Backpacking Guides

Best Hand Sanitizers for Backpackers

Personal hygiene should not be compromised even if you are backpacking. Many times either water is unavailable or the available water itself is contaminated, and that is where a hand sanitizer comes. A hand sanitizer also known as a hand rub or a hand antiseptic is the best way to kill germs without needing water. It can either be in the form of liquid, foam or gel.  There are two main types of hand sanitizers available in the market, one type contains alcohol as an active ingredient and the other type is alcohol-free. The percentage of alcohol in the alcohol-based hand sanitizers varies from 60% to 85%. On the other hand, the active ingredient in the alcohol-free hand sanitizers is benzalkonium chloride which is a disinfectant or triclosan (an antimicrobial agent).

In addition to these active agents, the sanitizers also contain different fragrances and other skin softening agents like glycerin, etc. Also, these are offered in different sizes, so you can select the one according to your requirements. A list consisting of some of the best hand sanitizers for backpackers is given below. Let’s have a look at them!

Where to Buy

PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gel

FGTYU7YJK Non-Alcohol Sanitizing Wipes Resealable Travel Pack by Purell

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Singles

Care Touch Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Wipes

CleanWell Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes

Bath and Body Works - Classic Faves

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand and Face Wipes Singles

Dr. Bronners Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer

Germ Free 24 PLUS Hand Sanitizer and Protectant

Germ-X Hand Sanitizer


1. PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gel

The first on the list is the sanitizer gel by Purell. It kills 99.99% of the most common germs on your hands, keeping your hand clean in the most challenging environmental conditions. It provides 2 times the sanitation strength as compared to any other national brand. While other sanitizers might leave your skin dehydrated and rough, the Purell hand sanitizers are gentle on the skin with the four skin softening and nourishing ingredients.

The active agent is alcohol which is about 70% in it. The other inactive agents include Aloe Vera, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, water, and fragrance. It has a travel-friendly design. Glycerin will keep your skin hydrated, soft and supple while Aloe Vera will help it heal and sooth it.

2. FGTYU7YJK Non-Alcohol Sanitizing Wipes Resealable Travel Pack by Purell

The next product by Purell is the non-alcohol hand sanitizing wipes. These wipes are the best choice for travelers and backpackers because they come in small and compact packs that can fit easily in your backpack pockets. These are also resealable that prevents them safe from drying out. Each pack contains 20 wipes. They contain benzalkonium chloride which is an excellent disinfectant and kills 99.9% of the bacteria. They do not contain any insensitive chemicals that might damage your skin. Hence, these are very safe to be used on hands and face.

These soft and durable wipes will not only protect your skin from germs and bacteria but will also maintain your skin health during those hard and tough days on the trail.

3. Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Singles

This is another great product by Purell that has been specially designed for travelers and backpackers. These sachets can be easily operated using a single hand and can fit in pockets and wallets. After having a long day on the trail or mountain, just take out a packet and crack open to use it. Apply it on your hands and wait for 10 seconds until the alcohol evaporates. After killing the germs, you can now have your favorite meal. A single dose is enough for one time use. The active ingredient is 70% alcohol. These ultra-convenient and inexpensive hand sanitizer singles are a great alternative for a hand sanitizer bottle.

4. Care Touch Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Wipes

These wipes are another travel-friendly solution for problems related to hygiene and cleanliness while traveling. It is an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains 62% ethyl alcohol. The other inactive ingredient is water. This clinically proven formula ensures killing off 99.9% bacteria and germs on your hands. The pack contains individually packed 110 wipes. You can buy the whole pack and take a few with you depending upon the duration of your stay.

There are no added preservatives in its formula that can harm your skin. The individual packing ensures that the wipes stay wet for longer durations. These wipes easily pass through the security checks on airports. Also, it doesn’t include added fragrance as some people have a sensitive nose and they prefer to have a scent-free product.  

5. CleanWell Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes

These wipes have been designed keeping in mind the people suffering from skin conditions like having eczema or too sensitive skin. CleanWell uses thyme oil, which is one of the best ingredients for promoting skin health. It keeps the skin safe from fungal infections and other harmful bacteria. The pack contains 10 moist resealable wipes.

The natural ingredient is also biodegradable and hence these wipes don’t pollute the environment. The pack is very convenient to be taken on trips and is a must pick for those who get allergic to chemicals or disinfectants like alcohol or benzalkonium chloride that are used in most hand sanitation wipes. These are safe to use for both hands and face, and an excellent choice for children as their skin is very sensitive to chemicals.

6. Bath & Body Works – ‘Classic Faves’ Pocketbac Bundle of 5 Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Gels

“Bath and body works” is famous for their fragrances and skin nourishing products. Their hand sanitizer gel is a great choice for those obsessed with scents. This pack contains 5 hand sanitizers of different flavors, and all of them are great! They contain 68% of alcohol, water, isopropyl alcohol, honey extract, fragrance, palm extract, glycerin, and coconut extract.

Honey keeps your skin hydrated and gives the glow that it needs. Coconut extract is an antimicrobial that will protect your skin against harmful bacteria. Glycerin also nourishes the skin and has soothing properties. In short, these hand sanitizers will not only keep you safe from germs but will also leave your skin super soft with good fragrance during your backpacking trip.

7. Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand and Face Wipes Singles

Wet Ones antibacterial hand and face wipes are much better than hand sanitizers as they won’t just kill the bacteria but also remove the dirt residue. The antibacterial agent used in the formula is 0.3% benzethonium chloride.  Apart from that, it contains aloe leaf juice that maintains the skin and keeps it smooth and refreshed. The hypoallergenic property it has says that you are less likely to get an allergic reaction while using it on your hands and face.  

The compact pocket size design makes it portable and very easy to take with you on your next travel destination.

8. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer

Dr. Bronner’s organic hand sanitizer uses lavender oil that is a natural antiseptic, as the main ingredient. It will help prevent inflammations, fight the fungal infections that you might get while traveling, and get rid of the bacteria and germs without causing damage to the skin. Since it is in spray form, it can also be used as an air freshener leaving behind a sweet fragrance. It is certified organic by the USDA national organic program.

As it doesn’t contain any harmful and skin damaging chemicals or preservatives, it is safe for children as well. This hand sanitizer spray is an inexpensive and economical option to be considered while on the move.

9. Germ Free 24 PLUS Hand Sanitizer and Protectant

The Germ Free 24 Plus hand sanitizer is one step ahead in killing germs and keeping you safe, compared to most other alcohol-based hand sanitizers. It doesn’t kill microbes via chemical poisoning, instead, it does the same job but via cellular disruption that is active even hours after applying it.

It does an excellent job of killing 99.99% of microbes. For backpacking, it is one of the best products to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses as it works longer than other hand sanitizers. They also offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with this product.

10. Germ-X Hand Sanitizer

This US-made hand sanitizer by Germ-X kills about 99.99% of bacteria and many harmful germs within 15 seconds. This powerful formula doesn’t just work best in serving its major purpose that is killing germs, but it also moisturizes your hands and leaves them smooth.

If you are traveling alone and plan to stay for long, then this 8 fl oz. pump bottle is a good choice to consider.


One of the factors that can ruin your entire trip while on vacations, hiking, backpacking or camping, is getting sick. The best way to prevent/kill bacteria and germs is by using a hand sanitizer. 10 of the best hand sanitizers have been discussed for backpacking. Now, it depends on you to select either an alcohol-based, alcohol-free, or one that is made completely from natural ingredients.

Let us help you again. If you have sensitive skin and get allergic to chemicals, then you should go for either CleanWell Natural Sanitizer wipes or Dr. Bronner’s organic lavender hand sanitizer. Otherwise, Purell advanced hand sanitizer singles are the best choice.


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