Camp Dishwasher Alternatives – From the Simplest to the Trickiest

Camping can be adventurous regardless the weather, way of traveling or number of campers. Anytime this is a great time. But there is still a list of chores you should do even when being out. One of them is washing the dishes. But how to wash dishes at your campsite when you have no your full-size dishwasher or a kitchen sink close by? But camping does not necessarily mean hard manual work. If this is the dilemma you don't want to deal with, find the answer in this article.

Taking into account that nobody likes washing when traveling, we decided to find possible solutions that can stand up for camp dishwashers. This is not a secret that there are no specific camp dishwashing machines that would be portable for backpack tours but at the same time as good as conventional dishwashers. There are smaller desktop dishwashers that can be used in RV or moving houses but what to do if you do not have one?


10 camp gear that can be used to ease your dishwashing routine

1. Reliance Products Inflatable Sink

When there is no chance for having a camp dishwasher for the lack of space and, let's be sincere, for the lack of appliance itself, but you still need to handle a pile of dirty dishes, an inflatable sink may help. It is large enough to hold a ton of water and quite sturdy for washing the silverware without the risk of cutting it. It is also equipped with a cup and cutlery holder. The only difficulty is that you need to inflate and deflate it every time.

  • Pros: extremely compact, very large when inflated, sturdy, made of high-durable material, excellent for backpack tours.
  • Cons: very slow to deflate.
  • Item weight: 0.31 lbs (140 g)
  • Item dimensions: 16″ x 4″ x 12″ (40 x 10 x 30 cm)
  • Price: $23.72 BUY NOW


2. HaloVa Collapsible Bucket

This is probably the most compact and durable look-like-real bucket that is a must-have for camping trips. First off, it is lightweight what is crucial for backpack traveling. Made of high-density 2000D Oxford cloth, it guarantees no leakage being at the same time collapsible and flexible. If you take three of them, you can create your own camp washing station, where #1 bucket is for pre-washing, #2 is for washing and #3 is for rinsing. When a set of 3 is a dream, you can always use a single bucket for washing the dishes.

  • Pros: 3 gal/11 l volume, compact, lightweight, durable, has a handle, unfolds easily, made of high-quality materials, multi-functional, space-saving, excellent for backpacking.
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 12.8 oz (360 g)
  • Item dimensions: 8.6″ x 1.5″/10.8″ folded (22 x 3.8/27 cm)
  • Price: $12.50 BUY NOW


3. Coleman Folding Double Wash Basin

If you have thought about how to clean dishes at your campsite and not get crazy about that, then you should try Coleman folding double wash basin. While 'basin' stands for something large, 'folding' means it is compact. This device is great for outdoor recreation. Being quite capacious, this basin folds down into a very portable and lightweight pack. The basin is made of plastic and includes sturdy rod supports. It will make dishwashing duties easier to do. Warning, do not use hot water!

  • Pros: capacious, extremely compact, lightweight, has 2 handles, unfolds easily, space-saving, excellent for backpacking.
  • Cons: no hot water is allowed, flimsy.
  • Item weight: 13.9 oz (400 g)
  • Item dimensions: 11.5″ x 8″ x 3″ unfolded (29 x 20 x 7.5 cm)
  • Price: $13.36 BUY NOW


4. Coleman Water Carrier

How can a 5-gallon (20 L) canister can be compact? If only this is the Coleman Water Carrier! From an absolutely flat thing it turns into a bulky water carrier with a tap and handles. You can place it on a log and wash the dishes under the flowing water just like you would do at home but for a sink. Use a tap to regulate the intensity of water flow. Made of quality material, it remains durable after numerous fold-downs. This item is loved by backpackers and travelers for being lightweight, simple to use and extremely helpful when fetching/storing water is concerned.


  • Pros: very huge when filled with water, has a large opening, extremely compact, lightweight, has 2 handles, easy to use, space-saving, excellent for backpacking.
  • Cons: it automatically collapses when poring, a tap may leak.
  • Item weight: 1.2 lb (545 g)
  • Item dimensions: 9.3″ x 3.8″ x 9.3″ unfolded (23.5 x 9.5 x 23.5 cm)
  • Price: $14.99 BUY NOW


5. Pop Up Dish Tray and Tub

Not a single camping trip is good without this device! Many thanks to the designers of the Pop Up Dish Tray and Tub, who took into account all the necessary criteria: size, weight, durability and effectiveness. From a flat tray, it pops up into a capacious tub that is good for washing and rinsing the dishes. Once the dishwashing routine is done, fold it down and tuck into the bag till next use. It is good both for backpacking and RV tours.

  • Pros: compact, perfect size, has a drain hole, collapses easily, quality material, great addition to a camp gear.
  • Cons: some complaints on a plug leakage.
  • Item weight: 31 oz (880 g)
  • Item dimensions: 17″ x 13″ x 7.5″/2″ (43.5 x 33.5 x 19.2/5.5 cm)
  • Price: $34.90 BUY NOW


6. Joseph Joseph Wash and Drain

Probably not as compact as the Pop Up Dish Tray and Tub but equally helpful Joseph Joseph Wash & Drain keeps your dishes clean while traveling. If you can afford some space in your car trunk or moving house, this basin for washing dishes at the campsite is a nice camp gear to invest in. To start with, it is capacious and made of high-durable plastic. There is no pain in taking water right from the river and fetching it to the campsite – the handles are right for that! Furthermore, there is a draining plug for even more convenience. But the major benefit is that this is a 3 in 1 basin – you can wash, rinse and dry in it.

  • Pros: nice size, has a drain hole, high-quality material, has 2 convenient handles, versatile, easily handles camp dishes.
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 2.5 lb (1.1 kg)
  • Item dimensions: 15″ x 9.8″ x 7.9″ (38 x 25 x 20 cm)
  • Price: $20.23 BUY NOW


7. Advanced Hand Wash System

Looking for a way how to wash camp dishes? This device can be an answer. This is not a camp dishwashing machine at all but it really helpful in a camp kitchen. This is how the Advanced Hand Wash System works: you will need a source of water (a bucket of water or the river), a bucket to attach the tap and some dirty dishes. The pump is very compact and can be easily carried in a backpack but you will need a bucket to attach it to.


  • Pros: compact and portable, lifetime guarantee on metal parts, fits most buckets, easy to pack, fast to set up.
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 1.8 lb (816 g)
  • Item dimensions: 16″ x 8″ x 4″ (38 x 25 x 20 cm)
  • Price: $74.00 BUY NOW


8. SinkBoss

This cute sink was designed as a space-saving solution for cleaning baby bottles and other kitchenware away from home. Campers found it useful for cleaning the dishes when traveling. The SinkBoss is lightweight, portable and has a drier stand. It takes little space but saves tons of nerves when it's time for washing the dishes routine. There are 3 variations of setting it: deploy on legs, lay it over the sink or hang via a strap system.

  • Pros: compact and portable, high-quality material, easy to pack and unpack, the strap system is included, has a drying stand, sturdy, multi-functional.
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 2.14 lbs (970 g)
  • Item dimensions: 10.6″ x 12.15″ x 2.3″ folded (27 x 31 x 6 cm)
  • Price: $49.99


9. Ozark Portable Camping Sink

If you are deciding on a camping kitchen item for your next trip, think of this portable sink. This is a must-have for washing the dishes while camping. Ozark Camping Sink has a stand so you should not bend low for washing. It is very capacious and quite deep. If you hate tiny camping dishwashing gear anyway, you will find this one life-saving. Keep in mind, it is not good for hot water and it is recommended to have a longer plastic pipe for a drain, just to let the water flow farther from where you stand.

  • Pros: portable, easy to pack and unpack, has a high stand, deep and capacious, space-saving, a mesh bag for drying the dishes, convenient rack for a soap.
  • Cons: not good for hot water, not a backpack variant.
  • Item weight: 18.2 lbs (8.250 kg)
  • Item dimensions: not specified.
  • Price: $48.32 BUY NOW


10. Palm Springs Folding Table with a Sink

Once you are not limited with backpacks and have enough space in your RV or car trunk for camp kitchen equipment, decide on this folding table & sink. The construction is large and solid but at the same time foldable and easy to carry. No, this is not a camp dishwasher but a good-quality sink similar to what you might have at home. You will need a source of water for a tap to work. Such camping sink is excellent for long-term family travels.

  • Pros: foldable, heavy metal construction, stainless tap, large table zone, 1.5 Gal sink, convenient.
  • Cons: a bit too flimsy for a price.
  • Item weight: 20.9 lbs (9.480 kg)
  • Item dimensions: 45.3″ x 23.6″ x 3.1 / 33.9″ (115 x 60 x 8 / 86 cm).
  • Price: $69.99 BUY NOW


Most Popular Countertop Dishwashers for Moving Houses / RVs

There is no other appliance that can equally substitute a conventional dishwasher in terms of efficiency, quality washing and water consumption. Even though you have to sacrifice certain conveniences during camping, the last thing you would give up is a dishwasher, especially without any alike camp dishwashing machine alternative. But if you are traveling in a van, you can opt for compact countertop dishwashers. There are two as an example:


SPT Countertop Dishwasher

It is real! Real dishwasher you can have at your campsite! It is 'small' in terms of dishwashing machines but capacious enough for a pile of dishware. It is economical when water consumption is concerned and will fit a small RV kitchen. But it needs electricity, a sourche of water supply and sewage. Enjoy the brilliant cleanness of the dishes, the one that you will never have by cleaning the dishes by hand!

  • Pros: convenient, twice smaller than a full-size appliance, simple to operate, one of the smallest of this type, saves about 35% of water monthly.
  • Cons: lack of indicators, not so strong.
  • Item weight: 48.5 lbs (22 kg)
  • Item dimensions: 21.6″ x 19.7″ x 17.2″ (55 x 50 x 44 cm).
  • Price: $230.95 BUY NOW


hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher

Do camping dishwashers exist? Here can be the one if you take it on your trip. This appliance is on the list of Best Sellers on Amazon. This can be an argument if you decide to opt for a compact dishwasher to place it in your mini kitchen. But don't be deceived by the word 'compact'. It is not small at all, though once you have it you will realize it's so well worth it! You can trust hOmeLabs your dishware and enjoy how it makes the dirty job while you are on the go.

  • Pros: convenient, twice smaller than a full-size appliance, simple to operate.
  • Cons: not as compact as you may first think.
  • Item weight: 67 lbs (30.4 kg)
  • Item dimensions: 26″ x 23″ x 23″ (66 x 58.5 x 58.5 cm).
  • Price: $249.90 BUY NOW


The Concept Camp Dishwashers

Most likely you are familiar with the idea of concept cars – a car that is created to showcase the combination of the latest technology and top-notch style. Now imagine the modern science applied in dishwashing machines for your convenience and maximum efficiency. Even though this is only the idea, the concept, one day it may turn real.


The EcoWash

Doing dishes in a non-electric way while being at the campsite is very convenient! David Stockton, the designer of the EcoWash, is probably a dedicated traveler that he thought about such tiresome routine as how to clean the dishes when traveling. The EcoWash is supposed to wash manually as a centrifuge with plates and cutlery accurately fastened inside the chamber. Though the dishwasher looks like a solid kitchen appliance, it is too small to have some space for cups and glasses. However once launched, the EcoWasher may become a nice camp dishwasher.



Gota Dishwasher

Futuristic and streamline, Gota compact dishwasher does not look like one. It is going to be a stylish accessory in your small kitchen once it is produced. Singles and no-children families are the target users of Gota. Oh, and probably the campers who are always in a search of compact but useful appliance. Gota requires electricity and would be a nice helper in an RV's kitchen. Being so tiny, it still has space to house plates, glasses and cutlery for washing. In cases when modern design matters, Gota will be placed first on the list.


6 Useful Camping Hacks for Easier Dishwashing

When you already have some experience of outdoor recreation, you attain certain useful hacks for making camping chores as hassle-free as possible. Cleaning the dishes on a camping trip is certainly on the list. When it comes to dish cleanups, it is always good to get ready for this messy activity in advance. That is why we consider it useful to share some accessories that might have a positive effect on your trip.


Dish Drying Mesh Bag

Mesh bags proved to be versatile and multi-functional. You can use them for washing clothes, storing bathroom toys or just for organizing things. Now you can also use a mesh bag for drying the dishes. It helps to keep the dishes high from camping debris, ants and other things/creatures you don't want to see on your plate. A mesh bag is probably the only bag that takes extremely little space in a backpack being nearly invisible there but extremely helpful when in use.


  • Pros: extremely lightweight, versatile, inexpensive, made of quality material.
  • Cons: can be torn by branches and debris.
  • Item weight: 0.2 oz (5.5 g).
  • Item dimensions: 23 ″ x 36″ (58.5 x 91.5 cm).
  • Price: $6.49 BUY NOW


Foldable Dryer Rack

Another option on how you can dry your dishes at your campsite is to have this foldable rack. Not as compact as other backpack options (see Mesh Bag) but very convenient in usage. Find a reliable tree branch, fasten the rack and place washed dishes there. It is good to keep the kitchenware over the ground, high from dirt and insects. The rack is easy to fold and unfold and it takes little space in a car trunk, though probably not too compact for backpacking. And yes, it is good (and actually designed) for drying herbs.

  • Pros: steel durable rings, high-quality mesh material, 4 layers, easy to attach, compact and portable, multi-functional, hanging straps included, well-made product, large.
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 1.4 lbs (635 g).
  • Item dimensions: 2.4 ″ x 9.5″ x 9.5″ (6 x 24 x 24 cm).
  • Price: $15.99 BUY NOW


Dish Cleaning Wipes

When water is scarce and there is not enough to be used for cleaning dishes, then these wipes can save your trip! Each wipe is saturated with liquid dish detergent, thus it can easily clean grease off the plates without pre-washing and rinsing. Wipes are textured for easier scouring off baked on meals. Well, it sounds like wipes minimize your time on cleaning the dishes at your campsite and make traveling more comfortable.

  • Pros: 50 wipes, contain detergent, fast to clean, easy to use, no need to rinse, durable, textured.
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 15.7 oz (445 g).
  • Item dimensions: not specified.
  • Price: $8.20 BUY NOW


Lodge Pan Scrapers

On buying these pan scrapers, you get more than you pay. The scrapers are small and extremely compact aimed to clean your cookware in no time. When you feel anxious about getting rid of remains on a plate or fried on meals in a pan, use scrapers to save your time and nerves. Made of polycarbonate material, they leave no scratches on kitchenware. Due to a curved shape, these scrapers easily get into the corners of the cookware and clean them perfectly.

  • Pros: 2 in a pack, sturdy, high-quality material, excellent for backpacking, great shape, useful, easy to scour
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 2.7 oz (76 g).
  • Item dimensions: 7.3″ x 4.9″ x 3.7″ (18.5 x 12.5 x 9 cm).
  • Price: $5.30 BUY NOW


Joseph Joseph Cutlery Cleaner

If you hate cleaning forks with dried-on food particles as much as we do, then try this cutlery brush cleaner, especially when you are camping. The brush is specifically created for knives, spoons and other cutlery. Once a fork gets between hundreds of bristles, it has no chance to remain dirty. The brush is made of quality material and provides an easy non-slip grip due to a textured rubber cover. This is also a funny accessory that looks like a pair of jaws.

  • Pros: made of high-quality material, thick bristles, rubbed grip, compact but efficient.
  • Cons: expensive.
  • Item weight: 3.5 oz (100 g).
  • Item dimensions: 3.1″ x 3″ x 2″ (8 x 7.5 x 5 cm).
  • Price: $6.23 BUY NOW


Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap

Outdoor recreation is associated with nature, tranquility and peace of mind. In order not to disturb this balance it is good to have eco-friendly detergents when dishwashing at the campsite is concerned. Among the variety of existing cleaners, we stopped on Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap. It does not contain chemicals that have negative health effects, instead, they are substituted with natural ingredients. The wow effect is that the dish is never musty after been washed with this dish soap. Feel free to use it during camping without making any harm to nature.

  • Pros: all natural, eco-friendly, safe, cleans perfectly, nice natural scents.
  • Cons: no.
  • Item weight: 16 fl oz (473 ml).
  • Item dimensions: 8.5″ high (21 cm).
  • Price: $4.43 BUY NOW


Now when you have found a whole list of camp dishwashing gear, where some are really small and compact while other function like conventional dishwashers, which one would you choose for your needs.


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