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Laundry bag to lock in smell

Hi all!
Last summer I did a USA road trip and next summer I will backpack Europe for several week. An issue on my road trip was smelly laundry, wet clothes/towels, etc. that I could not easily do laundry. Before Europe, I would like to buy a proper laundry bag to avoid this problem.

What I need in a travel laundry bag:
- Compact/compression laundry bag to fit it my Osprey 46L
- Some way to lock in the smell

A few I have found are:

Any experience or suggestions are welcomed!

Posted by
315 posts

I'd be concerned about mixing dry clothes, the smelly ones, with wet clothes due to mildew especially since it would be for several weeks. Can you pack two of the bags you listed above, one for smelly and the other for wet?

Posted by
3222 posts

Why reinvent the wheel? Plastic bags and twist ties. And learn how to wash your stuff in your hotel room, drying them overnight.

Posted by
7446 posts

Something smells a bit funny with that last link there . . .

Posted by
2 posts

These are great suggestions, thank you all! I needed the life hack solution of Ziploc bags because that wasn't event coming to mind. Cheers to y'all!

Posted by
5777 posts

We use storage bags that look like big ziplocs, but are made of more durable, reinforced materials, and have a one way pressure valve, so when you roll it up, it becomes a compression bag.

Need only be large enough for a few items, wash some clothes once a week, most of the dirty things are underwear and socks, and I only pack 3 or 4 shirts at most and two pants.

To each their own, but never had a problem with smelly things, maybe an issue for others.

Posted by
1117 posts

An issue on my road trip was smelly laundry, wet clothes/towels [...]
- Some way to lock in the smell

The most effective way to create smell - and worse: mold - is to lock the stuff in. Bacteria and fungi love a warm and humid climate. Keep that in your backpack for a couple of days, and not even a professional laundry or dry-cleaner will ever be able to get the mold out again.

The solution is easy: Don't pack your things while they are still moist. Get your stuff dry first, and then pack them in a bag that is not air-tight. If you are on the move and need to pack them, make sure you unpack them immediately at your next destination to let them dry.

A cloth bag is perfect. Cheap, lightweight, and compressible solution that does not require any suspicious links or extra purchases: an old pillowcase.

Posted by
10986 posts

I travel with one of these:

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Nano Dry Sack, Featherlight Dry Bag

Mine is 8 liters. Good to store wey items or dirty laundry but also good to wash clothes in when there is a small sink. It weighs less than an ounce.

Put soap in the sac and a little water. Shake to get suds. Put you clothes, cover with more water, seal, shake a few times (Like a washng machine) and let sit for a while. Then empty the water andrinse clothes to remove detergent.

Posted by
2887 posts

What Anna says...plan so you can have items dry overnight. Have two cloth type bags; one for dry dirty and one incase some remain damp. At worst get a reusable food storage bag that is not plastic for the damp things.

I'm against the old system of one use plastic bags...aren't we over using plastic yet? Think climate!

Posted by
1117 posts

I'm against the old system of one use plastic bags...

I'll second that, for sure! Unless you at least use that one use plastic bag throughout your whole vacation, then you may have reconciled the climate. :-)

Have two cloth type bags; one for dry dirty and one incase some remain
damp. At worst get a reusable food storage bag that is not plastic for
the damp things.

Actually, damp things are the only things I do temporarily pack in a plastic bag (reusable of course :-) ), so they won't get everything else damp. The point is not to leave them in there for more than a day at most.

Posted by
96 posts

Give some thought to the fabrics that you pack:

  • Merino wool is a great choice because it is light, wicks sweat away from your body and is naturally antibacterial. This prevents odour-causing bacterias, so you can go longer without doing laundry. Consider buying merino for the stinkier parts of the body, such as feet (I love Smartwool brand socks).
  • 100% Polyester is very quick drying. However, it is not breathable / warm, so if you plan on hiking, a polyester / merino blend would be better. The higher the percentage of polyester in the blend, the more it could smell, so try to wash the polyester as quickly as possible.
  • Tencel is fairly good fabric choice; it is light, dries quickly and is moderately sweat-wicking.
  • If you prefer a natural fiber like linen or silk, go for a light, open weave.
  • Cotton takes a fairly long time to dry because it is extremely absorbent.

It sounds like you are a good candidate for a quick-dry towel.
Enjoy your trip! Even laundry is part of the adventure :)