DIY: Portable Camp Washer

Controlling scent and human odor is crucial to being invisible in the woods. Scent-absorbing sprays, personal care products, laundry detergents and clothes with anti-microbial properties make scent control easier, but that doesn’t mean you don’t smell.

Most clothing can handle a day or two of outdoor wear before human odor becomes an issue, but don’t risk it and make a portable camp washer for less than $15.


  • 5 Gallon Bucket with lid
  • Plunger
  • 1 ¼-inch pipe adapter
  • Bicycle handle bar grip or wrap grip tape
  • Drill
  • Scent-free laundry detergent
  • Water

Assembly and Use

Step 1: Drill a hole for the 11/4-inch pipe adapter in the center of the bucket lid and secure with bushing. The PVC will save some wear and tear on the lid when washing and reduce the amount of splashing when using the plunger

Step 2: Install bicycle handle bar grip or wrap grip tape on toilet plunger handle.

Step 3: Drill a series of 3/8-inch holes in the plunger to reduce the resistance when agitating the wash. The holes also prevent the plunger from sticking to bottom of the bucket.

Step 4: Assemble washer with bucket, plunger and lid in place.

Step 5: Add dirty clothes to bucket. Don’t overload; it is easier to do two or three smaller loads than try to wrestle the plunger through a bucket packed with wet clothes.

Step 6: Fill bucket with warm water, add laundry detergent and stir with plunger to distribute detergent.

Step 7: Allow clothes to soak five minutes.

Step 8: Agitate plunger for five minutes.

Step 9: Allow clothes to soak five minutes while you catch your breath.

Step 10: Dump out dirty water and refill with clean, cold water.

Step 11: Agitate plunger for five minutes.

Step 12: Dump out the rinse water. It should be clear. If not, repeat steps 10-11.

Step 13: Wring out clean clothes and hang on laundry line.

Smells like Success

Once your clothes are clean and dry, recharge them with a scent killing spray. Place the clothes in a scent-free plastic container or resalable garment bag, ready for the next round of hunting.

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