Overlanding is an increasingly popular trend that involves traveling independently to remote places. This type of exploration and adventure usually involves camping overnight along the way.
One of the greatest challenges overlanders face is how to do laundry while they’re gone. Here are our top tips for keeping dirty clothes clean while traveling!
In a Nutshell: Overlanders & Their Laundry
Overlanders have several options for doing laundry while on the road, depending on their location, resources, and preferences. Here are some common methods for managing laundry during an overlanding trip:
- Laundromats: When available, laundromats provide a convenient and efficient way to do laundry. Overlanders can often find laundromats in larger towns or cities, near campgrounds, or at some truck stops.
- Campground facilities: Some campgrounds and RV parks offer laundry facilities for their guests. These facilities can be coin-operated or require tokens, so it’s a good idea to have some change on hand.
- Handwashing: In situations where laundry facilities are not available or not convenient, overlanders can handwash their clothes using a bucket or a sink. A small amount of biodegradable soap and water is used to wash the clothes, which are then rinsed and wrung out before hanging them up to dry.
- Portable washing machines: Some overlanders carry portable washing machines, which are compact, lightweight, and manually operated. These devices typically require minimal water and can be an effective way to clean clothes when facilities are not available.
- Scrubba Wash Bag: The Scrubba Wash Bag is a popular product among overlanders for its compact size and effectiveness. The bag has an internal washboard-like surface that helps to scrub clothes clean when filled with water and a small amount of soap. After washing, the bag can be rolled up and stored easily.
- Washing clothes in natural water sources: Some overlanders may choose to wash their clothes in rivers, lakes, or streams. If using this method, it’s essential to use biodegradable soap and keep a safe distance (at least 200 feet) from the water source to minimize environmental impact.
- Planning and packing: Many overlanders plan their clothing choices and packing strategies to minimize the need for laundry. Quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and odor-resistant materials can help extend the time between washes. Packing enough clothing for an extended period can also help reduce the frequency of laundry days.
Regardless of the method chosen, it’s essential for overlanders to practice good hygiene and be mindful of their impact on the environment. Using biodegradable soaps, conserving water, and adhering to Leave No Trace principles can help ensure that overlanders minimize their footprint while staying clean and comfortable on the road.
(1) Collapsible Washing Bin
One of the most frequently asked questions amongst new overlanders is how you manage without a washer and dryer. Well, if you are willing to put in effort, it can be fun! The initial part involves some planning ahead; and the last mile requires an organized laundry list.
For outdoor adventurers who appreciate nature, a clothesline can be an indispensable tool for drying laundry. Not only is it simple to set up and require minimal upkeep, but there are various types and materials available to choose from depending on your requirements.
Clotheslines are typically constructed with a rope or cord tied to two anchor points. This rope or cord should be at least twice the distance between your anchor points so it can support the weight of wet clothes without failing.
When overlanding, the best type of clothesline to use is a strong and flexible nylon or polyester line that can handle a lot of abuse. Cotton clotheslines tend to rip easily when pulled through wind or under heavy loads.
When purchasing a clothesline, factor in its material, how many hooks it has and the strength of its knots. Plastic clotheslines may be cheap but can be challenging to grip with a clothespin. Furthermore, plastic clotheslines tend to rust or discolor quickly.
A reliable multifilament polypropylene (nylon) line is another great option for overlanding, as it’s waterproof and mildew-resistant. Unfortunately, this line tends to slip and doesn’t tie as securely as thicker lines do.
Installing a clothesline requires selecting an area in your yard that isn’t blocked by wires or trees. Additionally, make sure the clothesline is out of any high traffic spots or pets’ way of life. Furthermore, ensure the clothesline isn’t near any water sources or on soft or wet ground.
Once you’ve selected an area for your clothesline, purchase two wooden posts that are at least 6 feet tall. Ideally, these poles should include a section that is buried underground.
Drill holes in the ground for each pole so it can be securely attached to the soil. You should also decide how far apart you want the poles to be; make sure there’s enough distance for all your laundry but not too far apart that your clothes don’t touch ground when drying.
Before installing your clothesline, be sure to check with your neighborhood or city for restrictions regarding its use. Some areas prohibit clotheslines while others may impose size limitations.
Installing a clothesline in an open public area can present safety risks to pedestrians and cyclists alike. When considering where you place the line, take into account both its height and how high the sidewalk is, as well as any lighting conditions present in the vicinity.
Finally, when hanging clothes, consider how long it takes for them to dry. Hanging items too close together may cause them to sag and wrinkle faster than expected.
(3) Hot Water and Shower System
Glind makes some of the finest overland hot water and shower systems on the market, with over three decades of experience manufacturing quality camping showers in Australia. Their system consists of a pressure sensing water pump, Glind heat exchanger and mixer valve which you adjust according to your desired temperature – providing consistent and dependable hot water without waiting for it to reach that ideal temperature. Not only does this save water by eliminating waiting periods for temperature regulation, but it also conserves resources since you no longer have to wait for it to reach it!
A hot water system is essential for overland travel. Not only will it keep your camp site running smoothly, but also help with laundry. Make sure to flush it regularly – especially before winter when demand for hot water is highest. A regular maintenance schedule can keep your heater working optimally and in top condition longer; additionally, seeking expert advice if there are any concerns with the heating system may help resolve them before they become major problems.