The Best Travel and Camping Washing Machine
Laundry. Unavoidable. At home, on the road - doesn’t matter. Must do.
And if you’re adventuring from a tiny space like a truck camper with no extra storage for clothing, or if you just pack a minimalist wardrobe, you might start running out of clean-ish things to wear after a few days.
Laundry. Must do.
Lots of traditional laundry options while on the road just aren’t feasible in a truck shell camper or other micro camper, and if you’re like us, you don’t want to frequently find yourself at a laundromat.
Enter: The Scrubba Wash Bag.
We’ve got a pretty good system down with this cool little portable laundry wash bag that doesn’t take much space, water, or time (outside of the air drying time), and gets our clothes clean.
It is a perfect camping washing machine or travel wash bag.
The Scrubba Wash Bag is like a mash up of a wash board and a wet bag. You fill the bag with clothes and water, and then rub from the outside as hundreds of ‘nobules’ that line the inside get the clothes clean.
It folds up to pocket size when not in use and weighs basically nothing. We’ve found it to be really durable and well made.
But because it does such micro sized loads of clothes, this washing bag isn’t for everyone!
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Here’s when we’d recommend this product:
For a small family or individual
For small wardrobes (making you need to do frequent small loads)
For stretching time between laundromat stops by washing socks, underwear, etc in between
For people who travel and need a small wash bag
For extended camping trips where a “washing machine” would be handy
Great with quick dry clothing (as sitting and waiting for the clothes to dry is the most time consuming part!)
Interested in trying out this washing bag?
Here’s what you’ll need:
A Scrubba Wash Bag
Biodegradable Laundry Soap (go with liquid over powdered) - we use Sal Suds by Dr. Bronner*
Clothesline and Pins*
Water - about a gallon per load
A Collapsable Tub* is handy (and has so many other uses!)
Toothbrush for Scrubbing Stains if you care about that kind of thing
A wash area that can get slightly wet (a small amount of water tends to escape through the fold down top)
The Scrubba Wash Bag gives abbreviated instructions on it, but basically:
Fill the washing bag with water and recommended amount of clothing to either the “small load” or “large load” line. And just FYI…
small = 1 pair socks, 1 underwear, & 1 shirt (or equivalent)
large = 2 pairs socks, 2 underwear, & 2 shirts (or equivalent)
Add biodegradable soap
Fold the bag down, releasing air through the vent valve
Close the valve and snap the bag shut
Scrub! The recommendation is 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
Drain the yucky water and add fresh water into the washing bag to rinse.
Drain the water and hang the clothes to dry.
Pretty simple little travel or camping washing machine! And it works!
But, of course, we’ve got tips!
If you are working from a camper, you may have a limited amount of water. With our small 7 gallon Road Shower tank, it’s a precious commodity.
a few water saving tips when using the Scrubba Wash Bag, keeping you off grid longer:
Sort your clothes by super dirty, medium dirty, and lightly dirty (those are the official categories)
Wash the lightly dirty clothes first and set to the side to later rinse
Reuse that water to give a first wash to the medium dirty and maybe even the super dirty clothes if the water isn’t too nasty. Loosen up that sweat and dirt.
Gross, definitely time to ditch that water.
When refilling to give another wash to the medium and super dirty clothes, first just fill the Scrubba Bag with water sans soap to rinse your lightly dirty clothes that you already washed. Then add soap to take care of washing your other loads.
When squeezing clothes out either after a wash or rinse, do that over the Scrubba Bag to conserve the water
Don’t go overboard with the soap. This isn’t your full sized washing machine. If you go crazy with soap, you’ll need that much extra water to rinse.
Reusing any water you can like that helps conserve a ton.
And our clothes always smell fresh and clean when we’re done, even the Super Dirty ones.
Getting those clothes dry:
Sometimes those clothes just won’t air dry fast enough, and it’s time to move!
Quick dry clothing will be a lifesaver.
We’re working on building up our wardrobe with quality quick dry clothing, and so far we can recommend:
Exofficio Underwear* (men’s and women’s have been great)
WoolX Endurance Shirts* (Patrick wears these for at least a couple days with no odor problems)
Merino or Alpaca Wool Socks - (We wear these for multiple days with no problems! Less laundry = win.)
Quick Dry Towels* (we’re happy with our Sea to Summit brand)
Other recommendations? Share yours in the comments below please!
The Scrubba Wash Bag is also sold in a set with a Dry Kit. We opted out as it seems kinda gimmicky for the price, and didn’t fit our space and intended use. You can check that out here* if interested, as we have read good reviews on the kit from others.
You’ll also want to have a spot in your camper to hang those few stubborn things that just haven’t yet dried when it’s time to pack up.
Check out what we’ve done in our truck camper and love - it works super well.
A length of para cord is strung between the lower mounts of the roof rack. We leave it up all the time so it isn’t a hassle to mess with.
An indoor clothes line like this will also come in handy if you’re just wanting to quickly wash small things like socks and underwear while you’re stopped for only a couple hours and can’t hang a line outside.
And then every couple weeks or so, we usually stop at a laundromat to wash sheets, that child’s favorite stuffed animal that smells like death, and maybe even our sleeping bag if we’re feeling really motivated.
We hope this quick and easy method for washing clothes out of a camper while you’re on the road can help keep you smelling fresh and clean! Happy washing!
Don’t forget to drop a comment below if you can recommend quick dry clothing! And SUBSCRIBE for more updates!
As always, thanks for reading!
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