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Scrubba Portable Washing Machine (3.5oz weight penalty)
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Scrubba Portable Washing Machine (3.5oz weight penalty) on 02/08/2013 09:44:19 MST Print View

I can't tell if this is a gimmick or genius. I think I might have to test it, but has anyone else given this a whirl?

It weighs 5oz, so about 3x as much as a Sea to Summit ultra-sil dry sack in a similar size (estimating it to be about 10-15L based on the pictures).

So, you replace your dry sack with a Scrubba (multi-use!) at a weight penalty of 3.5oz, and in return, you can clean your clothes on the trail or at a water spigot, or a clean stream, or basically anywhere.

I'm very excited about this for bike touring; cleaning clothes in a rest stop bathroom is actually feasible with this guy.


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Scrubba Portable Washing Machine (3.5oz weight penalty) on 02/08/2013 09:52:03 MST Print View

I appreciate that they say this on their website: What do I do with the dirty water if I am camping or trekking?

If you use the Scrubba wash bag in the countryside, we recommend using an environmentally friendly laundry liquid to minimise potential damage to the local ecosystem. Most camping stores sell a range of eco laundry liquids. If washing near a water source (e.g. a river, stream, lake, etc.), we recommend that dirty water be tipped out at least 30 metres (100 feet) from the water source to prevent pollution.

And while I think it's a clever solution and pretty well thought out, at $60, even with free shipping, it's a bit much. Perhaps $30 tops. Part of that is because I don't think it will get clothes significantly cleaner than just a regular drysack.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Scrubba Pros and Cons on 02/08/2013 10:06:38 MST Print View

From what I can tell from the design, the sticky part keeps the clothes rolling over themselves while the scrubbers knead the fabric. I think it probably makes a considerable difference over a regular dry-sack, but the price is the big stopping point for me too. However... clean shorts are a gift on long trail days.

The real breaker for me is durability. If I'm gonna be kneading a dry-sack, seams have to hold. If I get, say, 20 loads of laundry out of this in a summer, I'd consider it money well-spent.

It also helps me realize the dream of living off the grid... Woo!

I looked it up on Amazon for a deal. All I found was this:Scrubba

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Scrubba Pros and Cons on 02/08/2013 10:27:02 MST Print View


Good find! I travel overseas with my job and have learned to live out of a daypack (I never check a bag) by packing one change of clothes which dry quickly and by doing my own laundry in the sink (fortunately no jacket and tie requirement). I've also done my laundry in a garbage bag or pack liner when I'm in a more remote area. I tried using a commercial laundry service in Cambodia and my clothes came back dirtier than when I dropped them off.

This is perfect for me if it works as advertised. I'm going to order one.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Same! on 02/08/2013 10:33:28 MST Print View

I think I'm going to order one as well. it just looks legitimate to me.

Here's some reviews:

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Scrubba Pros and Cons on 02/08/2013 10:34:38 MST Print View

"I think it probably makes a considerable difference over a regular dry-sack"

Perhaps one of the science guys will chime in, but I don't think it would make a considerable difference, except perhaps on stains. Just sloshing the clothes around in soapy water is going to remove grime and 'the stink' as well in a drysack as in this, I would think, as long as you don't overload the drysack (don't stuff it full).

I remember reading about one person who simply put dirty clothes in a nalgene and soapy water in the morning. The movement of his/her pack during the hike performed the agitation, at some point in the day they'd replace the soapy water with clean water for the rinse, hike some more, then ring out and hang at camp. Worked well for them, as I remember.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Good Point on 02/08/2013 10:38:39 MST Print View

There's an argument for removing stains since the stuff in the stain can degrade a synthetic fabric. I think there's also something to be said for getting rid of things like sap. I know I run into a lot of sap in the Northeast.

I guess it depends on how much weight you're willing to add and how much you want to cut from your wallet, at the end of the day.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Soap on 02/08/2013 10:42:43 MST Print View

After some cursory research, this soap is biodegradable and super-concentrated. best weight-to-wash ratio, pack an eyedropper.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Re: Scrubba Pros and Cons on 02/08/2013 10:56:03 MST Print View

I guess I don't get it...washing clothes by hand isn't very difficult if you feel the need...

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Scrubba Portable Washing Machine (3.5oz weight penalty) on 02/08/2013 11:27:00 MST Print View

This is a really interesting idea to me, as this year my girlfriend has told me she wants to go on longer trips. When I explained I just took a single pair of underwear and washed it with sand and water or took my time fording a creek, she grimaced and said, "uhhh, no... figure something else out".

At 5oz and $60 bucks I won't be telling her that this exist, but maybe I can come up with a home grown version that will make her happy.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Other options on 02/08/2013 11:58:56 MST Print View

I like the idea behind this product but there may be cheaper options.

First idea is to throw something like this into a waterproof bag:

Probably just cut it to size and punch some holes in it.

Suppose rinsing off some quarter sized pebbles may do the same job to agitate the clothes.

Not such a big deal in the back 40 but I would like something that works better than a hotel sink when I’m traveling without having to waste my time at a laundry mat or paying the hotel/hostel the dummy tax for laundry.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Scrubba Portable Washing Machine (3.5oz weight penalty) on 02/08/2013 12:22:09 MST Print View

I do this a fair bit while traveling so I can pack lighter. In urban settings, I just use the hotel sink or a waste basket. For the backcountry, I'd use a Sea-to-Summit dry bag.

I find it is less about the kneading and the agitation and more about time. Sure, swishing it around helps and I do a bit of that, but that could be kicked the trash can very time a commercial comes on the hotel TV, rolling it around once a minute during a lucnh break, or walking down the trail for a mile with it.

The window is cute, but completely unnecessary.

What is super helpful is a modern detergent. I'd use Tide Ultra for front loading machines. It is highest rated by Consumer Reports, available everywhere (99 cents for a small box in a laundromat), and designed for this application - a small volume of water with less vigorous agitation than a top-loading washer does. Very small quantities are very effective. A "single load" box would do 10 loads in such a dry sack. It is slightly alkaline, so don't hand-wash clothes with it a lot (stir with a stick or rinse your hands afterwards).

And don't dump the dirty water in any sensitive areas which include being near surface waters, in high-altitude / high-latitude settings or along trail corridors. In a removed and temperate area, I would feel fine about discarding it in a shallow hole. Septic systems discharge the same (and worse) all the time.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Don't Pollute! on 02/08/2013 12:57:28 MST Print View

The fact that septic systems do it doesn't make it okay for a backpacker. You should NEVER dump synthetic or chemical soap in the wilderness, even in removed areas.

Use biodegradable soap, definitely. I can't really say there's another option, other than not using soap at all.

And yeah, I've become a little disillusioned with this product after thinking about it for a great while, but I'm glad for the concept. I'll definitely be toting a dry sack for this purpose.

Robert Brown
(rob0brown) - F

Locale: Waltham, MA
Semi daily wash on 07/31/2015 09:25:34 MDT Print View

There was product on Amazon called a rapid washer (worked well) that I purchased/and later sold because I realized that a Dollar Tree Megaphone in the kids toys section worked well along with a properly timed open and close valve (my palm). I've been using that in my sink almost daily to wash my gym clothes with excellent results. I'm sure one could use a tumbler cup with a hole cut in the end to downsize. For the "outback" I might think of using that & a Wal-mart dry-bag wrapped over a piece of birch bark taken from a rotting tree (saw on YouTube).

David T
(DaveT) - F
bear can washer on 07/31/2015 10:55:34 MDT Print View

if you are stuck carrying a bear canister, they make a good washing machine. and yes, away from water with small amount of appropriate soap if needed.

Gordon Gray
(GordonG) - F

Locale: Front Range, CO
clean stuff on 07/31/2015 11:57:17 MDT Print View

OK, Max, I have to say this for old time sake......

Do you plan use the Scrubba Portable to wash them skibbies you had for sale some time back?


K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
diapers! on 07/31/2015 13:27:27 MDT Print View

The Scrubba gets pretty good reviews in the cloth diapering world. I haven't sprung for one because my kiddo is minimally diapered; we go through perhaps one to three cloth inserts a day, so I just shake-wash them in a large OP Sak with a drop or two of soap. If I needed to wash, say, 6+ diapers a day in the woods, I'd definitely go with a Scrubba.

Max--for a stationary living off the grid scenario, you're probably better off with a hand-crank dealie, like this:

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Re: Scrubba Portable Washing Machine (3.5oz weight penalty) on 07/31/2015 21:57:17 MDT Print View

In SE Asia, a local lady who was also our housekeeper did our laundry once a week in the back yard. She had water in pails from the house and some rocks but no running water, and she did not go near the rice paddy behind the house. She was done in less than a half day (plus drying time) with laundry for four men. It was immaculate.

Edited by scfhome on 07/31/2015 21:59:02 MDT.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Scrubba Portable Washing Machine (3.5oz weight penalty) on 08/01/2015 11:30:16 MDT Print View

So are you suggesting that we carry pails and rocks, or an Asian lady?

Richard Mock
(moxtr) - M

Locale: The piney woods
Asian Lady on 08/01/2015 12:02:17 MDT Print View

Definitely Lily Thai; an efficient ultralight multi use solution.