Gear Test: The Scrubba Travel Washer

Even though laundromats are fairly readily accessible here in the United States, there are plenty of adventurous circumstances here and abroad where it would be really nice to spruce up your toggs. Australian adventurer Ash Newland came up with the idea of a clothes washer while travelling as he was packing for a trip to climb Kilimanjaro in 2010. After building a crude prototype, he then tested it in Moshi, a town at the base of Africa’s tallest mountain. Amazed and impressed with how well it worked he continued to improve on his prototype when he got back and eventually quit his job with a large patent attorney firm in 2011 to focus on bringing his invention to market.

The result is the Scrubba bag. The concept is simple. It’s essentially a dry bag, as used for watersports to keep items dry, with a scrub pad on the inside and a purge valve to remove excess air to optimize the scrubbing in the bag.

For our field test we got a shirt nice and dirty, see above. The Scrubba bag is ready to go to work. Below is an illustrated sequence of the process.

Using creek water and Dr. Bronners.
Using creek water and Dr. Bronners.

After a good scrub. The laundry load included these two shirts and a pair of socks. The shirt on the left was just stinky, not visibly dirty, and came out nice and fresh. Our test shirt on the left came out pretty well and is just taking some time on the line to dry.
After a good scrub. The laundry load included these two shirts and a pair of socks. The shirt on the left was just stinky, not visibly dirty, and came out nice and fresh. Our test shirt on the right came out pretty well and is just taking some time on the line to dry.

Nice and dry after hanging on the line, here's our test shirt. It's obviously much cleaner and maybe with more intensive scrubbing it would get even cleaner.
Nice and dry after hanging on the line, here’s our test shirt. It’s obviously much cleaner and maybe with more intensive scrubbing it would get even cleaner.

Just to see, I ran our test shirt through the washing machine. It did get a little more dirt cleaned out but not all of it.
Just to see, I ran our test shirt through the washing machine. It did get a little more dirt cleaned out but not all of it.

The Scrubba weighs less than 5 ounces and packs super small. It will also double as a dry bag when needed or it can be used as a dirty clothes bag while on the go.

It’s best suited for longer trips where washing clothes will make a difference versus just packing more clothes. Naturally, Ash and his crew at Scrubba have all kinds of ideas on where to put their product to use. $55; thescrubba.com

The Scrubba - a travel washer: Here are the three phases of wash side by side, right to left: dirty shirt, Scrubba cleaned shirt and machine washed shirt.
Here are the three phases of wash side by side, right to left: dirty shirt, Scrubba cleaned shirt and machine washed shirt.

The Scrubba - a travel washer

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