An Honest Review of Packer’s Pine Tar Soap (2024 Version)

As someone who enjoys classic and vintage items, I was thrilled to come across Packer’s Pine Tar soap, a traditional product that has been around since 1869. With its roots in Mystic, Connecticut, this soap has a long history of providing a unique yet satisfying cleansing experience.

Recognized by many, including famed actor Leonardo DiCaprio who leveraged its benefits in the movie ‘The Aviator’, this soap has enchanted its users with its unique feel and effects, both me and my husband included.

packers pine tar soap silver foil box

As someone managing mild psoriasis, I have experimented with numerous pine tar soaps, and Packer’s soap stood out with its distinct characteristics. So let’s dive deeper into what makes this soap unique.

Packaging and Size

The moment this soap arrives at your doorstep, you’ll feel the joy building up as you take in the visually appealing packaging. This classic soap is housed in a silver, foil cardboard box, which not only looks sophisticated but also ensures the soap remains fresh and potent. However, I must warn you that as soon as you open the box, the soap’s scent becomes quite strong – but more on that later.

Each bar of soap is 3.2oz in size. In comparison with other pine tar soaps, Packer’s is definitely a harder bar. You’ll also observe that, unlike Dr. Squatch’s black-colored version, this soap has a distinct brown hue. While using the soap, you might see the brown color rinsing off in the water. However, there’s no need for concern, as it does not leave any residue on your skin or towels!

packers pine tar soap color and texture


One of the key components that make Packer’s Pine Tar soap so special is the inclusion of natural pine tar in its formula. The manufacturer has confirmed that the total percentage of pine tar and pine oil combined in the soap is over 5%. Moreover, the soap is free from harsh chemicals, making it a gentle and safe option for various skin types. The soap is also creosote-free, ensuring a toxin-free wash.

The complete list of ingredients includes:

  • Sodium Palmate
  • Sodium Palm Kernelate
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Pinus Palustris Wood Tar
  • Pinus Sylvestris Leaf Oil
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Gluconate
  • Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter
  • Iron Oxides CI 77499
  • Iron Oxides CI 77491
  • Iron Oxides CI 77492


As a lover of nature and the great outdoors, I find the scent of Packer’s Pine Tar soap irresistible. Imagine the delightful aroma of burnt pine wafting through the air from a crackling campfire — that’s the essence of this soap’s fragrance!

Even though the scent is quite pronounced when using the soap, it mellows down significantly once you’ve completed your shower and dried off, leaving a subtle hint of the wilderness behind. It fills the bathroom with a delightfully butch woody smell that is quite a sensory retreat. Yes, your guests might turn their heads, noticing the unique campfire-esque smell.

Do note that the aroma is strong enough that you might want to store any unused bars in a sealed bag or container. Otherwise, you may find the fragrance permeating your living spaces, possibly giving the impression of a fire smoldering nearby.

It’s also worth mentioning that the soap’s smokiness is more pronounced in the bar form compared to the shampoo version offered by Packer’s. I often find myself wishing that I could find this enchanting scent in a cologne too!

Also, having used and loved the scent of Grandpa’s pine tar soap for years, this wasn’t a complete departure, but there were noticeable differences. While both have a smokey pine note to them, the nose will pick up slight variations.


Beyond its enticing scent, the effectiveness of Packer’s Pine Tar soap is outstanding. It lathers well, producing a creamy consistency that thoroughly cleanses and rinses off easily. I’ve enthusiastically adopted this soap as a body bar and hair shampoo. It’s certainly a step ahead of your ordinary soap bars, adequately addressing several minor skin and scalp issues.

If an intense day has left your hands greasy, don’t worry, this soap is excellent at removing oil and grime. Although Packer’s makes a separate shampoo, this soap serves equally well as a good hair cleanser. You need just a few rubs on your head to generate a great lather. Once lathered, simply massage into your hair and rinse off.

As a long-time sufferer of mild psoriasis, this soap has managed to bring significant relief from the itchiness and other discomforting symptoms. While it won’t magically banish your psoriasis, it definitely helps mitigate some of the worst symptoms.

The soap is also a relief for eczema and seborrheic dermatitis sufferers. With regular use and a good moisturizer, you’ll notice a decrease in itching, redness, and flaky skin. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use it during spring and summer to prevent the spread of poison ivy as well.

Interestingly enough, Packer’s soap seems to possess mosquito-repelling properties. During camping trips, we’ve noticed its scent keeps bugs at bay, making it a great addition to your outdoor adventures. However, a word of caution – avoid getting it in your eyes as it burns terribly, a fitting testament to its deep-cleaning properties.

Despite all these pros, the soap does have two minor drawbacks. The brown color of the soap causes a little mess. The first is it leaving dark stains in your soap dish, and the second is creating brown soap bubbles on your bathtub. They do not stain permanently but require a quick rinse post-shower.


A single bar of Packer’s soap can accompany you for a decent period. It’s a hard bar of soap and doesn’t turn mushy, which is often a common issue with other brands. One bar lasts about two weeks for me – pretty impressive I must say!

It’s also worth noting that storing this soap properly can extend its lifespan. I keep my soap on a wooden holder in my shower – a location that stays out of direct water flow. This helps it air dry a bit between uses, maintaining its hardness and preventing it from getting soggy. Given this, each bar gives you excellent mileage, ensuring you remain in the company of its incredible aroma for several weeks.

Price and Value

While discussing the financial aspect of Packer’s Pine Tar Soap, it’s necessary to mention that the pricing might feel a smidge on the higher side to some. A pack of three bars comes at $16.99, which might initially seem a bit steep for the 3.2oz bars. However, it’s important to see the value that these little soap bars bring. But when I stack it up against similar products in the market—like Grandpa Soap Co.’s bar soaps —it comes off as a tad expensive.

In the world of pine tar soaps, price variations aren’t uncommon. And honestly, despite being a tad bit pricey, the meticulous blend of vintage appeal and robust quality that Packer’s soap brings is worth a few extra bucks. There’s also a glimmer of cost-saving hope offered by the soap brand on their website. If you sign up for their ‘Subscribe & Save’ program, you’re eligible for a 10% discount, which is a sweet little perk for loyal customers.

The only downside I found in terms of value is that the company doesn’t provide larger variants. A 10oz bar would be ideal, just like Duke Cannon offers. Bigger bars offer better value for families like mine.

Final Thoughts

check price

After using Packer’s Pine Tar soap for some time and witnessing its incredible benefits, I genuinely believe it is a good soap. One of the standout aspects is the smell which strongly resembles a bonfire. This scent may not be appealing to all, but if you have an affinity for the outdoors and a love for nature, you’ll find it incredibly pleasant.

One surprising yet effective feature I noticed was its ability to act as a bug-repellent during the summer months. This makes me see this soap as a jack-of-all-trades – great for regular use, camping trips, and gifting alike.

Speaking frankly, however, I have to admit that when compared to Grandpa’s Pine Tar soap, I favor the latter simply because it gives more lather and leaves behind lesser brown soap scum in my shower. Both soaps have a similar scent profile but for me, Grandpa’s takes a slight edge.

To sum it all up, Packer’s Pine Tar soap may not be the most wallet-friendly option out there, but its rich history, exceptional quality, and unique scent make it a product worth trying. If you can look past the slightly higher cost and the small bar size, you might just find that Packer’s soap becomes a cherished addition to your daily skincare routine.

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