An ode to Scrubba: My most beloved, yet underrated, piece of travel gear

Hate doing travel laundry and smelling like a backpacker’s armpit as you board your third overnight bus of the week? Allow columnist Sarah Reid to introduce you to her favorite travel item of all time: The humble Scrubba.

There are a couple of items of travel gear that have made my career as a travel writer infinitely easier. The humble travel scale has helped me evade the carry-on baggage police from Melbourne to Mallorca. And a handy water filter bottle has given me the freedom to ditch single-use plastic water bottles for good. But if there’s one piece of travel gear I refuse to stop gushing about (and to be clear, I do not receive an incentive to do so), it’s the Scrubba.

Redefining a suitably grubby Australian slang term (I’ll leave you to Google it) for the modern traveler, the Scrubba wash bag is touted as the world’s smallest and lightest washing machine, weighing in at just 5.3 oz (150g).

Essentially, it’s a dry bag featuring a flexible inner washboard and an air release valve. One simply dumps dirty clothes into it (a standard ‘load’ is two t-shirts, two pairs of socks and two pairs of underwear), adds water and cleaning liquid (ideally biodegradable, especially if you’re washing in the wild), closes the bag and deflates. Then you just rub your clothes against the internal washboard for up to three minutes, rinse, and hang to dry (Scrubba also makes an elastic clothesline). While the result is not quite as effective as a regular washing machine cycle, I’d argue that it’s close enough.

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