What size dry bag is best for keeping and washing clothes?
Washing clothes on long hikes

After reading the first question above, I'm wondering to myself, is there an effective "bag method" for washing clothes while backpacking? I've never washed my clothes in a bag before, but I'm imaging soap and water with your dirty clothes in a roll-top waterproof bag then just shaking it, rolling it or working it with your hands similar to a front-load washing machine.

Is this a popular thing to do? If so then what are some good tips for effectively cleaning your clothes using this technique?

  • Yes, this is how I wash my stuff on long trips. I actually posted an answer about it in the 2nd link you put up there. I just use a Zip-loc bag, specifically the kind with double seals.
    – montane
    Feb 14, 2015 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


After googling, "wash clothes in a bag" I discovered that there are actually special washboard bags that you can buy specifically for washing clothes while you're backpacking/traveling (see the Scrubba below).

They provide instructions on their website on how to use the bag, but Im pretty confident that you could get similar results with any watertight roll-top bag using these modified instructions:

  1. Put your clothes, water and soap into the bag (fill 20-40% of the volume of the bag).
  2. Get as much of the air out of the bag as you can (saturate your clothes and work out any air that might be trapped in material-getting as much air out as possible really helps you out in the next step) and then roll the top 4-5 times and clip it.
  3. Rub your clothes together inside the bag for a couple minutes - for better results you could pack a small silicone washboard, something like an anti-skidding silicone washboard for the shower might even work.
  4. Pour out the soapy water and replace with clean rinse water. Rinse (shake the bag).
  5. Wring out as much water as you can, if you have a towel you can press your clothes in it to draw out extra moisture, then hang them to dry while you sleep.

The Scrubba:

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Feb 1, 2017 at 9:47

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