Close

Shop by Category

Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...
  • Call us on (855) 622-6737
  • My Account
  • Gift Certificates

Blog

How to do Laundry at Camp

Posted by Sharon Harrington on

Though you often venture into the outdoors to escape your busy life in civilization, if you’re out there long enough there will be chores you can’t avoid. Laundry is one of those chores. If you stay at a hostel or campground, your laundry routine might look very similar to your at-home routine, but if you’re sleeping in a tent for more than a few days, you’ll need to follow a whole new set of rules when you do laundry.

Bring the right clothes

A big consideration to backwoods laundry is what you’re washing. Ideally, you’ll never need to wash anything big, like blankets or outer layers. Hopefully, whatever you need to wash will be made of a synthetic, quick-drying material. If you know you’ll want to wash your clothes mid-adventure, pack accordingly. Be sure that anything you’ll want to wash is small enough to fit in whatever you choose as a washbin. Bring an extra set of smaller things, like undergarments, if it can help you avoid the need to wash. Pack clothes to wear at camp so that you have “clean clothes.” The ability to sleep in different clothes than what you’ve worn all day will make a big difference on your desire to do laundry!

Bring the right “gear”

If you decide that doing laundry at camp will be unavoidable make sure you have the right gear. You’ll want a washbin, which can be anything from a large ziplock bag to a collapsible bucket. It will need to hold anything you desire to wash with enough room for water and “swishing.” You’ll also want to pack some earth-friendly, biodegradable soap, though it is better for the environment if you can avoid using soaps. Don’t forget to bring an extra lightweight rope for a makeshift laundry line.

Wash away from water and camp

Once you gather your water in your washbin, move away from water sources and camp before adding your dirty laundry. You’ll need to be at least 200 feet away from both. If you’re using a bag, add your laundry (and soap if needed), close it and shake it vigorously. If you’re using a bucket, use your hands or a couple sticks to mix the laundry in with the clean water.

If you add soap to your wash you’ll want a few cycles of water to be sure all the soap is rinsed out. Anytime you dispose of dirty water, be sure you are at least 200 feet from the water source (to avoid contamination) and camp (especially when using soap, to avoid attracting wildlife).

Allow your laundry to dry

If you’ve done laundry at camp, a laundry line is a great way to help it dry. If you’re building a fire, put the laundry line close (but not too close!). If you did your laundry on a mid-day break, hanging it from your pack is a great way to help it dry. If it’s cold outside, wrap your items around a durable water vessel (like a Nalgene bottle) and fill it with boiling water (be sure your water bottle is rated to handle water this hot!). The heat will help dry your laundry, and also warm it up a bit.

Laundry is a chore that you might be able to avoid while exploring the backwoods, but occasionally it is necessary. Though washing laundry in the outdoors isn’t as easy as it is at home, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Be sure you have the right gear and remember to stay 200 feet from water sources. Following these simple guidelines will make it easy! 

Caring for Your Water Filter

Water treatment is one of the most important pieces of gear that an outdoorsperson carries. Whether you’re headed out on a quick day hike or a week-long kayaking adventure, at some point, you’re going to need to drink some water. If your trip is short enough, you can carry enough water with you, but the [...]

Read More »


How to Pack a Backpack

Gathering all of the gear that you need (and none that you don’t need) is a harrowing task. It will take months of in-field testing, ordering and returning items, to find out what works perfectly for you. But, a new fear may strike when you finally throw that last piece of gear onto the pile: [...]

Read More »


​Trail Maintenance: How You can Help

Read: Every Little Bit CountsImagine trekking through the woods on a beautiful, sunny day only to stumble upon a massive, downed tree sprawled across the trail. There’s no way around it with all the untamed brush along the path, so you have to crawl your way through it, quite the challenge with a pack full [...]

Read More »


Outdoor Safety in the Fall

Fall is a wonderful time of year to be outside, but it presents explorers with a unique set of safety concerns. Weather, daylight savings time and hunting all pose risk to anyone who is outside in the fall. Here’s what you should do to stay safe:Dress for any weatherBecause the temperature can change greatly throughout [...]

Read More »


Enjoying the Outdoors this Fall

Fall is a wonderful time to head outdoors. With mild temperatures and beautiful foliage, fall has a lot to offer. Here are some tips on how to enjoy the change of seasons:Plan a mid-day adventure Temperature swings of up to twenty degrees can happen on a nice, fall day. Brisk mornings give way to pleasant [...]

Read More »


LNT: Leave What You Find, Respect Wildlife, Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Our last installment in the Leave No Trace Series covers three principles: Leave what you find, Respect wildlife and Be considerate of other visitors. What each of these really mean is, “Keep nature beautiful for everyone.”Leave what you find means just what it sounds like. Don’t take anything from the wilderness that is natural and [...]

Read More »


LNT: Minimize Campfire Impact

Everything you do in the backwoods has an impact on the environment, but campfires have the potential to have the biggest impact the fastest if not watched carefully. Even when a fire is properly extinguished, it can still have a massive impact on the environment if it is not built in the correct location or [...]

Read More »


LNT: Dispose of Waste Properly

The third LNT principle is probably the one most people think of when they think leave no trace: dispose of waste properly. Unfortunately, you’re still likely to find trash on any trail, river or mountain you explore. And, this principle goes beyond, “Pick up your litter.” Disposing of waste properly includes trash, used water and [...]

Read More »


LNT: Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

While the second LNT principle, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, seems straightforward and easy-to-follow, there are several factors to consider when you’re trying to leave little to no impact in the backcountry. It’s simple to advise adventurers to stay on the beaten path (the established trail), but what happens when one must venture off-trail [...]

Read More »