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Laundry On-Board: Scrubba Wash Bag Review

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 | 0 comments

“How would you carry a laundry machine up a mountain?” This intriguing question was part of a Scrubba Washbag commercial that made me take a closer look. I had been looking for a solution for laundry on board, but hadn’t made up my mind on what I wanted to try as my first manual washing experience. Our friends on Cool Beans showed us their preferred method, essentially a modified plunger in a bucket, which probably would have been what I tried first if I hadn’t seen the Scrubba on a facebook group called Women Who Sail. I liked the idea of the smaller footprint of the Scrubba bag and thought it might be better for us due to our limited space. When Dan spotted it on a Woot.com sale, I decided to take the plunge.

The bag folds up quite small when you aren't using it.

The bag folds up quite small when you aren’t using it.

First of all, let me say that the price point is a bit high in my opinion. At $55 for what is essentially a 3 gallon dry bag with some bumps inside, it took me some serious consideration before I decided to buy it. Even after using it, I’d still say the price could have been a bit cheaper but it is fairly new so it may go down in price in the future, especially since it has already come down $10 since I first looked at buying it. Since I ordered it from Woot.com, I can’t say much about the customer service directly from the company or their shipping time, though they do offer free shipping to anywhere in the United States and internationally I believe.

It was easy to tell how full to fill the bag.

It was easy to tell how full to fill the bag.

The packaging was totally rage free and user friendly, which is always nice. My first impression was that the material was a bit thinner than I had expected but it still seemed pretty sturdy. After using it for multiple large loads, it held up with no problems though I was still careful not to use my fingernails too much when massaging/washing the clothes. The overall appearance is pleasant and I especially liked the clear window on the side with water-fill suggestions for load size. I will say that the air vent (very similar to one on a beach ball) was almost impossible for me to function but Dan had no problem getting it to work, so it’s either a hand strength issue or a brain issue I’m not quite sure at this point.

Let's just say I will never do this much laundry at one time again!

Let’s just say I will never do this much laundry at one time again!

The actual washing process was pretty straight forward. I had a full week and a half of laundry to do (3 people with Dan’s work and casual clothes) and I will say that I would not under any circumstances recommend doing that much with the Scrubba at one time. On the up side, I was able to get a very good handle on how much of different kinds of clothes could fit in one washing load. It really could fit more than I had anticipated and should not take too long for a normal wash load of a few days at a time. Here is a sample of some of the loads that I did:

The Scrubba could hold a decent amount at one time while still getting everything clean.

The Scrubba could hold a decent amount at one time while still getting everything clean.

  • 5 of Dan’s medium men’s polo shirts or 8 of my small women’s shirts (cotton and high-performance fabrics)
  • The entire supply of Carter’s size 3T clothes for the week including t-shirts, shorts, socks, underwear, and a pair of jeans
  • a pair of Dan’s jeans, one maxi-dress, one pair of men’s cargo shorts and one pair of women’s Bermuda shorts

The dirty water from just one load. It certainly is getting the clothes clean!

The dirty water from just one load. It certainly is getting the clothes clean!

Here is the inside of the bag. You can see how the wash board would be different than a normal dry bag.

Here is the inside of the bag. You can see how the wash board would be different than a normal dry bag.

The cleaning power of having the washboard inside the bag was also very helpful. At least of few of the pieces I washed had visible dirt/stains on them before washing but afterwards came out clean (I did spray them with a bit of Spray n’ Wash first). If you had anything that was heavy soiled, it would probably be better to do a pre-rinse of that item first just to reduce the transfer of oil or other junk onto your other clothes or the inside of the bag. The official recommendation for soap used is basically any washing liquid (as opposed to powders) and even shampoo or body wash would work in a pinch. I chose to use a dye and chemical free liquid that I got at Costco since I figured that some of the soap would be staying in our clothes without an intense rinse and spin cycle like you would have in a washing machine. You only need a very small amount for each load and I found that putting in the detergent before the water worked best for getting it to suds quickly.

This is our salon table after washing a load. Not a lot of water left over, but enough that I wouldn't do it on the bed or carpet.

This is our salon table after washing a load. Not a lot of water left over, but enough that I wouldn’t do it on the bed or carpet.

All-in-all I’d say that the Scrubba was easy to use, well made, and good for use on a boat (or other traveling) due to its compact size and only using about 1.5-2 gallons of water per load.

There are a few caveats, however. First, due to there being a lot of water transfer going on, I would not recommend doing your washing on top of a bed or carpet area as there is some water that will get on your work surface. Nothing too drastic but just something to know ahead of time. Also, even with hand wringing the clothes are still very wet compared to an electric machine. The guys at Scrubba sell a microfiber towel to roll/squeeze the water out in and I would highly recommend using something similar if you want your clothes to dry in any reasonable amount of time. Or you can do your own version of a spin cycle by doing the windmill on the back of your boat, your choice.

 

Have you had any experience with a manual clothes washing system that you would recommend? Tips or tricks for us? Let us know in the comments!

 

Cruising Plans for 2015

Posted on Jan 12, 2015 | 2 comments

We are now official, our boat cards are in!

We are now official, our boat cards are in!

The new year has arrived and we are ready for it! Two years ago when we were first making the decision to delay cruising to establish our rental income, Dan’s brother Kyle encouraged us (forcefully) to set an end-all date: the date at which we would quit our jobs and start cruising, no matter what else had happened. That date was January 1, 2015. Now that we have passed it, there is a constant reminder that the time has come.

We are hoping to be able to head out to the Bahamas sometime in the vicinity of March-April. Dan’s work pays their annual bonus around that time and while we are acutely aware of the fact that there will always be more money if we stay longer, it just makes sense to us to at least cash in on money we’ve already earned before leaving. That, coupled with the chance to have both of our parents come to visit in a relatively easy-to-get-to setting, is what we are basing our timing on at this point.

Once we head out, our tentative plan is to head for the northern Abaco islands as our landing point in the Bahamas and work our way through the chain. We’re hoping to get through the Exumas as well but with hurricane season on the horizon, we’ll have to play everything by ear and keep an eye on the weather for sure. The only solid deadline that we have is August 1. That is the day that Dan’s brother Alex is getting married and all three of us are in the wedding!

With that in mind, we’re hoping to have the boat stored somewhere on the hard for a month or two while we go home. After that our plans are completely fluid. We are essentially waiting to make any other definitive plans until after our time in the Bahamas. Hopefully a lot of our big questions will be answered at that time and allow us to do more in-depth planning. Here are a few of those biggies:

  • “How long do we see ourselves cruising?”
  • “Is our planned budget working for us?”
  • “Are we interested in a large-scale crossing?”
  • “Do we have the right boat for our future goals?”
  • “What changes need to be made to accommodate our cruising style?”

The answers to these questions will have a huge impact on our decisions going forward and our lives in general. Dan and I fully anticipate loving the cruising life-style, but we can’t say that positively because we haven’t tried it of course. We hope that you’ll continue on this journey with us.

 

Have suggestions for beautiful anchorages in the Bahamas that we just shouldn’t miss or a great suggestion for a haul-out facility on the east coast? Leave us a comment below!

Our First Year Aboard 2014

Posted on Dec 31, 2014 | 0 comments

The year 2014 will go undoubtedly be ranked among the most significant of our lives. This was the year that all of our planning and saving culminated in moving 1,000 miles onto our own Irwin 37. Though at times we experienced incredible stress and frustration, there were far more moments of joy, excitement, and true wonder at our new life. We look back on this year with a great feeling of accomplishment, knowing that so many have never reached such a tangible realization of their dreams.

It is with that knowledge that we head into 2015, having faith that what is to come will be greater still. We hope that you will join us as we continue to Follow the Horizon.