Domestic life on the road

What a title ehh? I don't expect many viewers will get beyond it.


Wild camping for months at a time presents a potential problem: How to avoid looking and smelling like the vagrant you are. The key I believe is keeping clothing clean. Most people would of course stop at the odd launderette, but being well - me, I can't and indeed may not be able to in some places. The other reason for scrupulous hygeine of the underwear, is to reduce the chances of Boils on le derriere that men, (well from my current sample of two), seem to be prone to.


Clothes dry faster if they hang out in the airstream, so I have fitted out all the socks with loops so they can hang off panniers.


Soap in soap dish (a tube of shower gel is less slimey, but not available in all countries. Washing up powder generally comes in huge boxes and although I am keen on washing - I am not that keen)

In Poorer countries small packets of washing powder are available.

Scrubbing brush: A lady in Peru showed me that the sort of ineffectual swilling and waving that most of us travellers do to wash clothes is useless, and that brush and elbow grease is a complete substite for enzymes and hot water when removing stains.

Ortlieb wash basin: I was told about this by Trevor, a very experienced bikist, we met in England. I am having one sent out, so I can wash at taps withoiut basins and in rivers without polluting them with essence of sock.

The clothes you have make a real difference. Mum got me some really risque panties which are mostly black and red lace. These dry very quickly,. with the added advantage of keeping the passers-by wondering.

The washing

The high Alpine villages in France all have washing basins in the main street, fed from streams. Notice the sloping area for scrubbing. This one is one of the nicest, as my friend Alan Yardley would say "It has been hewn from the living rock"

The drying

Have plenty of straps on the bike so you can hang clothes on the outside. Having the panties hanging down at the sides in the airstream seems to work best. Washing in the morning is better in case the weather changes overnight leaving you a pannier of wet and mouldering clothes.

My Ukrianian friend Nina gave me some really strong clothes pegs. With these amazing pegs clothes do not fall by the wayside. I would not recommend feeble English pegs however. I have also sewn on an extra strap accross the front of the panniers onto which I can thread underwear and modified socks, then click shut. This avoids having all you underwear on the ground every time I go into a panier.

When the weather is cold, the final drying of the smalls can be done using brain power. Marks brain is biggest and best for this.

Uses of Orlieb wash basin

The 10 litre version is the right size to fit behind the pocket of an ortleib pannier. It is really good for an all-over wash using a kettle of hot water and some undergarment as a flannel, this having the advantage of washing both you and the garment. I captured this photo of Mark demonstrating the basin, but never mind the practical hints - JUST LOOK AT THOSE LEGS!

Also good for soaking bowls of clothes at hotels to save scrubbing.

If you have the sickness whilst camping with mosquitos. It becommes an emergency aid.