A Definite Need

Way back in the day, I recall being out in the hot and sticky for sometimes days on end without a change of clothes. Yes, this is while I was in the Army; it’s not like I was just unclean or anything. After the first three or four days, you really start to become uncomfortable. You can begin to smell so bad that you offend yourself.

The problems don’t end with discomfort; being medically trained, I realized that you can develop some fairly serious and unpleasant health problems by wearing soiled clothing day after day. Fungal infection and contact dermatitis can develop. After a few days, you can develop something called interigo. Have you ever had a rash in skin folds that turns warm, slightly burning, and perhaps a bit yeasty? That was likely intertrigo. It can happen to the best of us in the folds where our thighs meet the trunk of our body. Intertrigo is why commandos often go commando.

The Solution

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid all of this unpleasantness. Keep your clothes (and your body) clean. The best way I’ve found to do that out in the field is by using something called the Scrubba Tactical Wash Bag. And you don’t have to join Special Forces to get your hands on one. Head on over to the Scrubba website to check them out.

Small Wash bag
The Scrubba is lightweight, compact, and easy to carry.


This “washing machine in a bag” is impressively small (can be held in the palm of your hand) and lightweight (only 160g, or 5.6 oz). Any outdoorsman or soldier who will be carrying a pack for any amount of time will greatly appreciate this fact. When laid flat, the bag measures 54cm x 32cm, and when rolled for storage, it is approximately 16cm x 6cm x 6cm. Small in size, yet still large enough to wash up to 2 T-shirts, 2 pairs of underwear, and 2 pairs of socks per load.

Scrubba unrolled
Unrolled, it can accommodate an impressive amount of clothing.

When you handle this wash bag, you can tell a lot of thought went into the product. It was designed and constructed in consultation with a former SAS team leader. If anyone knows about tactical equipment needed in the bush, it’s those guys. The neutral coyote brown color blends right in with most outdoor environments no matter where in the world you are. It features rugged construction and a built-in transparent window so you can monitor water levels while washing. The seams are all heat welded to prevent leakage, and overall the materials used here are top-notch. At one end of the bag is an extra-large, easy-to-twist valve to control the amount of air inside. It’s easy to turn, even with my meaty mitts. The bottom of the Scrubba features a “grippy” surface that ensures your bag stays in place while you are washing your clothes.

inside the bag
This is where the magic happens. These raised nubs have a washboard effect and help greatly in cleaning your clothes.

Above is the money shot; this is where all the magic happens. Those raised nubs provide the needed friction to get your clothes clean. It’s basically the same principle as a washboard and is pretty ingenious if you ask me.


So, how does it work? Glad you asked. It is ultra simple to use, and the process is quite intuitive. If, for some reason, you forget the order of operations, the instructions are printed right there on the outside of the bag. In addition to the bag itself and some dirty clothes, you’re going to need some laundry detergent and water. The exact amount of water you will need will vary depending on the size of the load you are washing but plan on using between a gallon and a half (4-6 liters) to get the job done.