Thursday, September 23, 2021
Thursday, September 23, 2021

Portable washing machine saves weight for RV. YUP.

By Tony Barthel
This is going to sound strange, but I bought a washing machine to save weight on our long journey to the middle of this country. It sounds nonsensical, but I think my math works out. 

I bought the SUPER DEAL Portable Compact Mini Twin Tub Washing Machine on Amazon. There’s no dryer and the washer is pretty manual … but not completely. And that’s why I bought this thing – for the “not completely” part.

My thinking

There are a lot of almost-completely manual washing machines out there that are even cheaper and lighter than what I bought, but those didn’t fit my vision. Essentially, the goal was to bring fewer clothes on my trip to save space and, more importantly, weight. 

Then, after a few days of travel when I am staying in an RV park, I can plug this thing in and get a few loads of laundry done. My goal is to not have to babysit the washing machine so I can be traveling and also writing these reviews. 

If I had one of the manually operated machines I’d have to actually be there the whole time and operate the thing, which means I wouldn’t get as many RV stories written for you. It’s all about you, you know. Seriously. 

How this portable washing machine works

After watching a few reviews of various machines, I settled on this one. It seems that there are a bunch of different machines out there but they all essentially do the same thing.

What impressed me after watching the videos of this one was the degree of agitation this washer offers.

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I displace a lot of water in the pool. I can get six of my 3XL shirts into the drum of this washing machine. While there is a provision to attach a water line directly to this machine, I chose to just plop the whole thing in the bathtub of my travel trailer and fill it with the showerhead. 

There is a gentle and a normal setting on the wash process, so I threw some shirts in and a very, very small amount of detergent and turned the knob. The knob is nothing more than a mechanical timer and while it’s marked with numbers up to 15, where one assumes this is minutes, I wouldn’t set my watch by these timers. They’re dollar store egg timers at best. 

Lots of agitation goin’ on

The machine goes about twisting and turning the clothes. The videos I watched were quite accurate – the agitation is significant. Once this process is completed, you turn the dial on the top to “drain.” Essentially, it just opens a valve and the water pours out through a hose by gravity. This is why it was in the bathtub of my travel trailer – I just let the water flow out and down the drain. 

Flip the knob back over to the wash cycle, fill it with clean water for a rinse and don’t forget the fabric softener. I did. Yes. I noticed. 

There are two drums in this thing. One is the wash and rinse cycle, and the second is the spin cycle. The spin drum is about half the size of the wash drum so you have to split your load in two if you’ve done six shirts. The spin cycle really spins at high speed and the clothes come out dry enough that they’re not dripping at all. 

Was this portable washing machine worth it?

Was this worth the $160 I paid for it? The short answer is yes. 

The basic function of the machine, washing clothes, works well. The clothes go in dirty and, with minimal effort, come out clean. 

The machine is very light since it’s made almost completely out of plastic, and it’ll stow in my pickup until it’s wash day. 

The best part is, I don’t have to hope that an RV park is empty enough that there are washing machines available or that the town’s resident murderer isn’t doing his laundry on the same day I choose in the town laundromat. No quarters, no sitting around waiting for clothes to be done, and no wondering what grossness someone else washed out of their clothes before I washed the grossness out of my own. 

One thing: This is definitely something I’d want to use when I have full hookups. It takes 120vac power and a total of about ten gallons for both wash and rinse cycles. In my trailer I only have a 37-gallon fresh tank and a 30-gallon gray tank. So, again, this is best done in an RV park with full hookups. 

So even in a small travel trailer like mine, this thing makes sense. The only question I can’t answer is to the durability of this thing. But it doesn’t feel so cheaply made that it won’t last at least $160 worth. 

Watch my video review below, then find the washing machine online here. (Tip from editor: After you watch Tony’s video, look below it for the link to a hilarious post about how one RVer figured out how to never do laundry again.)

Related:

How one RVer figured out how to never do laundry again

RVT998

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Ken J
3 months ago

Great post Tony! thanks for sharing.
I’ve recently got a mini washing machine for my RV as well, and good god, I can’t agree more.
The one that I got is WINIA(Daewoo) Wall-Mountable washing machine from Australia.
It’s light, compact, washes & dries like a charm. And the fact that it’s mountable on RV wall was a huge plus for me.
I’m just glad that my days of sitting in a laundromat is over. Would definitely recommend getting a mini washing machine. 

Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
4 months ago

Certainly less effort than is my columbuswashboard.com personal sized washboard. There is a footpowered washer called drumi that has been available for 4-5 years also. I bought an all-in-one unit European style washer dryer (vented-Splendide) for my stixnbrix and have been happy with it for about 10 years now. Debating whether or not to bring this model showed here to DH for our camper. It’s only 17 feet long from hitch to stern and pretty much all available space is already spoken for.

Mary Raynie
4 months ago

I have that same model and LOVE it. I don’t have to waste a day sitting in a laundromat. I can wash at night and hang in shower to dry. We have a little mom n pop camper and it fits great between the kitchen and the murphy bed.

Warren Carter
4 months ago

I am eager to try this out. As a solo camper who prefers to boondock and dry camp at state parks and national parks and forests the portable washer addresses a major need of mine! Now I can pack less cloths! I will pickup a drying rack and good to go!!
Thanks!
Loved the Steinbeck reference! Adventures with Charley rocks!
The Lancedocker.

Alan Wika
4 months ago

I have one of these, in fact, I just used mine right before I read this article. I only started using this since earlier this year. Haters gonna hate but I am more than surprised by how good a job it does. I haven’t been to a laundromat since January and this thing has already paid for itself. I do have questions about the durability but it’s cheap enough, replacement isn’t going to be a problem

dcook
4 months ago

Great job Tony, thanks for sharing, I’m sure the heckler’s are going to hammer you on this one, but…. I have been thinking about one of these. Now I know a little more about them. I do not like going to the laundromats, I would rather be sitting at my campsite watching wild life. Plus I haven’t seen too many laundromats out in the woods.

MELISSA
4 months ago

I have one similar to this. It washes/agitates on one side and spins on the other. I used it for a couple of years living full time in my RV. I had it in the shower and used the shower head hose to fill it. Cold water only, because these are light weight and plastic, not metal. It spins much better than a big washer, so I would hang dry in the same shower and it worked great. I bought an inexpensive tension rod to hang the clothes from.

Buddy & Linda Attebery
4 months ago

Our son and daughter-in-law gave us this for Christmas and although we haven’t had a chance to actually use it on a trip, we did try it out here at home and was pleased. Like he said, small loads, but it worked great and the spin cycle really spins the clothes dry, so hanging them in the shower and they shouldn’t take long to completely dry. We were concerned about storage in our RV and had planned to anchor and store in the shower; however, we have done some renovating and after putting in an armoire where previous owner had bunks, there was exactly enough room for the washing machine and it is right across from bathroom/shower.

David Mckenna
4 months ago

I bought a similar washing machine to avoid public laundromats during the pandemic. I like it well enough to continue using it in normal times. The loads are small, for me one pair of jeans three t-shirts and a couple underwear and pairs of socks is a full load. The spinner leaves the clothes as dry as any new full size machine. Hopefully it will last a while.

Stanley Sokolow
4 months ago

I just read “Travels With Charley”, a memoir novel by John Steinbeck, in which he recounts his adventures on a trip across the USA in his custom-built camper on a 3/4-ton pickup truck. In 1960, he took off from New York with his full-size French poodle, Charley, to reconnect with the average working-class Americans about whom he’d been writing his prize-winning novels. He said for laundry he put a 5-gallon bucket in his shower. His clothes and soapy water were agitated just by driving. When he stopped at a boondocking spot near a creek, he’d rinse the clothes in the running stream and hang them to dry.

If you’re ever passing near Salinas, California, take some time to visit the Steinbeck Memorial Museum there, which is excellent. It has life-size recreations of scenes from his stories and a lot of information panels about his life. The actual pickup-truck camper is an exhibit, with a full-size poodle doll riding in the front passenger seat. https://www.steinbeck.org/

Jack
4 months ago

In early 1970’s I bought a diaper pail with a lid and did the same thing except the rinse. During the day’s drive I’d wash for half a day then drain and refill and rinse for the rest of the day. Worked out pretty good.

Tommy Molnar
4 months ago

Perfect. Don’t all of us RV’ers have tons of extra space that we don’t know what to do with? Just tuck this handy little unit in that space and you’re good to go.

dcook
4 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

It’s great that you can speak for everyone “all of us”….pitiful response to someone that is just sharing ideas.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  dcook

Kind of a harsh comment for Tommy’s maybe poor choice of words when he was sharing his idea, dcook. Tommy is one of our most prolific commenters, and is one of the most reasonable and careful commenters on our website. I don’t remember ever having to censor any part of his 2,000+ comments. Just sayin’. —Diane at RVtravel.com

Julie
4 months ago

This would still mean having a solution for drying if you wanted to use it regularly, as many campgrounds don’t permit drying racks visible outside. Even those that do, I’m not putting out underclothes! 😁 Then there’s always that same issue of load size which means spending way too much time, or time over several days, managing laundry. But, hey, if it works for your needs and you’re happy with it, this lifestyle is all about figuring out what helps us achieve our bliss, right? For me, though it’s never a task I look forward to, I’ll stick to the campground machines or local laundromat where I can take all of our laundry and get it all washed, dried and folded or hung in a couple of hours once or twice a month.

Marion Runcie
4 months ago
Reply to  Julie

Years ago, I had an earlier version of this in my apartment. It spins so much water out that it would be easy to hang clothes to dry overnight in your RV.

Donald N Wright
4 months ago

One day I will consider bringing my own washing machine, but my complaint is the awful outdated washing machines in RV parks. Low speed front loaders, or uprights with straight tines that just move the water back and forth.

littleleftie
4 months ago

Well, I am very pleased that you are pleased. For me, I have no problem going to a laundramat. And even if I have to hang around waiting for the wash cycle to finish, I bring a book and read while (usually) sitting outside. We have a wonderful drying rack that affixes to the rear of our tiny trailer, so I don’t use the commercial dryers.
For me, this wouldn’t be an option because not only is the size of it not something I want to find room for, but we don’t have either a bathroom or a bathtub. lol When I said tiny, I meant tiny.
But thank you for reviewing it and I wish you continued happy laundry days!

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