There are two types of backpackers in this world: organized packers and disorganized packers. When all you have is a backpack to store all your travel belongings, it’s safe to say you won’t be traveling with an extensive wardrobe.

Simply put, travel is dirty work, and without stable accommodation, a personal laundry machine, or a daily routine, laundry might just be one of your biggest problems on the road. Traveling with only the essential clothing combined with daily hikes and adventures, you’re bound to charge through your clean clothes quicker than you can say ‘washbag.’

Lucky for you, modern adventurers have designed a nifty bag device that makes it easy to wash your clothing on the go. Lightweight, small, and easy to pack with you in your backpack, there is no excuse to wear your dirty clothing over and over (and we could not be more thankful).

To clear things up, a wash bag is by no means a toiletry bag to hold your toothbrush and hair products. Nope, these are different products with their own article. Instead, I’m talking about a bag that makes it possible to wash your clothing on the go.

Don’t let some smelly t-shirts ruin your buzz. Take your pick from these ten best travel wash bags on the market today, and get your order in quick:

These Are The Best Travel Wash Bags

Product
Description

REI Co-op Laundry Pack

  • Size > 22 x 13 x 6 inches
  • Weight > 6.5 ounces
  • Capacity > 35 liters
  • Price > $29.95

Scrubba Wash Bag

  • Size > 54 x 32 cm
  • Weight > 5.3 ounces
  • Capacity > 3 gallons
  • Price > $54.95

GUPPYFRIEND Washing Bag

  • Size > 50 x 74 cm
  • Weight > 79 grams (2.8 ounces)
  • Price > $34.95

Scrubba Wash Bag 2.0

  • Size > 15.2 x 40.6 x 15.2 cm
  • Weight > 141 grams
  • Capacity > 150 grams
  • Price > £45 ($55)

Scrubba Mini Wash Bag – Ultra Compact

  • Size > 12 x 12 x 2.5 cm
  • Weight > 0.08 kg
  • Capacity > 85 grams
  • Price > £35 ($43)

Patagonia Black Hole Cube

  • Size > 12.25 x 6.75 x 4.5 inches
  • Weight > 7 ounces
  • Capacity > 6L
  • Price > $45

Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set (US)

  • Size > 9 x 7 x 6 inches
  • Weight > 2,08 ounces
  • Capacity > 1, 2, and 3 liters
  • Price > $39.99 – $66

Mammut Travel Washbag

  • Size > 10 x 3 x 21 cm / 18 x 3 x 26
  • Weight > 66 g (small) or 165 g (large)
  • Price > £17 – £36 ($21 – $44)

Osprey Ultralight Washbag

  • Size > 15.24 x 12.7 x 20.32 cm
  • Weight > 376 grams
  • Capacity > 2 liters
  • Price > $30

Go Travel Laundry Bag

  • Size > 40 x 60 x 0.8 cm
  • Weight > 71 grams
  • Capacity > 15 liter
  • Price > £9.99 ($12.20)

How To Keep Clothes Clean When Traveling

Scrubba

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Whether you’re exploring a new European city on foot at ten miles a day, hiking a bucket-list volcano in New Zealand, or partying the night away in Thailand, clothing gets dirty especially fast, when we’re on the road. 

There are various ways to keep your clothing clean while traveling:

Firstly, you could make use of hotel and hostel laundry services. However convenient, with hotels charging per piece of clothing, this service adds up fast. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather spend my vacation savings on street food and adventures than the convenience of clean clothing. 

A slightly cheaper option would be to outsource laundry services. There are plenty of laundromats in backpacker hubs that charge a smaller fee per piece of clothing. That said, I’ve had countless items lost by laundry services before. And the worst part is, you’ll only notice you’re missing something when it’s too late. Self-service laundromats are another option, but sitting around and waiting hours for your clothing to wash and dry is an absolute no-no. 

One of my favorite ways to keep clothing clean is to wash it in the hostel shower and leave it to dry overnight. This is easy and convenient with things like travel underwear, swimwear, and light t-shirts, but it won’t cut it for heavy clothing. If you have the energy to scrub away at a pair of jeans, chances are they will not dry fast enough and will end up smelling even worse than they did before you washed them – no, thank you.

One thing you can do to keep your bag organized and your clean clothes clean is to keep your dirty clothing separate from your clean clothing. For basic hygiene reasons that I shouldn’t have to explain, this is where the iconic travel laundry bag comes into play. Not only are they useful for separating clothing, but they’re also necessary when it comes to transporting your dirty goods to get cleaned.

What To Look For In A Wash Bag For Travel

Space is tight; I get it. So, the first thing you’re going to want to look at in a wash bag is its size and weight. Sure, the smaller, the better, but you’ll also want to consider the volume each bag holds and how much washing you can do per load. Of course, you’ll also want to look for a bag that is easy to use and uncomplicated to clean.

Second, if you’re using your wash bag in the bush, outback, or mountains, you’re going to want to find a bag that helps reduce microplastics in each load. Microplastic-minimizing bags can also be used in washing machines since they catch most of the microplastics that are released from any synthetic materials before they end up floating in your local river. 

Going one step further, I would also recommend purchasing a bag made from eco-friendly materials that don’t lose fibers and microplastics themselves.

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    The Best Travel Laundry Bags

    Mostly used by hikers, trekkers, backpackers, and eco-warriors, there are more travel wash bags out on the market than you might expect. Sure, you might have to hit the right shops and scour the web to find the best ones. But they are out there, keeping travelers fresh and reducing microplastics, one bag at a time.

    To make your search for the perfect wash bag easier, we’ve put together a list of ten products that we have tried and tested. As always, these are the best of the best wash and laundry bags for travel:

    REI Co-op Laundry Pack

    REI Co op Laundry Pack
    Specs
    • Size: 22 x 13 x 6 inches
    • Weight: 6.5 ounces
    • Capacity: 35 liters
    • Price: $29.95

    Ah, the classic laundry pack. Whether you’re an overly organized packer or a clean freak like me, a laundry pack is an essential accessory for outdoor enthusiasts or backpackers looking to maintain organization during their adventures.

    Empty, the REI Co-op Laundry Pack is as lightweight as it gets. Designed with mesh sides and thin material, you’ll hardly notice its weight at all. Packed full, it can fit up to 35 liters of dirty laundry (or clean clothes). Made from durable ripstop nylon and mesh sides for breathability, you can stuff in your dirty laundry without worrying about breaking the bag. Close it up with the easy-to-use drawstring, and you’re good to go.

    My favorite thing about this bag is that it doubles as a little travel backpack. It features webbing straps to allow you to carry it like a backpack to and from the wash. Heck, you could even use it as a day-pack and double its usage. I can’t promise you it’s the most comfortable backpack, as the product prioritizes being practical and lightweight over comfort, but it sure does do the job!

    It’s also easy to wash. I put it on a gentle machine wash, and it worked wonders (but maybe check the inside label before following my lead). Best of all, it’s super affordable, selling for around $30.

    Scrubba Wash Bag

    Scrubba Wash Bag
    Specs
    • Size: 54 x 32 cm
    • Weight: 5.3 ounces
    • Capacity: 3 gallons
    • Price: $54.95

    Useful for backpacking adventures, hikes, and camping trips, and even to use at home, the Scrubba Wash Bag is one of the world’s lightest and most affordable wash bags for travel. This small bag is designed to wash your clothing – yes, I mean restoring your dirty clothing to clean – without the use of electricity or the heavy machinery you may be used to.

    In just three to five minutes and using between three and six liters of water, you can wash a small load of laundry on the go. It’s also priced at just $55, affordable enough for just about all travelers and campers can pack less bulky clothing and survive on just the essentials on an adventure. 

    Sound too good to be true? Convenient, light, and pocket-sized, this little companion really will help you save money, water, and time while remaining fresh as a daisy. The modern take on the good old-fashioned washing machine, the undyed and unbleached bag, uses a washboard mechanism that allows you to wash clothing without electricity. 

    Aside from how lightweight and convenient it is to use, it’s an incredible product to use in places where water is scarce. AND it’s more hygienic than a dirty hostel sink.

    GUPPYFRIEND Washing Bag

    GUPPYFRIEND Washing Bag
    Specs
    • Size: 50 x 74 cm
    • Weight: 79 grams (2.8 ounces)
    • Price: $34.95

    Weighing less than three ounces, the GUPPYFRIEND Washing Bag is one of the lightest and most compact washing bags on the market. It’s also one of the most effective solutions against microplastics.

    If you weren’t already aware, synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, and acrylic are made from microplastic materials, of which tiny pieces are lost every time you wash your clothing. Microplastics? In my clothing? Yup! Especially when washed in a rough washing machine, these tiny particles eventually make their way into rivers and oceans, and we all know how the rest of that story goes.

    But with a GUPPYFRIEND laundry bag for travel, you won’t have to worry about your micro-footprint. Not only does the bag reduce synthetic fibers from shedding during washing, but it also filters any microplastics out before they make it into the water. 

    The bag is made from high-tech recycled polyamide materials that don’t lose fibers themselves, all while protecting your clothing and reducing pilling. It’s as easy to use as any washing bag. All you need to do is pack it with synthetic clothing and throw it in the washing machine. Clean the filter and dispose of the microfibers correctly, and you get a big old thumbs up from Mother Nature.

    Unlike the product above, you’ll still need a washing machine to wash your clothes. So, it might not be as water and electricity (and therefore budget-friendly) as we could hope.

    Scrubba Wash Bag 2.0

    Scrubba Wash Bag 2.0
    Specs
    • Size: 15.2 x 40.6 x 15.2 cm
    • Weight: 141 grams
    • Capacity: 150 grams
    • Price: £45 ($55)

    Would you ever believe that you can hold a manual washing machine in the palm of your hand?

    Built on the concept of the original Scrubba Wash Bag, the 2.0 is an upgraded product that allows you to wash your clothing on a patented washboard mechanism from just about anywhere in the world. On top of a mountain? In the snowy Alps? On a boat trip? No problem! This lightweight and small eco-friendly wash bag is a hiking and camping essential.

    It is so small and light that the flexible washboard bends and folds into a compact, pocket-sized device and takes up almost no space in your backpack. This wash bag for travel is also super easy to use, with simple instructions showing you how to wash your clothing in just six steps. 

    The best thing about it is its eco-friendly commitment. With just three to six liters of water and a bit of arm power, you’re stinky clothes will be as fresh as new. It’s also super convenient for backpacking trips where space is limited. Instead of packing multiple options of clean clothing, you can pack less and wash clothing along the journey.

    Sure, it might not be as effective for bulky jerseys and heavy jeans, but the product can efficiently wash small to medium loads of t-shirts, underwear, delicates, and gym clothing. 

    I also love that with the correct eco-friendly detergent, you can even wash your clothing with salty water and dispose of the dirty water without worry.

    Scrubba Mini Wash Bag – Ultra Compact

    Scrubba Mini Wash Bag Ultra Compact
    Specs
    • Size: 12 x 12 x 2.5 cm
    • Weight: 0.08 kg
    • Capacity: 85 grams
    • Price: £35 ($43)

    The smallest and lightest washing machine on the market, the Scrubba Mini Wash Bag is the compact version of the original Scrubba Wash Bag. The difference? It’s 50% lighter than its big sister, weighing less than 2.5 ounces, and only uses between one and two liters of water per load.

    Of course, it doesn’t fit as much into one load and is more convenient for washing socks and underwear than larger pieces of clothing. Perfect for those on the go, staying in hostels, dorms, or camping, the patented washboard-in-a-bag design allows you to give the effectiveness of a machine wash in under five minutes. 

    How does it work? Well, you simply fill it with water and a small amount of eco-friendly detergent (not included in the price), seal it like a dry bag, and deflate the excess air, rubbing your clothes against the washboard for under three minutes. It really is as easy as one, two, three.

    Designed for the ultra-light packing hiker, this travel wash bag can fit a few pairs of underwear and socks into one load or one t-shirt. Between washes, you can even use it as a mini dry bag or to store your dirty laundry. Heck, I even used it as a pillow once – oh, how we love a good multi-functional product!

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    Patagonia Black Hole Cube

    Patagonia Black Hole Cube 6L
    Specs
    • Size: 12.25 x 6.75 x 4.5 inches
    • Weight: 7 ounces
    • Capacity: 6L
    • Price: $45

    It’s hard to beat the style and elegance of a Patagonia product, and the same can be said for the Black Hole Cube. Whether using it to help you fit what you need into a small bag or suitcase, as storage in the back of your RV, or even to store clothing at home, the medium-sized Patagonia Black Hole Cube fits six liters worth of clothing in it, making it one of the most convenient packing devices on the market – and ill say it again, it’s damn good looking too,

    It comes in a variety of color combos, from plain black to perennial purple and classic navy blue. Following Patagonia’s commendable commitment to the environment, the bag is made using recycled materials and fabrics. 

    With a simple zip mechanism, it’s easy to get into the main compartment, which is then divided into equal halves with inner zip pockets. This shallow-pack design makes it easy to access your clothing without digging and disturbing your beautifully folded on-the-go wardrobe. Use it to store clean clothing and dirty clothing or to separate your clean from your clothing in each side of the bag.

    This was my first time using a packing cube, and now that I have, I don’t know how I ever traveled without them! The convenience is unparalleled and makes packing up and moving a breeze. 

    I find the exterior daisy chain design super convenient for connecting it to bags with a clip. The durable, water-repellent exterior finish is so weather-resistant that you could secure it onto the outside of a bag. It also has a large handle that makes the travel wash bag easy to grab on the go. 

    Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set (US)

    Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set
    Specs
    • Size: 9 x 7 x 6 inches
    • Weight: 2,08 ounces
    • Capacity: 1, 2, and 3 liters
    • Price: $39.99 – $66

    Osprey makes great gear and has wowed the packing cube market with its Ultralight packing cube set, which features three different-sized cubes designed to make your packing experience as convenient as possible. Easy to use when packing a backpack, a suitcase, or just storing things at home, the cubes come in three colors (grey, blue, and white), are super lightweight, and fit one, two, and three liters worth of clothing in them, respectively.

    As a matter of fact, don’t limit the bags to pure clothing storage. They can be used to store and keep anything organized on the road, from your electronics to your dirty laundry to your toiletries.

    Osprey prides itself on innovation and quality, which is exactly what these packing cubes are. Their perfect rectangular design allows them to be packed together, wasting no space or time. 

    The cubes may look small, but they really do fit a lot in them. I love that these products are made from a super lightweight yet durable material, which allows you to pack them as full as possible without them losing their shape too much. What’s the point of a packing cube if it morphs into a blob when packed full, right?

    Mammut Travel Washbag

    Mammut Travel Washbag
    Specs
    • Size: 10 x 3 x 21 cm / 18 x 3 x 26
    • Weight: 66 g (small) or 165 g (large)
    • Price: £17 – £36 ($21 – $44)

    It might be small in size, but this doesn’t mean the Mammut Travel Washbag doesn’t pack a punch when it comes to convenient storage. Available in two different sizes and color options, this polyester wash bag for travel will become your best friend on the road.

    The larger bag has three foldable sections and comes with a mirror and a metal hook for hanging up. It’s the most practical toiletry bag on the market, with two zippers and mesh compartments creating considerable storage space for your toothbrush, hair products, and sunscreen. The small bag is more compact yet has the same features of a hanging hook, mirror, and zipper compartments.

    Perfect for a hiking trip or to store your essentials in the cabinet of your car, the bag weighs between 66 and 165 grams (depending on its size). I use it as advertised, to store toiletries, which I decant into small travel bottles. The bottles sit neat and upright and are always kept dry because of the mesh pocket storage. 

    I like that the fixtures are made of a solid-feeling metal. The mesh also makes it super easy to see what is what and who is who in the zoo of your toiletries! One worry was that the elastic pocket tops might not last forever- especially with so much versatile outdoor use.

    Osprey Ultralight Washbag

    Osprey Ultralight Washbag
    Specs
    • Size: 15.24 x 12.7 x 20.32 cm
    • Weight: 376 grams
    • Capacity: 2 liters
    • Price: $30

    And Osprey is at it again with a highly convenient padded washbag. Let’s get one thing straight: this bag won’t wash your clothing for you. Rather, it’s a toiletry bag that makes it easy to pack all your products and essentials into one small and organized space. 

    The bag comes in one size and is made from a ripstop nylon fabric. The ultralight fabric is padded on the inside to make sure your products are well protected (super useful if traveling with small glass bottles, I must say). 

    The Osprey travel wash bag has a rectangular form and is closed with a zip. It features multiple pockets and a dedicated space for certain items. One of my favorite features is the straightjacket compression system, which allows you to compress the bag to get rid of any space that isn’t being used. 

    No doubt a handy bag for a camping trip or as your general medicine or toiletry bag, I found it really easy to find my things and keep everything well organized and in its place. Once wet, the bag dries fast, which is convenient when camping in all weather conditions. 

    On the downside, some of the inner pockets are really small but are useful for things like earbuds or small containers. I would even recommend using it as a small electronics bag if the pocket sizes don’t suit your toiletries. I’m not entirely sure the top needs to be padded since most products and toiletries that one would camp with wouldn’t be too fragile in the first place. 

    Go Travel Laundry Bag

    Go Travel Laundry Bag
    Specs
    • Size: 40 x 60 x 0.8 cm
    • Weight: 71 grams
    • Capacity: 15 liter
    • Price: £9.99 ($12.20)

    It might look like a traditional dry bag, but the Go Travel Laundry Bag was designed for a different purpose. Its primary use is as a laundry bag, fitting as much as fifteen liters of clothing into the bag. Designed for all my clean-freak travelers who can’t stand dirty clothing rubbing shoulders with their clean clothing, the bag is designed to separate dirty from clean clothes.

    Other than storing your dirty clothes in a breathable laundry bag for travel, the container has a buckled loop that makes it easy to hang on any hook or tree. The drawstring closure is great for sealing the dirty clothing inside the bag and protecting your clean clothing from contamination. 

    When empty, the bag is lightweight and compact – so small you’ll hardly notice it in your bag. It’s also easy to wash and can be thrown in the same machine load as your dirty clothes. I can even recommend using it as a packing cube equivalent before you gather up the dirty clothing to fill it with. At the end of the day, it’s another bag that can help you stay organized on an adventure.

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      Final Thoughts On Laundry Bags For Travel

      Let’s be honest: general hygiene aside, there is not much worse than wearing dirty clothing. From personal experience, it dampens my entire mood and confidence. Paying hostels to wash your clothing is expensive, outsourcing laundry companies is risky, and washing clothing in the shower is just plain effort…

      Instead, traveling with a lightweight and compact travel wash bag offers an easy, convenient, and affordable way to keep your clothes clean while on the road. Some of the bags on this list are specially designed to wash your clothing using minimal water and no electricity. Other bags are ideal for storing and packing your items in a systematic and organized manner. I even threw in a few toiletry bags to store either your toiletries or electronics. 

      Scrubba

      Conveniently, a bag is a bag, and storage space is always welcome when on the road. Whether you’re going on a camping trip, backpacking through a foreign country, or staying in well-to-do hotels, there are numerous ways to use the bags on this list on your next adventure. 

      With bags designed to separate your laundry from your clean clothes and wash bags inspired by the good old washboard of our ancestors, you’ll never be left to wear the same stinky t-shirt three days in a row again. Phew!


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