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Gear Guy

We (and Drake) Love Dr. Bronner's

You won't find better soap, we promise

Dr. Bronner’s is amazing at cleansing just about anything while you are recreating outside. (Sarah Jackson)
dr bronners

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You won't find better soap, we promise

I’m far from the only one who can wax poetic about the magic of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap ($18). (According to Complex, Drake can’t do without the stuff either.) This cooling, luxurious, inexpensive, portable stank killer has been around since the 1940s, and in that time, it has become a staple in almost every outdoor lover’s pack. Here’s why.

First, that heavy dose of peppermint smells fresh and is strong enough to mask some really nasty odors. I used Dr. Bronner’s to mask the next-level stink that bloomed on an extended guiding trip in the early aughts, during which I won a competition for who could last longest without showering.

Secondly, the peppermint castile soap has a pleasant cooling sensation. And while that hard menthol kick is an absolute nightmare if you get Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap in your eye, an open wound, or any other—ahem—sensitive part of your body, it feels like an icy cool tonic on an itchy case of boater’s butt or athlete’s foot. That cooling effect turns that first shower after emerging from the wilderness into a spa-like experience.

Of course, one of the best ways to cut weight on any trip is to make sure everything you pack can serve at least two purposes. Dr. Bronner’s can serve more than 18 (it says so right on the label). I’m partial to using the peppermint version as a toothpaste, a body wash, and, well, an everything-else cleanser. It tastes awful but makes my breath smell as pretty as any dedicated toothpaste, and it cuts through caked-on grease on your camp dishes without using environmentally harmful goop.

It isn’t hard to find, either. I can trust that it’ll be available in bulk in just about any health-food store or co-op in the country.

Finally, I trust it to not harm me or the environment, as it wasn’t created from a bunch of gnarly chemicals. I have a six-month-old daughter, and I would opt for the most expensive of baby-safe soaps for her nightly baths. Thankfully, I don’t have to. Dr. Bronner’s makes that too.

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