It may seem strange, but having a washing machine is a bit of a novelty for us. At our current home in Penticton, we have access to our first personal washing machine in just over six years (!) Needless to say, we’ve seen the inside of a lot (a lot!) of laundromats over that time period, while both living and travelling around Canada and Europe. This new item of ours, the Scrubba, would have honestly saved us a whole bunch of time and money if we’d had it sooner!
Back to the washboard
The Scrubba is the lightest ‘washing machine’ in the world, weighing in at just 5oz (141g). It doesn’t require electricity or gallons of water and only takes three minutes to wash a couple of handful of clothing (a couple of pairs of socks, tshirts, underwear) to machine standard quality. While this all sounds quite sophisticated the Scrubba is essentially a dry bag with a washboard built in. But that is the genius of it – so simple, so light, so packable. Perfect for all kinds of travellers and adventurers.
I first came across this product last year at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City; it was actually one of the items on my short-list that I reported back to JR about. The Scrubba is incredibly versatile, especially for people like us to like to take long road trips and extended trips into the backcountry. Aside from being exceptionally packable, having a portable washing machine means we’ll be able to take less clothing if we can wash what we have more often. The Scrubba also doubles up as a dry bag, which is perfect for us being avid canoeists.
Rub and rinse
Washing instructions are found in the form of illustrations on the outside of the bag – just six steps. And that’s absolutely adequate. Fill it up with 3.5l of water, cleaning product (we use biodegradable soap) and clothes, roll down and clip the top, squeeze the air out with the valve, rub clothes for three minutes, rinse and then dry. So easy and quick, plus it really does provide a good wash. On our first try, JR’s clothes smelt as fresh as they would out of an electric washer and dried perfectly soft.
Paying for itself
So, some downsides. As mentioned before, the truth of it is that the Scrubba is simply a dry bag with a washboard built into it. You could attempt a DIY alternative (JR’s brain certainly works that way), but I’m not sure it would really work nearly as well – it is built solidly and packs down super small. I also like the clear plastic window on the front so you can see the process working.
The price may be hard to justify on the face of it, but for us, the cost makes sense – we’d be able to make it pay for itself fairly quickly. On our five month road trip around BC, the Yukon and Alaska in 2014, we did washing approximately every fourteen days, at a cost of $6-$10 each time. It also took us at least two hours to complete plus searching time to actually find a laundromat. When we next head out on a trip of that length again, I think we’d be able to get the laundromat visits down to just once every six weeks or so (saving so much time and money!), washing small batches of items using the Scrubba here and there as needed.
Final thoughts and where to buy
The Scrubba gets a huge thumbs up from the both of us in terms of convenience while on the road or in the backcountry. It’s also going to enable us to both pack and spend less overall. I have to admit, one of my favourite things about the Scrubba is not having to see the inside of so many laundromats on our next adventure!
If you’d like a Scrubba for yourself, they are available through EarthEasy for $49.95 right now (USD) with low-cost Purolator shipping. EarthEasy is a family owned business with a focus on products for sustainable living – hooray!
I received the Scrubba for free from EarthEasy as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication – all thoughts and opinions (as always) are my own.