My methods for doing laundry on bike trips have always left me wondering about my cleanliness. It is one reason I am a fan of Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap because even if my clothes aren’t really clean at least I smell minty fresh first thing in the morning. I imagine my bike shorts under a microscope and cringe at the possibility of various life forms happily breeding and multiplying. Not good for someone who is a bit of a clean freak. Not good for someone obsessed with packing light. Not good for someone whose passion is riding a bike on multi-day trips in areas where there are never laundry facilities.
Thankfully the folks at Scrubba have come up with a brilliant solution to doing laundry on the road! The Scrubba is a lightweight roll-top, waterproof bag that happens to have a built-in, flexible washboard. It’s super cool and incredibly well designed. The six easy steps to clean clothes are printed directly on the bag. Wonder how many clothes are in a “large” load? It’s on the bag along with guidelines for how much soap and water to use. There is even a clear side panel so you can watch the results of your rubbing efforts.
I thought it important to test the bag before heading out on a trip so hit the gym and felt a certain scientific satisfaction after the third round of burpees left me drenched in sweat. Not feeling quite dirty enough I decided now was the perfect time to transplant the rhubarb which was so heavy it required that I clutch the dirt and root ball against my t-shirt.
Satisfied that I had attained my dirty, smelly goals I loaded my shorts, t-shirt, socks, underwear in the bag added soap and water. I then rolled the bag over about six times, sealed it, and used the air valve to release extra air which proved to be the most challenging part of the process. I opened the valve, pressed the bag and nothing happened. The valve requires that you squeeze it to open it which makes sense, but it was a little challenging for me to hold and press the bag, squeeze the valve, and avoid having soap and water come out of the valve. After a short wrestling match I won the battle and started scrubbing – rubbing really. The soapy water inside the Scrubba turned a satisfying brown in very short order, so brown in fact that I felt the need to do a quick rinse and a second wash. After a second rinse I wrung the clothes in a towel to get out as much moisture as possible and hung them on the line. A few hours later I had clothes that not only smelled fresh they looked and felt clean!
I love it when gear has a multitude of purposes so I can also see using the bag as a liner for my rear rack pack to double my rain protection. It’s also the perfect laundry bag if you wanted to wait a day to wash your cycling gear. The only downside I see to the Scrubba wash bag is the $64.95 price tag which seems high. Then I ask myself, how much it’s worth to have clean cycling shorts everyday on a multi-day cycling trip? Suddenly $65 bucks seems like a heck of a deal. So ask yourself how important is not just smelling, but being minty clean to you?
Check out this instructional video of a Scrubba in action.