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Loose the Shampoo

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This is one of the best travel tips that I have yet to share. It is basic, it will come out quick, it is not ingenious, original, nor complicated. It may even sound silly.

Here goes: toss aside your shampoo and wash your hair with normal, ordinary bar soap.

It works just as well, for is not shampoo but an over-elaborated bar of soap?

I have found that using bar soap rather than shampoo leaves my hair just as clean, lowers the amount of times a week that I have to wash my hair, and, most importantly, it removes the need to carry around and purchase shampoo. As any traveler knows, liquids are heavy to carry around, and, likewise, should be avoided at all costs. Shampoo is almost always sold in liquid form. Using hand soap to wash your hair reduces the weight of your pack, and this, above all else, is of paramount value to those who carry their homes opon their backs. Shampoo can also sometimes be a little expensive. Two dollars here, three dollars there add up after a while. So stop weighing yourself down and wasting your precious travel funds on shampoo: I have found that it is not a necessity.

My mother always warned me about washing my hair with bar soap when I was a child. She said that my scalp will get dried out and so many horrible things would happen to my hair if I were to do so. I listened to her for over 26 years. But I ran out of shampoo on a bright sunny day in Honduras a month ago, and, in a moment of supreme clarity, I picked up the bar soap that I was washing my body with and scrubbed it all over my head.

It worked.

In fact, it worked better. After the first wash my hair felt a little stiff and weird, but after dozens of washes since then, everything became equalized. My hair got use to not receiving its regular doses of sodium laurel sulfate, and it now feels no different using soap than it did shampoo. Using soap on my hair keeps my head and beard un-itchy and grease free for over a week at a time. I could not boast this record with shampoo.

Bar soap is usually basic. It is made to clean. My hair needs to be clean: so I scrub away at it with bar soap to no ill effect, and I save a little money and loose a little pack weight in the process.

So toss out your shampoo, get a big bar of hand soap, and wash your body, hair, and even clothes with it. Go to Wash your Laundry While you Shower

Ubertramp, hand soap deserves not a double, but a triple use bonus

To curb the jokesters who could possibly discard this travel tip on the grounds that my lack of hair makes for an unsuitable test subject, I will have you know that Mira, who has a head sprouting beautiful long hair, has also chucked the shampoo in favor of bar soap.

Her findings have been the same as mine.

Hurray for simple bar soap!

There is an old axiom that I learned in childhood that goes as follows:

"Something does not become a necessity unless you make it such."

For me, shampoo is not a necessity. Maybe it is for you . . .. I don't know???

Try it, find out.

As always, take this travel tip or leave it. Send me praises or insults.

Walk Slow,

Wade from Vagabond
Wade P. Shepard has been on a continuous vagabond journey around the world for more than eight years- nearly 40 countries on five continents. He has wandered into the outback of Mongolia, lived in a monastery in Tibet, ate a puppy in China, danced with mystics in India, thought he was a gardener in Ireland, braved the souqs of North Africa, and got really lost in Patagonia. Throughout all of this, he has been working diligently on his travel blog, Song of the Open Road, at: and his website Vagabond Journey, at:, as well as pawning off various travel articles to unsuspecting magazines for food. 
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