Beside running, I occasionally travel on business. Usually these trips on the long-ish side -- 4-8 days out of town. Now, I hate to check bags on my flights and strongly prefer to do everything with a carry on. A couple years ago I've done several trips to Africa and Asia on a single, 20 pound bag (and a very small briefcase for my 11" MacBook Air). The trick is to do laundry while you're away. My first forays into this involved the hotel room sink and yielded somewhat uneven results and always resulted in water on the floor, on me, etc.
Then I started having the hotel do it. Wow. Expensive. 'Nuff said.
I stumbled across the Scrubba Wash Bag about a year ago. According to their website, the bag was created by a couple of friends from Australia while they were wrestling how to get their clothes clean while on a trek through Africa.
The result was the Scrubba bag. It is a waterproof bag that holds a couple gallons of water and a few pieces of clothing. One side of the bag has a clear window with water fill lines printed on it and the other side has an integrated nubby plastic washboard. The bag will wash about 4-5 articles of clothing, or around two days worth of summer duds. Simply fill the bag with water (the fill line is printed on the outside of the bag), add your clothes, squirt in a small amount of regular laundry detergent and roll the bag closed. After using a nifty valve to burp out the air, rub the clothes inside the bag against the washboard. After about 2-3 minutes, open the bag up, dump the water and rinse with some clean water. In my experience, two rinses is usually enough. According to Scrubba, a three minute wash gets the clothes about as clean as a full cycle in a machine. Wring out your clothes, hang them up on a braided clothes line and the next day you'll have clean, fresh-smelling clothes!
So, does it really work? Oh yes. I was hoping to at least match my experience with sink washing and just cut down on the mess. The clothes, even my nasty running clothes after a 10 miler, came out spic and span with nary a hint of odor. Socks, underwear, shorts, dress shirts -- the Scrubba cleans them all.
Best of all, it is very, very portable. Weighing in at just shy of 5 oz, the bag folds nearly completely flat and takes up almost no room in your luggage. This is especially appreciated by the likes of me where every square inch and ounce count. Scrubba suggests that you can even use it as a waterproof bag if you need to keep stuff dry (not something I have tested).
The Scrubba Wash Bag is available through Amazon or the Scrubba website for about $50. You can also buy a very nice, effective and large microfiber towel to help dry your clothes (and use as a bath towel) from the Scrubba site.
All in all, the Scrubba Wash Bag is a must-have item for the runner / traveler who needs to do laundry on the road. Remarkably effective, compact and light-weight, the bag paid for itself on my very first business trip. It is now part of my load-out for every trip and continues to delight.