Having tested and reviewed the 5 best camping clotheslines in Australia, I’ve now got the driest clothes in the country. Better still, I didn’t have to hang them on fences, in trees, over the bull bar, or stand there waving them in the wind.
Rain is inevitable when you’re camping – you’re going to get wet. And if camping long enough, clothes washing is essential, as is drying. There’s no joy in wet clothes and wet towels, especially when it’s cold.
The following camping clothesline reviews include a handy buyer's guide, so you can get the perfect clothesline for camping, whatever way you do it.
My Review Process
A camping clothesline should first of all suit your packing and transport restraints - ultra-compact for backpacking, compact or collapsible if in a car or caravan. A family will need more hanging space than a solo camper, but most importantly a good camping clothesline should hold clothes securely in a decent breeze.
Over decades of camping, I’ve hung wet clothes and towels on whatever I could find. They’ve been covered in ants, left behind, and blown away in the wind, turning the local ecosystem into a laundry. A camping clothesline isn’t the most exciting bit of camping gear you’ll ever buy, but it’s a brilliant convenience we should all add to our kits.
The 2 Pack Portable Clothesline with 12 Clothespins wins my top pick because it’s simple, versatile, and very effective. Moreover, it’s perfect for all camping styles from backpacking to fifth-wheelers.
It’s strong, flexible, and easy to mount. Best of all, the strong pegs are integral – no more lost pegs. Better still, the pegs can be spaced and locked in place so clothes won’t bunch on the line. Sold in a 2-pack, you’ll get plenty of hanging for your camping clothes and all the family’s towels.
The Companion wins the heavy-duty award because of its stability in the wind – which is important for a free-standing clothesline.
I really like the innovative design as it features dedicated sections for items such as shoes and towels. The alloy frame is lightweight, durable and corrosion resistant. Surprisingly, it only weighs 2 kg, with each of the 11 rails holding up to 1.7 kg of laundry.
Folding flat for easy storage and transport, the Companion Quick Fold is ideal for most types of family camping.
The Pegless elastic clothesline has been around forever. The epitome of simplicity, they’re the most compact clothesline there is, and weigh next to nothing. It’s the perfect clothesline for backpacking.
There are 2 meters of hanging space with no pegs required. Towels and clothes simply wedge between the twisted elastic line. Brilliant.
Looking like an inverted Hills Hoist style rotary clothesline, I see these portable rotary clotheslines at every campground I visit – they’re super-popular, and my best mate’s been using one for years.
They collapse to a very compact packed 82 x 22 x 11cm. It won’t fit in your backpack, but it’s ideal for even the smallest car. I like these clotheslines for extended family touring. A few brands make the same design, but the Oztrail wins for durability.
It holds up to 25kg of wet towels and clothes, thanks to its strong line and steel frame. While it might look a little top-heavy, the supplied anchor pegs will keep it stable in a drying breeze.
Costing little more than a large cappuccino, the Sea To Summit Clothesline is great for all camp styles, but ideal for minimalists, backpackers, and campers on a budget.
Pegless and non-stretch, there are 3.5 meters of hanging space coiled inside a compact, durable carry pouch that’s integral to mounting. The innovative pegless design is a great feature as clothes remain securely fastened and free from bunching.
Alternatives To A Camping Clothes Line
For Aussie campers with caravans, RVs, camper trailers, and campervans, there are alternative clotheslines.
I especially like the Camec Expanda Clothesline as an alternative clothesline for vans and trailers. Easily mountable to pre-installed fixed brackets, the Expanda is easy to set up and remove for travel. It collapses to a compact size and can be stowed away in one of the many caravan storage bins, or clever storage nooks in camper trailers. It’s great for drying towels and a load of washing.
With access to electricity, labour-saving electric clothes dryers are a great option. If you frequent caravan parks, or have a 12 V battery system with a high capacity pure sign wave inverter, you’re optioned up.
Large motorhomes and fifth wheels have the capacity for any domestic dryer. However, when space is a premium, the Camec Compact 3.2kg RV Dryer is brilliant for those who prefer some of the conveniences of home. Designed specifically for travelling and camping, it's brilliant for getting your clothes dry on inevitable rainy days. With flexible mounting options, it’s suitable for a wide range of vehicles, trailers and caravans.
How To Choose The Clothesline
Choosing a camping clothesline isn’t complicated. But there are a few important things to consider to ensure you get the perfect portable camping clothesline for your camping demands.
Retractable, and line-style clotheslines with or without pegless systems are very cheap. An outlay of $10 to $20 has you covered.
Foldable and collapsible clotheslines are also inexpensive, however, prices can vary quite a lot between brands and suppliers.
Expect to pay between $35 and $50. Electrical dryers such as the one featured above will retail for about $325.
Collapsible and foldable styles will handle several towels or a modest family wash weighing 25 to 38kg.
Pegless clotheslines have around 12 integral pegs. This limits you to the number of garments and towels you can hang.
Line-style clotheslines vary in length between 2 and 3.5m. Due to the ultra-compact design of pegless line-style clotheslines, you can take as many as you need to cover all your drying needs.
Line-style clothesline can be placed at whatever height you like, depending on what you find to fix the ends of the line. Collapsible and foldable styles have fixed heights between 100 and 135cm.
The durability of line-style clotheslines is unbeatable. There’s so little that can fail. Collapsible and foldable styles require care in transport but stand up well to weather and general use if not overloaded. Do take care when hanging saturated beach towels, and ring them out first.
While I feel connectors and fixers used in collapsible and foldable styles could be stronger, there’s very little variation across brands and models.
Size & Weight
Line-style clotheslines can fit in your pocket and weigh 7 to 25g. Collapsible and foldable designs weigh between 2 and 3kg. The hills-Hoist style collapses to as little as 82 x 22 x 11cm with the airing style folding to 110 x 57 x 7cm.
In practical terms, each clothesline will take up about the same space as a large camping chair when open.
All the camping clotheslines reviewed here are child’s play to assemble. Line-style can be a little tricky with no suitable mounting points - a treeless desert being a good example. But tentpoles are great in the absence of trees.
Line-style clotheslines are so compact you’ll never have to worry about finding storage space. But find a safe spot for them because they’re easy to misplace.
Folding and collapsible lines will fit in the smallest vehicles for transport. When you’re camping, leave them out and open. They take up little space and it’s convenient to have them at hand.
The 2 Pack Portable Clothesline with 12 Clothespins is my winner for its combination of effectiveness, price, versatility and durability. It’s just so easy, and brilliant for every camping style. I love the innovation of the Sea To Summit, and the simplicity of the Elemental is hard to beat.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.