For those looking to travel this summer, either via road trip or plane, two of my best tips for managing laundry on the road.

If you are going to be gone for a bit you have two choices: Pack a boatload of clothing, or take fewer sets of clothes and do laundry on the road. For up to two weeks, I can comfortably do the former. Of course, it helps to live in REI cargo shorts and tees.

But if I am packing light, or staying longer (or both) I wash on the road. I refuse to pay hotel laundry rates. In many cases it is actually cheaper to re-buy the clothes. But neither do I want to waste travel time at a laundromat.

On a road trip, I turn my car into a wonderfully efficient washing machine by bringing a 5-gal sealable Home Depot (orange) paint bucket. In the morning, put in yesterday's clothes, add a little cold-water concentrated detergent and fill (mostly) with water. The vibrations of the car will agitate the clothing, cleaning as you drive. It works wonderfully well.

When you stop for lunch, change the water. Swish it a bit and change it again for the afternoon drive. No detergent for the afternoon -- you are now on rinse cycle. When you get to your evening's destination, drain and wring the clothes and let them dry overnight.

For living out of a hotel, I wash clothes in a heavy duty (as thick as you can find) plastic garbage bag, which works WAY better than a sink or tub. Two days worth of clothing in the bag, a little detergent, water and knot it. Knot it again a few inches down the neck. (Get most of the air out first.)

Next, knead the clothing/water/detergent in the bag for ten mins. Then do a rinse cycle (same thing, w/o detergent). The ability to knead/flip/roll/turn over the clothing in the waterproof bag it why this works much better than in a sink or tub. The friction cleans the clothes.

Wring clothes and let them dry overnight. I turn the bag inside out to let it dry efficiently, and store the detergent bottle in the sturdy waterproof bag.

In both cases, I bring about 50 feet of thin, nylon cord for drying. I have yet to find a hotel room in which I could not set up a good drying line w/50 feet of cord. Takes up almost no space or weight. As you get ready to return home, transition the heavy plastic trash bag into a dirty clothes bag.

That's my best travel tip as we head into the season. What do you guys have to offer? Sound off in a comment!
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