Product Review: The Scrubba Wash Bag and Travelers Kit

The Scrubba is one of those products that exemplify the concept of being a carry-on kid. This product stands for every carry-on lifestyle change that I’ve been trying to get you to make over the last few years. On top of its value, the Scrubba is economical, well made, and sustainable. At this point I know you are dying to know just what the Scrubba is and what’s in the Travelers Kit, so…

The Scrubba, put simply, is a wash bag. However, as simple as the design and “operation” are, this is one item that is sheer genius and when you get your hands on it, you will want to kick yourself in the butt for not thinking of it and not having a few of them on hand during your last vacation, deployment, camping trip, or during Sandy. It allows you to do laundry no matter where you are, for free. In this day and age, free is even more important than it has ever been.

Before I tell you my Scrubba story, I want to quickly discuss the importance of clean clothes, especially in austere environments. Many of the moisture wicking clothing out there today needs to be clean to work properly. These clothes have proven themselves to be valuable in both hot and cold environments. On many items of these type of clothing, it needs to be clean to be effective. If the pores on the clothing are clogged with dirt then the moisture has no way to escape, thus negating the wicking qualities. Even things like wool socks work better if they are not dirty. The biggest problem is that trying to really clean your clothes while on the road or out in the wild is difficult, or at least it was.

The construction of the Scrubba is as high quality as it is simple. It is made of urethane coated nylon fabric, and it includes a valve for air removal, a simple yet strangely effective roll-down clip and seal closure system, a transparent urethane window, and the two most innovative features of all – a patterned super grip interior surface and hundreds of Scrubba washing nobules. These nobules are the heart and soul of this simple but highly effective product. It’s these that create the low impact friction needed to actually scrub the clothes that are being washed.

So here’s how it works – dirty clothes, place them in the Scrubba bag, add one bottle/litre of water and a few drops of laundry gel. Roll the top of the bag down a few turns and fasten the clips. Find a reasonable flat surface, but it isn’t a requirement. Let the excess air out of the Scrubba using that valve, then applying pressure use the Scrubba nobules located on the inside of the bag to scrub the dirty laundry for at least fifteen seconds. Pour out the dirty water, put in clean water, reseal and shake it up a bit. Pour out the water, wring out the clothes and hang them out to dry – it is that simple.

Onto my Scrubba experience – as you know because of job changes, I have not been going to Africa as much as I once did. I will tell you that I would have loved to have the Scrubba all those years ago as it would have saved me and the company I work for money and time. A few months ago my family and I made our annual trek to Estes Park, Colorado for a week of hiking and relaxation with our extended family, and yes I have the kind of extended family that I can relax with. The place that we stay is amazing and there is very little they don’t have there. Except for washing machines in each unit. You need to fight for two washers and dryers and those cost you money to use. If you are not keen on playing that waiting game then you can always head into town to the local laundry mat. As you can guess, no one really wants to worry about laundry on a trip, but when you pack light and you pack right, the issue still comes up. If you think about a vacation in terms of what you pay per hour, doing laundry becomes more and more of a losing proposition. Well, for our Saturday to Saturday trip, I packed everything I needed in a carry-on bag and by Wednesday I needed to do laundry. I placed the Scrubba Travelers Kit into my bag and laid the Scrubba flat on top. I actually did several “loads” of laundry and literally had it all done in the span of about five minutes. I used water from the sink in our room so it went quickly. Then I whipped out the clothes-line included in the Travelers Kit and actually used it to hang my wet clothes on the balcony of the condo we were staying in. Mountain air does wonders for the drying process.

It was as simple as it sounds and my clothes were just as clean as they would have been if I had spent several hours waiting for and actually using a washing machine and dryer. In fact, it was so easy I washed all of my clothes again right before I left Colorado and was able to take my clothes right from my bag to my drawers. Never underestimate the power of not having to do laundry right after a trip. Some modifications I could have made to speed up the drying process would have included using the hair dryer on a low or cold setting. These dryers are normally located in the bathroom and the clothes-line from the kit works great hanging in a shower, easily within reach of the hair dryer.

As you can see, this isn’t just a product for the rugged outdoors person. There are hundreds of situations where the Scrubba would come in handy. People use them in RVs, dorm rooms, on buses, and even on planes. There is actually a video of a guy washing his clothes on the streets of Saigon. The Scrubba is great for road trips with small children who have a tendency to throw up, too. Not only can it be used to wash their puke covered clothes, if you turn it inside out, it does a decent job of getting technicolor-yawn out of the seat. The uses of this item in disaster relief cannot be overstressed. I know that victims of Hurricane Sandy would have loved to have something like the Scrubba to wash their clothes, especially after having to wade through all of that polluted water. For members of our armed forces, this one is a no brainer – it’s tough, light, and ready for the fight. The ability to at least get your socks clean out in the field is a must. If you can’t stand because of bad feet, your ability to fight is severely degraded and that is a no go.

The Scrubba Travelers Kit includes the Scrubba wash bag, an extra large travel towel that can dry you and help speed up drying your clothes (the towel has a mesh bag), a clothes-line that is 1.5 meters or 59 inches long. The line is tough enough to hang clothes and other sundary items with no worries. And finally the Scrubba Travel Bag that can act as a light weight drawstring backpack that has a hidden zip pocket and can be folded down to pocket size. The entire Travelers Kit provides several travel items that I feel are a must for carry-on travel. The towel is a no brainer and if you’re a fan of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, you know what I’m talking about. The clothes-line, while a bit bulky, I would have used parachute cord – it’s multifunctional and well made. The drawstring travel bag can act as that extra bag I always recommend you pack in the bottom of your carry-on bag and is a great place to put dirty clothes.

I could fill pages and pages with the goodness of the Scrubba. It is everything a Carry-On Kid could want and so much more. I won’t leave home without this! If you want more info on the Scrubba head over to their website.

Cape Rust

Cape Rust is an international man of thespionage. Being a fat, bald version of James Bond, his geek interests are wide (like his belly) and varied. His collection of gadgets (electronic and travel related) are only rivaled by the amount of pockets found on most items of clothing he wears. Other geek interests include RPGs, PC gaming, enormous Corgis, and Community theater.

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