The travel clothesline

Whether traveling for a few days or a few weeks, the need to travel light often conflicts with the need for clean laundry. If your destination does not include easily accessible or reasonably priced facilities, that can mean hand-washing is the best option. The current availability of high quality clothing that is quick-drying makes handwashing a much easier option. But the real issue is not getting the clothes clean. It’s getting them dry.

A proper travel clothesline not only solves the problem, but does so with such simplicity and reliability, that you may well decide to take this inexpensive accessory on all future trips. But be warned. Getting the wrong travel clothesline can create new problems.

The appropriate version is made from three long strands of surgical latex tubing. These are fastened together beneath a protected housing that then gives way to a secure loop on each end. The strands themselves are braided instead of twisted. This is an example of enduring product design that literally has not benefited from any technological advances over the last half century. Using surgical latex means that the strength of the line is not diminished while it is being stretched out. The braid design allows a loop to be pulled out so that the damp article of clothing can be hung without a hook or clothespin. 

Beware the imitators. This is a simple device that packs small and can be a godsend for efficient travel or unexpected laundry needs. But if the device is not comprised of surgical latex, it will not have sufficient strength or stretchy-ness. Also, if the strands are twisted and not woven, then there will be no way to hang damp clothing without using a hook or clothespin. Make sure that ends are sufficiently fastened and come to a secure loop on each side. Suction cups and other fastening solutions introduce additional elements that can fail or become unsanitary.

Smart travellers always want to find a way to pack lighter and pack smarter. The right travel clothesline is a perfect solution because it is simple to use, eminently reliable (won’t break), and takes up almost no space in your luggage.