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Scrubba: A Pocket-Sized Washing Machine

Scrubba Wash Bag

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.

Scrubba Wash BagThankfully 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 Scrubba cleaning surfacethen 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.