Any traveller will know the dilemma of balancing the right amount of clothes with the additional weight and space required to carry those clothes. When bushwalking you’re extremely limited with how much you can carry on your back, when motorcycle touring you’re constrained by how much you can fit into a tail bag or pack. And when travelling (especially overseas), laundries can be expensive, “suspicious”, or even non existent.
Australian inventor Ash Newland has come up with a solution – the Scrubba Washbag, a lightweight and portable solution that addresses the issues above.
We first reported on the Scrubba Bag back in March 2012, when it started as an Indiegogo funding project. At the time we reported it was already fully funded with 3 weeks to go on the campaign. Fast forward to June, and after a few issues with manufacturing, the first batches of the Scrubba Bag are now shipping all over the world.
It’s made of lightweight polyurethane with a coated nylon housing and weighs only 150 grams (5 oz). The Scrubba Washbag isn’t going to take up much room in your pack or suitcase when folded up. It obviously compresses smaller than in the pictures above as well. (It’s pictured next to a pair of business socks (clean ones 🙂 ).
Once opened up, the Scrubba bag is approximately 60 x 30 cm (24 x 12 in) and is large enough for a couple of tee-shirts and some socks and undies.
Inside the bag is an internal washboard which supplies agitation to the washing process.
I’m not going to photo journal the whole process so instead I’ve just put up the Scrubba Bag YouTube video.
A few things to note:
- You must use water less than 50°C (122°F)
- By using harder or softer surfaces, or more or less pressure on the bag, you can effectively vary the wash cycle that you put your clothing through. So delicates can be put on a softer surface and gently scrubbed while something like denim can be put onto a hard surface and vigorously scrubbed.
- For stubborn or ground-in stains, you can soak your clothing in the bag before washing.
- After use, you just turn the bag inside out, wipe it out, and allow to air dry.
- You do need to be careful with clothing with sharp objects built-in, like buttons, zips or buckles that may pierce the bag. The bag can be mended using a flexible glue or even a standard bicycle tire repair kit which should be fairly readily available in an emergency.
Strangely enough I think this is the hardest review I’ve had to write. There’s a number of reasons:
1. The Scrubba itself is so simple, it’s just a drybag with a washboard built into it. What more is there really to say ? 🙂
2. Operation is simple, put in water, put in detergent, put in clothes, rub , rinse, and pull out clothes. Again, you can’t really write much about that.
3. I had to think long and hard about how I was going to test the bag and document it. Did I want to do a controlled test of dirty clothes? Did I want photos or videos? Did I want to show the dirty water after using? In the end I decided that none of these would actually add to the review.
4. Unlike other reviews I’ve done, it’s a bit hard to quantify how efficient this gadget is. The hardest thing for me to do is to give a completely objective view as to whether I could have got the shirt just as clean without the scrubbing board. However historically, the use of washboards, ladies using rocks in rivers and agitators on modern day washing machines certainly supports the fact that the scrubbing board action assists in the cleaning/washing process.
I’ve used this quite a few times just at home to test the process using dirty shirts, undies, socks, pants, wet stains, dried stains, and each time the test dirt and food stains have come out in the wash.
As a gadget, the Scrubba’s primary function is to clean your clothes. Does it work? It sure does.
To me It’s main advantages are:
- Lightweight and portable
- Minimizes water use and chemicals
- Allows you to wash cheaper than other methods
- Allows you to wash in places you normally couldn’t wash
- You don’t have to be concerned about finding washing powder, change for the machine, having to keep going back to check if your washing is safe, hygiene of the communal washers, and assorted other “worries” like you do with communal laundries.
Suffice to say that because of its small size and weight, the Scrubba Bag will become a standard part of my travelling kit whether locally, nationally or internationally. When it’s not being used to clean clothes, it can still be used as a dry bag for those torrential tropical downpours or even stuffed with clothes to be used as a emergency pillow on that long train ride.
All in all, it’s a great and versatile traveler’s companion.