it out and see how it compares to Woolite.
Campsuds came in 2 different sizes at the outdoor store where I purchased my bottle. The smaller one which I ended up getting is a flat 2 ounce bottle that cost $4. The larger size is 4 ounces and comes in a round Nalgene bottle for $6. If you’re packing a carry-on bag only, the 4 ounce bottle will be too big to take on the plane, so you’ll want to go with the smaller size like I did.
Some initial impressions:
- Campsuds is more concentrated than Woolite. You don’t need as much. Over the course of an average week, I use about one 2 ounce container worth of Woolite doing a daily sink wash. With the Campsuds, I used about half that – a little under 1 ounce for the whole week.
- Woolite smells better. It’s not that Campsuds smells bad, but the clothes didn’t have the same level of freshness as I get with Woolite.
- Both products rinse out very well. This is the main advantage of soaps like these compared to using Tide to hand wash your clothes – regular laundry detergents require a lot of rinsing to get all the soap out, but both Woolite and Campsuds rinse out very easily.
One clear disadvantage of Campsuds is cost. A 16 ounce bottle of Woolite Delicates is less than 5 bucks. Even if you account for the smaller amount of Campsuds you need to use to do a wash, it still ends up being more than twice as expensive if you go with the bigger more economical bottle. Even worse if you go with the smaller bottle, which is what you’ll need for a carry-on.
Overall, Campsuds is a good soap for travel laundry, despite being pricier and not smelling as good as Woolite. Its main advantage is how concentrated it is; you can go for a longer period with a small volume. If minimizing the contents of your bag is the highest priority, then Campsuds is the way to go. But unless I find myself in that situation, I’ll probably be sticking to Woolite for most of my travels.