I’m off road tripping again very soon, and one thing that I can’t travel without is my wash kit. Yes, I’m afraid so, you are indeed about to get a very bloggy blog post – a what’s in my bag, the wash kit edition!
My tastes have changed quite a bit over the years, from carrying all kinds of products and potions, to taking barely anything – what you will find below is my tried and tested “almost travelling light” list of things I’ve been packing along with me for the last two or three years. I learnt a lot from our ten-week road trip over in North America and even more from the West Highland Way, and I think I’ve settled on a happy medium. You’d think by 38 I’d have this stuff sorted – maybe.
Regardless of whether I head away from home by car or motorbike I always try to keep my wash kit to a single wash bag; I am no beauty blogger and honestly don’t have any need for lots of separate bags and pouches. Here you’ll find notes on what I bung in that same wash bag for a very short couple-of-nights trip or something a bit longer.
My Wash Bag
Let’s start with the wash bag itself. My wash bag of choice is this little The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister (here on Amazon) which is basically a teeny version of their massive duffle bag. It cost about £20-25 which might sound expensive for a wash bag, but I’ve had mine for years and years and despite being a bit faded in places (probably just dirt…), it shows no sign of wear. Inside it has a little mesh zip pocket, a teeny mirror which means I don’t need to pack a separate one, and a built in hook so you can hang it up from the back of a door or a loop in your tent. It’s plenty big enough to carry everything listed here, with the exception of my travel towel (which is a Lifeventure microfibre towel that I pack separately. If I ever break or lose it I’ll be buying exactly the same again. I say that’s a cast iron recommendation.
For My Face
I’ve tried to categorise the things I put inside my wash kit to make it easier for anyone wanting to use this blog post as a guide to find what they are most interested in. I’ll start with the things I pack specifically for my face.
I wash my face using a Lush face soap, at the moment it’s the Coalface Facial Soap, which I chose because it’s advertised as having spot clearing properties, a problem I still suffer from despite being bordering on middle aged. I’m not 100% convinced, but it certainly cleans my face well, including getting rid of all my makeup. This is a pretty new bar which isn’t ideal – I prefer to carry my face soap and shampoo bar in the same tin (the square one from Lush is great for this), but until they’re small enough I’m using two tins.
I always carry a tube of my trusty moisturiser with me as it’s the only one I’ve found that actually works for me – it’s The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion. I also take a face-specific sun cream, because you should never rely on the SPF that’s in your foundation; the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Cream Gel (what a name!) was quite expensive, but as with the facial soap I really do need something that won’t just make my skin break out even more than it does already; when this one is done with I’ll try a different one again as I’m not particularly enamoured with this.
Cleaning My Teeth
I know people who travel with their electric toothbrush and its charger, and I know others who carry just a toothbrush head with the handle sawn off… I tend to just take a bog standard manual toothbrush with me. Well, I say bog standard, but it isn’t really; this is the Radius Tour Travel Toothbrush, which folds down into its own handle to make travelling with it much more hygienic, and has replaceable heads (I get the medium bristles) so the handle lasts for years rather than being completely disposable. It’s not as sustainable as a bamboo toothbrush, but I have had this handle for at least five years already so it isn’t doing any damage to the environment just yet.
With that toothbrush I carry a little tub of Lush Toothy Tabs – this little tub will hold enough for a week, and at the moment contains a mixture of Boom spicy cola flavoured tabs (with charcoal) and the Miles of Smiles minty ones. I only use the Toothy Tabs when travelling as they do not have fluoride in and so aren’t as good for my teeth as normal toothpaste. If you have any plastic-free toothpaste suggestions that my dentist would prefer I’m very happy to hear them.
Washing My Hair
I titled this section “washing my hair” because I am no hair stylist; I generally wash it and leave it to dry naturally, or if I’m riding I’ll bung it in a plait down my back to stop it getting all knotted and broken. To do the washing bit, I carry a bar of Lush solid shampoo, specifically the Seanik one which I have found works very well with my fine and greasy mop, and it smells very good. It doesn’t look very big, but these bars last for ages and ages, even when using it daily.
If I don’t have time to wash my hair with water, or there isn’t any, I do have my dry shampoo with me to help me feel a little less dishevelled. I’ve recently moved from using Batiste, for which I’ve been a huge advocate for years, to giving the Lush No Drought dry shampoo a go. I really like how easy this is to carry and use, and how good it smells (I love grapefruit!) – it absorbs oil very well and lasts all day. I think we’re done with the Lush adverts now (not sponsored…!).
It’s okay, don’t worry, I do actually pack a brush, even if I don’t use it very often. This is the Tangle Teezer Compact Styler; I think mine is the “men’s” one, why Tangle Teezer feel the need to label the grey one as being for men I don’t know, but that’s the colour I preferred. Despite only using it occasionally, my brush is definitely the thing I leave behind most often when I’m travelling. Why is it always my brush?! I also carry a handful of random hair bobbles to get my hair off my face when I need to.
And for a different kind of hair care, if I’m away for a few days or more, I’ll bung in my Venus Snap Razor (the super small travel version) in its little case just in case I want to get my legs out.
Body Specific Products
As you will see from the photo, I generally don’t take “body specific” products like shower gel or body wash. I find my face soap and shampoo do a perfectly good job of keeping me clean and sweet smelling when space is a premium. Occasionally if I’m going somewhere where I know I will have a bath (and time to use it), I’ll add in something that will create nice smelling bubbles – because for me that is the epitome of personal care when travelling.
I do carry a deodorant, of course, which at the moment is a Dove roll on. I choose a roll on for travel (and in fact all the time) because it’s easy to apply in a tent, in the car, or just in the street if I really need to freshen up – you can’t do that with a spray. I know this choice isn’t sustainable or plastic-free by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m yet to find a natural deodorant that works for me – please leave me your suggestions below.
I guess the little bottle of Care Plus Anti Inset spray with Deet (always with deet for me when I can get it – I’m so susceptible to bites, and they make me swell up like a balloon, and so it’s chemical solutions all the way!
I am no beauty blogger (!) and I don’t have a massive makeup bag at home let alone when I’m travelling, but I do like to make a bit of an effort every now and again so what you see here is the most I’ll ever pack. I have a little tiny supply of my Estee Lauder Double Wear, which will be good for a few days. If I’m going for a week I’ll take a bigger supply, but I almost always leave the glass bottle behind. I apply my foundation using a cotton bud and a sponge blender by EcoTools – these come in a pack of two which I’m sure you’re supposed to use for different bits of your face, I tend to use the big one at home for speed, and the little one when I’m travelling to save space.
I’ll almost always have a (short and stubby) Benefit Eye Bright pencil, which I love as it helps my eyes look much less tired than they generally are in reality. If I know we’re going somewhere which might involve a nice meal or something similar, I will also add a single eye shadow we’re heading out for dinner then I’ll add a single eye shadow such as this Sleek Mono in Exposed, which is my current favourite, which I’ll apply using either my finger or a little EcoTools eye shadow brush, and some (waterproof) mascara – this Lash Impact mascara by No7 is actually very good and I would recommend it.
Miscellaneous Bits and Bobs
Okay, so not everything fitted into my neat categories, so here’s a catch-all section for the rest of the bits and bobs in my road trip wash kit.
You’ll see in the flatlay there are nail clippers, which I highly recommend to anyone going on a road trip of even just one week who wants to keep comfortable in their shoes, some scissors, and at least one safety pin. I also carry a head band that I can use to keep my hair off my face when I’m putting on my makeup. These little tubs of Vaseline are super useful for lips and random chaffing. And finally, if I’m away for more than a week I’ll carry a little tube of travel wash so I can pack fewer items of clothing and wash them midway through the trip.
One final category to add in is the one that isn’t really my wash kit but is relevant. These are the related things I tend to pack somewhere other than my wash bag itself. I have a small hand sanitiser, some tissues, eye drops, plasters, pain killers, and a mini sewing kit in my Seatpak which lives in my everyday rucksack or handbag. Then I have a little first aid kit full of all the things I might need in an emergency, which includes the usual stuff plus Imodium (never travel without!), antihistamine (same!), and sanitary products. I also carry wet wipes and toilet paper, just in case. And there will always be a large bottle of sun cream to use anywhere that’s not my face in the car or my motorbike top box.
There we have it, my road trip travel wash kit. Actually now I’ve written it I realise I do pack a massive amount of stuff – this post is long – maybe I’ll take a few bits out this time and see how I get on. What have I forgotten?!
In the interests of disclosure, please know that everything in this post is something I genuinely use, and have purchased myself or have received as a gift from family. Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase using one I get a teeny amount of commission that I put towards my next adventure. If you’ve got any questions about the items I mention on this page, please ask.