The Portable Cleaner holds enough water to rinse off a couple of pairs of boots. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Portable Cleaner holds enough water to rinse off a couple of pairs of boots. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Price: £129
Weight: 2,180g (excluding charger and lead, unfilled)
27cm x 22cm x 20.5cm (including handle)
Country of manufacture: Germany

Taking to the great outdoors in Britain inevitably means encountering mud at some point. Boots and bikes will get mucked up and need cleaning. Usually, this has to be done back at home or your holiday base, but there is an alternative: the Kärcher OC3 Portable Cleaner.

The cleaner is self contained, with its own water reservoir and rechargeable battery. It’s small enough not to take up much room in the car boot, and provides enough pressurised water for a quick hose down of your mountain bike or boots.

It has two main sections. The top part is the water reservoir, which holds up to 4 litres.

The bottom section, accessed by folding down one section of the handle, contains the coiled trigger.

The hose and nozzle fit neatly into the base when not in use. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The hose and nozzle fit neatly into the base when not in use. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The unit needs to be charged up first, which takes about three hours for a full charge, indicated when the flashing LED goes steady. It comes with a charger that plugs into a mains socket and at the other end, a connector slots into a two-pin socket that is covered by a rubber plug when not in use.

The reservoir can then be filled and slotted on top of the base. The rubber filler cover is a little tricky to get into position at first, but sits firmly once this is done. This is important to stop water escaping while the washer is on the move, being carried in the boot of your car, for instance. A valve and filter allow water to flow into the hose, which exits the unit via a notch at the rear.

A push switch at the front of the washer activates the pump, and the trigger then releases the spray.

The Outdoor Washer is designed to rinse muddy mountain bikes and boots rather than power washing them, and the spray, delivered at 5 bar pressure, is in a fairly narrow horizontal pattern.

The cleaner will get mud off your mountain bike. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The cleaner will get mud off your mountain bike. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

When tested, we found the 4 litre tank delivers about two minutes of washing. An optional extra hose can be bought that enables use of an external water source.

You have to be fairly nifty to wash a bike before the water is depleted. The battery has a stated charge life of about 20 minutes, so if you have access to water or are prepared to carry some extra water bottles, you can clean the whole family’s kit.

For boots or shoes, the Kärcher washer worked fine, getting rid of mud on the uppers and from the cleats of the sole.

The Kärcher OC3 Portable Cleaner gets grough's 'Best Buy' mark. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Kärcher OC3 Portable Cleaner gets grough's 'Best Buy' mark. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The Portable Cleaner is simple to use and performed well. The water reservoir provides just enough for one bike or a couple of pairs of boots. On test the 4 litres lasted within a few seconds either side of two minutes, depending on how hard the trigger was squeezed to control water flow. If you want to clean any more, you’ll need to take extra water or find some at your site to top up.

There’s no facility for charging via a car’s 12V output, unless you have an inverter you can use, but the battery provides 20 minutes of use so this should only be a problem if you’re on a multi-day trip without access to electricity.

Performance: 43/50
Ease of use: 16/20
Design: 7/10
Quality: 8/10
Value for money: 6/10
Total score: 80/100

The Kärcher OC3 Portable Cleaner was supplied to grough by Halfords.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. On test: Hoka One One Tor Speed 2 WP boots reviewed
  2. On test: three-season walking boots reviewed
  3. On test: MSR Elixir 1 tent reviewed
  4. On test: Norrøna Falketind PrimaLoft 100 Vest reviewed