Camping Laundry 101: Essential Tips and Must-Haves for Washing Clothes in the Great Outdoors

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Camping Laundry
Camping Laundry | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock - Halfpoint
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Camping is an exhilarating way to immerse yourself in nature, but dealing with dirty laundry can quickly become a hassle. When you’re miles away from the nearest laundromat, tackling your pile of sweaty hiking clothes, muddy socks, and grimy towels might seem like a daunting task. However, with the right gear and techniques, keeping your clothes fresh and clean while camping is entirely possible. This guide to “Camping Laundry 101” will equip you with essential tips and must-have items to ensure your outdoor adventures remain enjoyable without the burden of smelly garments weighing you down.

Table of Contents

Where to Wash Laundry

Campgrounds

Many campgrounds, particularly RV parks, offer laundry services for campers’ convenience. These facilities typically feature coin-operated washing machines and dryers, making it easy to freshen up your clothes during extended camping trips. If you plan on taking advantage of these laundry amenities, it’s essential to bring a bag of quarters with you. The washing and drying machines at campgrounds usually require quarters for operation, so you’ll need to estimate the number of loads you’ll need to do and ensure you have enough quarters on hand to cover the cost. While some campgrounds may offer alternative payment options like laundry cards, token systems, or mobile payment services, quarters are still the most commonly accepted form of payment.

Laundromat

Most urban areas and even small towns have at least one laundromat facility that caters to the washing needs of local residents and travelers alike. These classic laundromats allow campers to wash not just their clothes but also larger items like bedding or sleeping bags. Similar to campground laundry facilities, the majority of laundromats operate using coin-operated machines. This means you’ll need to bring along a supply of quarters or other coin currency to feed the washers and dryers during your visit.

In Your RV

Some RV models may boast built-in washers or dryers. Having a washer and dryer in your RV eliminates the need to haul your dirty clothes to the campground laundry facilities. If your RV model does not come equipped with these appliances, there are kits and modification options available that allow you to install a washer or dryer unit. These aftermarket kits make it possible to add the luxury of doing laundry right from your RV, saving you money on laundry fees while also adding tremendous convenience during your camping adventures.

Other Options

One option is bringing along a portable washing machine that can be easily set up at your RV or campsite. After washing a load, you can simply hang the clothes up to air dry by stringing clotheslines around your site. This eco-friendly hang drying method eliminates the need for electric or gas dryers. For those traveling in RVs, another option is utilizing the kitchen sink or bathroom tub for handwashing smaller loads of laundry. The sinks and tubs in RVs provide a compact washing station right in your mobile accommodation. Once washed, the clothes can be hung up inside or outside the RV to dry. Whether using a portable machine or washing by hand in the RV, you can maintain a supply of fresh clothing without having to stray far from your campsite or accumulate piles of quarters for laundry facilities.

Camping Laundry Must-Haves

Portable Washing Machines

WonderWash Portable Washing Machine

The WonderWash is a compact, non-electric portable washing machine perfect for small loads using a simple hand-crank design to wash up to 5 pounds of laundry in just minutes with minimal water and no electricity required. Made of durable ABS plastic with a stylish retro design available in mint green, yellow, blue and pink colors, this top-loading manual washer features an easy-open lid lever.

Portable Mini Washing Machine

The portable mini washer features a large capacity twin tub design with separate washing and spin tubs, allowing you to wash and dry clothes simultaneously. Its compact and lightweight construction makes it perfect for use in dorms, apartments, RVs, and other small spaces, while still providing powerful 1300 rpm washing and spinning performance.

Washer and Spin Dry Combo with Drain Pump

This portable washing machine offers a large 17.8 lb capacity in a compact, one-bucket design with 10 program settings, 8 water levels, and independent wash/spin functions controlled via an easy-to-use panel with LED display. Featuring a powerful yet energy-efficient 480W motor, 3D tumbling cleaning, built-in drain pump, transparent lid, delayed start, child lock, and unbalance detection for smooth, versatile operation.

Laundry Baskets & Hampers

Collapsible Plastic Laundry Basket

This collapsible laundry basket offers a large 25″ size with deep capacity for ample storage, yet folds down to a compact size for easy transport and storage, featuring durable unbreakable plastic construction and dual comfort grip handles for effortless carrying even when fully loaded.

Collapsible Laundry Caddy

This laundry product features a space-saving collapsible design that expands for use as a laundry basket or storage container, then folds flat to just 2.7 inches tall, saving over 70% space with its deformation-resistant straight walls and comfort grip handles for easy carrying and storage in tight spaces like under beds or in closets.

Laundry Mesh Bag

This jumbo mesh laundry bag is made of sturdy polyester material with a drawstring closure, designed to securely hold a week’s worth of laundry while allowing items to breathe, preventing dampness and odors. Available in white, black, blue, green, yellow and red colors, the expandable mesh construction provides ample capacity and visibility into the bag’s contents.

Pop-Up Utility Hamper

Camco’s Pop-Up Container is the perfect outdoor accessory for exploring nature without clutter, yet collapses compact for easy storage and transport. Built with durable tear-resistant fabric reinforced with PVC coating, it features a zippered lid to keep critters out, padded handles for comfortable carrying, a ground stake for anchoring, and a fun camping design decorating this versatile piece of camping gear.

Washing Accessories

Portable Wash Bag

The Scrubba Wash Bag is the world’s smallest and lightest washing machine, utilizing a patented washboard-in-a-bag design that allows for machine-quality washing anywhere in just minutes, perfect for travel and camping. Weighing only 5.3 oz and folding down to pocket-size, this versatile bag can also function as a dry bag or laundry bag, letting you pack light while staying clean with its simple, environmentally-friendly washing process.

Drying Accessories


Portable Travel Clothesline

This portable travel clothesline is compact, lightweight and comes in a zippered pouch, making it easy to pack for trips, while offering a sturdy 26ft adjustable nylon cord with 12 locking clips to securely hang and quickly air dry laundry indoors or outdoors without sagging or blowing away. Designed for versatility, the cord can be attached anywhere using the hooks and adjusted to desired lengths, perfect for camping, hiking, RVs, hotels and more.


Gullwing Drying Rack

This drying rack provides a roomy 46 linear feet of drying space that can be configured into six different positions, with sturdy steel construction able to handle large, heavy loads. This versatile drying rack includes a sweater shelf, shoe drying rack, and folds flat for compact storage when not in use.


Collapsible Over The Door, Hanging Laundry Dry Rack 

This collapsible, door-mounted drying rack provides an efficient air-drying solution with 22 linear feet of drying space across 14 wide rungs, perfect for delicates, towels, and more, while saving floor space in small areas. Constructed with durable steel that folds up compactly, it hangs over interior doors up to 2″ thick and extends up to 47.5″ high when in use, then collapses for discreet storage when not needed.

Detergent


Laundry Soap Sheets

The Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets provide a convenient, TSA-compliant way to pack laundry detergent when traveling, with each box containing 50 biodegradable, unscented sheets that easily dissolve in water. These ultra-portable laundry detergent sheets allow you to do laundry anywhere, perfect for hotel sinks, camping trips, RVs or anywhere regular detergent is impractical.



Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets

Earth Breeze Eco Sheets provide a powerful, ultra-effective, and mess-free laundry detergent experience with their ultra-slim cardboard packaging that eliminates plastic jugs, while also being hypoallergenic and free of harsh chemicals like bleach, dyes, and parabens. With each purchase, Earth Breeze donates 10 loads of detergent to those in need, making laundry an act of kindness on top of being an easy, eco-friendly clean.


Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy 10x Duty Power 

Tide’s Hygienic Clean Power PODS offer concentrated cleaning power with innovative capsule technology. This is perfect for dirty clothes from camping or traveling as well as the container makes for simple, non-spillable storage.

Conclusion

Taking off on a camping trip doesn’t have to mean sacrificing clean clothes or living with the discomfort of wearing dirty garments. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this “Camping Laundry 101” guide, you can efficiently wash your clothes while enjoying the great outdoors. From portable washing machines and scrubba bags to biodegradable soap and collapsible drying racks, having the right gear on hand can make all the difference. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience. So, pack smartly, embrace eco-friendly practices, and let the fresh scent of clean laundry accompany you on all your outdoor adventures.

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