20220824 Traveling with Soap 

Current State

Some how I started this year’s trip without my soap. I use Dial White Antibacterial Soap. Almost exclusively, I have used it forever. It works for me. 

The Problem

I have used a basic big box store plastic travel soap holder forever. It works, but not really well. Improving your soap situation should be about half way down a one bag packing journey, after the merino wool foot pajamas and before the titanium poop trowel.

Ziplock bag $.05

A zip lock bag of soap kind of sucks. Dial White will get soft and unusable if it left wet. The bag will get nicked up and fail at some point. My grandma would reuse ziploc bags, wash them out, turn them inside out to dry and reuse them for food. I am not opposed to re-use, but on the road I lack the infrastructure to chase down replacements if there is an issue. So this is a non-starter. I should add a photo. Soap in a ziploc is gross. Don’t do it. Just NO.

The quick fix – $5 or below 

When we got to Salt Lake City we stopped at 5 Below and I bought soap, a travel soap container, and a cheap first aid kit with a waterproof enclosure.

The status quo soap case

I put the new soap in the travel soap container. I was basically done. It did occur to me that this was maybe not the best solution. The plastic soap container is bulky, pretty easy to break and not cool. 

The first attempt

The cheap first aid kit soap dish would be awesome. It looks cool, like a waterproof plastic wallet from 20 years ago. It is see through. Two issues. The one I bought was a little too small for a regular size bar of soap. It also broke on the way to the car from the store. It might work if you are bouncing from hotel soap to hotel soap. Probably not.

Soap can be resized

This is important to remember! Most people have been in a fancy soap store where they will cut you a chunk of soap. The last one I went to doesn’t sell a decent travel soap container. They also put their products in containers that don’t protect my wife’s nice stuff for their soap and liquids and semi-liquids. If you are carrying anything softer than dial bar soap get a container with a gasket or a screw top and a gasket and put that in a ziploc bag, break out the Tupperware.

By the Way

Bar Soap is not a liquid. I am not a law and order guy, but I spend a LOT of time worrying about what the TSA thinks about my carryon liquids. About 10 years ago. I realized I could fill up my quart bag with 3 ounce containers of liquids. Bar soap might be wet, but it ain’t a liquid. TSA don’t give a hoot about your bar soap.

To the Soap cave!

Even with the spotty internet, I started researching what are the cool kids doing to manage their soap? I want to be influenced. Some where between Andrew Skurka and Martha Stewart and Real Simple is the answer I need to be using. 

What makes a good soap container?

  • It holds the soap you want
  • You can see if there is soap inside
  • It isn’t a millimeter larger than it needs to be
  • It protects your soap from the rest of your luggage
  • It protects your luggage from the rest of your soap
  • It should be manageable in the shower.

Matador Flatpak Soap Bar Case – $13.99

Do you even Matador? First thing I learned is Matador. https://matadorup.com/ Matador is doing cool stuff in this space. If you have throw around money and want to blow up on the socials, buy a Matador Flatpak Soap Bar Case. Buy it from REI.com. The Amazon price is crazy like $10 more.

My take 

The Matador Flatpak Soap Bar Case is sleek, and clever and beautiful and probably works awesome. It has a spot to clip it to something. It has “Dry through technology”.

My only issues are two. One. It isn’t see through. Two. I been in the outdoor game for a while, Son! That Flatpak Soap Bar Case is a waterproof phone case for an old iPhone that you don’t use any more. Or looks like one. I got a hundred of those. Some of them even have windows. The only thing worse than not having a soap case on a trip is having an empty soap case on a trip. My fakes don’t have “Dry through technology” but worth a try maybe.

Coghlan’s Soap Holder – $2.50

Let me knock out the REI purpose built option. You should own something from Coghlan’s. They have about a million products under the Coghlan’s name brand. Most of these fine products are available elsewhere for less money, but only a little less money. Coghlan’s has probably saved a small outdoor business or a camping trip. I kind of enjoy looking through a well planned rack of stuff that includes many of Coghlan’s fine products.

Coghlan’s Soap Holder as seen on REI.com

I don’t buy much of their stuff, because I already own five waterproof match containers. I already own four kinds of outdoor matches. I am always buying the marshmallow skewers. Just in case. 

Coghlan’s probably distributes the finest version of a cheap Soap Holder. Buy this one. BUT… It isn’t see through. So buy it from the big box store save your next Coghlan’s purchase for fireproof matches.

Big Box Store Soap Container – $2.50

It’s probably around the same price. You may already own one. It will break if you drop it. It should be see through… Don’t buy an opaque soap holder. Friends don’t let friends buy opaque soap holders. It’s bigger than the soap it holds. That volume could be carrying an extra pair of earbuds and a chapstick. There isn’t a hotel bathroom anywhere on the planet that can securely hold that thing on any surface. It will fall and break or will fill up with water and the soap will get ruined. Or both.

Wirota bar soap accessories – $19.99

Amazon’s suggestion when you search for Matador. It looked like fun and had a bunch of accessories. It looks very partially waterproof. It has a zipper. This is not the most reassuring feature in a waterproof or water resistant thing. Otherwise it looks bombproof, it’s either a kayak bag or fancy fetish gear. It is not see through. It doesn’t have a window. It stands up on it’s own. It has a spot to clip it to something.

Pass. I am going to use this for something, but not soap.

The accessories that it came with were pretty useless except the silicone soap rest which was very nice.

Repurpose, Remix, Up-cycle.

Chums Old Waterproof Phone Case – Free for me 

I have a bunch of old waterproof phone cases, even Coghlans! This one by Chums happens to look the most like the Matador. The first thing that came to mind. It holds a bar of soap. It has a window so you can see if soap is inside.

Repurposed Chums phone case

It packs flat so it doesn’t take as much space as a hard case, at least not in the same way. I am going to guess this particular case is 10 years old. I am going to ignore the price on my soul for hauling this around for that long. The butcher’s bill for my inability to let things go is huge. 

I am pretty sure it is still waterproof. It protects the soap and the luggage. The dry bag rolling closure and clip is taking up some space that could be better used somewhere.

Boom new favorite. 

Dishwasher Safe Reusable Ziplock Bags Silicone – $1.26 each when you buy 10

I bought these because I couldn’t find the next option which I knew was in the house somewhere.I actually got an assortment of sizes. This was the closest to the right size. It is still the wrong size. I got bigger sizes that will be useful for something, maybe.

Holds Soap, See Through, A little big. Protects Soap and Luggage

This is a pass for me. It would be great for something longer. Like a toothbrush and toothpaste or a tricky tube of tripe ointment or an unguent or a tincture. I went to the trouble of buying this just to as a proof of concept. They make other kinds like…

(re)zip Lay Flat Leak Proof Standup Bag – $4 – free for me.

Actually way more expensive because I am disorganized. I bought more only to find this one the moment I hit the buy button. I am not sure which one of these I own. I bought a pack a while ago. It is definitely the stand up version. Holds Soap, See Through, A little big. Protects Soap and Luggage. It will actually hold two bars of Dial White Soap.

Meet my new Soap Case. (re)Zip Lay Flat Leak Proof Standup Bag

My new favorite solution.

Up cycle your own

Look around your own spaces. You probably own a cell phone case of your own. Maybe an old one. Mrs. JonTheBruce gets all kinds of clothing in zip closure bags of varying quality. Some of them would work great for damp clothes or towels or soap or shampoo or liquids. 

Take care of your soap and shave kit 

Before you pack it all up. Get the extra water off the soap and out of the container. Make sure shampoo and conditioner and liquids are secured and double sealed. 

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