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How to Do Laundry on a Road Trip Like John Steinbeck


Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Jeff More.

You’re packing for a road trip and you’re down to deciding how much clothing to bring. You could have a fresh change of clothes every day, but that adds up to a lot of space quickly, especially if you have multiple companions. You really would prefer to travel light, but that means either finding a laundromat and spending a stack of quarters and a few hours in town, or hand washing your clothes at camp when you could be kicking back and enjoying a foil meal instead.

Or you could just suck it up, not change, and reek a little. But really, you’re car camping, not backpacking, so why do that? What’s a man to do?

Here’s a tip I got from Travels with Charley (sadly missing from the Art of Manliness’ 100 best reads, but no one’s perfect), John Steinbeck’s 1962 travelogue documenting his road trip circumnavigating the Lower 48 with his French poodle, Charley, and how the American landscape had changed over his lifetime. The book is known for its series of poignant tales, but buried inside is a handy nugget on how to effortlessly have a fresh change of clothes on hand daily while on the road.

What You’ll Need: 5-gallon bucket with lid (I use an orange Home Depot bucket) Jug of clean water (Get a jug with a screw-on top, not a snap top. Trader Joe’s has a good one.) Laundry detergent Some utility cord or other improvised clothesline Clothespins or binder clips (the duct tape of office supplies)

Here’s how it works.


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