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Taking care of your belongings while traveling: our backpackers’ techniques to wash and repair!

Taking care of your belongings is not an easy task – and trust us, we know! We remember wondering, before leaving, how travelers did to wash and keep their stuff while still on the road… Especially when you use things daily! The answers came by themselves during our trip, discoveries and exchanges with other travelers… And of course – when we have useful tips, we share them!


Washing clothes on the road

Handwash your clothes

Under the shower

… as simple as that! It’s the most ecological and practical solution: shower with clothes on and wash your clothes at the same time as your body under the shower. It’s also the most practical solution when traveling in Asia, since there is usually a bucket full of water in the bathroom. Perfect for a little laundry!

At the sink

Before cleaning your clothes under the tap, rinse them thoroughly to remove any dust. Once rinsed, gently scrub the clothes with an ecofriendly soap – especially in “dirty” areas such as the armpits or crotch, until the clothes look clean. Be careful not to scrub too hard so as not to damage the fiber! Once washed, remove the soap residue with a new rinse, wring out as much as possible and dry your clothes outside or in a well ventilated room. If you don’t want to bother scrubbing, another solution is to soak your clothes in warm soapy water using a plug!

At the river

This happened to us a few times (especially during our treks, like in Ala Kul in Kyrgyzstan): we washed our clothes in the river, using an eco-friendly soap. And we insist on the eco-friendly side of the detergent: the golden rule, while camping in the middle of nature, is to leave no trace of your passage!

How to remove stains from clothes?
 

I remember one time in Albania when, after having a bite in my improvised raw vegetables sandwich, a tomato juice spray landed on my white t-shirt… Fortunately, the solution to get rid of this stain was there, in front of my eyes: I want to talk about the sun! A godsend: after a few hours in the sun (me sunbathing in my bathing suit, my t-shirt drying next to me) my t-shirt became white again. Magic!

Machine wash your clothes

At your host’s house

When we are hosted, we always manage to wash our clothes by hand using the shower technique – except when the quantity of clothes to be washed is too huge. In this case, we kindly ask if it’s possible to wash our clothes in the washing machine – favoring as much as possible a common machine wash (filling the machine with ours and our host clothes), with a fast cycle and at low temperature.

Laundry services

In Asia, you can easily find laundry services in the city – where they take care of your laundry in a few hours up to 24 hours for €1 to €1,50 / kg. In other countries, such as France and USA, you can find self-service laundromats (or laundrettes).

Taking care of your belongings while traveling: our tips for making your equipment last

As you may have already noticed (or read here), we tend towards minimalism by traveling with only what is essential for us – like clothes and camping gear. Taking care of your belongings when you travel is therefore essential, not only for your daily comfort but also to make your equipment last (and as for us, to respect our commitment to a more responsible travel and lifestyle). And that’s where we found some tips to help us!…

Taking care of your shoes

Shoes are the most precious thing: we use them every day, for several hours… That’s why we try to take good care of them! Before leaving, we of course waterproofed our trail shoes (to make them waterproof as long as possible). While traveling, after a good day of walking on dusty or muddy paths, we use to brush them to remove as much dirt as possible. And when our shoes still stank after drying and airing them outside overnight, we go for the unfailing solution: baking soda powder sprinkled generously on the inside of the shoes and a few hours in the sun to allow UV rays to act on the bacteria responsible for the bad odors.

Fixing a hole on a pair of pants

We’re no masters at sewing (far from it!), and yet we managed to keep some of our holey pants together all the way through the adventure! To do so, we used 2 techniques:

  • The patch technique: a piece of fabric in good condition recovered (from a host, on an old discarded garment), sewn on the back of the pants at the level of the hole
  • The Japanese Sashiko fixing technique, an original embroidery technique allowing to repair and reinforce the patched piece. Internet is full of tutorials, but you can use this one to repair a pair of jeans.

 

Cleaning oxidized silver jewelry

Although I didn’t take any valuable jewelry when leaving, I did receive some silver jewelry as a gift during our trip – including a ring from Aiperi, a Kyrgyz host, which hasn’t left my finger since! Unfortunately, the ring ended up oxidizing with time… A problem that was quickly solved, when a traveler suggested me to use toothpaste to restore the ring to its original shine: a tip that was immediately tested and adopted!

* Post written according to our personal experience *

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