When you are travelling you need to wash your clothes sooner or later. Luckily you can find many laundry services in most countries. They will wash and dry your dirty clothes for a small amount of money. But sometimes you just want to wash one or two items or you just stay one night in a place. Then it is an option to do a quick hand wash in a bucket or in the bathroom sink. For these situations it is super handy to have your own small rubber bucket with you. It is light and it doesn’t take much space in your suitcase or backpack.
The Dutch / Belgian military rubber bowl will stand right up by the pressure of the water what is inside. The bowl isn’t that big (approx 4 liter) but it is large enough for a T-shirt, a pair of socks, some underwear and a short. Just let your laundry soak in the water with soap for a few hours and then wash the soap out of the laundry under running water from the tap.
Bowls like this are sometimes sold as fishing equipment or as drinking bowls for dogs. The fishing gear manufacturer Trakker makes a almost similar army green rubber bowl. In high end camping and outdoor shops these are also sold. In these shops you have to pay a serious amount of money for it. The cheapest is to buy them in a military surplus shop. Prices there may vary between 2,50 Euro and 10 Euro. The NSN number of this rubber bowl is NSN 7240-17-106-9624/2007. Many older wash bowls have a marking with 1995 in the rubber.
www.raeer.com (in German)
www.militaria.it (in Italian)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (in Dutch)
www.army-surplus.cz (in Czech)
The German military gear producer and military surplus trader Mil-Tec makes a 10 litre foldable washing bucket. This bucket has roughly the same diameter and is twice as high.
More advanced alternative: The Scrubba wash bag
The Scrubba wash bag is based on the antique wash board and a dry-bag. One side of the dry-bag contains a series of dots to create relief. When the clothes, water and soap are inside you can rub it over these plastic dots and shake the clothes through the water. In this way it becomes a portable laundry machine. Only drawback is the price. With approximately 47 Euro it is much more expensive than a rubber bucket.
A detailed product review can be found at www.packhacker.com