Travel Clothing

Clothing Colors and Types:

  • All your clothing should be interchangeable. Every shirt should work with every pant. The easiest way to do this is to use mostly black and grey for winter travel and mostly greens, blues and tans for summer travel.
  • Dress in thin layers. Avoid thick clothing.
  • Use synthetic fibers, avoid cotton because it is less stain resistant and it takes too long to dry.

How much to pack:

  • If you travel for more than one week at a time, you need to be able to wear the same clothes multiple days.
  • Unless you want to be dirty and smelly, you need a way to wash your clothes.
  • As a general rule, you should wear socks, underwear and shirts once and pants twice before washing.
  • Most clothes take more than 24 hours to dry in a hotel room.
    • If you wash your clothes at night, you need to allow a full day and another night for them to dry.
    • You need to plan to wash clothes on days when you spend two or more nights in the same place.
  • Formula for calculating your clothing:
    • Count the maximum number of consecutive single night stays (where you only stay one night in each place). We will call this number “N”. Assuming you have 3 days of travel before you get to a multi-night stay, N = 3.
    • You will need N+1 sets of socks, underwear and shirts or 4 sets (one for each travel day and one to wear while your clothes dry).
    • N / 2 +1 pairs of pants or 3.5 rounded up to 4 pairs. (one for every other day and one to wear while your clothes dry).

Washing Clothes:

  • You can wash in hotel bathtubs but that requires a lot of soap and some hotel and cruise ship bathrooms only have showers.
  • Many hotel sinks are missing stoppers and the sinks are too small to wash large items like pants.
  • You can always wash in a small dry-bag or a scrubba The scrubba is more expensive than a dry-bag but it is lighter weight and has a purge valve. You can also use the scrubba as a dry-bag for wet beach clothes.

Ranger Roll:

There are multiple videos online that show the Ranger Roll technique. This is a great way to pack and organize socks, underwear and t-shirts. I typically do not Ranger Roll my dress shirts or pants and prefer to pack them flat to avoid wrinkles.

Men’s Shirts:

  • Avoid cotton.
  • I prefer to wear thin polyester t-shirts as a base layer with a long sleeve shirt over the top.
  • I have found long sleeve fishing shirts work well to keep the wind and the sun off your arms.
  • Try to avoid shirts that look too tactical.

Men’s Pants:

  • I try to get pants that can be washed and will dry within a little over 25 hours.
  • They need to look nice enough to wear to dinner.
  • They should not look too tactical.
  • My current pants and shorts of choice are Men’s DuluthFlex Dry on the Fly Pants.
  • These are sturdy but stretchy.
  • They are a little tight and stretchy so you need to try them on and probably go a size bigger than your normal pant size.

Men’s Socks:

  • I’m not a huge fan of wool socks.
    • Wool socks can be worn wet and they don’t absorb smells so you can wear them for several days in a row.
    • They last forever but I find them a little scratchy and itchy on my feet.
  • I prefer a few pairs of no-show moisture-wicking polyester and spandex socks and a few pairs of crew-length.
    • They are lightweight
    • They dry quickly
    • You can change them in the middle of the day if they get damp and wash them out at night.
  • Compression Socks
    • For long flights, I like to wear compression socks or compression calf sleeves (socks without the feet).
    • The changes in pressure along with the long periods of sitting can cause your feet to swell. It is also possible to get blood clots. Compression socks will make you more comfortable.

Men’s Underwear:

You need underwear that will dry quickly if it gets wet or if you wash it.

I have tried several types of travel underwear and I have the following observations:

  • ExOfficio boxer briefs is the canonical travel underwear.
    1. It typically dries overnight.
    2. It is typically only available online.
    3. Each pair costs about $26 retail.
    4. It is similar in construction to the Duluth Trading underwear but the waistband is narrower.
  • Duluth Trading Buck Naked Underwear
    1. The waistband is heavier and taller than the ExOfficio waistband so it does not dry completely overnight.
    2. Each pair costs about $22.50 retail.
Duluth Buck Naked
  • All-In-Motion Underwear
    1. The waistband is the lighter than the ExOfficio band and will easily dry overnight.
    2. The waistband isn’t as comfortable and may roll down.
    3. The material is thinner and lighter but comfortable.
    4. Packs down smallest of all the brands.
    5. At Target and Online.
    6. These are the least expensive. 3pr cost $23.00 retail.
Ranger Rolled

Jackets and Coats:

Cold Weather Travel:

  • Layers are key to staying warm and comfortable when the weather gets cold.
  • I am a huge fan of The North Face Tri Climate Jackets.
    • They are expensive but they are well worth the money.
    • The inner lining zips out and can be used as a light jacket.
    • The outer layer can be worn as a windbreaker.
    • Together, the layers provide parka-like protection.
    • I have purchased several inner layers. The puffer version works very well.

Warm Weather Travel:

  • The same layering concept works for warm weather travel.
  • You still need protection from slight drafts and wet weather.
  • I use a hooded sweatshirt layer with a matching hooded windbreaker layer.
    • The layers can be worn separately or together
    • They compress down in your bag.

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