Never, ever did I think that I would be reviewing hair care products, but hey – I also have sunscreen with moisturizer in it… Let’s face it, when you’re travelling & on the road it can get pretty easy to forget about showering & general hygiene- even for a guy! So if you aren’t planning on developing some 90’s backpacker dreads, you’re gonna need some shampoo.
Unfortunately, on many trips it just isn’t feasible to lug around your 1L bottle of Pantene Pro-V with apricot extract.
Enter the Trek & Travel Shampoo:
The Sea To Summit shampoo comes in the same rigid bottle as the Wilderness Wash liquid which is a definite strong point
Everything is labelled clearly– so if you ever do have to show customs or airport security it should be a breeze
The shampoo contains conditioner, which means you save the space & hassle of two bottles
Another plus is that it is biodegradable – which is a fantastic feature if you will be spending time outside, camping or showering near water sources.
So is it the same as a fancy hair salon shampoo? Probably not. But if you are reasonably low maintenance like me, it does a great job. The bottle isn’t going to leak, you can take it through airports and your head won’t smell like a dead animal.
As someone who has usually just sought out laundry mats or flipped my underpants inside-out, I don’t exactly have a huge amount of experience with travel detergents and washing products.
This trip however, we are overseas for about 3-4 months in some areas where laundry operators might be hard to find, and we can also save a bit of cash too by using the Sea to Summit “Wilderness Wash”. I should mention now that the Sea To Summit Wilderness Wash isn’t just for clothes, it can be used for dishes/ eating utensils, personal use and outdoor gear as well.
The first noticeable selling point for me, is the super sturdy bottle. It is clearly labelled, TSA approved, 89 ml (3 fluid oz.) and transparent- essentially, it is perfectly designed for travel. After having a few bottles burst in the past, I have always hated packing liquids of any kind– but this is so solid I would feel pretty comfortable popping it with my electronic gear.
Excellent for Hand-washing
The wash itself works great–it’s concentrated so you can use just a few drops per item or a tiny cap-full for a sink of washing. It doesn’t have an overwhelming smell which is great for people with allergies or who just don’t want to smell like flowers.
Overall: it’s perfect if you are an outdoor or adventure traveler, going on long trips or want to be a bit more autonomous or save some money on the road.
A trekking or travel towel is certainly one of the most essential items for any backpacker on the road (who is actually planning to shower). For readers from around the world, I have seen a few other names being used for travel towels – such as; ‘pack’ towel, ‘compact’ towel, ‘quick-dry’ towel and ‘fast dry’ towels. While a lot of places offer free towels or the option to rent one, there is still a good chance if you go on a long trip or are heading to some less-developed countries, you could find yourself stranded without a towel.
Before this trip, I had been the proud owner of two different options. The first one which is now long gone, was more of a spongy, highly synthetic material. Thicker and rolled into a hard plastic case, I don’t remember the exact brand, but have seen similar offerings in sporting goods stores for swimmers. My second was purchased from Kathmandu, of the thinner, more common microfiber style I see online and in stores. That is now also retired after many years of good service and my brother ‘borrowed’ it for a trip (about 10 trips ago). So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a new one. Most travel towels tend to have a limited life before they start to have that permanent sweaty/ damp smell that can’t be shaken anyway.
So with my usual gift for timing, I decided to wait until the day before leaving to shop around for a new pack towel. I wasn’t looking for just any towel either – I needed it to be;
Large enough to actually resemble a towel
Able to pack into a small bag or roll
What I found were towels that were either too small (e.g. 30 cm x 50 cm) or too expensive (in the range of $50-$65 AUD). So I said “Hey, whatever- I’ll grab one at the airport”.
Guess what? The only ones I saw were basically handkerchief size. Awesome.
On the road, I was lucky enough to be staying in places that had towels but still kept a lookout in Turkey and Italy. We were approaching the portion of our trip that had the highest chance of towel-less accommodation (Western China, Kyrgyzstan & Mongolia) and I really didn’t like my chances of finding compact travel towels in unfamiliar territory. As luck would have it, I happened to see a small shop selling camping equipment in Bishkek and lo & behold – they had a travel towels!
With only the “Blue Line” brand to choose from, I went ahead and bought the largest size, which turned out to cost around $15 AUD or so. The towel itself is 75cm x 150cm – about chest height for me which is ideal for a pack towel. Rolled up, it is compact- a bit longer than my hand and a little wider in diameter than a can of soft drink.
The texture is a bit strange – it feels a bit rubbery to the skin compared with microfiber, but does a really good job of absorbing water and you don’t have to scrub to get dry. It also dries in a matter of hours in a normal bathroom with no windows.
Washing has been easy by hand or machine- I will try and update after more heavy use how it is performing. If you are like me and want travel towel that still feels like a real towel – this is the ideal size. The only negative I can find on the Blue Line brand is that it still smells a little like rubber.